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REGINA SASKATCHEWAN TOURS - WHAT TO SEE AND DO

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When we planned our Regina trip, we decided on a self-guided tour, rather than an organized coach tour. Because the city is small, with a population of 200,000, sightseeing is easy to do on your own.

Wascana Place and sign
Wascana Place and sign
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Most tourist attractions are downtown and around Wascana Centre, where we began our city tour.

Regina grew up along a creek, where First Nations people dried buffalo meat and cleaned and stretched hides. Over the years, buffalo skeletons accumulated, so the Cree natives named the area Oscana, meaning bones.

If Princess Louisa hadn't named Regina in honor of her mother, Queen Victoria, in 1882, the city would still be called "Pile of Bones". Her name for the capital of Saskatchewan is derived from the Latin word, regere, which means "to rule."

Wascana Centre

The name, Oscana, lives on today in Wascana Centre, one of the largest city parks in the world. With more than 230,000 hand-planted trees, the verdant oasis stands out in lush contrast to the golden wheat fields surrounding the city.

The 930 hectare (2,300 acre)-playground offers many things to see and do. You can walk, jog, cycle, rollerblade and skateboard along the Wascana Centre Pathway.

You can also canoe or kayak to one of the islands in Wascana Lake. Kids of all ages like to feed the ducks, geese, swans and pelicans at the Waterfowl Display Ponds, located just east of the Conexus Arts Centre, home of the Regina Symphony Orchestra.

MacKenzie Art Gallery features exhibits of Canadian and international art. Wascana Place houses the Joe Moran Gallery, which offers free admission.

Legislative Building tours

Tours of Regina's legislative assembly building, in English and French, are also free. Length of public tours is a half hour.

Legislative Building in Wascana Centre behind Wascana Lake
Legislative Building in Wascana Centre behind Wascana Lake
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Inside the Legislative Building, you see the marble and oak Assembly Chamber, portraits of First Nations chiefs and a Lieutenant Governor's uniform, embroidered with over six kilos (14 pounds) of gold. Outside, the formal gardens are a tapestry of colorful floral designs.

Saskatchewan Science Centre

Located on the north side of Wascana Lake, is the Saskatchewan Science Centre. Kids' activities include simulated astronaut training, making gigantic bubbles and racing up one of the tallest rock-climbing walls in Canada.

Families have lots of things to see and do. Besides interactive exhibits and live science shows, the Regina science center's biggest attraction is the Kramer IMAX Theatre.

Royal Saskatchewan Museum

Children love Megamunch, the resident robotic dinosaur in the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. They can also see a full-size moose in the Life Sciences Gallery.

Megamunch (animated half-size T.rex dinosaur) in Royal Saskatchewan Museum
Megamunch (animated half-size T.rex dinosaur)
in Royal Saskatchewan Museum
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

In the First Nations Gallery, large dioramas depict the province's Aboriginal heritage. In one, a grandfather sits on a buffalo hide, in front of a tipi, telling stories to his family. Other scenes depict buffalo hunts, pipe ceremonies and pow-wow dancing.

Things to do

Besides Wascana Centre, Regina tours should include the RCMP Heritage Centre and the Farmers Market, where you can shop for crafts, home-baked goods, fresh fruit and preserves.

There are more than 400 restaurants in Regina, ranging from Afghan Cuisine to Bushwakker's Brew Pub in the Regina Warehouse District. You can have coffee at a café in Cathedral Village and enjoy Victorian high tea (with finger sandwiches, scones and Devonshire cream) in the Government House's Henry Newlands Ballroom.

Government House tours

Guides dressed in period clothing give free tours of Government House. The former residence of Lieutenant Governor Amedee Forget was built in 1891.

Don't miss the Edwardian gardens surrounding the building. You can walk through a hedge maze, tree plantations, rose, herb and winter gardens. Pathways are illuminated after dark.

Government House
Government House
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Sports and entertainment

You can get tickets for a Saskatchewan Roughriders home game at Mosaic Stadium, located at Taylor Field. Casino Regina, located in Union Train Station, has slot machines, table games, a poker room, restaurants and live shows.

Globe Theatre, the only permanent theatre-in-the-round in Canada, is the largest professional theatrical company in Saskatchewan. Every July, you can buy tickets for the Trial of Louis Riel at the Schumiatcher Theatre in the MacKenzie Art Gallery. It is the longest running stage show in Saskatchewan.

Other places for nightlife include the Regina Performing Arts Centre, the clubs on Dewdney Avenue and dinner theaters, such as the Applause Theatre at Regina Inn Hotel.

Special events

The best time to travel to Regina is during one of its many festivals, when you can combine city tours with special events. Mosaic features multicultural food, music and dance.

Bazaart is an outdoor arts and crafts show. Regina Folk Festival offers music, an Artists' Market and international food.

Places to stay

Regina hotels range from the Hotel Saskatchewan, where members of the Royal Family stay when they visit Regina, to the Best Western Seven Oaks Inn, which attracts families with its indoor pool and waterslide.

Delta Regina Hotel houses the Damara Day Spa. A skywalk connects the Delta Regina to Casino Regina and the Cornwall Shopping Centre.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Tourism Regina: www.reginaroc.com

Tourism Saskatchewan: www.sasktourism.com

More things to see & do in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan B&B Farm Vacations

Big Muddy Saskatchewan Tour

Cypress Hills Park in Saskatchewan & Alberta

Eastend Saskatchewan T. Rex Discovery Tour

Manitou Springs Resort Spa - Watrous Saskatchewan