As Canada’s Capital, Ottawa is home to many objects that come from across the country; from British Columbia to Quebec, to Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond. In many ways, Ottawa is where all points of the country meet. So if you’re a Canadian and you’re looking for a connection to your home province in Ottawa, chances are that you’ll find it. And particularly, if you’re from Saskatchewan, you’re in luck!
Saskatchewan is the eighth province to be featured in a series of articles that are highlighting different aspects of Canada’s provinces within Ottawa. Saskatchewan is a Canadian territory of prairie land, rugged hills and luscious, green forests. It covers an expansive area of 651,900 square kilometers (about 405 square miles). But did you know that this boreal province is the only Canadian province without a natural border? Regina is Saskatchewan’s capital city and it’s also home to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.
Wondering where to find pieces of this unique Canadian province in Ottawa? We’ve got you covered. Discover what Ottawa treasures come from Saskatchewan, whose motto is ‘Strength from Many Peoples.’
Canadian Museum of History:
Located just across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Que., the Canadian Museum of History is Canada’s most visited museum!
Here, in the First Peoples Hall, you’ll find a deer skin coat that is reported to have belonged to Louis Riel (1844-1885). According to the museum, the coat is decorated with beaded embroidery; a design element that is common among the Métis people.
Riel is a complex historical Canadian character. The museum noted that some regard him as a hero “who personified the aspirations of Western Canada’s Métis.” But, the museum said, in 1885, after Riel led the Red River Rebellion, he was judged and hanged as a traitor. Riel led the Provisional Government of Saskatchewan in 1885.
Thinking of visiting Ottawa in 2017 for Canada’s big 150th anniversary year? You won’t want to miss the museum’s new Canadian History Hall. Opening on July 1, 2017 – Canada’s official birthday – this hall will feature 1,800 priceless artifacts that span across 15,000 years of Canadian history. Among the many interesting artifacts are the handcuffs used to restrain Louis Riel during his execution.
Canadian Museum of Nature:
Located just down Elgin Street, two representations of Saskatchewan’s geological past can be found at the Canadian Museum of Nature.
In the upstairs mezzanine of the museum’s Fossil Gallery, you’ll find a woodland diorama with animals from the Cypress Hills region of Saskatchewan. According to the museum, the animals are from around 35 million years ago (long after the extinction of the dinosaurs).
The museum noted that the diorama features two rhino-like creatures called brontotheres that are browsing greenery while protecting their baby. Also featured in the diorama is a pig-like animal called an entolodont and a cat-like predator called dinictus. The museum added that just across from the diorama, visitors will find real fossils of these animals, which were discovered in this particular region of Saskatchewan.
According to the museum, an “even older” piece of the province can be found in the Vale Earth Gallery. In the back of the gallery, the museum noted that visitors will find a 2×5-metre replica of a sedimentary rock deposit from Saskatchewan. It was cast directly from a Saskatchewan hillside.
The museum said that on the rock, visitors will notice a thin layer of ash and debris, which is evidence of the meteorite that struck Earth about 65.5 million years ago and killed the dinosaurs. You can learn more about how the replica was created on the Museum of Nature’s blog. It’s an interesting process!
If you have time during your visit to Ottawa, opt to visit Parliament Hill and take a guided tour of Centre Block, which is home to the iconic Peace Tower. On the guided tour, you’ll learn about how every province is represented in Parliament, including Saskatchewan. There are some lovely stone carvings and interesting facts to discover! Free, public guided tours are available daily, but these are subject to parliamentary activity.
Just outside of Centre Block, near Wellington Street, you’ll find Ottawa’s famous Centennial Flame. This bubbling fountain with its ever-burning fire commemorates Canada’s hundredth anniversary as a Confederation. On it, most of Canada’s provinces are represented, including Saskatchewan. Missing from the Flame is Nunavut, as it only joined Canada on April 1, 1999. This monument is also an iconic location to take a photo.
These are only some of the many treasures that can be found in Canada’s Capital. There are many more things to see and do, as well as more museums to discover such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Canada Science and Technology Museum (which will reopen in mid-November 2017). Also, at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, you’ll find honey from every province in Canada.
In addition to the Canadian History Hall, there will be more artifacts and new exhibits to discover as Ottawa gears up to celebrate Canada’s big 150th anniversary in 2017! If there’s anywhere you’ll want to be in Canada in 2017, it’s Ottawa – specially on July 1. For more information on what’s going on now and on plans being made for Canada’s big birthday, browse Ottawa Tourism’s 2017 website section.