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    Thursday, June 02, 2005

    Sites to See in Saskatchewan
    by Expat

    Trillian recently observed (and rightfully so, I might add) that according to the Canada Cool Map Saskatchewan only has one point of interest - Wanuskewin Heritage Park. Although Wanuskewin is a definite must see on your journey through Saskatchewan, the province does offer quite a bit more for both tourists and residents alike.

    Without further ado, here is the official "Saskatchewan Sites to See" list.

    Government House Heritage Property:
    Built in 1891, this palace on the prairie was home to nine Lieutenant Governors until Premier Tommy Douglas closed its doors in 1945 and turned it into a rehabilitation centre for veterans. It later became an adult vocational facility and neared demolition in the seventies until the Save Saskatchewan House Society petitioned the provincial government to spare the building. It has now been restored to its 1898 - 1910 splendour and is a must see when visiting the Queen City of Regina.

    Saskatchewan Legislative Building:
    Constructed over the course of four years from 1908 - 1912, the Legislative Building is one of the most historic buildings in the province. The building serves as the centerpiece of the province's government and is open year round for tours in both English and French. The building is located in the heart of Regina's Wascana Park.

    The RCMP Centennial Museum:
    Located at the "Depot Division Training Centre" in Regina, the museum recounts 132 years of RCMP history. The site also features Regina's oldest building, the RCMP Chapel, which was built during the winter of 1882 - 1883. The Sergeant Major's Parade is held just past 12:15 on the parade square during the week. If you find yourself in the area later in the day, be sure to catch the sunset ceremony.

    The Royal Saskatchewan Museum:
    Located in Regina's Wascana Park, the province's museum offers an interactive telling of Saskatchewan's history through the Life Sciences Gallery, the First Nations Gallery, and the Earth Sciences Gallery. Also be sure to stop by and meet Megamunch, the animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex.

    Saskatchewan Provincial Parks:
    Take advantage of the warm summer weather and visit Saskatchewan's many provincial parks and recreation sites. Some historic parks of interest include Cannington Manor (an attempt by early British settlers to recreate Victorian society in the late 1890s), Last Mountain House (a reconstructed 1869 Hudson Bay Company trading post), and Fort Carlton (a recreation of a much larger Hudson Bay Company trading post which operated from 1810 - 1885).

    Now a national historic site, but once the location of the Battle of Batoche, the last battlefield in the 1885 North West Rebellion. The battle resulted in the defeat of Louis Riel and his Métis forces by Major General Middleton and his North West Mounted Police force. The original church still stands, complete with bullet holes above the doorway which attest to the historic battle. The social and political ramifications of this battle are still felt today.

    Western Development Museum:
    The WDM tracks the social and economic history of Saskatchewan. It is divided into four branches in North Battleford (Heritage Farm and Village), Saskatoon (1910 Boomtown), Yorkton (Story of People), and Moose Jaw (History of Transportation). Each branch focuses on a particular area of Saskatchewan's history.

    Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan:
    recognized as one of Canada's best Shakespeare Festivals, the cast and crew of Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan has entertained audiences on the banks of the Saskatchewan River for 21 seasons. This years season runs from July 6 until August 7 and will feature Romeo and Juliet as well as The Comedy of Errors.

    Sukanen Ship Museum:
    The museum features former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's family homestead, as well as a turn of the century prairie town with a school, church, town hall, general store, train station, fire hall, barber shop, doctor's office, and gigantic prairie ship. Read the fascinating tale of Tomi Jannus Alankola, his landlocked ship, and his plan to set sail from Saskatchewan to his native Finland here.

    Tunnels of Moose Jaw:
    Don't confuse me with the facts! Although there is not much to support the claims that Canada's early Chinese immigrants lived in tunnels beneath the streets of Moose Jaw or that Al Capone once escaped the Chicago heat by hiding in those same fictionalized much taked about tunnels, the folks of this attraction do not let the facts get in the way of a good story. (There is more to come on this topic in a future post!)

    Motherwell Homestead:
    Visit the restored homestead of W.R. Motherwell, federal minister of agriculture during the roaring twenties. Costumed interpreters bake bread, tend to the farm, care for the animals, and do all of the homestead's chores, in addition to performing vignettes for visitors. Visitors to the homestead are welcome to tour both the grounds and the house and are invited to attend an annual threshing day.

    Temple Gardens Mineral Spa:
    Looking for a place to relax? Then try Moose Jaw's Temple Gardens. The spa features a heated pool and jacuzzi rooms which contain mineral rich water. The spa is the only one of its kind in Canada and its water is drawn from the "porous rock formation of ancient seabeds more than 1350 meters below the earth's crust". On Tuesdays admission to the pool is half price.

    This certainly is not a complete list of all that Saskatchewan has to offer, but as you can see, there is more to the province's attractions than a single dot on the map!

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