Imagine an oasis in the middle of a city, and you have just described Wascana Centre, a huge and wonderful park in the midst of Regina, capital of Saskatchewan. Most cities are not so lucky, and perhaps this is why the park has even been compared to Vancouver's Stanley Park, though they are quite different.
If visiting Regina, the park is a must-see. If you wish to walk, jog or bike,or find a pleasant place for a picnic, this is the place to be, with the added bonus that it doesn't take too long to get there from anywhere in the city.
There are beautiful flowers and fountains, monuments, a swimming pool and children's play area, the Saskatchewan Science Centre and IMAX Theatre, and Saskatchewan's monumental Legislative Building.
Wascana Lake is the centerpiece of the park, where one can see rowers straining their muscles, canoes gliding across the lake, or hear music wafting across the lake from the bandshell located adjacent to the shore. Various lookouts provide great views and a walkway around the lake makes for easy walking and jogging. As the summer ends, Dragon Boat races can also be seen, and heard.
Another special end-of-summer feature is Globe Theatre's "Lanterns on the Lake," a popular (and free) night-time spectacle of home-made lanterns of all shapes and sizes. Picture the parade of shimmering lanterns, some simple and others extremely complex, moving along the lakeside,led by dancers from New Dance Horizons, and accompanied by musicians from the Regina Symphony Orchestra.
The park also contains track and field facilities, open spaces for sports of all sorts, a quality restaurant at a small marina, barbeque sites galore and even a man-made hill where children can be seen tobogganing in the winter. A wildlife sancutary provides an opportunity to view some of nature, with many birds, Canada geese and other wildfowl, some that stay here year round (just be careful where you step!).
Throw in the University of Regina, Royal Saskatchewan Museum (mainly of natural history),the Conservatory of Performing Arts, and the Centre of the Arts, and you can see why the park is such a valued part of Regina.
While visiting, keep in mind that virtually all the trees in the park (and the city in fact) have been planted by hand at some point, quite an astounding feat for an astounding park!