In the late 1870s and early 1880s, the area of Lumsden was known as Happy Hollow. In 1889, when the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) decided to build the railroad through the area, Happy Hollow was renamed Lumsden to honour the CPR Chief Engineer, Hugh Lumsden. After deciding on building Lumsden, the community gradually began to grow and became a village.
By 1892, Lumsden had an operating general store and a post office, which were then followed by a blacksmith shop, grain elevators, and an implements agency.
In 1897, the first doctor opened up a practice in the community. In the next decade, Lumsden was thriving with several stately brick homes and businesses being built.
The Lumsden Plaza was built in the commercial center of town in 1903. It housed a bank, several stores, and professional offices. The Balfour and Brothers General Store operated out of the building from 1903 to 1970. The building still stands to this day and was made a Municipal Heritage Property in 2004.
On March 15, 1905, Lumsden officially became a town.
In 1966, Lumsden became the first community in Saskatchewan with a population between 500 and 1,500 to be policed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Prior to this, RCMP services were only available in communities where the population was over 1,500.
In 1988, Lumsden decided it needed a way to raise money for a new skating rink. The fundraiser became an annual event—one of the most successful ones in the entire province, which is known today as the Lumsden Duck Race (or Lumsden Duck Derby).
The Duck Derby consists of rubber duckies being purchased, then dropped in the Qu’Appelle River; the ducks travel down to the finish line. The people whose ducks reach the finish line are awarded a variety of prizes, sometimes even new vehicles. Ever since, each year, it raises thousands of dollars for projects and charities in the area. The derby was so successful that just after 10 years after the first derby, the $1.5 million arena was paid off.
On May 18, 2005, Lumsden received a very important visitor—Queen Elizabeth II.
She visited the community as part of her Saskatchewan tour during its 100th Anniversary. The Queen arrived in her motorcade and with Prince Phillip, had a luncheon at the ice rink that had been decorated for their arrival.
A total of 500 guests came out for the event, including the premier of Saskatchewan. Students in the community were let out early for the visit so they could see the Queen visit their town. The royal couple’s visit put Lumsden on the map—it signified Lumsden’s importance to the province.
Lumsden was becoming one of the important communities in Saskatchewan, with unique cultural and social operations, and a wide range of necessities and amenities.