Located in the four corners of the province, villages like Bellevue, Gravelbourg, Ponteix, Willow Bunch, Zenon Park and many others are all living landmarks of the Francophone presence in Saskatchewan. You are warmly welcomed to come discover the history and cultural heritage of these travel destinations, in French or English.
Like its American neighbors, Saskatchewan can also boast of its Wild West and its legends. The North West Mounted Police, the Métis, the railroad, the Americans and the cowboys, as well as the great waves of immigration have marked the history of Francophones and left traces in every corner of the province. It would be our pleasure for us to help you learn more about Saskatchewan’s French cultural heritage, in French or in English! Let us welcome you!
Aboriginal history and a rich Métis and French heritage await you in this place steeped in culture, lakes and forests. Visit the Battlefords French-speaking center, the Centre francophone des Battlefords for advice on the best places to visit! Step back in time at Fort Battleford National Historic Site or spend the afternoon discovering the hidden secrets of the Western Development Museum. A 30-minute drive from the Battlefords, guests can camp and relax at Battlefords Provincial Park. Made up of hills and wooded areas, the park is located on the shores of Jackfish Lake where you can enjoy golf courses, modern campsites, a beautiful beach and a playground. A few kilometers away you will find Cochin, a resort popular with Francophones in the region, named after Father Louis Cochin, an Oblate born in France who came to the West in the early 1880s. And just north of Cochin, Saskatchewan’s only operating lighthouse! It has 152 steps and is 11.5 meters high. The view is amazing!
Located only an hour’s drive from Saskatoon, the region encompassing the communities of Bellevue, Dormrémy, and St. Louis is rich in Métis, French-Canadian, and French culture. Savor delicious poutine at the Bellevue restaurant and check out the Gareau Brothers’ beautiful wood carvings at the community center. Then visit nearby Domrémy with its bronze statue of Joan of Arc at the foot of the church, hit Domremy beach at nearby Wakaw lake then drive to St. Louis to admire the old metal bridge and the flowing Saskatchewan River.
Looking for a nice week-end destination? Drive 1-hour north-west of Prince Albert and you get to the French communities of Debden and Victoire. Victoire’s Morin Lake Regional Park has a well-treed campground that offers private camping sites, nature trails, a fine sandy beach, a playground, a ball diamond, and a restaurant. A great place to relax with kids. Surrounded by lakes and forests, this region is a perfect destination for avid fishermen, hunters, photographers, or outdoor adventurers.
Gravelbourg bears the title of Paris on the Prairies. If you’ve ever entered this splendid cathedral that sits at the West end of this French-speaking village, you’ll understand why? Take time to discover the impressive hand-painted frescoes and stained glass windows, as well as the building’s unique architecture. Take a guided tour to discover the French heritage of the local institutions then stop for a meal or a croissant and latte at the local Café Paris.
Ponteix is a three-hour drive from Regina. Follow the Red Coat Trail till you come to the statue of “Mo”, a reproduction of the 75-million-year-old Plesiosaur discovered nearby in 1990. At the end of Main Street, you’ll find the modern Royer Community Cultural Center which bears the name of Father Albert Marie Royer, the French priest who first established the parish of Notre Dame d’Auvergne in 1908. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Notukeu Heritage Museum, created by local archaeology enthusiast Henri Liboiron, the man who discovered Mo and left behind an astonishing collection of artefacts, weapons and tools that were used by the First Nations of the Plains; some are over 10,000 years old!
Saskatoon is known as the “city of bridges”. It is also one of the most important francophone hubs in Saskatchewan. The francophone community of Saskatoon reflects the cultural diversity of this magnificent urban center that runs along the Saskatchewan River. The weekly happy hours at the Le Relais community hall are the perfect occasions to have a drink while getting to know the Francophones of the place. Check out the Troupe du Jour, the only French-language theater company in Saskatchewan, to find out about its summer programming. Take a walk along the Saskatchewan River, admire the architecture of the Bessborough Hotel, cross the impressive College Avenue Bridge and do some shopping on Broadway Street. Looking for an outing? Why not head to the Champêtre County Vacation Farm, just 35 km away, to relive the days of horses and cowboys! Another must-see attraction is the Batoche National Historic Site, an hour’s drive away, a mythical place where the resistance of the Métis of the Northwest was played out in 1885.
Willow Bunch, formerly ‘Talle de Saule’, is a magical place deep in the hills of Saskatchewan’s southern Badlands. Young and old will enjoy the Géant Beaupré museum as well as the petroglyphs of the nearby Val Marie park. Buy ice-cream at the local store and then let the kids swim at the town pool. Be sure not to miss this opportunity to discover the spectacular view offered from the top of Castle Butte which recalls the distant passage of Sitting Bull in the region.
Tucked away near the pine forests of the Pasquia Hills, Zenon Park (pronounced Zénon Parc by the locals) is only a 2-hour drive from Saskatoon and 3 1/2 from Regina. We guarantee you will love this unique blend of French prairie culture, friendly residents, and local tourist attractions for the whole family, including several surrounding parks and lakes. Grab some chicken wings at the hotel, fill up with gas at Lalonde’s garage, then visit Moyen’s honey farm, check out farm animals at the Perrault organic farm or wild boar at the Leblanc family farm, then drive to nearby Pasquia Park to see ‘Big Bert’ the prehistoric crocodile.
For more information:
Telephone: 306 812-6370