If you are in Saskatchewan, take time to experience the unique history that is Saskatchewan. From infamous outlaws to the rebellion of 1885, there is a lot of history that can be experienced in this wonderful province. Listed are ten tours to experience a taste of Saskatchewan’s history and geography!
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Release your inner Wild West and follow in the historical hoof prints of Saskatchewan’s plains bison with one of three road trip itineraries. From north to south, discover the diversity of landscapes and rich culture the province has to offer. Starting at Prince Albert National Park’s West Side as you bike, hike or horseback ride you may catch a glimpse of plains bison grazing in their historical range. Further along, your journey will take you south across windswept, rolling Grasslands National Park. Let loose and get on the bison trail!
Duration: Choose from 1-day to 5-day itinerary
Where: Prince Albert National Park to Grasslands National Park
Big Muddy Badlands
Tour a geographically unique and scenic part of southern Saskatchewan, the Big Muddy Valley. Explore the history of the earth; from the cretaceous period, through the Paleocene era, the Ice Age and modern time as revealed in the sedimentary layers exposed in the region. Learn about Sam Kelley, one of the most wanted outlaws of the region. See the infamous Outlaw Caves, the site of the North West Mounted Police, Castle Butte, Aust’s General Store in Big Beaver, Canada’s only known buffalo effigy, and much, much more!
Duration: ~ 7-8 hour / 3.5-4 hour tour available
Where: Big Muddy Valley, Town of Coronach
Relive the Doukhobor Past
Head to Blaine Lake area of Saskatchewan, to the times of the Doukhobors. To survive the harsh conditions of the region they built dugout houses by digging into the North Saskatchewan River ravine. Today, these houses tells us the compelling story of the prairie Doukhobor culture. They are known for their a cappella songs born of their faith and suffering, bread-baking, and textiles. Amoung other things, you will explore the Dugout houses, see how they planted crops and gardens, view wool carting to make blankets, learn their customs in addition to enjoying freshly-baked Doukhobor bread and jam.
Duration: 1.5 – 2 h
Where: Doukhobor Dugout House is located on a scenic bend of the North Saskatchewan River, eight kilometers south-east of the town of Blaine Lake. It is a one-hour drive north of the city of Saskatoon.
Frenchman River Valley Tour
A long long time ago, Dinosaurs and now extinct mammals roamed this land called the ‘Valley of Hidden Secrets’. Welcome to Eastend, a Southwestern Saskatchewan town which was unknown to many people until the discovery of a Tyrannoasaurus rex in 1994. Head to the T.rex Discovery Centre to see Scotty, the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in Canada. Here, you can also learn about fossil excavations, about dinosaur extinction, and about the prehistoric animals after the extinction of the dinosaurs. Later head for the French River Valley, a beautiful rugged area carved by glaciers years ago. From the Chocolate Oeak, a reddish-brown hill to the the site of the Crzay Horse’s (a great Sioux Chief) Camp to the WhiteMud Pits (below which you can find prints of ancient trees and fossils of early plains mammals) to Jones Peak (named after Harold Saunders ‘Corky’ Jones, a palaeontologist), this drive covers a distance of 40 km.
Duration: Depends on interest. self-driving tour
Where: Eastend, SK
On the Trail of the Mounties
Go on a driving tour exploring and understanding Canada’s national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The trip starts in Regina at the RCMP Heritage Centre where at the RCMP’s Training Academy Depot Division, the cadets receive their training. Learn about the formation of the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) to the challenges faced by them and the role of Mounties today. See the North West Mounted Police and the Sunset-Retreat Ceremony. From here travel to Wood Mountain Post Provincial Historic Park, home to one of the oldest NWMP posts and later to Eastend and on to Fort Walsh National Historic Site of Canada which was once the most important and most heavily armed fort in the west. Here, learn more about the Cypress Hills Massacre and about the formation of the NWMP. The next major stop in the journey is Swift Current and Goodwin House at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park. The tour ends with a visit to the Fort Battleford National Historic Site, the NWMP headquarters for the District of Saskatchewan.
Duration: 5 days (self driving)
Where: Regina, Eastend, Maple Creek, Swift Current, Battleford
Trail of 1885 – A Drive through the Valleys of Saskatchewan
Trails of 1885 commemorates the significant events of the North West Resistance in 1885 – a turbulent and formative time in Canadian history. This day trip, A Drive through the Valleys of Saskatchewan, takes you north from Saskatoon to the areas around the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers, the centre of Métis settlement and site of the main battles between the Métis and government forces. The journey telsl the story of the disagreement between the Métis and the federal government which eventually led to the declaration of a provisional government at Batoche on March 19, 1885 by Riel and the Battle of Duck Lake.
Duration: 1-day (260 km)
Where: Battle of Tourond’s Coulee – Fish Creek National Historic Site, Batoche National Historic Site, St. Laurent Shrine (Our Lady of Lourdes), Duck Lake and Fort Carlton Provincial Park.
Count’s Country Tour
This tour is a journey visiting the Saskatchewan country churches decorated by Count Berthold Von Imhoff. This three-day driving tour originates out of Saskatoon, and takes you to the most prominent sites associated with this famous artist in the province.
Duration: 3-day (self-guided tour)
Where: Saskatoon, St. Walburg, Lloydminster, Reward, Humboldt, Muenster, Marysburg
River Trails of 1885
Canoe Ski Discovery Company organises two canoe trips- a one-day trip and a 2-day trip. The canoe trip is a historical journey revisiting important sites and events that occurred along the South Saskatchewan River during the 1885 Northwest Resistance. The 2-day trip also includes an overnight wilderness style camp at Petite Ville archaeological site. In addition to the many historical attractions, the canoeing route holds lots of natural appeal. The valley scenery is varied from low grassy terraces on the inside river bends to steeply wooded banks with deep coulees and natural springs flowing from the outside bends.
Duration: 1-day/2-day canoe trip organised by Canoe Ski Discovery Company
Where: South Saskatchewan River – Batoche region
Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site
At the close of the 19th century, few pioneer-farmers moved west from Ontario to the prairies. Amoung these early settlers, W.R. Motherwell became a community leader whose passion for scientific farming methods took him all the way to parliament as Minister of Agriculture. Live a day in the life of a prairie farmer in the 1900s on W.R. Motherwell’s historic homestead, Lanark Place. Join knowledgeable staff in period costume for a morning’s hard but happy labour harvesting the golden wheat in the old-fashioned way. Dig deep into the recent past and connect the family history of Motherwell with your own as you experience a way of life as old as Western Canada in the original stone walled homestead of W.R. Motherwell.
Duration: 2 hours
Where: Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site
Tunnels of Moose Jaw
The Tunnels of Moose Jaw is an attraction that entertains guests with unique productions of Canadian history. Head beneath the streets of downtown Moose Jaw and undergo two guided theatrical tours. Relive Al Capone’s bootlegging days in the Chicago Connection tour and experience first-hand the hardships of early Chinese immigrants in the Passage to Fortune tour.
Duration: Each tour is of 50 minutes
Where: Moose Jaw