Manitoba, Saskatchewan, drive

Jan 29th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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Manitoba, Saskatchewan, drive

Hi, I am considering a 2 week vacation drive from Washington State to and through the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan for very late March and early April.

I don't really think anyone will respond to this before 5 years are up but I'm writing it just in case.

From everything I've read I should expect long, flat roads and cold weather with snow quite possible at that time of year.

I'm wondering if anybody reading this might have some familiar spots or routes in Saskatchewan or Manitoba from which I might draw some ideas. I like looooooong driving trips and can generally reason my way to knowing what I'm in for. I just need some reasons to select one (or two) routes vs. all other possibilities.

I don't need awe inspiring scenery either, I just need your best thoughts about any little aspect of Saskatchewan or Manitoba highways and byways.


Northwest Male (Jan. 29, 2004)
NorthwestMale is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 06:42 PM
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What's this mean? >I don't really think anyone will respond to this before 5 years are up but I'm writing it just in case.<

The key to making the drive interesting is to go either north or south of the Transcanda highway.

Where do you plan to enter Canada, and where do you plan to return to the USA.

A circle though Canda and the US might be good.


BAK is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 06:50 PM
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To be honest, I can't imagine the appeal of a drive through Manitoba and Saskatchewan at that time of year. It probably will be cold and it is very flat. The prairies do have a certain appeal in the summer, but not at that time of the year (at least in my opinion).

However, what are you looking for? Charming towns? Museums? What do you like?
SusanInToronto is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 09:34 PM
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I am very aware of "cold and flat"... and with so many roads in the area, and for it being FLAT, so many of them likely providing decent, passable routes, I need inspiration as to which (slightly amusing, if only for a moment) roadside attractions are reason enough to choose one route vs. others.

As of now I have things such as:

*unique town names

*hometowns of hockey players

*towns with hockey teams I'm remotely familiar with

(I am barely a hockey fan, but these are examples of what little I have to go on)

I don't mind the vision of a snowy landscape and chilly temperatures for much of the time.

Of course I'd go to Saskatoon, maybe Regina, certainly Winnipeg, and might duck back down into the U.S. on the way home or at least for a short time.

Right now I'm guessing I'd enter Canada from Idaho and just west of Glacier National Park.

Lethbridge... Medicine Hat (weird name, AND a city with a hockey team!)... and then east with freedom of choice in front of me.

Cutesy and unique things along the routes would break up the long drives. I'm NOT one to spend X dollars for a museum here, and another tourist attraction there, generally.

The charming parts of life on the praries would be fun.

I've never been to either Manitoba or Saskatchewan so any route would be a "first" for me...

While I'm here, when I get to either Saskatoon or Winnipeg what spots should I not miss when there?

As soon as I get a couple of inspirations that I simply can't live without seeing then I'll have some parameters by which to arrange the rest.

Anybody's quirky idea would really help at this point.

Thank you!

NorthwestMale is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 09:50 PM
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Saskatchewan has a quiet beauty that requires stillness and an appreciation of the immense awesome sky and the changing aspects of light throughout the day.

If you are coming through southern Saskatchewan, visit Cypress Hills Provincial Park (south of Maple Creek Sakatchewan) - an oasis of lodgepole pine forests on hills overlooking the arid grasslands surrounding it. There is year-round accommodation available at Cypress Hills.
Fort Walsh National Historic Site is worth a visit, but unfortunately is closed until May.
If you drive south out of the park on highway 21, you will drive through Saskatchewan cattle country.
It is also the area that Pulitzer prize winner Wallace Stegner spent his childhood (and eventually wrote about it).
Turning east on highway 13, you will eventually arrive in small towns Eastend and Shaunavon, where there are are small well kept musuems that are worth visiting (may not be open in March - April).
Continuing on, drive the "Red Coat" trail to highway 4, then drive south to Grasslands National Park. There is an interpretive centre there, it is open year round, and you can take self guided driving tours through the grasslands.
The "highways" in this area are not really highways in the full sense of the word. They are paved roads, but very narrow (and in straight lines). Because they are not busy, it is not unusual to see antelope on the roads.

Other places of interest - there are some bird watching lakes along the trans Canada (highway 1) between Swift Current and Moose Jaw, but at the end of March and beginning of April there won't be many birds to see (too early for spring migration).

If you plan on being in central Saskatchewan, visit the Saskatoon area, the drive between Sasakatoon and North Battleford is quite scenic.

And if you drive further north, to Prince Albert and Prince Albert Nationasl Park, you will be in the boreal forests of Canada.

It is very difficult to predict what the weather will be like at the end of March - beginning of April. It could be sunny & pleasant & warm, or there could be spring snowstorms, or any variation in between those two conditions (which often occur on the same day!!).

For more information about Saskatchewan, try this website:

For climate data go to:

Hope that I've given you some ideas for Saskatchewan. Good luck!
Borealis is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 10:23 PM
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Here's what I consider to be a sort of weird piece of information. In Manitoba there are ruts in the ground that are still visible from the time that pioneers were travelling westwards in wagons.

A relative of ours, who was then 100 years old (!), travelled to Manitoba for the 1995 ceremony at which some of these wagon ruts in the area in which he had grown up were declared to be a heritage site.

This relative's father had worked as a government surveyor around Deloraine, Manitoba. It had been his job to assign parcels of land to pioneers who were arriving in the area to settle there as homesteaders.

The relative died in Calgary in 1996, at the age of 101.

Here's a website about the Boundary Commission Trail (fancy name for wagon ruts) in the vicinity of Deloraine:

As far as authors are concerned, Saskatchewan's W. O. Mitchell (Who Has Seen The Wind) surely must make it onto any list of notable prairie writers.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 10:44 PM
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Judy -
I mentioned Wallace Stegner because he was an American who happened to spend part of his childhood in Canada, and in that particular part of Saskatchewan that I was describing.
Since NorthwestMale is from the US, I thought this small fact might interest him.

W.O. Mitchell was Canadian, and is much more than "notable"; I consider him as required reading for all Canadians!!!!
By the way, although he was born in Saskatchewan (Weyburn), he lived in Alberta for many years.
Borealis is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 01:36 AM
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You probably won't want to miss Piapot, Saskatchewan, although they probably don't have a hockey team.
April is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 01:39 AM
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I forgot to include the map link:
April is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 05:53 AM
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Since Borealis mentioned highway 13, which is a good route to take, the village of Aneroid on that route is the home of Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks.
ron is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 06:27 AM
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You might want to build your trip around visits to towns with the " the world" There are many of these, including moose, geese, mounties, easter eggs, etc etc.
For a complete list, see

Also don't forget to stop in at a curling rink or two. Every town has one.
laverendrye is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 10:01 AM
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My two cents' worth:

If you get as far north in Saskatchewan as Prince Albert National Park, there is an overnight backcountry hike to Grey Owl's cabin - it's where he settled, eventually. Also, Lake Waskesu in PANP is nice, but it's really a summer destination.
luna is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 03:13 PM
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Just wanted to give continues thanks to those who have offered websites and suggestions about a drive through Manitoba and Saskatchewan in the very early spring.

One of the curiosities I found online independently was the unique NAME of a certain worker at a gas station in Grenfell, Sask.

Something tells me that the man's name might not have been featured so prominently among tourist discoveries in more well-traveled locations.

If someone's name is a highlight that way then I definitely need more personal tidbits that many of you might be able to offer.

Thank you again!

PS - This is a family website so I'm not putting the man's name down here... but if you went to Google and typed the string "driving through Saskatchewan" and then insisted that the word "Grenfell" land in the text somewhere, well, there would only be a single website referenced...
NorthwestMale is offline  
Feb 15th, 2004, 11:08 PM
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This whole thing looks to me like serious trolling.

But I am from northern Sask., lived a few years in the province's south, and live in Winnipeg. So for those who may be interested:

The only nice parts of southern Sask are Moose Jaw and the Qu'Appelle valley, which is kind of out of the way if you are hell-bound on travelling east. Moose Jaw has a marvellous spa and enough museums for a full day.

Every small town in SK will have a smail hotel and a bakery to die for. This is a rule. Love it.

Regina and Saskatoon are nice small cities, but Winnipeg has them beat. Its a smaller version of Toronto, extremely safe, multi-ethnic, not judgemental. Sargent for Vietnamese, Osborne Village for eclectic, Corydon for Italian, Greek and Ukrainian pretty much anywhere. Excellent theatre, opera, symphony, sports.
Carolred is offline  
Mar 1st, 2004, 07:40 PM
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Check out the CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) website to see if you can link to their magazine - they just had an article on driving routes around the Yorkton, SK area.
bookgirl is offline  
Feb 7th, 2018, 01:05 PM
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I bring back this thread of 14 years ago to amend it with my "trip report" on just the sort of a journey I was thinking about back in 2004, and finally took in 2017.

Here is the fodors link to the trip report:

Driving around Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and BC

My priorities along the way were remarkably similar to what they'd been back in 2004.

(Since you can't find much at Fodors in the way of driving around the Canadian prairies, it seems that my trip report should be linked here for anyone who is stuck unearthing only this thread from 2004)

PS - Carolered (2 posts up - from Feb. 2004) was half right... it was "serious"
NorthwestMale is offline  

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