As you make your way across the vast expanse of Saskatchewan, Regina stands out in a sea of wheat and canola as an island of urbanity in the midst of this primarily rural province. As the capital of this province, it is the locus of activity for much of southern Saskatchewan, with townsfolk from the surrounding countryside coming to Regina for a taste of “the city”.
Many come to the temple known as Mosaic Stadium, home to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a CFL football team that are worshipped like gods in this city and provincewide. Others avail themselves of the many high-quality restaurants and bars that can be found here (in fact, Regina has one of the highest restaurant to citizen ratios in Canada).
For the causal visitor, Regina may not be the hottest tourist destination in the world, but it does have a number of attractions that will keep the passerby entertained for a night or two, allowing the cross-country traveler that isn’t in a rush reason to take a breather in a city where people have a down to earth attitude that is tough to find in cities of similar size elsewhere in the world.
By far the biggest attraction in Regina is the RCMP Heritage Centre, a museum that was built to honour the proud history of Canada’s national police force. Borne out of a need to quell criminals running roughshod throughout the vast and wild Northwest Territories (of which Regina was part of before Saskatchewan was formed as a province), the horse mounted law enforcers were spread out across Canada over the ensuing years, and have become a national icon of the nation all around the world.
Exhibits explain its history in detail, a fun forensics section allow you to try your hand at solving a murder, but the most memorable aspect of the centre is attending the Sergeant Major’s Parade, an equestrian show done three times a week since the early days of the academy. The movements are intricate, and a major point of pride for the cadets, as it is a valued tradition that means a lot to these men in uniform.
If your initial explorations of this lightly traveled province has you intrigued thus far, find how more about the history and natural makeup of Saskatchewan at the The Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Here, the focus on the First Nations people, the animals that call the wild areas of the province home, and the dinosaurs that roamed this land millions of years ago.
Back in the early days of Regina, Norman MacKenzie was a lawyer that had a healthy art habit, collecting many exquisite works over the course of his career. Upon his death, he donated his collection to the University of Saskatchewan at Regina (now the University of Regina), which laid the foundation for the formation of the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Over the years, the gallery has become well-known for showing off the works of First Nations artists, and was the first art gallery in Canada to exhibit them to the public.
If it is a glorious summer day when you arrive in Regina, spend some of your time at Wascana Centre. Measuring nine square kilometres in size, it is one of the larger urban parks in Canada, with a centrepiece artificial lake that draws many locals on a nice summer day. Many of Regina’s cultural attractions are located within close proximity of the park, so come here to take a break between attractions.
Feeling lucky? Apparently a lot of Saskatchewan residents do too, as Casino Regina ranks as the top tourist destination in all of Saskatchewan, with 2 million yearly visits (DOUBLE the population of the province!). Apart from pulling the one armed bandit, shooting craps, or taking your chances at roulette, Casino Regina also hosts famous music acts of the present day and yesteryear, and they also have a number of excellent restaurants that will satisfy your taste buds.
Finally, cruise by the Qu’Appelle Valley on your way out of Regina instead of heading out onto the Trans-Canada. Quickly you will be pleased with your decision, as the flat featureless prairie will be replaced by a deep river valley with beautiful rivers, lakes, and contoured hills that will please your scenery craving eyes.