Regina is the sunniest capital in Canada and one of the most beautiful. Driving north into the province of Saskatchewan, Canada from Montana or North Dakota, Regina suddenly appears on the horizon as a welcome oasis in bloom amid the flat sameness of the surrounding plains. 350,000 hand-planted trees are the source of this remarkable display of lush greenery. There is, in fact, more parkland and open space per person in Regina than in any other major Canadian city.
In 1905 Saskatchewan became a province, with Regina (pronounced rej-EYE-na) as its capital. In the heart of downtown is the City Centre, the site of such buildings as the municipal government offices and the public library. The library contains the Prairie History Room, which documents local history, and the Dunlop Art Gallery, which displays works by regional artists. The Gallery on the Roof, in the Saskatchewan Power Building, is a popular spot to visit with its changing art exhibits.
Many of Regina's attractions are contained in Wascana Centre, the city's lovely 2,300 acre urban park. There you'll find the Legislative Building, circa 1910, the center of Saskatchewan's provincial government. The ornate structure makes use of unusual Renaissance-influenced elements and has intricate carvings on its facade.
Also in Wascana Centre is the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. It includes the First Nation's Gallery, which documents the history and traditions of aboriginal people in Saskatchewan and includes the paintings and sculptures of a number of Saskatchewan artists. The museum's Earth Sciences Gallery contains dioramas that depict the environmental changes that have taken place with the passage of time.
Another Wascana attraction is the Saskatchewan Science Centre. It contains an IMAX theater and the Powerhouse of Discovery, a major exhibit which incorporates hands-on exhibits and a live stage show. New to the Science Centre is the interactive Olympic Challenge Exhibit, which allows participants to experience Olympic sports such as Nordic skiing and bobsledding. The Science Centre also has a 60 foot climbing wall.
Other attractions in and around the Wascana Centre include the Diefenbaker Homestead, the childhood home of Canada's 13th prime minister, the MacKenzie Art Gallery featuring provincial arts and handicrafts, the Native Heritage Foundation Gallery with exhibits of aboriginal art, and the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts which is the venue for ballet and opera performances.
In addition to Wascana, Regina hosts horse racing at Queensbury Downs, a mall of 28 shops offering antiques and collectibles, Casino Regina, located downtown, in Union Station, the Saskatchewan Archives, and Government House.
Regina is also the home of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Centennial Museum, with memorabilia tracing the history of the force from its early days to its current activities. The slogan of the Mounties: "We always get our man."
Following Wascana Creek for 7 miles is the Devonian Pathway, a paved bicycle trail that passes through six city parks and is used for jogging and walking as well as other activities. In winter, it is groomed and lighted for cross-country skiing. The Condie Nature Refuge, just north of the city on Highway 11, offers nature trails that afford views of the refuge's grassland and marsh animals.
About 25 miles north of Regina is the Last Mountain House Provincial Historic Site, a reconstructed Hudson's Bay Company outpost. It provides an opportunity to learn how the fur traders of the 1800s lived and worked despite the brutal winters and harsh environment.
Northeast of Regina, near Fort Qu'Appelle, is Echo Valley Provincial Park, a popular recreation area offering hiking, fishing and boating. Sports activities in Regina include harness racing at Exhibition Park and summer football played by the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Taylor Field.
Regina, Saskatchewan's capital city and administrative center, has both a small-town feel and a cosmopolitan flair. Its climate is temperate, and its welcome is warm at any time of the year.