We made a pitstop a short ways east of Edmonton at Elk Island National Park to walk the boardwalk at Astotin Lake and drive the loop road in search of bison (no such luck).
|saw some baby ducks and red-winged blackbirds|
|but nothing on the safari...sneaky bison|
|the border -- a little anticlimactic|
|Alberta - Canada - Saskatchewan|
|St. John's Minster Anglican Church|
After a KFC dinner stop we drove into town to take a look around. Although it's the largest city in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon's not a big city. It actually feels a bit like Victoria. We appreciated the quiet; the city was probably at its most laid back on this hot summer weekend.
Our first stop was the University of Saskatchewan, an old campus with beautiful stone buildings -- the most unique one we saw being a tiny observatory.
Next to the university, overlooking the South Saskatchewan River Valley, is Varsity View, a neighbourhood of elm-lined streets and character houses. We walked around for a bit to get a feel for it.
|this house's entire front yard is a garden|
|sweet bachelor's buttons|
|one of seven bridges that earns Saskatoon its "city of bridges" nickname|
|these houses have the above view, lucky ducks|
|$2 a ride; too bad it wasn't running|
The next morning we took a walk around the downtown. It's a nice area, with old stone buildings revitalized by trendy shops and restaurants. At its heart is the Delta Bessborough Hotel, an old railway hotel that resembles a castle.
We walked along Meewasin Trail and happened upon Pets in the Park, basically a park social for dogs (and their owners). There were vendor booths and demonstrations, but I think most folks were there for the dogs (and cats -- we did see one, which promptly retreated to its crate).
|all sorts of dogs|
|a gentle Newfie + friendly owner|
We continued on to Battleford, a small town founded as a fur trading post and North-West Mounted Police fort. We visited the latter, Fort Battleford, which has been restored as a Parks Canada National Historic Site (so was free for Canada 150!).
We toured five restored outbuildings -- a barracks, guardhouse, sick horse stable, and two houses -- and learned a little more from chatting with the historical interpreters (which looked to be a fun summer job, aside from the having to wear a Mountie uniform when it's 30 °C out).
|commanding officer's house|
|fancy for its time|
All in all a great weekend that brought new appreciation for lovely Saskatoon!