A single city split down the middle


A dreadful head-on car crash near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, took the lives of six teenagers on July 27.
Whenever Lloydminster was mentioned, media were careful to say the accident happened in Saskatchewan. This is because Lloydminster is located in both Alberta and Saskatchewan with its Main Street belonging to both provinces — one side in Alberta, the other in Saskatchewan.
Lloydminster is unique in that it’s not half of a pair of “twin” cities, as St. Boniface and Winnipeg once were, and St. Paul and Minneapolis continue to be. It is a single city split down the middle by the fourth meridian that separates Alberta from Saskatchewan. This happened because Lloydminster existed before 1905 when the two provinces were formed. By order-in-council in both provincial legislatures, the single town of Lloydminster was “amalgamated” in 1930. There’s one mayor and one city council, but the small city is represented by two MPs and two MLAs, and has two separately designated provincial postal codes.
The original 1903 settlement was founded by an almost unknown religious group referred to as the Barr Colonists. These extreme Anglicans — puritanical in their beliefs — were led by the Reverend Isaac Barr whose leadership was succeeded by the Reverend George Exton Lloyd. Lloyd, who lent the town his name, later became Anglican Bishop of Saskatchewan, a diocese then located in Prince Albert.
“Minster,” in English since 1513, is another name for “monastery” and is defined by the OED as, “A Christian religious house; the church of a monastery; also generically any large church, especially a cathedral.”
This word entered Old English as mynster from the Vulgar Latin monasterium (monastery). By the time of Middle English, the spelling had become minster. The word lives on in several other places and churches.
Westminster is a borough in London, a city which is a collection of some 32 separate “cities” or administrative areas. It is also the usual designation for the Abbey of St. Peter, located on the north bank of the Thames, and for the Houses of Parliament as well as for the Hall used as the Court of Justice. And don’t forget that our Canadian system of government is known as the Westminster System.
Some other English cities having minster in their names are, Leominster, Axminster, and York Minster. The word persists in other countries. Germany’s Munich is known to Germans as Muenster. In Belgium, we find Wassmunster. In Canada, apparently the only place other than Lloydminster is New Westminster, B.C.
The word minister is unrelated to minster. Minister is Middle English, lifted from the Old French ministre (servant; attendant). Words like administration, to minister and ministry, all derive from minister.
Fowler adds an interesting note on minister. Apparently, this term has been avoided by Anglicans over the years. Fowler says, “Minister was adopted as an acceptable name at first chiefly by those who objected to the terms priest and clergyman as implying erroneous views of the nature of sacred office.”
Whatever the reason for clerical and/or political use of minister, it has no relation to minster.
Incidentally, despite the name, there’s no monastery or cathedral in Lloydminster.