Look for Wooden Grain Elevators.
In the 1930's there were over 3000 wooden grain elevators in Saskatchewan spaced at 11 km ..
Now there are less than 400.
They have ben replaced by metal grain bins or metal siding has been installed in lieu of new wood.
Follow a highway that parallels a railway track.
Moose Jaw has a couple of interesting sites for tourists. First of all there is the “Temple Gardens Mineral Spa” with water up to 40º C. Nearby the spa is a casino. On the main street you will find the famous “tunnels”. During a guided tour we got a good impression of the way Chinese ‘slaves’ did work and live under the ground in very bad circumstances. Other tunnels were used by gangsters for smuggling alcohol into the States.
But Moose Jaw is perhaps most famous for its murals. About 40 buildings are decorated with (mostly) historical pictures about Moose Jaw and Saskatchewan. They can be found on buildings in town. Get a map with this murals at Tourism Moose Jaw, 50 Diefenbaker Drive.
Oh, there is a lovely tearoom/giftshop called Cranberry Rose, 436 Langdon Crescent !!!
The Big Muddy Badlands were formed thousands and thousand of years ago in the last ice age, when the Wisconsin Glacier began retreating. Melt water from the glacier eroded this area into ‘badlands’. Nowadays this remote valley, once part of this glacial melt water system, is on some spots about 3 km’s wide, has a length of 60 km’s and a depth of 160 metres.
Big Muddy Badlands (or valley) is one of the most remote, rugged and dry areas of the Province of Saskatchewan. We visited it (by car) from Regina after a drive of about 160 km’s through the impressive vast plains.
Driving along Highway 34, still through the prairies, a sign along the road ‘Big Muddy Valley’ told us we were approaching the badlands. And suddenly the road descended rather steep into the cleft. The first eroded hills were visible and we made a short detour on one of the gravel roads trying to come closer to this spectacular scenery.
At the bottom of the valley another sign (which stands rather far away from the road, so we missed it initially) indicated the road to ‘Castle Butte’. This gravel road leaded us about 6 km’s into the badlands till Castle Butte; a 60 metres high ‘rock’ of clay and sandstone, which rises from the flat valley floor. From a distance it looked like a solid rock, but up close we could see the deep eroded clay slopes. It is almost remarkable the whole hill isn’t washed down during the past years.
We climbed to the top (be aware it is very steep on some places) and were awarded by fantastic views over the impressive scenery of the Big Muddy Valley. Castle Butte once was a landmark that was used for navigation by Indians, early surveyors, North-West Mounted Police patrols, outlaws and settlers.
This road is about the only way to see more of the Big Muddy Badlands if you are not on a guided tour; more sights are mostly on private land. Guided tours are just available from early June to early September and leave the village of Coronach already at 9.30 am (for info www.bigmuddybadlands.com).
While the sand dunes in Spruce Woods Provincial Park (Manitoba) are more impressive because they are not as covered with vegetation, the Great Sandhills of Saskatchewan are worth a quick visit if you are already in the area or have not yet seen sand dunes in the prairies.
We didn't realize Moose Jaw is a cultural oasis of sorts in Saskatchewan. Here are lots of restaurants that offer vegetarian cuisine or gourmet coffees. The locals seem to have an easygoing urbane attitude with a lively sense of humour - you can certainly believe that the Canadian comedian Brent Butt went to high school here. There is, of course, the somewhat antique giant plaster moose at the town entry point. Both campgrounds are very busy - there is a family-oriented one by the highway that has lots of "amenities", and a more natural one in the centre of town (hard to find, ask for a map and directions) that is quieter and more laid back. There is a fudge and candy store downtown that is much celebrated - the fudge was fine when we sampled it but very expensive, so we passed. It also sells t-shirts with unique Canadian moose jokes on - not exactly high culture, but something I haven't seen many other places and uniquely Canadian. I should mention that we didn't go to Saskatoon and Regina as we don't like the hustle and crowding of large centres.
There is so much wildlife in Saskatchewan - we saw LARGE wolves, deer, prong-horn antelope, and tons of birds - we were even very excited to see a few whooping cranes (very rare)! It was a little unnerving at night at one campground close to Alberta to hear how many wolves were howling! After dark, first we heard a chorus of coyotes howling - I never really worry about coyotes because they are quite small (be careful with small children or pets though) and I think the sound of them is very beautiful. Then, the wolf howls started up - a much deeper, throatier howl. There were many, many wolf voices howling - this kept up for awhile. It was also very beautiful and haunting to listen to, but unlike the coyotes somewhat unnerving. You would never know that they were there in daytime with large open expanses with few trees - you would think that you would see them - but they must be good at hiding. I was glad we were sleeping in our van instead of the tent! Scary, but a special memory to save forever.
Moose Jaw is most famous for its role in the Prohibition "boot-legging" Period. A visit to the Tunnels of Moose Jaw will give you an overview of the city's history and a tour of the tunnels themselves. The tunnels were used for smuggling booze. Also interesting are the pretty murals painted on the sides of buildings around the city, a reminder of its glory days?
I believe there is also a popular spa retreat in Moose Jaw, but I havent been there myself.
One day in Moose Jaw is ample time to cover the city.
Regina is a small city of less than 300,000 people (2008). It can be covered in a day or two. I highly recommend visiting the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (see my Regina page for details). Also, the legislative building. In warmer months, a walk by the man-made Wascana Lake after lunch is pleasant. Lots of waterbirds here.
This unique park is a must-see destination when in Saskatchewan. The Cypress Hills form the highest elevation between the Rockies and Labrador and consist of rolling hills covered in spruce and pine forests - a stark contrast from the surrounding prairies. As a result of this isolation, these hills are home to a unique community of plants and animals. Numerous hiking and camping opportunities exist throughout the park, as well as other recreational opportunities in some portions of the park. The park is also home to the Fort Walsh National Historic Site. Visit my Cypress Hills page (under Alberta) for more information.
The Centre Block of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is situated about 25 km’s south of Maple Creek along ‘Highway 21’.
You will find a huge recreational area with a swimming pool, a lake with boat rentals and hiking trails.
Drive along the Centre Block Auto Tour and enjoy the panoramic views over the Saskatchewan prairies from a couple of look-outs. It’s amazing to see the difference between these hills and the (more or less) flat surroundings.
(Gift)shop, restaurant and visitor centre.
One of Canada's newest national parks, GNPC protects a portion of the country's remaining native mixed-grass prairie and a host of species-at-risk. Some of these are: burrowing owl, black-tailed prairie dogs, greater sage grouse, ferruginous hawk, Sprague's pipit, McCown's longspur. Other interesting species are: plains bison, pronghorn antelope, white-tailed and mule deer, and Richardson's ground-squirrels (ok, so they're pests for farmers, but they're so cute!).
June is the best overall time to visit because the wildflowers are still blooming, the grass is still green, and the birds are still singing. Birding is good from late May to end of June.
Note: bison, prairie dogs, and burrowing owls are present in the west block only (more tourist-focused block of GNPC).
During our trip through Saskatchewan we stayed one night in Saskatoon. Being interested in the history, we decided to visit Wanuskewin Heritage Park. This in- and outdoor 'museum' shows and tells the long history of the First Nations of the of Northern Plains (an Indian tribe).
A video and (interactive) displays show a lot about the history and the way of living of the people in the older days. The First Nations came to this place to hunt bison, to gather food and herbs and to find shelter from the winter winds.
We walked around through this historical site on the walkways and saw tipi rings, bison kill sites, a buffalo rubbing stone and much more. All these in a scenic setting of 240 hectares on the bank of the South Saskatchewan River.
Of course the museum has a gift shop with some interesting and original First Nations souvenirs. We had also a cup of coffee and all together a nice and instructive afternoon.
Regina is Saskatchewan's capital and has about 200.000 inhabitants.
In the middle of the plains the city has some interesting green parks: Victoria Park in downtown Regina and Wascana Park, a huge recreational area. It is almost incredible to realise that all these trees are the work of human hands. Hundred years ago there was nothing at all !!
The town has some 'must see' activities like 'RCMP Heritage Centre', 'Government House Museum', 'Legislative Building' 'Regina Plains Museum' and 'Royal Saskatchewan Museum', which tells the story of the town, plains and the 'first nations' who lived here.
Regina is a good starting point to discover the surrounding area with places like Lumsden, Fort Qu'Appelle, Motherwell Homestead and many more (a little bit further away).
See for more info, tips and pics my Regina page.
This is not a tip for ONE specific trip, but just a recommendation for making one (or more) auto tours through the rural parts of Saskatchewan, off from the highways and into the rural (gravel) roads of the province.
Just discover the more unknown villages, one of these (almost) ghost towns, or tiny hamlets in the middle of the nowhere with a knickknack shop or general store. See Saskatchewan’s landmarks: the grain elevators (Wheat Kings), or decayed barns and farmhouses.
Drive through the spectacular Qu’Appelle valley with its lakes and ‘mountains’, see the badlands, drive through shifting sand dunes, the hills of Cypress Hills or the only existing original prairies of Canada in Grasslands National Park..
Enjoy the colours of flowering canola or flax and especially the living skies above the prairies.
During our last visit to Regina we were by change witness of the unveiling of a new (and last) statue at the Saskatchewan War Memorial. This statue of a war nurse has now a place beside that of a First World War Canadian soldier. And both flank the names of thousands and thousand of brave Canadian men and women who lost their lives during combat.
For us (‘Dutchies’) it was a great honour to be witness of this unveiling and to meet some Canadian veterans who took part in the liberation of the Netherlands. We even spoke with Lt. Col. Hallie Sloan of the war nurses (who unveiled the statue) and some other veterans, who participated in one of the big parades of veterans in our hometown Apeldoorn.
Standing in front of this war memorial we did realise how many young men paid an ultimate price for our freedom. Thank you Canada !!
The castle-like Delta Bessborough Hotel is the most striking building in Saskatoon. It is modeled on...more
Checking in was so easy thanks to the online self check-in process and the great valet parking...more
4444 2nd Ave W, Prince Albert, SK S6V5S2
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo