Since I am Saskatchewan born and raised, it always bothered me when people said there's nothing to do in my home province. If you're looking for culture, history, food, beer, sporting events, community or a touch of quirkiness, Saskatchewan is the best place to visit!
If you've been following my blog for awhile now, you'll know I could write a whole article about places to visit in Saskatchewan (actually, I have written it). For sake of brevity, I handpicked some of my favourite places, but there are many that I left out. Are there any places you'd add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.
This tour starts off in the capital city, Regina. At 131-years-old, this city has seen its fair share of tragedy, but in recent years it has blossomed into one of the most thriving cities in the Canadian prairies. When you visit, you'll want to take a stroll along the beautiful Wascana Lake, tour the stunning Legislative Building and explore the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Here you can learn about the geography of the region, the dinosaurs and beasts that once strolled the fields, and the conquests of man upon their arrival.
If you're looking to learn more about history, Government House and the RCMP Heritage Centre are two more places you'll want to visit.
Regina is also a great place to do your shopping. You'll want to visit Regina's downtown area, the Warehouse District or Cathedral Village for some of the most colourful mom-and-pop shops in the city. Don't be afraid to sample many of the delicious restaurants either, as all these neighbourhoods have seen an explosion of new eateries these past few years.
Once you're done in the Queen City, hop on the Trans-Canada Highway for 43 minutes until you arrive in the friendly city of Moose Jaw. Famous for its several underground tunnels and rejuvenating spa, Moose Jaw is a city locked in time. The city's historic downtown is a time capsule from the early 20th century, punctuated with such dramatic architectural facades that would make any history buff salivate. This city is also dripping with incredible restaurants such as Bobby's Place, Hopkins Dining Parlour, Déjà vu Café and The Mad Greek.
Once you're done enjoying what's above the city streets, venture underground into the Tunnels of Moose Jaw. Here you can see where the famous Al Capone once hid his smuggled booze, and where early Chinese immigrants were forced to live while they paid off an ever-growing head tax. While these tunnels are very interesting, they are also underground, so if you have trouble with small spaces you'll want to skip out on these.
Before leaving Moose Jaw, be sure to visit the Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa for some quality relaxation time.
Our next destination is the Great Sandhills, a three-hour drive from Moose Jaw. Seemingly out of place, these sandhills are one of Saskatchewan's greatest wonders. At almost 2,000 square kilometres in size, and with dunes up to 20 feet high, the Great Sandhills are a location unlike any other. Climb the dunes, play in the sand or kick back and work on your tan. The nearby community of Sceptre even has the Great Sandhills Museum & Interpretive Centre, which teaches visitors about the sand hills and their importance to both the Aboriginal peoples and the early European traders.
From the Great Sandhills you then head northwest to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan's largest city. Like Regina, Saskatoon has many incredible restaurants, pubs and shopping districts to check out, such as the Central Business District and Nutana along the bustling Broadway Avenue. Nutana is also home to the historic Broadway Theatre.
Because I've only been to Saskatoon once, I asked Twitter where I should visit if I only had a day to spend here. Press'd Sandwich tweeted back and said their food would dazzle my taste buds if I ever dropped by. With no reason to believe otherwise, I'm putting this place as one of the top places to visit while in Saskatoon.
While you're in Saskatoon, you'll also want to spend time outdoors by walking around the castle-like Delta Bessborough, taking a ride on the Prairie Lily Riverboat or go bicycling up and down the mighty South Saskatchewan River.
If you're into museums, Saskatoon is also home to Boomtown, a fictional Saskatchewan town, locked in the early 20th century – like Moose Jaw, but with less traffic. Here you can learn how the first European settlers arrived, where they worked and how they lived. You can also see how the city changed from the 1880s, through the Roaring Twenties, the Dirty Thirties, World War II and into the modern age.
While southern Saskatchewan is primarily prairie, northern Saskatchewan is a different story. North of Saskatoon is thick boreal forest, which contains over 100,000 lakes. One of these lakes, Christopher Lake, is the next stop on our tour. This is the perfect place to adjust to the new scenery, enjoy the silence of nature and sleep in a cozy Mongolian inspired yurt.
If glamping isn't your thing, you're welcome to head a little further to Waskesiu Lake. Here you can rest and relax in the heart of nature, or you can put on your hiking boots and begin the long but beautiful hike up to Grey Owl's Cabin. Just remember that this hike is 32.5 kilometres both ways, so bring a second pair of socks with you.
The last stop on this tour is La Ronge. Here you can camp, hike, fish and enjoy the untouched world of Northern Saskatchewan. For those with a little more adventure left in them, travel a little further north to Stanley Mission and see the oldest building in Saskatchewan. In Stanley Mission you can visit water falls, rapids, and rock paintings. This is a great location to get outside, hike, swim, fish and enjoy the beauty of nature.
From corn to trees and everything in between, there's a lot to do in Saskatchewan. It would be impossible to list everything in just this article alone, so is there anything you would add?
Don't forget to check out all the articles in this series!
Several months ago Ford Canada approached me to review their 2017 Ford Explorer. I wanted to see how it handled grid roads, so I took it to a variety of ghost towns, abandoned houses and empty villages around Saskatchewan. I had a lot of fun with the article, and I guess Ford liked it too because a few months later they invited me to go out to the Sunshine Coast to try out a few other vehicles.
There were a few differences between this trip and the one I did around Saskatchewan. The first difference was that this was in the wooded forests of British Columbia and not the flat prairie of Saskatchewan. Instead of having the vehicle for a week, this would be a 2-day trip from Vancouver to the Painted Boat Resort and back again. Also, instead of traveling solo, I'd be travelling with several lifestyle and travel bloggers from across Western Canada – including the 2015 Saskatchewanderer Ashlyn George from The Lost Girl's Guide to Finding the World.
The vehicle we got on the way up to the resort was the same red Ford Explorer I tried out earlier this year. This worked out great for me as I was already very familiar with the vehicle and its quirks. On the way back Ashlyn drove a white 2017 Ford Edge.
The Island of the Dolls is in Xochimilco, a borough south of Mexico City. While it would be faster to take a car from Mexico City to Xochimilco, the traffic is dense and the roads are very congested. Instead, if you're going there, I'd recommend taking metro, which is easy and the cheapest in the world. What you gain in comfort, however, you lose in speed, as the train ride takes about 2 hours.
Mexico City and Xochimilco both sit in the Valley of Mexico. Until about a millennium ago, the whole region around Mexico City was surrounded by a massive body of water. Over the centuries due to both climate change and interference by humans, most of this water has dried up, for the exception of Xochimilco. With networks of canals crisscrossing the borough, car transportation is difficult and water transportation is essential. I'm sure there were motorized boats somewhere in the waters of Xochimilco, but I never saw any. Instead, canoes and rafts are common on the water. However, the most popular vessel is a trajinera – a colourful gonadal-like boat that is pushed along the water with a wooden pole.
Xochimilco is known worldwide for their Floating Gardens market, which are essentially canoes floating down the canals, selling wares to tourists on trajineras. These include things like food, drinks, silver rings, trinkets, ponchos and sombreros. Occasionally other trajineras full of Mariachi bands will approach tourists and offer to play beside them on the water.
As this was my first time flying a kite, I'm proud to say I only crashed it about thirty times. Thankfully, my instructor said, the kite wasn't too expensive and was made for crash landings. After one particular sharp nose-dive, however, he came over to show me what I was doing wrong. After a few minor adjustments, I kicked the kite back into the air and managed to do my first loop.
The field we were in was empty that day. Within 24 hours, however, the field would be full of kite enthusiasts from across the world. Many of the kite flyers were from Canada and the United States, but some even came as far away as London, Germany and New Zealand. At only 13 years old, the SaskPower Windscape Kite Festival has become internationally renowned to kite flyers around the world.
When people think of kites, they might think of the classic diamond shaped kite of Charlie Brown. However, these days there are many different kinds of kites, and each with their own unique design and purpose.