Every place has its must-see list, the very best things to do in your own backyard. Think of the places you go when a good friend comes to town: those cool, quirky, out-of-the-way things that might not make it into the guidebooks, but totally define your home base.
That’s what author D. Grant Black has collected in the recently published Saskatchewan Book of Musts, the fun stuff you just have to do on a tour of this prairie province. Black surveyed other prominent flatlanders, too, for the inside track on hot spots—from favourite places to see local musicians to the prettiest prairie gardens. He spoke with golf writer Jim Sutherland, actress-singer Andrea Menard and author Guy Vanderhaeghe. And Black’s book is a top-five bestseller for 2010 in Canada’s travel category, the publisher reports.
The Saskatchewan saga is just the latest in MacIntyre Purcell Publishing’s Canadian collection, profiling provinces and cities across the country, with Newfoundland and Labrador and Vancouver IslandBook of Musts coming soon—all must-haves for the best insider touring tips.
Saskatchewan singer Little Miss (Jolene) Higgins offers her top music venues, including the “Beverage Room” at the early-1900s era Nokomis Hotel (her home base) and the old Danceland dance hall at Manitou Beach.
Local archeologist Butch Amundson has found himself digging around in all corners of the province, so has a good handle on where to chow down in Saskatchewan small towns. His list of “field tested country kitchens” is a revelation—from the prairie whitefish on a bed of locally harvested wild rice at Kosta’s II in La Ronge, to Yang’s Apollo Restaurant in Rocanville, featuring those classic Chinese-Canadian specialties like wonton soup and lemon chicken, or the grill-your-own steak suppers at the Fife Lake Hotel.
Other must-dos range from sticky toffee pudding at Willow on Wascana in Regina’s Wascana Park to seeing an art film at the community-owned Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon; tracing prehistoric Plains grizzly-bear petroglyphs in the sandstone cliffs near St. Victor, soaking in the healing mineral waters of Manitou Lake or taking a trip to the museum in Willow Bunch to see the statue of Saskatchewan-born circus giant and strongman Edouard Beaupré, who at 8’3” certainly stood head and shoulders above any crowd.
Al Capone's Tunnels