Situated along the banks of Canada’s North Saskatchewan River, Prince Albert is commonly regarded as the “Gateway to the North,” given that it is the final major city before reaching Northern Saskatchewan’s vast and sought-after resources. Its rich history dates back to the late 1700s when fur trader and explorer Peter Pond made his way north to set up a trading post. Not until 1862, though, did James Ibister, interpreter for the Hudson’s Bay Company, find suitable land to farm and thus become the first permanent non-native settler in the area.
Today, visitors to Saskatchewan’s third-largest city will find plenty of things to do in Prince Albert. The city’s art scene is vibrant with galleries and museums, showcasing fine contemporary art and historic relics. At the Mann Art Gallery, located only 500 metres west of downtown in the E.A. Rawlinson Centre for the Arts, aficionados can stroll among the ceramics, paintings and multi-media works from local and national artists. One of the more popular displays at the Mann is the collection of works by community artist Wynona Mulcaster. Less than 1 kilometre northeast, history buffs will find the Prince Albert Historical Museum, one of the top attractions in Prince Albert. Here visitors can see regional artefacts in what was once the city’s central fire hall, which dates back to 1912.
Outdoor enthusiasts have plenty of parks to choose from in the summer months. Home to a Peace Grove, which is one of 250 peace parks that can be found in Canada, Mair Park pays tribute to the country’s Canadian Peacekeepers and a longstanding national desire for world peace. Less than 5 kilometres north is the Little Red River Park, with 485 hectares of trails, playgrounds and beach volleyball courts. In the winter months, one of the best things to do in Prince Albert is to head to Little Red River Park for a snowshoeing or cross-country skiing adventure.
A little farther north is Prince Albert National Park. Only a 50-kilometre drive from town, this national park rests along the transition zone for aspen parkland and boreal forest, and is one of the top attractions in the Prince Albert area. Visitors should be on lookout for a free-range herd of Sturgeon River Plains bison, as well as a colony of nesting white pelicans, the only fully protected group of its kind in Canada. Famed conservationist Grey Owl’s “Beaver Lodge” cabin is situated on the shore of Ajawaan Lake and is open to the public, while a wide array of activities from boating to biking and horseback riding are available for recreationists. Golfers will also find a refuge at Prince Albert National Park, where an 18-hole Stanley Thompson-designed golf course dates back to the 1930s. Those who choose to hit the links may also find themselves sharing these rolling, aspen-lined fairways with park wildlife like red fox, deer, elk and pileated woodpeckers that are common at the Waskesiu Golf Course.