A travel journal
to Prince Albert by girlfromals
Quote: Walk back in time to discover the history of Canada's west! Named after the husband of Queen Victoria, the city and surrounding area offer many things to see and do.
Batoche - site of the 1885 battle between the Metis people, led by Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont, and Canadian troops, led by General Middleton. Excellent site to visit. As it is a national historic site, everything is in English and French.
Prince Albert National Park, north of the City of Prince Albert, it includes the town of Waskesiu. Great golfing, beaches, camping, and other lodging, it provides a relaxing getaway.
When coming to the fort, you drive along a grid road. I anticipated seeing the fort rise along the horizon as we got closer. Instead, we actually descended down a curved, forested road which led to the river flood plain where the fort sits.
Park your car in the parking lot and proceed to the log cabin information center. Inside you will find a modern interpretive center with displays of clothing, tools, photos, and videos. You can buy a few souvenirs and postcards. When you are ready to proceed to the fort, the guide in the center will phone down to the fort and have the guide meet you.
As you walk down the path to the fort you will see the enormous size of it. Walking into the fort takes you back in time and makes one wonder how we ever lived without indoor plumbing!
The guide will explain the history of the fort and show you around the buildings inside - the general store, the fur building, and a residence. The fur building is a hands-on experience so be sure to feel the various furs. You can take a tour of the walls and walk above, all around the fort. It provides an excellent view of the surrounding countryside!
When you are finished inside the fort, exit and check out the reproduction tipi's - First Nations homes.
As you leave Fort Carlton be sure to sign the guestbook in the interpretive center. There is also a modern washroom if you need to make a pit stop before heading on.
I took my host parents from Denmark to the fort and they thoroughly enjoyed this trip back in time!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 11, 2002
Fort Carlton - Fur Trade Center
102-112 Research Drive
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Now, I will admit that I am not the biggest fan of Glen Scrimshaw’s works. The paintings are, however, very popular. Just goes to show that everyone has different tastes in art. Glen Scrimshaw’s paintings and prints showcase the powerful force of nature, which is clearly evidenced by the choice of subject matter. The forests, which dominate northern Saskatchewan are prominently featured in many works. Frequently, the power of nature is brought to the attention of the onlooker by incorporating lightning, a common feature of the prairie skies during summer. The beautiful yet mysterious northern lights are also a common theme in these works of art. Often combined with an evening or nighttime setting, the paintings evoke a special sense of the nature we in Saskatchewan enjoy. To see examples of his artwork, head to his website showcase. Glen Scrimshaw offers small pieces like art cards as well as prints all the way up to original pieces, so there is something for everyone's price range.
Other works of art and pieces of history are available at Northcote Art ‘n Antiques. To see examples of the interesting objects available, visit the Northcote webpage listed above. During the summer, an ice cream stand is open, a playground is available for the kids, a picnic area and campground are open, and there is even an 18-hole mini-golf course. One stop traveling for the family, or at least a comfortable stop during a hectic sightseeing tour!
For more information on this gallery, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (306) 467-2226 or toll free within North America 1-888-521-2226. If you cannot make it to Duck Lake, you can find Glen Scrimshaw’s works in many fine galleries across Saskatchewan, including the Saskatoon Gallery in downtown Saskatoon.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 6, 2002
Northcote Art 'n Antiques
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
The museum houses a collection of artifacts relating to First Nations, Métis and pioneer history from 1870 to 1905 with exhibits and information on the Riel Rebellion of 1885. The history, culture and traditions of these peoples are portrayed through a number of themes, including religion, education, law, and commerce. The museum hosts a good collection of religious artifacts relating to the history and involvement of the Roman Catholic Church in the area. One artifact which my Danish host mother found particularly interesting as a pediatric nurse was a glass baby bottle from the 19th century.
Another feature of this museum is its gallery, which features works of art including sculptures, paintings, and photographs by Saskatchewan artists. If you are looking for a unique piece of Saskatchewan handicraft or artwork, you must stop at the museum gift shop with artwork by more than 50 artisans.
If you have the stomach for heights (a rarity in Saskatchewan – the heights, not stomachs), climb the many floors of stairs to the tower lookout. There are four glass portals, each facing true north, west, south, and east. This provided me and my Danish host parents an excellent view of the surrounding countryside. It certainly allows one a chance to ponder over the historical significance of the events in the area.
The museum is open from mid-May to the Labour Day long weekend in August, from 10am to 5:30pm, seven days a week. If you visit in the off-season, call ahead at (306) 467-2057 or toll free at 1-866-467-2057. Admission: Adults $4.00, Students $2.00, Seniors $3.00, Family Rate $10.00. For directions to the museum and other attractions in the area I have not visited, please visit the museum website.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 6, 2002
Duck Lake Regional Interpretive Centre
Along Highway 11
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Jack Pine Stables
If you are looking to experience nature and get away from it all, Jack Pine Stables offers exactly what you are looking for. Jack Pine Stables is a Bed & Breakfast and Vacation Guest Ranch situated along the border of the provincially protected Nisbet forest. This ranch offers over 160 acres of fresh country air, wilderness forests, with miles of marked trails for hiking, trail riding, nature walks and bird-watching. In winter, the ranch offers snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing. You can also enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides in the summer and sleigh rides along the scenic wilderness trails in the winter. As this is an operating ranch, visitors have the opportunity to learn about horse breeding during their stay.
The Guest Ranch offers three types of accommodation: a 3 bedroom country bed and breakfast; a 4 bedroom rustic lodge with modern facilities which is open year round; and the tipi camp where visitors can experience some of the local Aboriginal and Metis culture.
The highlight of a stay here will be a guided horseback ride in the forest. Don’t worry if you’ve never ridden before. The ranch offers riding lessons!
If you are interested in experiencing a little bit of what Saskatchewan nature has to offer, check the website for contact information. The owners of the Guest Ranch will customize packages to suit visitor’s needs.
Seager Wheeler Farm
If you are a farmer or were raised on a farm then a visit to Seager Wheeler Farm is a must. Seager Wheeler Maple Grove Farm has been designated by the Government of Canada as a place of national historic significance. Seager Wheeler (1868-1961) was probably the most famous farmer in the history of the Canadian Prairie Provinces. He was best known as an international prizewinner in wheat competitions and author of numerous publications on progressive farming techniques. He was also a part-time inventor of farm implements and developer of new grain and horticultural varieties. He developed three new strains of wheat, as well as Victory Oats and 2 types of barley. He also introduced a number of trees to the area.
Today’s farm has been restored to its condition in 1919. You can visit the restored seed cleaning plant, learn about soil conservation techniques, and visit the vast flower gardens and orchards. The visitor’s center offers a gift shop, restaurant, and interpretive displays. Seager Wheeler Farm is the site of a number of special events throughout the year. Check the website for the dates of special events as well as its regular summer opening hours. A visit to this farm will be like a trip back in time!
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 13, 2002
Batoche is a national historic park, therefore it has a fantastic interpretive center with everything in French and English. Arriving at the center, it doesn't appear that there is very much to see. The site is actually very large. You can visit the Canadian forces encampment site, the old town site, the graveyard, and the original church, which still bears bullet holes from 1885.
Before heading outside, make sure you take in the award-winning multimedia presentation. Growing up in Saskatchewan, I learned all about Batoche, so I am not the best judge of the presentation. I rely on the opinions of my Danish host parents, whom I took up to Batoche. They thought the half-hour presentation was stunning. It described the history so anyone could understand and really gave the viewer the feeling that you were there on the battlefield (good sound effects!).
It is a good walk down to the church and old schoolhouse. Guides in period costume will show you around the original church and take you inside the schoolhouse that also served as the post office and home to the parish priest. If your guide happens to be a man, be sure to ask him about the distinctive and traditional sash he is wearing! The day that we went to Batoche, it was absolutely sweltering outside - later that evening there were a few funnel clouds! The church and schoolhouse provide a great place to duck out of the sun and heat. They are very cool inside.
A trip to Batoche will not be complete without a trip to the graveyard. This cemetery contains the graves of local residents past and present, as well as the graves of those who died in the fighting in 1885. Note the wooden crosses enclosed by a worn wooden fence - this is the mass grave of the Metis. An interesting note: there is a white stone grave with a number of hearts carved into it. This grave is for the six children of a local family who died in a house fire. A very sad memorial.
If you are adventurous, you can head down to the encampment or old town site areas. It is quite a hike! Be sure to bring along water. We decided not to head out, as it was far too hot to do so. But we did take a look at the river upon whose banks Batoche was built. The North Saskatchewan River was an active part of the Battle of Batoche. Canadian troops used the river to bring in supplies and reinforcements from North Battleford and to ferry the injured down the river to Saskatoon. The Metis decided to stop the shipments, stringing a line across the river, taking the smokestacks off the next ship to come down the river and stranding it there.
Louis Riel, the leader of the Metis at Batoche, was captured and was taken to Regina and tried as a traitor. He was convicted and hanged. A popular play, the second longest continuously running stage production in Canada, is performed in Regina every summer - "The Trial of Louis Riel." Recently, moves have been made to repair the reputation of Riel. One of the major highways in Saskatchewan has been renamed the Louis Riel Trail. If you travel on Highway 11, you will see the signs on the side of the road with the distinctive Red River cart created by the Metis. Moves have also been made to declare that Riel was not a traitor and was in fact one of the Fathers of Confederation.
Batoche is open all summer. Day passes are available: Adults $5, kids 6-16 $2.50, and kids under 6 are free. For more information, check the website or phone (306) 423-6227. The website also gives very good directions on how to get to Batoche as well as information on special events held at the park.
I highly recommend a visit to Batoche, one of only a handful of battlefield sites in Canada. It will take you back in time to a decisive period in Canada's history.