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 North 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!
When I first started this project, I didn't know what would come of it.
During my interview with the Saskatchewanderer, she recommended I approach Tourism Regina and see if I could write for them. Tourism Regina agreed and published my article, but due to it's size restrictions, I wasn't able to talk about as many places as I wanted to.
Since beginning this project, I have sent over three dozen emails to many organizations and businesses around the city. Once I was done my initial research, I had more questions than answers, some of which I don't think I'll ever know. Once realizing the vast amount of information out there, I decided to cut this project down substantially. But, although it ended up different then I thought it would, I am happy to finally present to you, "8 Places to Visit in Regina".
As I stood in the courtyard of Fort Henry, I heard screams emanating from within. Fort Henry was constructed to protect the Kingston Royal Dockyard from the invading American forces during the War of 1812. The threat was so real that the capital of Canada – which was then Kingston – was moved to Quebec to protect it. The docks are all that stood between the United States and the St. Lawrence River and both countries were all too familiar with how easily it would turn the tides of battle.
As the screams from inside Fort Henry faded, I turned to the man beside me. He had come with his family. We got talking, trying to calm our nerves as bloodied clowns and undead mimes began wandering out from inside the fort.
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.