Saskatchewan is in the center of Canada's three Prairie Provinces, Alberta to the west and Manitoba to the east. It borders North Dakota and Montana on the south and stretches north all the way to the Northwest Territories. First time visitors to Saskatchewan often have a hard time with the pronunciation. Locally it is pronounced: "sus-KAT-chew-one" and it comes from the Cree name for the river that flows through the province.
In Cree, the name means "swift flowing river".First time visitors also find the southern highway route across the province to give a new meaning to "flat", like driving across an endless table top with grain fields stretching forever into the horizon. Driving north however reveals an end to the flat prairies and into pleasant low-rolling hills and increased wooded areas. The northern half of the province is lightly settled and features thousands of lakes amid immense stretches of bush and forests.
While the visitor will see a lot of agriculture, Saskatchewan has been diversifying its industrial base in recent years. Forestry, fishing and hunting also make up a small part of its economy. Saskatchewan is the world leader in potash exports and also the western world's major supplier of uranium.By far the largest part of the province's population of just under a million lives in the southern half of the province, roughly from Saskatoon south to the border.
Saskatoon is the largest city with about 250,000 while Regina is the other major city and provincial capital with a population of about 200,000. Saskatchewan celebrated it's centennial in 2005, having joined the Dominion of Canada in 1905.Saskatoon is on the banks of the South Saskatchewan and is the home of the University of Saskatchewan. It has become in recent years a centre for development and manufacture of high tech products for the computer and automation industries.
The visitor will find a lot to do here in Saskatoon as it has a vibrant theatrical community and also serves as the hub for many tours going into the northern part of Saskatchewan. One can explore the river in a ten-person voyageur canoe, play golf on any of the numerous golf courses in the area, or attend a hockey game nearly every night of the week in the winter.Regina, contrary to most people's expectations of a capital city and its accompanying sombre government influence, is a thriving and lively city with lots to occupy the visitor. You can tour the Government House Museum and Heritage Property with its magnificent 1891 mansion. You can relax in the lush greenery of the Sylvia Fedoruk Conservatory or take in a Victorian Tea. In warm weather it's time to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Regina and Wascana Park, the largest urban park in North America.
It's home to wandering bike paths and some great walking trails along the shores of Wascana Lake - remember this is in the centre of the city!.A sure sign that spring has sprung is the Regina Farmers' Market when it officially launches its summer season by once again returning to beautiful downtown Regina on Scarth Street, adjacent to Victoria Park. You can stroll down Scarth Street on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and check out local homegrown delicacies, including the freshest fruit and vegetables, tasty breads, cookies and original crafts and treats. The outdoor season officially launches early May and continues through out the summer until early October.This is just an overview of the province of Saskatchewan.
There is much more to explore, like the small cities of Moose Jaw, Swift Current, North Battleford and Weyburn and the vast wildernesses of the bush and lake country in the northern half of the province. For years, the province lived or died with the good year-bad year cycles on the grain farms, but since its economy has diversified and there is more money around on a year round basis, Saskatchewan is fast becoming an excellent place for tourists to visit. More and better accommodations, more things to see and do and lots of good places to eat, all at reasonable prices, all contribute to its allure..Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Canada Vacation.
By: Michael Russell