Jenn Smith Nelson, one of the book’s co-authors, asked me about writing a review of her new book in February. I don’t normally write book reviews, but the title intrigued me since I make a point of exploring Saskatchewan. I thought this would be the perfect book to motivate and inspire my summer RV camping plan.
Imagine asking a stranger for directions and getting a lot of local expertise and hidden gems about the wild along the way – that’s what you can expect from this guidebook.
I relate to Jenn’s ‘Welcome to Saskatchewan’ message. In her introduction, she explains that her love of nature and pride for the prairies is what motivated her to write this book. Jenn says that the prairies are often overlooked. Next to her message is a gorgeous photo of the northern lights dancing above Castle Butte.
Jenn and I make it our mission to compile gems within Saskatchewan. And it helps to continuously discover more reasons to love our home province.
Pick up 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and you’ll likely read it cover to cover in a short sitting. You’ll use it again as a reference guide when researching a destination before hitting the road.
The book’s main introduction mentions “the healing power of nature” along with a call for readers to respect wildlife areas. The authors clearly want readers to explore rather than disrupt the fragile environments. So don’t all go stampeding into these wild places at once!
What to expect from 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan
On the day 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan arrived in the mail, I opened it somewhere in the middle and began flipping through. Its modern format, eye-catching headings, and clean layout makes each nature hot spot pop. Captioned photos reinforce each profile’s wild flora (plants) and fauna (animals).
Sections start with a map and point to which page you’ll find each nature hot spot. This visual Table of Contents is helpful to reference during road trip planning. Every hot spot has a short summary with information on location highlights and icons that indicate activity type.
It must’ve been challenging for co-authors, Jenn Smith Nelson and Doug O’Neill, to keep each destination brief, yet detailed. There is no room for personal opinion within the hot spot entries which results in short descriptions. Imagine asking a stranger for directions and getting a lot of local expertise and hidden gems about the wild – that’s what you can expect from this guidebook.
You’ll want to check out the ‘Special Interest’ category at the back of each province’s section for information on waterfalls (yes, we have those and I’m surprised too), birds, paddling, and sky viewing spots.
How to use 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to plan your road trips
It’s super easy to flip through and plan a road trip on the fly. The map at the beginning of the Southern Saskatchewan section was helpful in creating a circle route plan for our summer RV trip. For instance, we chose Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, Grasslands National Park – West Block, Lake Diefenbaker – Douglas Provincial Park, and the Beechy Sandcastles.
In the future, I’m looking forward to exploring northern parts of the province and eventually Manitoba. This year, I’m focusing on the south and central regions. I found myself flipping to different parts of the book to dream about where we’d visit next. After seeing a photo of the swinging bridge, I literally booked a campsite at Nipawin Regional Park .
Beginner travellers and seasoned adventurers navigating through the prairies will find this book useful. If you’ve done a fair bit of Saskatchewan travel, 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan will shed new light on old favourites while introducing you to places you likely never knew existed.
For example, I learned about the Northeast Swale right here in my home city of Saskatoon. It’s located in the Silverspring neighbourhood, east of the Chief Mistawasis Bridge. On a spontaneous visit this weekend, I was surprised to find a beaver lodge along with a patch of wild crocus in full bloom and checked it off my spring bucket list.
Saskatoon’s entry reminds me of the natural amenities I have, steps from home: Meewasin Trail, the South Saskatchewan River, Cranberry Flats, and white pelicans at the weir to name a few.
110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan provides a broad overview of natural gems with unique details that you can only learn from a local. The personal touch within Jenn’s introduction would’ve been interesting to weave into each destination entry, but would’ve resulted in a much longer book. If you’re looking for a personal story of prairie wildlife, choose a hot spot and create your own adventure.
Jenn Smith Nelson, co-author of 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan: The Best Parks, Conservation Areas and Wild Places, is a well-known travel writer and media contributor who calls Regina, Saskatchewan home. Co-author, Doug O’Neill, is an established travel writer, certified hike leader, and Trans-Canada Trail ambassador. He resides in Toronto, Ontario.
110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan The Best Parks, Conservation Areas and Wild Places Published on April 15, 2019 Paperback $29.95 ISBN: 9780228101697
It’s one of the last weekends of summer, so why not take a road trip from Saskatoon to experience events across the province? The 30th Annual St. Walburg Wild Blueberry Festival is on tomorrow where you can get your fill of every b-word – such as – blueberries, baking, beer, and blacksmiths. Plus, the Waskesiu Lakeside Music Festival is happening all weekend in Prince Albert National Park.
Find details about these things to do in Saskatoon this weekend (August 24 to 26, 2018) and much more in the listing below:
Events are compiled using the Do Sask Facebook Group community calendar. Group members are invited to share events and engage with each other about things to do in the city of Saskatoon. Think of it as an interactive community cork board.
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This weekend, you can expect the heartbeat of downtown Saskatoon to be close to it’s peak BPM. Festival season is heating up with the final days of Saskatoon Pride and the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival overlapping each other this Friday through Sunday.
Among copious free festival activities, you’ll find community events happening in your neighbourhood. Test your off-the-grid cooking skills at “Saskatchewan Glamping” and learn more about Cannabis at HempFest. Early next week go dancing on the riverbank, or try speed dating.
6:00 PM Garden Patch Workshop: Edible and Medicinal Plants in your Garden at 900 Block of Third Avenue
6:30 PM Write-On Wednesdays at Frances Morrison Library
7:00 PM Death Café Saskatoon (SOLD OUT) at 609 Dufferin Ave
7:30 PM Salsa by the River at River Landing Water Park
9:30 PM Deerhoof at Amigos Cantina
It wouldn’t be Easter weekend without bread, sugar, and butter, #amiright? Somehow this combination pairs extremely well with the resurrection of Christ. And these hidden gem bakeries in Saskatchewan know it!
If you’re looking to get your carb-load on this weekend, you’ve stumbled on the right post. Whether you’re dreaming of hot crossed buns, or looking for a fresh-made loaf of sourdough, Saskatchewan is home to some of the best selection you’ll find in Canada.
Hit the road to a place where people come together to enjoy the best-of breads and sweets. These destination hidden gem bakery treats* come to you from a recommendation thread in the Travel in Saskatchewan Facebook group, amalgamating hundreds of Facebook reviews, word of mouth (same, same, but different?), and personal experience.
You may be too late to order these for Easter dinner, but it’s never too late to sample them on your next road trip. Stock up on hidden gem baked goods from around the province.
*Most of these bakery treats don’t have many pictures to accompany them, so you’re going to have to trust me on these. Better yet, you could take a picture, hashtag #dosask, and share your experience with me!
Here’s what you should order from hidden gem bakeries in Saskatchewan:
In Saskatchewan, winter brings months of snow, cold, and dreary skies. You can pack your bags and deplete your savings account for a trip to Mexico, sit around the house waiting for the weather to warm up, or make the most of it with these winter road trips from Saskatoon!
I’m giving you a couple of options to help you plan a few memorable winter road trips from Saskatoon: Moose Jaw and Waskesiu. They aren’t too far from home, but just far enough that you’ll feel like you actually got away from it all.
Did you know that Do Sask began back in January 2017 with the sole purpose to improve my outlook on living in Saskatchewan? Now that it’s December, I can honestly say that choosing to spend more time thinking positively about my home province has led to some great adventures here. Read about two of my favourite ones in this post about winter road trips from Saskatoon.
But first, what’s the number one thing to do before you take winter road trips from Saskatoon?
Check the weather. It’s going to be your biggest consideration before taking off on a spontaneous winter getaway.
Icy roads can be dangerous to maneuver if you don’t have a whip with 4 by 4 – especially when you drive a coupe like me. So before planning a trip make sure you check the highway road conditions and the weather in your destination. It’s probably worth getting a tune-up and topping up the air in your tires, too.
Winter Road Trip 1: Moose Jaw is for lovers of everything Great Gatsby
Head south for the magnificent 1920s murals, underground tunnels of time, and luxurious mineral waters. Moose Jaw is a nice choice for a weekend road trip. And it’s totally walk-able!
My mom and I surprised my grandma for her 80th birthday with a one-night stay at Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa this September. According to their website, it’s “one of the world’s top 10 spas for mineral springs”. We packed our overnight bags and checked out the city for a day.
Either we planned the trip on the perfect weekend, or Moose Jaw’s tourism industry is on point because it was an action-packed 24 hours. We left at around 9:00 AM from Saskatoon and arrived in Moose Jaw just before our lunch reservation.
Lunch at Yvette Moore Gallery
We had the most delicious meal of our trip at their Gallery Café. Grandma and I both ordered the chicken salad sandwich with no regrets.
The old-school façade of this gallery compliments the artwork with its copper fittings. You could spend hours looking at all the pretty things on display. The local arts and crafts selection is one of a kind. I found a cute teal and gold glass pumpkin and some Barefoot Venus hand cream.
Afternoon at Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village & Museum
(This spot isn’t open in the winter, but it’s worth checking out. You can swap it for a trip to the Tunnels of Moose Jaw which a wrote about here.)
Sukanen Ship’s Threshing Bee weekend was the perfect time to go. The vintage farm equipment was running, there were old-fashioned lemonade stands, and many souped-up hot rods on display. My mom, grandma, and I couldn’t believe what we had found! It was like we were right back in the 1920s. Grandma said the thresher looked like the same one from her childhood on the farm in Quebec.
Dinner at Hopkins Dining Parlour
For grandma’s birthday dinner, we met up with one of my mom’s old friends at Hopkins. The restaurant that used to be a very large house is rumoured to be haunted, but I felt comfortable and ghost-free. I ordered the ribs and chicken. Grandma even got a complimentary slice of cheesecake for her birthday, so everyone was happy.
Relax in the Pool
During the wintertime, Temple Gardens mineral springs is as close to beach resort relaxation as you’ll get in Saskatchewan. It has an indoor/outdoor heated pool all year round that draws water from an ancient underground seabed. Soak in the healing waters outdoors during a snowfall if you want!
Grandma and I woke up early Sunday to try the pool yoga. It was fun to try a new activity before driving back home to Saskatoon.
Next up, my partner’s surprise birthdaywinter road trip to Waskesiu.
Winter Road Trip 2: Disconnect from the noise of everyday life at Elk Ridge Resort
The rooms at this golfing resort are comparable in price to an average hotel room because winter is their off season. Plus, with fewer guests the quiet was an added bonus.
My partner Chris is usually pretty easy to please when it comes to gifts. He isn’t big on crowds and commotion. And spending a lot of money on material things doesn’t really do it for him either. So when time was running out to get him a birthday gift this year, Elk Ridge Resort helped me knock it out of the park.
We left Saskatoon at around 9:00 AM Saturday morning and arrived in time for lunch at the hotel. I chose the chicken salad sandwich (again) and Chris had the Elk Burger with fries. Afterwards, we put on our snow pants and tried some of the free winter activities on the resort.
Get outside to make snow fun again!
No one likes to be stuck inside for 6 months a year just because there’s a little white stuff on the ground. You won’t be bored with options like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, curling, tobogganing, and snowmobiling. Elk Ridge also has an indoor pool with a water slide and hot tub, but we kept fairly busy exploring the outdoors.
Chris and I walked for over 5 kilometers in snowshoes, so we were ready for something to eat (and my hips were sore!). I remembered my friend Elle had mentioned how amazing the nachos at Walleye’s Pub were when she went this summer, so I had to get an order for Chris and I to share.
Eat nachos and drink beer at Walleye’s Pub
The server let us know that the nachos with added chicken would be enough for a meal. As you can see in the picture, they are layered with cheese and meat.
Walleye’s definitely didn’t go chintzy like most pubs these days. (They even added free guac!) You can get a pitcher of Coors Banquet and a mound of the good stuff for under $40.
Brunch like a boss
Chicken and waffles, anyone? How Elk Ridge knew to put my favourite meal ever on the menu, I’ll never know.
This version has bacon jam in-between a stack of two waffles. It’s the best brunch I’ve had in ions. Chris wanted to swap me his omelette. I declined, but let him have one of the two waffles instead.
Give the tobogganing hill your top priority
We rounded out our stay with a trip to the tobogganing hill and regretted not spending more of our time there. I had so much fun that I forgot to take a picture!
At the top of the hill, they had inner tubes ready to go and a warm-up shack complete with a nice wood stove. Flying down the hill and trying to avoid the snow ramp was both terrifying and hilarious at the same time.
I can’t express in words how much I want to do it again tomorrow, but I’ll have to wait until we can go back again…
Sign up to the newsletterto get updates when there are new date ideas and events happening in Saskatoon. I wish you the warmest holiday and a safe & happy New Year full of many great experiences in our province and beyond!
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How an Ontarian and a Sasky discovered the land of the living skies for a memorable and affordable Canada 150 summer vacation.
I am a professional copywriter by day, and match-making, craft-making, community-building gal by night. That doesn’t leave much room for anything but work! So after an intense spring glued to either my keyboard or client meetings my husband, Chris, somehow managed to pull me away from my laptop for an entire week.
We researched the National Parks in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary (particularly Quebec and Alberta), but decided to save some cash and get to know the province we now call home, Saskatchewan. I grew up here, but I didn’t do too much travelling as a kid. Chris is a native Bramptonian (Ontario) and he’s had very little experience in the great outdoors.
So while I was holed up at my desk writing, Chris took the lead on planning our Southeastern Saskatchewan Road Trip. I can’t take credit for planning this route. It was so nice not to have to worry about making a plan this time around. Most of these places I had never visited before, so it was truly a new experience for both of us!
*This post is a bit more personal than most. And I’m not the greatest photographer, but I hope you get inspired to explore your own backyard.
Great Southeastern Saskatchewan Summer Road Trip Itinerary
We started our holiday with a visit to my dad’s place in the village of Meota. It was likely one of the last times we’ll get to spend with him there since he’s moving away to Mexico in the fall. My step mom bought some fresh baked goods from the church bake sale that morning, so we were treated to “Raspberry Delight” with our dinner.
The town had invested over five thousand dollars in fireworks to celebrate Canada 150, so we were in for show on the night of July 1. Volunteers set up giant Jenga and Kerplunk lawn games to pass the time before the sky lit up (DIY lawn games!). We ordered ice cream from the shop, drank cheap beer from the can, and danced to Shania Twain and “Despasito”.
I’ve never seen the village busier than it was that night. We felt like proud Canadians at the start of our vacation.
The Crooked Bush
It’s cool to see and hard to understand up close.
There’s nothing else to do after you walk through the short path.
Take a virtual tour through the eerie aspen trees near Hafford, Saskatchewan.
Did you know that Saskatchewan is home to a natural phenomenon? The Crooked Bush is unexplained, but I think the twists and turns of the aspen trees have something to do with the Earth’s moving magnetic field. This spot is best enjoyed as a pit stop as part of a larger trip, so pack a picnic and hit up one of the lakes nearby (e.g. Jackfish Lake, Blaine Lake, Meeting Lake, Redberry Lake, etc.)
Also, don’t miss St. Mary’s Anglican Church on a gravel road nearby… it’s an abandoned sanctuary and graveyard that looks like everyone picked up and left it. Bibles, stained glass, and a trunk of… who knows what. Saskatchewan definitely has its fair share of creepy locales to visit on a summer road trip.
Horse-hair dancefloor and live music at Danceland
Floating at Manitou Springs Resort
A 1950s vibe including drive-in theatre
Everything is for sale
No change rooms at the beach
The mineral-rich water is a weird shade of brown. Like ocean water, it will burn every part of you… Every. Part.
We went to Danceland to experience one of Canada’s only remaining horse-hair dance floors for Toonie Tuesday.
Every Tuesday throughout the summer spend a toonie to listen to live music and perhaps take a whirl around the dance floor. This nostalgic dance hall will make you feel like you’re back in the 1950s for the night. They have a concession and bar if you need to wet your whistle at some point during the dance.
Note: Danceland would make a perfect wedding venue for a rustic, or vintage bride.
What else is there to do at Manitou Beach? While we were there we enjoyed floating in the healing waters of Lake Manitou, got pampered at Manitou Springs Resort, enjoyed a few beers on the patio, and had a wonderful buffet breakfast.
The village is also home to one of only 4 drive-in theatres left in the province and they have showings every Thursday through Sunday.
Most of the town is FOR SALE which may be due to a bad string of flooding that has happened in recent years.
It’s worth a day trip. If you really need to relax stay for two.
At the Fort Qu’Appelle museum, volunteer and long-time resident, Hummer, gave us a walking tour through all of the artifacts that history left behind. We loved his wit as he explained the history of the Sanatorium where TB patients were treated, the artists who called Qu’Appelle Valley home, and the wealthy families that used to fly private jets around the region. You won’t find this kind of appeal in a larger museum, so get down for a visit and hear the oral history from Hummer.
We asked Hummer for some tips on things to do in the area and he didn’t disappoint:
✔Dinner and drinks on the patio at Katepwa Hotel, overlooking the lake and valley.
Sun, sand, and a nice swimming beach – Katepwa Beach was an unexpected highlight of the trip! I finally put my giant inflatable flamingo to use. Chris got ice cream and I got a lemon-lime screamer after a hot day in the sun.
✔Devouring a fresh (and frugal) breakfast of ham and eggs on a bun from the Valley Bake & Coffee Shop. They have ginormous cinnamon buns that looked delicious, too.
At Echo Valley Provincial Park, we took the longest hike we could through the trees and plains. At one point, we heard a large rattling and thought it could be a snake, but after closer inspection we found it was just a pair of dragonflies going at it.
After the trek, Chris and I picked close to 20 ticks out of our shoes. Thank goodness we didn’t find them anywhere else. (That’s not exactly a highlight, but it should be noted.)
BONUS: The incredible Lebret Catholic church looks like it was dropped in the middle of nowhere at the end of main street in the small village. Nearby, there are several antique shops for window shopping. Plus, the view is amazing if you head toward Fort San.
Who doesn’t have fun at a waterslide park?
The eats are cheap n’ greasy
Dated bathrooms, pools, and pumps
Hungry, hungry horseflies
Our next destination was the Kenosee Superslides – the anticipated highlight of our Saskatchewan summer road trip. However once we arrived they took a bit of getting used to. The women’s bathroom was my first impression of the place. It was a bit off-putting when the doors on the stalls wouldn’t latch and floor was ultra-slippery. These are issues that could be improved with regular maintenance and a little TLC.
We started and ended our Superslides visit in the lazy river. The jets have a limited pushing power, so you’re moving at a snail’s pace. Although it’s a nice little break from the waterslides. Speaking of the slides there are seven in total, but only three are really fun to ride. We found that out through testing all of them (except the kids’ slides). Chris bounced so hard out of one that he knocked his head on the side. He’s fine, but we learned not to go down that one again. Stick to the middle three and you’ll have a great time. The rest are kind of scary and should be used at your own risk!
Adrenaline junkies or a kid with lots of energy will find the Kenosee Superslides worth the trip. If you prefer an easier time, then it’s probably best to stick to the lake.
Pro Tip: At the top of the hill while you’re waiting to slide horseflies will circle you and bite. Use your float tube to whack them away. Don’t have a tube? Move around and swing your arms.
BONUS: The food is incredibly cheap – they definitely don’t rob you on eats.
Ramada Hotel is on point
We spent the night with my grandma Mary-Lynn and distant relatives at the All-You-Can-Eat KFC that Premier Brad Wall prevented from closing. Since I hadn’t seen her in years she invited aunts and cousins that I had no idea existed.
It was interesting to learn about the history of my last name “Rederburg” and hear about the family quirks. That night we were shown the grave of my grandfather Cliff who passed away from a stroke in 2013. The next morning we stopped by to visit Mary-Lynn’s home. She is 91 years old, but keeps up her garden better than we do.
We also made a detour to see the gravesites of my great-great-great grandfather Swen and great-great-great grandmother Mary in Midale. (Our last name Rederburg was made up after a German general in the Swedish army in order to solve a problem with mail delivery when Swen Olson came over to the States in the 1800s. But that’s a story for another time.)
The Ramada Hotel in Weyburn was the best room we had on our entire trip, but one we spent the least amount of time at. It has super high ceilings and a luxurious feel.
BONUS: On the way to Moose Jaw from Weyburn, you’ll pass the town of Rouleau A.K.A. Dog River where they filmed “Corner Gas”. The gas station and diner was designed for the show and has since been removed, but you can tour around the rest of the town to see all of the filming locations.
Grain elevators and flat land are a quintessential part of a Saskatchewan summer road trip, but this was one of the few places we found one on our route.
Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa
Tunnels of Moose Jaw
Great Gatsby vibe
Not nearly as floaty as Manitou
We should have stayed for two nights
Between 1920s gangster folklore, relaxation at the spa, and an energetic street fair Moose Jaw was my favourite stop of the trip!
When we arrived in town we noticed that Main Street was closed for a street fair. So we checked into the Spa and made a bee-line to check out what was happening. For a city with a fairly small population, Moose Jaw is overflowing with energy. At the fair there was live music, free bounce castles for kids, and plenty of shops with unique gift items. At the end of the street we enjoyed sangrias on the patio at Original Joe’s before heading to the Tunnels of Moose Jaw’s “Chicago Connection”.
The Chicago Connection tells the story of Al Capone in the times of prohibition, when he allegedly made Moose Jaw one of his hideouts. During the tour both Chris and I were chosen to play roles. I was a gal named “Gidget” in charge of the hush money and Chris was one of two muscle on the road to bootlegging. I’m not sure if there’s any truth to the story itself, but it’s entertaining to think that a gangster would make Moose Jaw a main pipeline for hooch. The tunnels are definitely suspicious.
Speaking of hooch – the Moose Jaw liquor store is located inside a beautiful restored train station. It has to be one of the nicest liquor stores I’ve visited in Saskatchewan.
We had supper at Rosie’s on River Street, where they make a delicious Reuben. It’s a nice hole in the wall with lots of personality and plenty of local options on tap.
Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa is where we stayed for the night. It’s in better shape than Manitou, but you won’t float as easily due to less sodium in the water. (Chris said that he felt better after floating in Manitou.)
The spa has a steam room and extremely hot outdoor pool that connects directly to the indoor pool, so you can swim out to soak in summer or winter months. We spent a lot of time in the pool and wanted desperately to stay another night, but we knew the end was near.
Usually at the end of a trip I can’t wait to go home. This time I felt like I wanted to see more of this province before going back to reality. Chris did a great job planning this Saskatchewan summer road trip.
It isn’t the last of our summer road trips yet. Next month, we’re heading to Cypress Hills for a short weekend camping trip.
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Here are ten good road trips from Saskatoon. All of these picks are within an hour or so of the city.
Now that the snow has more or less melted I’ve got the itch to do some spring travelling on the open road. Finding good road trips from Saskatoon can be a cost-effective way to satisfy your wanderlust to more exotic destinations. And these places definitely won’t break the bank.
If you’re planning to get out of town for the weekend, here are ten of the best spots to check out within an hour of Saskatoon’s city limits. Each of these destinations will take you to an unexpected locale that’s far enough away while remaining close enough that you won’t need to get a room for the night.
Got the spring travelers’ itch? Scratch it off at one of these destinations. This is your pick ten for good road trips from Saskatoon.
If you’re like me you love to dance in the moonlight. But it can really wear you out if you’re on your feet all night at a regular bar or club. That’s when it’s time to take a special trip to Danceland, or “the world famous dancefloor built on horsehair”. Your tootsies will love you for it!
When I was around 16 years old my Aunt Alison planned a family trip to Danceland to celebrate with my grandma and her brother (my great uncle). I can’t remember what the celebration was for, but I do remember everyone having a really great time all night on the dance floor (including the grand kids all the way up to the grandparents).
Scientists have yet to explain why the Aspen trees are growing every which way but up. (Especially considering there is another set of Aspens right next to the crooked ones that are perfectly normal.) So locals have taken it upon themselves to develop many different explanations ranging from UFOs to lightening strikes.
While everyone is busy trying to explain the unexplained, I’ll be busy packing for a picnic lunch with the paranormal*.
*This natural phenomenon is considered a national treasure and one of Canada’s 54 Wonders. Please be respectful, so that it remains intact.
Saskatchewan has a new winery?! Why yes, it does! Wolf Willow is a seasonal winery that uses locally grown fruit to make their Cherry and Haskap vino. Plus, they have light fare to keep you grounded during an afternoon of non-stop sipping*.
*Buy your designated driver a bottle to sip when they get home. **Pedestrian access is restricted on both bridges until enough funds can be raised to repair them.
FYI: If you remember swimming in the Regional Park as a kid, you’ll be happy to hear that they’re breaking ground on a new public swimming pool set to open in summer 2018.
Visit Zealandia, a town so small it doesn’t even have a website.
My mom took my brother and I to a Medieval Festival around Zealandia when we were kids. I remember that we spent an entire day jousting and shooting arrows. I couldn’t find relevant details on that event for this post, but Zealandia is still worth checking out if only for the northern light show on a quiet spring night.
SUP stands for Standup Paddleboarding. Supping is an offshoot of surfing that originated in Hawaii, only you use a paddle to propel yourself instead of the waves.
Good thing you don’t need ocean waves to SUP because Saskatchewan is renowned for our lakes. And Pike Lake is only about 20 minutes away from Saskatoon! It’s the perfect day trip where you can get comfortable on the board and relax in the sun before you head to a larger lake in the summer.
Pike Lake offers canoe, paddleboat, aquabike, surfbike, and kayak rentals from their boat shack. The season opens on May Long Weekend.
Note: due to the short distance to Pike Lake from Saskatoon, it can be insanely busy during the summer months. So take advantage of the cooler weather before it gets nuts.
Learn about Canada’s bloody past at Batoche and Fort Carlton near Duck Lake.
Both locations straddle Duck Lake, a town that steeped in history as told from three perspectives: Cree, French and English. It’s also famous for being the home of prolific Canadian artist Glen Scrimshaw.
If you’re a history buff, this is the perfect spot to check out. Batoche tells the authentic story of Louis Reil and Gabriel Dumont with thousands of artifacts, including bullet holes in the church and a real cemetery just a few steps away. Fort Carlton tells the other side of the story from the perspective of the RCMP and the Hudson Bay Company.
Duck Lake is a must-see for tourists, but you can make it your own by hiking, canoeing, and geocaching through the landscape.
If testing your limits is one of your favourite pastimes, Blue Mountain is the perfect spot for you. Get a group together for paintball, zip-lines, high ropes, trail rides and more. Plus, funding supports the Lighthouse Supported Living. It’s a win-win day trip you can feel really good about.
Is there anything more quintessentially Saskatchewan than a slice of fresh-made Saskatoon Berry crumble? That’s a rhetorical question.
Head to Rosthern to enjoy a slice for yourself. You may like it so much that you’ll want to stay a little longer for one of their many arts events (check their calendar beforehand).
Go surfing at Lake Diefenbaker.
If you’re willing to get really creative with your time off it’s possible to catch a wave on the flatlands. Surf Anywhere, a Calgary-based collective, thought that Lake Diefenbaker would make a great spot to ride a wave. According to this article from CBC, Lake Diefenbaker Tourism supports the idea. Safety is still a concern that they’re working on getting permission from SaskPower who controls the Dam. In the meantime, there are plenty of other things to do at Lake Diefenbaker.
Hike up and down Blackstrap Mountain then relax with your fishing pole by the water.
Located just 40 minutes south of the city, it’s good day trip from Saskatoon that you’ll find super relaxing. The trail up to the top of mountain and back is only about 5 km loop, so you can spend the rest of the day with your fishing rod at the beach*.
When I was a kid, after we were done swimming at Blackstrap Lake we came out caked in algae. Wiping away all the gooey-gunk was honestly part of the fun, but I’m not totally sure if things have changed much since then (please correct me if they have).
BONUS TRIPS that are slightly more than an hour away, but worth checking out this spring.
Tuck and roll down the sand dunes at Douglas Provincial Park.
This is one of many sand dunes in Saskatchewan, it just happens to be a bit closer to Saskatoon than most.
Although I have never been my friend Diane highly recommends it. She says, “When you arrive a park staff will give you directions to two beaches. One is the main resort and the other is further down the highway. The latter is harder to reach, but there’s a private beach with clear water that goes for miles.
It’s a one lane road and it doesn’t have bathrooms, but it’s worth the effort for those with a sense of adventure. You’ll also spot cacti on your way to the dunes. Saskatchewan has cacti!”
Whether or not you can appreciate a tangled mass of writhing Discovery Channel sex or not, you must be intrigued about the history of the Fort Livingstone Snake Pit.
In the middle of winter back in the late 1800’s, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police set up a permanent camp on the banks of Swan River. Little did they know it was a thriving snake den. According to many journals when spring came around they learned of their mistake and spent most of their days catching (relatively) harmless serpents.
Although the Mounties and the Fort are long gone the snakes make a big appearance every spring for the first few weeks in May.
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Before I get started on why you should hit the road to Table Mountain Regional Park this weekend I have to tell you that wasn’t always my favourite place in the world. In fact, my first memory of learning to ski there included a too-tight pair of boots, followed by extreme pain in my feet and crying like a baby to switch into a larger pair. I was young enough that the older kids pitied my tears, but old enough to remember that blubbering in public probably wasn’t cool anymore.
Sadly that experience turned me off from skiing for a very long time. Every year following that experience I traded in my ski boots for an inner tube. I finally got over the trauma in my adulthood and am actually enjoying the skis.
Table Mountain is the spot that many Sask kids learn to ski and snowboard. Here are six reasons you’ll love it as an adult:
1. It’s close. If you call Central Saskatchewan home, Table Mountain Regional Park isn’t too far of a drive for a day trip.
You can hit the road there and back in the same day with enough hours on the hill that you’ll feel like the time spent in the car is well worth every minute. That beats 16+ hours in a car to and from the Rockies any day!
I don’t know many places you can get a full day of fun for $50 (that includes ski and boot rental along with your lift ticket). It’s definitely accessible to most folks… even if you spent most of your cash on pizza.
3. It has patio beers.
When it’s nice outside you should take a break from the hill for a cold one on the patio.
Table Mountain’s chalet offers a variety of bottled bevvies, plus your standard hi-balls. There’s nothing as refreshing as sipping on a refreshing drink as you look out onto the snow-covered hills.
4. It’s not crowded.
I used to think waiting in line for the lift at Table Mountain Regional Park was a drag.
After experiencing how long you will wait at some of the larger Canadian ski resorts I’ve changed my tune. If you time your trip right and show up early for the day you’ll beat the rental and lift ticket lineups. Then when you’re on the hill it takes about 10 minutes to get up to the top. You won’t wait long to scoop a seat on the lift.
5. It has onion rings.
You won’t be able to resist a snack at the chalet when the whole hill smells like crispy onion rings. It’s smart marketing.
A photo posted by Kyle Green (@green_machine87) on
Whether you’re a skilled skier, or a novice boarder – Table Mountain Regional Park has 11 hills that will be perfect for you from the bunny hill all the way up to black diamond moguls. If you’re a fan of trying trick boarding or skiing, there’s a terrain park to hone your skills. Not into either? They have tubing passes for $10.
Whether you’re into relaxing at the chalet with a few bevvies, or non-stop action at the terrain park you’ll definitely have a good time making new memories at your childhood resort.
Give Table Mountain Regional Park another shot this weekend.
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My recommendations are voluntarily written. I have not accepted any payment from Table Mountain Regional Park.