Photographer Dave Lieske’s Mystery Trip in Southern Saskatchewan
In the summer of 2019, photographer and social media influencer Dave Lieske accepted an invitation to a mystery destination for a surprise adventure trip. The secret destination was revealed to him moments before his departure from the Calgary International Airport.
Here’s the story of Dave’s Southern Saskatchewan adventure…
When I first found out that I was going to Saskatchewan I was excited! For most of my life people have told me that the province is full of beautiful landscapes and rich culture.
My experiences in Saskatchewan blew my mind every day. What sticks out most for me is how many incredible things I got to do in such a short time. We didn’t need to travel far to see a stunning landscape, visit a fantastic park or museum, or enjoy a delicious meal.
The locals are genuinely warm and friendly and I was surprised by how innovative and creative everyone is.
Day 1: Big Muddy Badlands, Castle Butte, Avonlea Badlands, Regina
This is Canada’s Wild West, a hideout for bandits like the Sundance Kid. I sensed what it might be like to be an outlaw in the wind-carved buttes with prickly pear cacti and deep-cut sandstone ravines. The outlaw caves and ancient Indigenous stone effigies enhance the mystery of this vast and beautiful landscape.
We dined and chatted at Avenue Restaurant in Regina before settling in at the historic Hotel Saskatchewan that night.
Day 2: Regina, Wascana Centre, RCMP Heritage Centre, Manitou Beach, Danceland
On the second day we ventured into the heart of the capital city, a 930-hectare parkland oasis called Wascana Centre. The majestic Saskatchewan Legislative Building is one of many attractions here, all nestled along the shores of Wascana Lake.
In the afternoon we drove to Manitou Beach. This laid back resort area is perfect for summer travelers. Little Manitou Lake is called Canada’s Dead Sea because the mineral water is so buoyant – perfect for floating.
Later on we checked in to the Manitou Springs Resort before antiquing around the quaint resort village.
The legendary Danceland, circa 1928, was an unexpected highlight. I’d like to take my wife back to this community dance hall because it’s the kind of place that has to be experienced. I can’t think of anything else like it, anywhere in Canada.
We discovered Oda Coffee and Wine Bar that night before soaking in the heated pools back at the resort.
Day 3: Saskatoon, Remai Modern Art Gallery, Black Fox Farm & Distillery, Prairie Lily Riverboat
We spent the day exploring the city and art at Remai Modern, dining at Living Sky and tasting boutique spirits at Black Fox Farm & Distillery.
Later on, we sailed along the South Saskatchewan River on the picturesque Prairie Lily riverboat.
We dined at Odla before spending the night at the Alt Hotel.
Day 4: Saskatoon, Riversdale and Broadway Districts, Wanuskewin Heritage Park
After lunch at Odd Couple we explored the river pathways on Onewheels with Escape Sports. We all enjoyed how quickly and freely we explored the river paths.
The Han Wi Moon Dinner at Wanuskewin Heritage Park was the most meaningful part of the trip for me. It was incredible to see how the historical land is preserved and experience the traditions and cuisine of the Cree people.
I experienced a lot during my time in southern Saskatchewan, but the province is too large to see everything in a few days. I plan to explore the northern wilderness when I return – the part I’ve heard so much about.
I’m impressed by the diversity of Saskatchewan’s landscapes, experiences and food. I got a first-hand taste of the beauty and hospitality I heard about when I was growing up.
Dave Lieske is a full time photographer/videographer/artist based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Dave found his home in taking photos and he enjoys mountain air, tall buildings and rap music.