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Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is the “prairies province”. It is located between Alberta and Manitoba and Regina is the capital. The name “Saskatchewan” means “river that flows fast”.


Agriculture is the main economic engine, especially wheat production. The wheat harvested in Saskatchewan is almost half of the national production. Another source of wealth for the province comes from mining as this province is the biggest Uranium producer in the world.

Saskatchewan economy is based on its natural resources. And this is clearly displayed in the green and yellow colors of the flag that represent its forests and wheat fields.

Even though it is home to several natural and cultural treasures, Saskatchewan is the great unknown of the Canadian provinces.

Natural treasures

The northern part of the province is covered by the boreal forest, except for the Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park. These dunes are the biggest active dunes in the world. But the northern dunes are not the only ones that are really impressive within the region. In the south part, the Great Sandhills cover almost 300 square kilometers.

A little bit of history

Before the arrival of the Europeans, Saskatchewan inhabitants were the first nations. To be more precise, the athabaskan, algonquin and sioux tribes. These tribes believed that humans were part of world creation in the same way as the animals or nature itself. These nations organized themselves into big families or clans in order to guarantee access to food, protection and security.

Europeans arrived in 1690 in order to trade with the fur that they purchased from the first nations. The first European establishment was the Hudson’s Bay Company.

The Métis nation was born out of the crossbreed between Europeans and First Nations. This Nation had a huge impart in the political and social development of Saskatchewan and its neighbor Manitoba.

Remembering a key character: Louis Riel

During the 19th century, Louis Riel played a leading role in a series of popular revolts provoked by the political fluctuations and the government decisions about the land ownership and the rights on buffalos. Loved and hated with the same intensity by his contemporaries, Riel was convicted of treason and sentenced to death by hanging, notwithstanding the long speeches that he gave during his trial in defense of his actions and the rights of his people.

Riel, that during his exile had to be admitted to a psychiatric institution due to mental disorders, rejected his lawyer’s idea of using mental illness as an alibi. He stated that “Life, without the dignity of an intelligent being, is not worth having.”

The old perception of Louis Riel as a demented person and a traitor to the nation, except for the Métis Nation and the French-Canadians, has changed. Now he is seen by most as a hero that fought for his people ideas against the racist politics of the government. For other, he remains an enigma and a mix of criminal and hero.

With the arrival of more settlers to the region, population grew and Saskatchewan came to be considered a province in 1905. For its centenary in 2005 the Royal Canadian Mint introduced a new 5 Canadian dollars coin representing the wheat fields of the province and minted a similar 25 cents coin.

Queen Elisabeth II attended the ceremony and the Canadian singer Joni Mitchell published a commemorative album to pay homage to Saskatchewan.

Major cities in Saskatchewan:

SASKATOON:

Saskatoon is considered one of the jewels of Saskatchewan. The beautiful South Saskatchewan River divides the city in two halves that are communicated by its famous eight bridges that won it the nicknames of “City of Bridges” and “Paris of the Prairies”. Saskatoon is home to the University of Saskatchewan, which attracts a young, vibrant and sophisticated crowd. The First Nations influence is clearly displayed thorough the community and can be appreciated in many events and festivals that take place in the city.

REGINA:

Regina, although second to Regina in size, is the capital of the province. One of the trademarks of the city is being the home to the Mounties Academy, where the iconic Canadian force cadets go for training. Regina has the charm of a small town with all the commodities of a big city and is the perfect place to live a true “Canadian Experience”. Its inhabitants are particularly proud of Regina having Wascana Center, one of North America’s largest urban parks. The city name is fairly recent: in late 1882, it was renamed “Regina” in honor of Queen Victoria.

Interesting links:
Tourism Saskatchewan
Mendel Art Gallery
Wanuskewin Heritage Park
University of Saskatchewan
Royal Canadian Mounted Police