Historical Family Fun at Saskatchewan’s National Historic Sites
Although Canada's settlement history is - by European standards - rather young, the country has plenty of exciting stories to tell! Significant buildings or natural landmarks have become National Historic Sites, illustrating some of the most pivotal moments in Canada‘s history. Many of them are revived by staff dressed in period clothing in the summer months. With moving history and compelling stories, they take visitors on an interactive journey through time. Also, Saskatchewan is home to several of these historic sites, family fun for young and old is guaranteed.
Batoche National Historic Site
Journey back in time to the 19th century at Batoche National Historic Site and learn about Métis settlers who lived on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. Find out the history of the 1885 Northwest Resistance and how a traditional way of life changed forever as a new country began to form. On site you can see the bullet holes from the final battle and imagine how things were as men gathered on both sides of the river in preparation for battle.
In the summer, there are plenty of events, such as the Back To Batoche Festival, which has been held every July for more than 50 years and celebrates Métis culture and music. Traditional fiddling, singing and dancing are part of the program, as well as storytelling, square dancing and competitions in chariot racing or horseshoe throwing. Local artists show their skills and traditionally prepared dishes smell tempting - ever tried moose stew or bannock?
Fort Battleford National Historic Site
Uncover the role of Fort Battleford in the 1885 North-West Resistance by the Métis and an associated uprising by First Nations Cree and Assiniboine of the District of Saskatchewan against the Canadian Government. Discover the stories of the North-West Mounted Police, First Nations, Métis and settlers in these difficult times. Explore five original buildings and immerse yourself in history at Fort Battleford National Historic Site.
Fort Walsh National Historic Site
In the middle of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park lies Fort Walsh National Historic Site, the headquarters of the North West Mounted Police in the 1870s. Step back in time and see what life was like on a working fort in the lawless time of rotgut whiskey runners. Learn about the history of Canada’s part in the aftermath of the Battle of Little Big Horn. As you explore the site, imagine the scarlet serge-clad North West Mounted Police marching on parade, hear Métis legends handed down through generations and learn traditional crafts and skills.
If you’re in for a hike, the Cypress Hills Massacre Trail is a must. This 5-kilometre loop combines the tranquility of the prairies, the rolling landscape of the Cypress Hills and the history of the province of Saskatchewan, allowing hikers to explore the reconstructed Fort Walsh.
Motherwell National Historic Site
As the 19th century closed, a stream of pioneer-farmers moved west from Ontario, seeking a new life on the prairies. Early Saskatchewan settler, W.R. Motherwell became a community leader whose passion for scientific farming methods took him all the way to parliament as Minister of Agriculture. At Motherwell National Historic Site you can live a day in the life of a prairie farmer.
Further information can be found with Tourism Saskatchewan.