Regina, Saskatchewan, is the province's capital city and administrative center, named for Queen Victoria (regina means queen in Latin). Located 140 mi/225 km southeast of Saskatoon, Regina (pronounced ree-JI-na) is the home of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre, with memorabilia tracing the history of the force from its early days to its current counterintelligence and antiterrorism activities.
The Heritage Centre has a stunning, award-winning design created by renowned Canadian architects Arthur Erickson (famous for designing the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.) and Nick Milkovich. The spacious building features 10,000-sq-ft/929 sq m of exhibits, a 2,000-sq-ft/186-sq-m gallery for temporary exhibits, a 2,800-sq-ft/260-sq-m community programming room and a multimedia theater. A second phase will add 8,000 sq ft/743 sq m of new exhibit and outdoor interpretive elements.
The popular slogan, "The Mounties always get their man" originated from an edition of the Fort Benton, Montana, Record in 1877, four years after the formation of the North West Mounted Police, the force that later became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The slogan appearing on the modern national police service's insignia, "Maintiens le Droit," is French, meaning "Uphold the Right." The famous Red Serge and Stetson hat comprise the Mounties' ceremonial uniform, reserved for civic ceremonies, public relations events, celebrations and memorials.
Many of Regina's attractions are contained in Wascana Centre, the city's lovely 2,300-acre/930-hectare urban park, the largest urban park in North America. There you'll find the Legislative Building, constructed 1908-1912, the center of Saskatchewan's provincial government. The ornate structure makes use of unusual Renaissance-influenced elements. It is constructed of a distinctive Manitoba Tyndall Stone and 34 types of marble brought from quarries in Quebec, Vermont, Italy, Ireland and the Island of Cyprus.
Also in Wascana Centre is the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. It includes the First Nations' Gallery, which documents the history and traditions of aboriginal people in Saskatchewan and includes the paintings and sculptures 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, which incorporates hands-on exhibits and a live stage show. New to the Science Centre is the interactive Olympic Challenge Exhibit, which allows you to experience Olympic sports such as Nordic skiing and bobsledding. The Science Centre also has a 60-ft/19-m climbing wall.
Other attractions in and around the Wascana Centre include the Diefenbaker Homestead (childhood home of Canada's 13th prime minister), the MacKenzie Art Gallery (provincial arts and handicrafts), the Native Heritage Foundation Gallery (aboriginal art) and the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts (ballet and opera performances).
Outside Wascana, there's an antiques mall (28 shops of collectibles), Casino Regina (downtown, in Union Station), the Saskatchewan Archives (historical information in a variety of media) and Government House (circa 1891, a former official residence).
About 25 mi/40 km north of Regina is the Last Mountain House Provincial Historic Site, a reconstructed Hudson's Bay Company outpost (guided tours are available). It provides a good opportunity to see how the fur traders of the 1800s lived and worked (with the brutal winters and harsh environment, it was a heck of way to make a living). Northeast of Regina, near Fort Qu'Appelle, is Echo Valley Provincial Park, a popular recreation area offering hiking, camping, fishing and boating.
South of Regina, the little town of Rouleau is the set of Canada's most popular TV comedy series, Corner Gas, where the set is so realistic highway travelers often pull up for gas. There are tours in summer.
Notable events on Regina's calendar include Mosaic (ethnic cultural celebrations—June), Western Canada Farm Progress Show (agricultural festival—June), RCMP Sunset Ceremonies (military drill—Tuesday nights in July and August), Buffalo Days (the provincial exhibition—July-August), Trial of Louis Riel (historical re-enactment—Thursday-Saturday in August), Royal Red Arabian Horse Show (the Canadian championships of the International Arabian Horse Association—August) and the Canadian Western Agribition (agricultural celebration—November).
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