The capital city of Saskatchewan is the cultural and economic hub for the southern part of the province. Regina is a lovely city with a rich history that dates back to 1882. Some of this can still be seen today, making it a city well worth visiting.
Regina is filled with culture, having numerous performing arts centres, museums and annual events. It also has more parks and green spaces per capita than any other city in the country. All-in-all, it is a great city for a holiday with much to offer. Here are the best things to go in Regina:
1. Wander around a museum
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum was the first ever museum to open in the province and in the Prairies. It is a natural history museum and is a great place to wander around for a couple of hours.
There are three separate areas at the museum, all of which are just as fascinating as the next. All of them have special exhibits to showcase their theme.
The Life Sciences Gallery teaches you about the province’s landscapes and biological diversity, while the First Nations Gallery is a view of the traditions and history of Saskatchewan’s aboriginal communities. Or opt to gaze at dinosaurs and reptiles at the Earth Science Gallery.
2. Watch cadets in training
Regina is home to the RCMP Academy, Depot Division, which has been conducting police training since 1885. Visit the depot and watch cadets in training.
Most people visit the depot on a Monday, Wednesday of Friday for the ‘noon parade’, which actually is not at noon but at 12:45pm. There are also plenty of other things to see.
The chapel is one of the most famous buildings on the grounds, what with its beautiful stained glass windows. Other buildings worth visiting include the Centennial Building, the Firearms Complex and the RCMP Heritage Centre.
3. Have fun with science
Since 1989 the Saskatchewan Science Centre has been letting people have fun with science. No matter what age you are, you will thoroughly enjoy a visit to this interactive science museum.
There are a number of permanent exhibits at the museum, as well as special exhibits that come around from time to time. The museum also hosts social events, like Adult Science Nights, the After Dark Film Series and Fantasy Food.
Watch critters crawling around, squeeze through tunnels, be an astronaut in training or play virtual hockey. There is also a shop onsite that sells some interesting souvenirs.
4. Go back in time
Being such an old city, it should be of no surprise that there are some fantastic historic districts in Regina. One of the most popular is the Warehouse District, which is just northeast of the central business district.
The Warehouse District used to be an area filled with warehouses that accommodated freight for the nearby railway station. Today, it is a lively neighbourhood that is filled with shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Some of the establishments in this area occupy historic warehouses. There are also quite a few cool residential accommodations.
5. Relax in a park
Not just any park, but the 9.3 square kilometre Wascana Centre that is built around Wasana Lake. This is the fourth largest urban park in the country and is even larger than New York City’s Central Park!
There are a number of buildings, facilities and attractions at the Wasana Centre, making it easy to spend an entire day here. It is also home to plenty of waterfowl, like ducks, geese and other birds.
Relax in the park all year round and watch people go by, or just admire the lake. The park is also the site of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the Saskatchewan Science Centre and the University of Regina, amongst other places.
6. Look at art
The MacKenzie Art Gallery is also within the Wasana Centre, though it is an attraction in its own right. There are eight galleries here, with over 160,000 people looking at its artwork each year.
There are over 3,800 pieces at the gallery, most of which are Western Canadian historical and contemporary works. Some of the artists who have work in the collection include Patrick Hayman, Bill Vazan, Ivan Eyre and Roger Ing.
Go on a self-guided tour of the gallery to admire and look at art. Don’t forget to head outside to wander around the outdoor sculpture garden.
7. Spend a day at the beach
The town of Regina Beach sits on the shores of Last Mountain Lake just northwest of Regina. The town is a popular summer resort area and is a great place to go if you want to spend a day at the beach.
Regina Beach has an old-fashioned charm about it, although it has been fully modernised. Swimming here is pretty good, as is laying around and working on your tan.
If you want to get out of the sun, head to the Lakeside Heritage Museum or enjoy a meal at one of the beachside restaurants. There are also a few shops for buying clothes and souvenirs.
8. Go to a show
Whether you are a fan of orchestral music or theatrical stage performances, you will not be bored in Regina. The city has so much to offer in terms of live performances, as well as a few venues to enjoy them.
Conexus Arts Centre is one of the largest and hosts numerous shows, including world-renowned travelling performances. It is also the home of the Regina Symphony Orchestra.
The Globe Theatre opened its doors in 1966 and since then has shown a plethora of performances. The building itself is also incredible, as it is housed in the Old Post Office.
9. Place a bet at the casino
Casino Regina sees over two million visitors a year and is arguably the biggest attraction in the city. Place a bet at one of its 35 game tables or try your luck on one of the casino’s 800 slot machines.
If poker is your thing, there is a 9-table poker room with classic, diamond and harvest poker classic games. There are also weekly Texas Hold’em tournaments.
When you are bored of gambling or want to spend your winnings, you can enjoy a show. There are also a number of restaurants onsite where you can enjoy a meal or have a drink.
10. Tour around parliament
Not only is the exterior of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building magnificent, but the interior is as well. In fact, the Beaux-Arts building is a National Historic site.
Take a 30 minute guided tour around the building and learn about its history. Don’t forget to bring a camera to snap photos of building and its beautiful surroundings.
The grounds of the building are also spectacular and have some great things to see. Some of these include an equestrian statue of Queen Elizabeth II and the Trafalgar Fountain, which was brought from London’s Trafalgar Square.
11. Stop and smell the roses
This is very possible to do at the Regina Floral Conservatory. The conservatory is home to tropical plants, flowers and trees, and is quite a tranquil place to be.
Stroll through the conservatory and admire the beautiful floral displays. These change around six times a year, so if you are ever visiting Regina at different times of the year it is well worth coming here again.
In additional to just being a beautiful place to walk around, the Regina Floral Conservatory also hosts events, like public teas and guided meditation sessions. There are also educational programs for the kids.
12. Enjoy an event
Regina hosts many throughout the year, all of which are a great experience. Enjoy an event and mingle with the locals no matter what time of year you are visiting.
One of the most popular events is the Queen City Ex, which is the largest fair in the province. Around the same time is the Regina Folk Festival, which is Western Canada’s longest running music festival.
In the winter, enjoy the Downtown Ice & Fire Winter Carnival, while November’s Canadian Western Agribition is Canada’s premiere agriculture show. There is also the Regina International Fringe Theatre Festival, the Cathedral Village Arts Festival and the multicultural Mosaic Festival.
13. Go on a shopping spree
Like any major city, this is very easy to do in Regina. Especially if money is of no object.
If you are a fan of locally-owned shops, walk along the pedestrianized streets in Cathedral Village or the Old Warehouse District. There are also large shopping malls with known brand shops, like the Cornwall Centre, Victoria Square Shopping Centre and Southland Mall.
Visit Regina between March and December to enjoy the Regina Farmers Market. Here, you will get the chance to buy local arts and crafts, and in some cases meet the artisan.
14. Paint yourself green and white
Many visitors don’t known this, but Regina is home to one of the biggest teams in the Canadian Football League; the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The team itself is not the best, but its fans are famous for their loyalty.
Paint your face in green and white and head to Mosaic Stadium to watch a game like the locals do. If you really want to get into the spirit, carve a watermelon and wear it as a helmet.
The regular season is from June until November. Tickets can easily be purchased online before your visit, or you can also try to get them on the day of, although this may be costly.
15. Lose yourself in religion
Not literally, although no judgement if you do chose to do this. And there are numerous places where you can go to either pray or just visit.
The Presbyterian and Methodist Knox-Metropolitan United Church is a beautiful church that was built in downtown Regina in 1907. If you are interested in the Mormon tradition, visit the Regina Saskatchewan Temple.
The Holy Rosary Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral that was built in 1913. It is a beautiful Romanesque Revival church that features 43 André Rault designed stained glass windows