I was recently on a Quebec tourism trip with some of the most respected, talented and brilliant writers in the travel industry and as an ice-breaker question, we were asked what our favourite destination was.
My answer? Saskatchewan. Yes, I’ve been fortunate to have experienced a numerous places yet the one that stood out the most is good ol’ SK.
Saskatoon enthralled me with its vibrant dining and arts scene, brimming with charm and splendid scenery.
Regina roped me in with its energy, walkability, attractions and their delicious food and drink culture.
During a wonderful week in the prairies, I filled my notebook and camera with mountains of memories.
If you’ve been, I’d love to hear about your journey.
If you’re considering visiting here, I encourage you to.
If it’s not on your radar, I hope it will be after reading this.
What to do
Wanuskewin Heritage Park
The history-rich Wanuskewin Heritage Park is a short drive from the core and is dedicated to sharing the Northern Plains Indian culture over the past 6,000 years. This nearly 600 acre site provides a detailed look at this historic gathering place and provides a detailed look at its significance to the First Nations history. Their “Tipi Sleepovers” are a wonderful way to become immersed in their local culture and history.
Saskatoon’s beautiful Remai Modern art museum opened in October 2017 on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. Described as “a thought leader and direction-setting art museum that boldly collects, develops, presents and interprets the art of our time,” this is a must-experience destination for any traveler. Elegant achitecture, nearly 125,000 square-feet of space, four levels, 11 gallery spaces and an approachable feel contribute to this remarkable facility.
The very walkable Riversdale neighbourhood has something for nearly everyone. Experiencing a resurgence in popularity, there are plenty of quaint shops and restaurants to visit. Catch a flick at the historic Roxy Theatre, stop for a sip at a variety of cafes or enjoy the year-round Farmers Market.
Where to eat and drink
The Odd Couple
Riversdale’s The Odd Couple blends traditional and modern Chinese food that offers vegan, vegetarian and meat-based dishes in an attractive, stylish dining room. Whether it’s a quick lunch or a longer dinner, this local gem comes highly recommended.
If traditional Italian fare is what you’re into, Primal is right up your alley. What makes them attractive, aside from the delicious food, is that they use Saskatchewan heritage grains & whole animal butchery.
Canada’s only drive-thru perogie restaurant has a remarkable following and their food quality is superb. They make up to 10,000 perogies per day…by hand! Baba’s is a well-known and well-visited spot, and they’ve earned the reputation of the best perogies, one guest at a time.
Black Fox Farm & Distillery
Saskatoon’s newest distillery boasts that 90% of what’s in their products are grown on-site and are one of the rare true “farm-to-still” distilleries in North America. Family owned, they’ve started off tremendously by winning the award of “World's Best Gin” in 2018. Plus, owners Barb and John earned Entrepreneur of the Year by Saskatoon Achievement in Business Excellence in 2018.
9 Mile Legacy Brewery
A century ago, the families of owners Shawn and Garrett grew up with their houses nine miles apart, hence the aptly chosen name. Fast forward to current day where the brewery approaches five successful years of crafting delicious products for happy customers, both new and existing.
Sticks and Stones
The brainchild of Top Chef Canada’s 1st winner Dale McKay, Sticks and Stones blends mouthwatering Korean and Japanese cuisine that impresses the eyes and taste buds. Top quality ramen, sushi and sake are but a few of the diverse and delicious offerings.
Where to sleep
The Delta Bessborough is truly a stunning building that overlooks the river and is simply magnificent.
From its Châteauesque-styled design to the ultra-comfortable and elegant rooms, this is one of my favourite Canadian hotels. Stroll the grounds for incredible snaps of the castle-like exterior plus the Broadway and University bridges.
What to do
Western Development Museum
A touch west of Regina via the Trans-Canada Highway is where you’ll find the wonderful Western Development Museum in Moose Jaw. One of four locations, this location focuses on transportation with an amazing assortment of planes, trains and automobiles.
RCMP Heritage Centre
In addition to being where every Mountie is trained, it’s also one of Destination Canada’s Signature Experiences Collection. With excellent exhibits and a rich history worth learning about, a visit here will show you where the RCMP came from through to modern day.
This over-100 year old, 2,300 acre urban park shows what smart city planning can do. In the middle of Regina, the landscaping is gorgeous, there are oh-so many walking trails and the gem is the 320 acre Wascana Lake. It’s also where you’ll find a museum, art gallery, science centre and other impressive buildings.
Make sure you camera is charged before you stroll on 13th Avenue between Albert to Elphinstone. This is where you’ll find several street murals, quaint shops, cafes and a unique feel for Regina. Pop by Takeaway Gourmet for some of the best cheeses and meats around!
Where to eat and drink
The resurgence of The Warehouse District is led in part by Rebellion Brewing’s Mark Heise. An active community member, Rebellion has won a plethora of awards and offers both a great selection of standard and seasonal beer. The atmosphere is inviting, the service is stellar and there’s always excitement in the air.
Over The Hill Orchards
One of my favourite scenery-based restaurants (the food is top-notch as well!) comes via this venue.
Their incredibly popular “SupperIn The Orchard” series runs every Friday and Saturday from May until October. Presented with the Culinary Federation of Regina, a different local chef will create a multi-course supper using mainly ingredients from local farms and their orchard.
Crave Kitchen and Wine Bar
This award winning restaurant is led by Regina’s Chef Jonathan Thauberger primarily uses local ingredients and suppliers. Situated in the historic Assiniboia Club, Crave offers a variety of premium offerings from seafood, to beef, vegetarian options and of course, a very healthy wine selection
Skye Café and Bistro
Offering fresh, seasonal, and healthy cuisine? Check.
An environmentally sustainable seed-to-plate restaurant? Check.
Owned by a wife and husband team that are passionate about what they do? Check.
Their mandate includes reducing waste, reducing their carbon footprint, and supporting local farmers. Simple food is far from boring food here. Their tagline is spot on: “At Skye, there is no limit!”
Remember Dale McKay from the Saskatoon part of this article? Well, he’s back in, this time via Avenue, an upscale new restaurant. It’s been described as “a modern take on comfort food with French influence and global flavours with a vast cocktail program featuring classics and creations.” My take? It’s downright delicious dining with smart, savoury options and a creative cocktail list. If it wasn’t my last meal in SK, I’d have gone there again the next day.
641 Grill and Motel
A touch north of Regina is where you’ll find the rustic 641, named after the nearby highway. Classic bar food is prepared exceptionally well (get a double order of the hot wings) and the service is charming.
Old license plates and vintage posters and signs pepper the walls for a memorable experience and Instagram-worthy shots.
Where to sleep
Hotel Saskatchewan is perfectly placed in the heart of Regina and offers an unforgettable experience for travelers. The rooms are gorgeous, the views are spectacular and its early 20th century architecture is simply elegant. Allowing for easy access to the city, exploring Regina is made effortless with this as your home base.
To plan your visit and experience this remarkable part of Canada, visit tourismsaskatchewan.com