Imagine a place of endless sunsets that stretch as far as the eye can see and where small town hospitality is thriving alongside newfound urban vibrancy. This is Saskatchewan.
Home of bunny hugs, farmer tans and an intense love of football, this Canadian province is anything but boring. Undulating hills and gushing rivers quickly put to rest the common Saskatchewan joke that nothing but flat land exists here.
The opportunity to visit family brought us to Saskatchewan, but the unique charm of what this province has to offer is what caught our attention. The rural towns, historic hidden gems and booming urban centre conquered all misconceptions. Read on to discover how to find the unique in places that are often overlooked, you will not be disappointed.
Surrounded by endless farms and fields, Southern Saskatchewan is home to a number of small, rural towns and we had the pleasure of visiting several of them. Heading south east from Alberta our route took us through Medicine Hat (where you can find the world’s tallest teepee), Swift Current (named after the South Saskatchewan River), Cadillac (where we filled up with gas), Aneroid (the birthplace of Patrick Marleau) and Assiniboia (home to Grandma and our end point for this leg of the journey).
Originating in 1912 when the Canadian Pacific Railway built the townsite, Assiniboia is a close knit community within close proximity to nearby Lafleche and Rockglen. It is an idyllic town that echoes childhood summers spent swimming at the community pool and hanging out with friends at the snack shack. During your time here be sure to check out Kelli’s Fashions, celebrating their 10 year anniversary this year, and grab a bite with the locals at Nash’s.
The Assiniboia courthouse, constructed in 1930. It can be seen turning onto Main Street, and is a major landmark in the community.
Approximately 2 hours from Assiniboia lies the city of Moose jaw. Originally a major railway hub, historical recollections also suggest that during Prohibition, Moose Jaw served as a connection point for the infamous Al Capone to bootleg alcohol. Below the city lies an underground network of tunnels that transport you back in time and places you in the very spot where Capone may have been. Do not miss this, it is well worth a visit.
Originally founded as a Temperance colony, Saskatoon (just North of Moose Jaw) is now a vibrant metropolis with one of the fastest growing populations in Canada. Nicknamed “Paris of the Prairies” due to the number of bridges in the city, Saskatoon is home to the beautiful campus of the University of Saskatchewan and the famous Canadian Pacific Railway hotel, The Bessborough. Along the riverbanks of this booming city you can find a number of parks one of which allows you to take a stroll to the Weir (built in the 1930’s as a means to employ depression era men) and watch the Pelicans patiently awaiting their next meal. With some extra time take a trip just outside of the city limits to The Berry Farm where you can enjoy lunch, expansive river views and fresh fruit.
Commonly known as The Bess, this Canadian Pacific Railway hotel was built in the chateaux style and welcomed it’s first official guest on December 10th, 1935
Don’t let the fields of Saskatchewan fool you, this province has much to offer and although we only had time to experience a snap shot we will be anxiously awaiting our next adventure to this stunning Canadian landscape.
Have you had the opportunity to visit Saskatchewan? What were your favourite spots?