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Saskatchewan (Charlie Gordon's Photos)

A journey through Saskatchewan

From prairies to cultured cities

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12 April 2024 by Charlie Gordon

Having just returned from Saskatchewan, Wexas' Charlie Gordon explains why it is the perfect getaway for those looking for wide-open spaces, vibrant living skies, warm hospitality, authentic experiences and local flavours along the way.

Saskatoon

Most journeys begin with a flight into Saskatoon via Toronto. Saskatoon is a modern cosmopolitan city of over 275,000 people straddling the South Saskatchewan River, where prairie hospitality meets big-city sophistication. It is also the homeland of The Metis – an indigenous people with a unique history, culture and language. Nowadays, it is the traditional meeting ground and travelling route to the likes of Cree, Saulteaux, Blackfoot, Métis, Dene, and Nakota Sioux.


View of downtown Saskatoon 

When it comes to accommodation, Saskatoon has a range of to suit your needs whether in the city, or Dakota Dunes resort just 20 minutes north of the city. Beyond the choice of hotels, time spent in Saskatoon at Remai Modern is a must. A museum showcasing the modern and contemporary art of Saskatoon, it holds more than 8,000 artworks in a wide variety of media, ranging from 1900 to more recent pieces. In the lands surrounding the city, Wanuskewin Heritage Park –  an archaeological site and historical centre of the First Nations – introduces you to a celebration of the Northern Plains, its people, landscapes, culture and cuisine. After a guided walk of the site, make sure to experience traditional indigenous cuisine with a contemporary twist with the "Han Wi Moon dinner".

A short drive further rewards you with more unique local flavours to sample, namely at the Black Fox Farm & Distillery run by farmers John and Barb who are only too keen to share their passion for farming, complete with a stiff G&T on the table. The Saskatoon Gin & Whisky distillery grow 90% of their ingredients on the farm, and every spirit has been fermented and distilled by them, using different grains and flavours – an opportunity for a tasting is a must.


Charlie in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

La Reata Ranch

Having enjoyed the sights, sounds and tastes of Saskatoon, it was time to travel a couple of hours to the Prairies to experience ranch life at La Reata Ranch, located on Lake Diefenbaker in the Southwest of Saskatchewan. This is the perfect place to discover your inner cowboy with a horseback ride under the endless skies of the Canadian Prairies before retiring to the saloon for a well earned drink and supper.


Horse riding in Saskatchewan

Moose Jaw

Moose Jaw is only the fourth largest city in Saskatchewan but packs a punch with a colourful history, but also an important present, being home to the Snowbirds (Canada’s equivalent of the Red Arrows). Noteworthy stopping points are the Yvette Moore Gallery where the renowned local artist displays her works portraying Saskatchewan and its people. But for something completely different head below to the tunnels of Moose Jaw. Buried deep under the town's streets is a series of passages that have a tragic and fascinating history. Learn about the hardship and discrimination heaped upon Chinese workers on their 'Passage to Fortune.' Al Capone is rumoured to have visited Moose Jaw in the 1920s to oversee his bootlegging operation, masterminded in these very tunnels.


On the road in Saskatchewan

Regina

Regina has always enjoyed a rivalry with Saskatoon to the south, ever since it was a hunting ground for the Cree, who called it Regina Wascana (Pile of Bones). Today its most famous claim to fame is the national training centre of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with a museum and visitor centre, but also a very diverse and international range of places to grab a good meal.

Travelling through Saskatchewan is all about diversity, whether in meeting its people, deciding where to sleep or in the huge mix of food on offer, whether directly from the farm or from further afield. You can choose to spend your time solely in Saskatchewan, or combine with Alberta to the west, or even catch the train in Winnipeg and travel through to Edmonton with a three night stop in Saskatoon.


Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan

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