Whatever your interests, you are sure to find something fun to do in Wascana Centre – one of the largest urban parks in North America at 2,300 acres – which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012.
There is a walking trail around Wascana Lake with storyboards along the way telling the story of the creation of the man-made lake. The trail is actually part of a series of multi-use trails that cover over 30 km across the city. As a side note, when I have been cycling on the trails in the south east of the city I have seen fox and deer. There are many picnic areas around the park as well as a swimming pool, tennis courts, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (Natural History), a rowing club and marina, and a lovely restaurant, The Willow on Wascana, which specializes in local produce. Wascana Park hosts a number of events throughout the year including Canada Day celebrations, concerts and fireworks every July 1st and the Symphony Under the Sky which is the summer kick-off concert for the Regina Symphony Orchestra – a free concert with events all afternoon for the whole family, warm up bands and a final concert with pyrotechnics. The Dragon Boat Festival is also held on Wascana Lake each fall.
In the south western corner of Wascana Park you will find the Mackenzie Art Gallery in the T.C. Douglas Building, named after none other than Tommy Douglas. Bazaart is held every June in the parking lot of the building, featuring arts and crafts from Canadian artists including pottery to jewelry to ironwork. The Terry Fox Walk/Run is also held at this location each fall with the route taking you around the lake.
Another area of the park is home to the Saskatchewan Science Centre and the Kramer IMAX Theatre and across the lake, the Conexus Arts Centre, the home of the Regina Symphony Orchestra. Also in this area of the park is a Habitat Conservation Area where you will see a variety of wildfowl throughout the year. While on bike rides last year along the trail through this part of the park I saw swans, Canada geese, cormorants, and pelicans to name a few. A short drive or walk around the lake from the IMAX is Wascana Hill from which I have taken some lovely pictures of the views resplendent with fall colours: the First Nations University of Canada, the University of Regina, all the buildings in Wascana Park including the dome of the Legislative Building, and the skyline of downtown.
Wascana Park is the home of the Saskatchewan Legislature which celebrated two events in 2012: its 100th anniversary and the rededication of the Queen Elizabeth II Gardens in front of the Legislative Building to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Front and centre of the gardens is a statue of the Queen on her horse, Burmese, surrounded by a rose garden. The gardens extend from the Legislative Building down to the lake and the remainder of the gardens has been updated to make them wheelchair accessible, improve lighting, and add storyboards providing pictures and information about the Queen’s various visits to Regina during her 60-year reign. Part of the celebrations included the Musical Ride by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
If you are adventurous enough to travel to Regina in the winter you will be treated to a winter wonderland, a cold one probably, but one with glorious sunshine to experience the outdoors. There are cross country ski trails around Wascana Park and just to the east of Regina at White Butte where the Regina Ski Club maintains a number of interesting trails. If you’re lucky you might even see some deer. Winter has finally arrived this year and today I took some lovely photos in the park.