Of Canada's 10 provinces, Saskatchewan is our 9th. The only one left is Newfoundland, known as "Canada's Ocean Playground" or "The Rock" I can't remember which.

On Friday (August 24) we had a surprisingly early lunch when we walked into a restaurant to discover that Saskatchewan (being a mainly agricultural province) doesn't use daylight savings time, and we were an earlier earlier than we thought!


In 1962 Saskatchewan became the first province to enact universal, government medical care, paving the way for the mess that now passes for health care in Canada.

Wheat is the main product of Saskatchewan, more than 50% of Canada's wheat crop comes from here; the sight of golden fields stretching off into the distance punctuated by huge grain elevators is common on the drive across the southern part of the province.


The first campground we stayed at had a collection of antique agricultural equipment from the early days of mechanization. The original settlers harvested grain manually, cutting stalks with scythes or sickles under the punishing prairie sun and separating the wheat from the chaff by hand until the first mechanical reapers and threshers were invented. Now wheat is harvested and separated in one operation - from the air-conditioned cab of a combine harvester.



George Washington was know to have experimented with automated threshing on his farm. He built a round barn and stacked wheat in it. Then the workers would take special trained horses and have them run on the wheat in circles in the barn.

The wheat that was dislodged by the horses hooves would drop to a storage area below the floor.



Our second stop in Saskatchewan was west of Regina in Moose Jaw, home of "Mac" the world's largest Moose.

We took a trolley tour of Moose Jaw's murals and also visited the Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Centre.


Moose Jaw is reputed to have been home to Al Capone during American prohibition, and quite an exciting town during the 1920s.


A short drive back to Regina and our visit to the Legislature and the RCMP museum and training center.

Of interest to tea lovers is the fact that the cornerstone of the Saskatchewan legislature was laid in 1909 by His Excellency Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada.



Before leaving for Alberta we stopped in the Cypress Hills area, home of the first North West Mounted Police detachment in the territories. In the 1870s Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta were still part of the Northwest Territories.



Fort Walsh was established here in response to problems with the whiskey trade and to deal the presence of Sitting Bull and his band of 5,000 who had come to Canada as refugees after the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Reports of lawlessness, the whiskey and gun trade and the flying of an American flag in Canadian territory hastened the organization of the North West Mounted Police.


There were no longer enough bison to hunt and the Canadian government refused to provide for the American Indians. In addition the US was possibly embarrassed that 5,000 of its residents were refugees in a foreign country and wanted the Sioux to return.

Negotiations with Sitting Bull took place at Fort Walsh, and he and his followers did eventually return to the US.


Both at the RCMP Museum in Regina and at Fort Walsh we heard how problems had started at a location known as "Fort Whoop Up." We plan on visiting it when we hit Lethbridge, our next stop.


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