Regina, Saskatchewan is my hometown and it’s definitely worth a trip. Although I consider myself a West Coast gal— my family moved from Regina to Vancouver when I was a wee tot— I have very fond memories of visiting my mom’s family in the Great Canadian Prairies. Not only is Regina the city where moms design their kids’ Halloween costumes to fit over a snowsuit, it’s also known as the city where lengthy conversations arise from dialing the wrong number.
Regina has been the butt of many a Canadian joke, but it should be on your must-visit checklist of Canadian cities.
5 reasons to visit Regina:
- Go for the road trip: a truly North American phenomenon and part of the Cross-Canada rite of passage. If you’re driving across Canada on the Trans-Canada Highway as I am sure a great many have done, will do, or hope to do soon, then you’ll be going through Regina. The expansive landscape, the brilliantly coloured bug guts smeared and fried on the grill of your vehicle, all make for the perfect road trip. Although it’s best to drive through in the summer, the weather can change rapidly. A typical day of driving in Saskatchewan will have you switching from heat to the A/C on the same day and back again.
- Go for the trains: if you don’t want to drive, take a train. My family used to take VIA Rail from Vancouver to Regina; along the way my sister and I would play a game. We’d look out the window at the landscape and imagine we were giants. To us, the towering grain silos were milk cartons and the plastic wrapped bales of hay looked like marshmallows. Long strings of trains would be chocolate bars and the cattle speckling the rolling hills were the fields’ freckles. If you like trains like my family does, definitely check out the old steam locomotive or the Saskatchewan Rail Museum in nearby Saskatoon.
- Go for the people: Saskatchewinians (boy, that’s a mouthful eh?) are the nicest people you’ll ever meet. ‘Nuff said.
- Go for the wheat: as kids we used to run around in the waist-high wheat fields, threading the golden stalks through our fingers and catching giant grasshoppers. Visiting the sculpture called the “Glass Wheatfield” in the Regina Plains Museum reminds me of those days. There’s a reason, after all, that the Saskatchewan pavilion during Expo ’86 was a towering silo with a glass-bottomed grain elevator. Be sure to pick up a framed souvenir of some lovely wheat weaving from prairie artisans to put on your wall at home.
- Go for the land of living skies: this is Saskatchewan’s license-plate motto (I always thought it was really cute that each province and territory has one). I’ve lived on the ocean my whole adult life, but the Pacific has nothing on Saskatchewan’s amazing ocean of sky; it lives, it breathes, it gets angry, it displays frightening lightning. It reminds me a little of the sentient ocean in Stanislaw Lem’s original Sci-Fi novel, Solaris. Take it from me; you’ll never forget the spectacular show of an electrical storm driving out of Regina.
Regina has so many cultural, historical, artistic and culinary sites to see, but I’ll have to take another trip back to my hometown to get a more recent impression. I’ll be sure to share more tips when I get back!