July 22, 2008
I went way out of my way to get to the Dieppe Memorial in Regina. I drove and drove, winding thru a neighborhood. Per the map – and it’s just a dot, with no address, it is on a river. In my mind, I was anticipating this really cool memorial where the soldiers are getting out of their boats and running ashore or something…that they could have done, since it’s near the river. But alas, no. It’s in a neighborhood, next to the Dieppe Grade School. And it is just a cement block with some words, and the flags. What a disappointment. [I suppose they also didn’t want to somehow showcase their “retreat” by having more there.]
I drove around downtown. It is a dumpy downtown…nothing of interest to me. I wanted to see the Legislative Building, but couldn’t see/find it downtown. And it’s not on my map. I asked a local, and she gave me directions and said it is wayyyy across the bridge. I was gearing up for the long haul. Come to find out…it is less than ½ mile away. But there are NO signs…nothing. No signs saying turn here, no signs saying what it is. I saw a building, and thought it is either the Legislative Building or it is an art museum. Later, I found out that Walter Scott [first premier of Saskatchewan] had the building designed to be similar to the Lovre in Paris. So…thinking it was an art museum was not so far off!
I parked and went into the building to look around. You walk in, and there is a kindly older gentlemen sitting there. Just him. No security guard, no security screening device, no nothing…just him sitting there. He said that I can’t just walk around, BUT there is a tour every 30 minutes. I had 20 minutes to wait.
I decided to scam the system and asked him if I could go to their café. Sure. He asked my name, and wrote it down in a log book and gave me a visitor’s badge. That’s it.
Went to the café…annnddddd…I’m back to eating poutine! Poutine = French fries + gravy + cheese curds. Gotta love it!
Went back to take the tour. They give them in French and English. The gentleman told me that there is a couple waiting for each tour, and the guides s/b out any moment. I walked up to one of the men waiting, and said “English?”
He responded “Why, yes I am” with a British accent. He’s probably thinking…how in the world did she know? Ha.
During the tour I became a 14 yr old boy:
In my mind, when I think of Regina, I pronounce the “I” as eee. However, the locals pronounce the “I” as eye. Every time the guide said Regina, I lost concentration to what she was saying and thought back to that Seinfeld episode, where Seinfeld has forgotten the name of his gfriend, but knows that it rhymes with a female body part. I giggled to myself.
They call the native people Aboriginals. Lots of them living in Regina.
Per the guide, most of Saskatchewan is river/lakes and trees. Only the south is prairie and flat.
They have a public library inside. Anyone can come in and use it. Can you imagine the White House having a library that anyone can come in and use?
In the legislative chamber, the gov’t party sits on one side, and the opposition party on the other – facing each other. In the gallery above, people sit so they can see their “side”. Thus, above the gov’t party sits the opposition party’s people.
The Legislative Building sits near the river. There is a trail by the river, and lots of flowers and ducks. It seems that a lot of people use the trail, but no one/vessel was in the water.
After the tour, I took off for the 7.25 hour drive to Calgary.
Little did I know that yesterday was the prettier part of the drive to Calgary. Unsure what the definition of prairie is, but this is probably it. Reminded me of west Texas. Towns were smaller [1 or 2 buildings] and further apart. Most little towns didn’t have a gas station. It was a really boring drive. So boring…that I started listening to my learn to speak French cds, which I rarely put in…cuz I’m looking around me taking things in.
When I looked at the route a few weeks ago, it did look like there was nothing between Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary. But I just assumed that I was an ignorant American and just don’t know better. There isn’t. I would NOT recommend this route to anyone.
There are lots of trains going by – both yesterday and today.
No mile markers.
Before a little town, there are what looks like homemade signs advertising places…and they are ?? probably 3’ high and 5’ long, and close to the ground [not high up].
Remember when a highway went thru a town? Or I should say, the town grew/expanded around the highway. Then in the states they built the interstate and bypassed the towns. You drive on the interstate and think…oh…there’s a town somewhere over there, I wonder what it looks like? That is why I like to drive the old highways and not the interstates…so I can see the towns.
Here [at least the Trans Canadian Highway 1] they still go thru the towns. I like that. There is a sign stating “Important Intersection” and a speed limit change…so you can pull off/on.
It was 95’ at 6 pm with no clouds in the sky today!! This must be some sort of a record.
Immediately once I entered into Alberta, the landscape changed – baby mountains/hills, short grass and sand. But this didn’t last too long, and I was back at boring.
Near Medicine Hat were some really pretty scenery but that came and went…and I was back to flat.
There are oil and gas equipment/facilities [pump jacks] everywhere. There are cows/farmland/pump jacks. And did I mention flat?
About 1 hour from Calgary the baby mountains/lumpy hills/pretty green pasture land started up. Pump jacks still all around.
20 km [12 miles] from Calgary there is zero sign that a city is anywhere nearby – just farmland.