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!
Cemeteries are a place of solace. All people, regardless of wealth, status, religion or creed are equals within a cemetery. It's a place of remembrance, respect and reconciliation. If you visit a cemetery, you are visiting the graves of lost loved ones. These may be children, pioneers, rebels or everyday people. Every grave has a story, and all are longing to be told.
Because of this, cemeteries are a library of knowledge. They hold the lessons of our past, and the wisdom of our future. As the leaves change and the days get shorter, cemeteries attract a much different crowd than that of just historians and family members. With autumn crisp in the air, cemeteries fill with thrill-seekers and paranormal believers. There is a fine line between what is and isn't acceptable within a cemetery and those who dabble into the affairs of the afterlife know this all too well. Few people go into cemeteries looking to disrespect the graves; instead, most are just hoping they can answer their own questions about life after death.
Not all cemeteries are haunted, but each holds their own stories. Keep this in mind while you read this article. If you end up visiting any of these sites, remember to step softly, speak quietly and respect the surrounding graves. You might not be as alone as you think.
If you've ever passed through Medicine Hat, or you're spending a few days in the area, you've probably wondered what to do there. To most people outside the city, Medicine Hat might seem like a sleepy little prairie town in the Canadian Badlands; but for those who live in Hell's Basement, they'll tell you that this city is one of the most exciting places you can explore in all of Alberta.
I've gone to Medicine Hat three times in the past two years, and while I'm no expert on this thriving city, I know where the hidden gems are. If someone I know is passing through the area, I tell them they need to visit Medicine Hat. To help explain why, I put an article together for anyone else interested in visiting the Hat.
If you're spending 24 hours in Medicine Hat, you'll need somewhere to sleep. Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is a little under an hour away and a great place to camp. Camping in Cypress gives you the choice to explore the park, the city, and everywhere in between.
I've wanted to visit the Battlefords in Saskatchewan for a few years now. As somebody who loves history, just to visit a city that once housed the capital of the North-West Territories is reason enough. I'm sure I've passed through the city when I was younger, but I've never had the chance to explore it as an adult.
My interest in both cities grew when I was doing research for my 2017 article, "6 Saskatchewan Cemeteries to Visit This October". One individual I interviewed for the article was Don Light of the North-West Historical Society. Light was tasked with the sensitive job of moving about eighty graves within The Battleford Cemetery. Relocating graves is always the last option when it comes to a cemetery, but in this case, they had no choice. The Battleford Cemetery sits on the edge the North Saskatchewan River, and the banks of the cemetery were slowly eroding. Had the graves been left undisturbed, headstones, monuments and caskets would start falling into the roaring river below.
Light and I had an excellent chat that day and he told me many fascinating stories about what they found when they were moving the graves. Some of the graves he had to move were Metis graves, all while under the supervision of police and Indigenous professionals. Many of these caskets had rotted and were open, and they found a plethora of Roman Catholic crosses and First Nation beadwork, a sign of traditional Metis culture.