Despite it’s funny sounding name, and the fact that it is more or less in the middle of nowhere, there is plenty to see and do if you happen to find yourself in the heart of the Prairies. Regina is a unique city,combining the small town feel of many rural communities with a thriving urban feel. Spend some time and check out all Regina has to offer. Check out the RCMP headquarters and Wascana Park, or roll the dice at Casino Regina. If the city life isn’t your thing, take a drive through the flatlands, fields, or stop by one of the 100 000 different lakes. First things first, let’s find you someplace to stay.
This is the only hostel found in Regina, so be sure to book ahead. The hostel is a converted old Victoria House, designated a Municipal Heritage Property, with all the old creaks you would expect to find in a 100 year old home. It is located right downtown, with 2 hour street parking right in front, and parking all night until 10:00am. Free parking can be found a few blocks away as well. Keep in mind, all parking is free in Regina on weekends and after 5:00pm. One block from the Turgeon International Hostel is the picturesque Wascana Park, which I highly recommend.
The hostel offers private rooms, a family room, and the infamous dorimtory style accommodation one can expect in any hostel. The Turgeon has showers, a TV lounge, dining area, laundry facilities, lockers, free internet, library, and a good sized self-catering kitchen which is fully equipped for your cooking needs. The hostel is open from February 1st to December 23rd. Check-in hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., extended hours in July and August.
2310 McIntyre Street
Regina, SK S4P 2S2
Wascana Park is easily one of the most beautiful parks you’ll find in any city across Canada. Wascana Park was officially established in the early 60’s. The park is 9.3 square kilometres (2300 acres) large. The park has a unique location, in that it brings together buildings owned by the City of Regina, University of Regina, and the Province of Saskatchewan. The park was designed by the Seattle architect Minoru Yamasaki, famous for the design of the original World Trade Center in New York. The name “Wascana” is derived from the Cree word “Oscana”, which translates to “pile of bones”. In reference to the bison bones scattered around Wascana Creek before this area was populated by non-indigenous peoples.
Wascana Park is proud to house many amenities for Park go-ers. A large Waterfowl Park provides refuge for ducks, geese, and many other birds. Take a walk to the North Shore of Wascana Lake, where you’ll find one of a few Speakers Corners in Canada. Surrounded by gas lamps brought in from London, it’s hard to miss. There are a handfuls of museums and art galleries around the park, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the Saskatchewan Science Centre, the Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Conexus Arts Centre, the Provincial Legislative Building (known locally as the Ledge), Darke Hall Theatre and Concert venue, as well as many other historic buildings. Canoeing and Kayaking can still be done on Wascana Lake during the summer. Throughout the summer there are several concerts and festivals held within the park. Easily worth a day of checking out.
Fancy yourself a gambler? Stop by Casino Regina, a converted Union Station, where trains ran up until 1990. The casino houses over 800 slot machines, 35 game tables, 8 table poker room and an 800 seat show lounge. There are also regularly scheduled Union Station historic tours. The building still contains old railway police jail cells within the basement that were used for transporting prisoners, as well as evidence of a tunnel representing a system of underground passages which apparently stretch a handful of blocks east of Casino Regina and south all the way to Hotel Saskatchewan. Many believe they were used for illegal activities years back, likely for rum running during prohibition. Drop some money and check it out, or if gambling isn’t your cup of tea, check out one of the many acts in the Show Lounge. Well worth an evening out.
If you happen to find yourself in Regina during the winter, which many people will tell you is suicide if you’re not acustom to the prairie winters, check out downtowns Victoria Park. The park turns into a massive skating rink, free for public use. The city does an amazing job with Christmas lights, decorations, as well as music. If the cold gets to be too much, take a walk to one of the many coffee shops downtown, and warm up to a hot cup of cider, coffee, or tea. Or head down Scarth Street, a beautiful walking-only street full of shops and pubs. Check out Beer Brothers for a huge selection of Beer, or enjoy a pint while listening to some live music at O’Hanlons.
Local Watering Holes
As with any city, there are handfuls of different establishments where you can drink and dance the night away. For those looking to hit as many bars and clubs as possible in one night, the most sensible place would be to check out Dewdney Avenue in the Warehouse District. This street is literally lined with over 10 pubs, clubs and bars, all over the span of a few blocks. It has something for everyone. From hip-hop joints, to rock clubs, or just a quiet folk music night, you’re sure to find something to spark your eye. A cab ride from the hostel will cost you no more than 10 dollars to get here. Just tell the cab driver you’re heading to the Dewdney Bars.If you’re looking for a true Saskatchewan local bar, full of country music, large patios, karaoke and live music, head to the east end of town to The Pump. Easily one of the most popular bars in Regina. This place is packed from Thursday to Sunday. Stop by on Thirsty Thursdays if you’re broke, $1 draft beer can keep you going until the end of the night.
Beer, Burgers, and Football. What could be better? If you’re in town during a home game, try your best to get some tickets, and cheer for the Riders. The city shuts down during games, thousands upon thousands of people, dressed from head to toe in green, flock to Mosaic Stadium as if it were Mecca. A unique experience everyone should try. If you have nothing green in your wardrobe, don’t worry about it. Lose the shirt, and find some cheap green body paint, or slap an empty watermelon on your head. You will only blend in more with these rowdy locals. Scream to your hearts content and help make Regina the loudest place to be that night.
Known all over the world as Mounties, commonly thought to always wear red jackets, black pants, and a wide brimmed hat (which in fact, they only do during Ceremonies). The RCMP Depot Divison (a.k.a The Acadamy) is found in Regina. If you came to Canada hoping you could get a picture with a Mountie, you’ll be happy to hear that this could be the place to snap that million dollar shot. The RCMP Heritage Centre was recently constructed in 2007, and beautifully houses a large number of historical pieces and exhibits which do an amazing job educating people on the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Admission will set you back $12.00 for adults, but is worth every penny.