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!
Although the hot summer days of July are long behind us, 2017 is still Canada's 150th year. In honour of Canada's sesquicentennial birthday, I decided to put together a list of 150 things about Canada. This list talks about our quirkiness, our strengths, our weakness, and our legacy, for better and for worse. There are some sad facts, some odd facts and some facts that will probably make you open another tab to look into for yourself.
Hope you enjoy this list, and I hope you all had a great 2017!
1. Canada's two official languages are French and English, but only 20.6% of Canadians speak French.
Canada's 150th birthday cannot be complete without visiting the country's capital city... but which one should you visit? While Ottawa is the current capital of Canada, there have been four other capital cities, and it has changed seven times. It started in Kingston (1841 – 1844) and then moved to Montréal (1844 – 1849), believing it to be safer from the Americans. After the citizens of Montréal burnt it down, it rotated between Toronto (1849 – 1852 and 1856 – 1858) and Québec City (1852 – 1856 and 1859 – 1866). Finally, it was placed right on the border between the two provinces in Ottawa (1866 to present day). This tour ventures into each of these five cities and explores what makes them so unique.
Since the capital flip-flopped location seven times, it would be much more convenient to go through the cities geographically then historically. If we started in the West, we would start in Toronto, Ontario, Canada's biggest city. While G Adventures only mentions the CN Tower and Kensington Market, there is much more to see in this city. You could visit the 18th century Casa Loma Castle, stroll through the artistic Graffiti Alley, visit Ripley's Aquatic Aquarium, or go drink and dine in the Distillery District. Looking for more outdoorsy stuff? Check out the Toronto Islands, the famous High Park or the Toronto Zoo. You can even take a boat out onto Lake Ontario and see the city's iconic skyline!
For many of us in Saskatchewan, summer means it's time for an Alberta road trip. Although the endless stretches of prairie have their appeal, there is nothing quite like seeing the mountains rising over the horizon.
One challenge that comes with taking a summer road trip is the heat. Much like on this side of the border, it isn't uncommon for summer temperatures to get to the extreme. I know a few people who have had car problems in the heat, and my family is one of them. Nothing ruins a trip more than an unexpected visit to the mechanic.
Thankfully, Alberta has a myriad of places to go swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding or fishing. This not only gives your vehicle time to cool off, but also gives you a chance to escape the heat as well.