Day 8 Summary
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to Brandon, Manitoba
Day 8 of my vacation started off on a beautiful note in the lovely city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The weather was sunny and pleasant as I looked around at one of the things the city of 31,132 is known for: its many intricate downtown murals. It really does seem like there’s one around every corner in the city’s historic downtown.
Although I didn’t see it, the downtown murals are topped as a tourist attraction by The Tunnels of Moose Jaw. Just as the name suggests, this attraction consists of a series of tunnels built underneath the city over a century ago. The tunnels represent one facet of Moose Jaw’s unsavory past, since they were once used as hideouts by smugglers and criminals, including the legendary Al Capone.
One of the reasons I didn’t have the chance to see the tunnels was because I wanted to see some things in Regina, a mere 47 miles to the east of Moose Jaw.
I caught my first glimpse Saskatchewan’s capital and second most populous city when I noticed Regina’s skyline appear suddenly on the horizon as I was traveling through farmland on the city’s western edge. The odd contrast in scenery was made possible due to Regina’s lack of suburbs. The city of 179,246 is pretty isolated amid the prairie.
One of Regina’s claims to fame is that it’s where all members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) go through basic training. While the training grounds are largely off limits to civilians, the public is welcome at the northern end of the grounds, where the recently-completed RCMP Heritage Centre is located. I put this site at the top on my list of things to see while in Regina.
The center was put together extremely well. It offered a thorough, informative look into the past, present, and future of the RCMP. There was even a nice gift store with some RCMP swag. All in all, I’d highly recommend anybody visiting Regina to check the place out.
The next place in Regina I wanted to see was the vast Wascana Centre alongside Wascana Lake near the city’s center. This 3000 acre site in the heart of the city provides Reginians a place to enjoy all sorts of activities, including visiting museums, art galleries, walking, running, biking, or even kayaking on the lake that offers a nice view of the city’s skyline.
Although I didn’t have much time to visit all the center has to offer, I did make it to the Waterfowl Park, which is a 576 acre marshland home to all sorts of waterfowl, including Canadian Geese, mallard ducks, swans, and pelicans. I had a great time walking through and getting the chance to closely interact with all the birds.
Another place close to Wascana Centre is the ornate provincial capitol and a small, but dignified, veterans’ memorial across the street from it. Even the capitol grounds were being used at the time for recreation, as a group of people were playing Frisbee next to the building in the nice Sunday weather.
After spending more time in Regina than I probably should have, it was time to get back on the Trans-Can and head east. Since it was getting late in the afternoon, and crossing the border between Saskatchewan and Manitoba also meant losing an hour in crossing the Central
It wasn’t a big loss, though, since there wasn’t all that much to see. The road passes through numerous small towns, some of which still have their classic Saskatchewan Wheat Pool grain elevators. I’m not exactly sure why, but I really enjoyed spotting these “prairie skyscrapers” as I traveled through Saskatchewan and Manitoba. They just seemed to have more character than grain elevators in the United States. It’s unfortunate that more and more are being decommissioned and removed.
It was after 8 PM when I finally approached Brandon, the second largest city in Manitoba and my destination for the day.