Welcome to Calgary, a cosmopolitan city rooted in cowboy history and more recently the heart of Canada’s oil industry. With two rivers, the Bow and the Elbow running through the centre of the city, Calgary is an active community where the great outdoors and urban living collide.
Overnight: International Hotel (Dinner)
Today we embark on a tour of Calgary and discover the history, arts and culture that define the city. Explore unique communities including Eau Claire, Kensington and Inglewood, named the best neighbourhood in Canada in 2014.
We spend time at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre of Canada, which honours and preserves Canadian Music’s diverse history through interactive exhibits and displays showcasing all musical genres.
This afternoon we step back in time at Heritage Park Historical Village, Canada’s largest living history museum. Explore nearly a century of Alberta’s history from the fur traders and first nation way of life in 1860 to a more modern time of the 1950’s. From the antique midway, the steam train and Gasoline Alley, showcasing one of the largest collections of antique cars in Canada, there is something for everyone at Heritage Park.
Overnight: International Hotel (Breakfast)
Travelling north east of Calgary, we soon arrive in Drumheller, Alberta. Located in the Badlands of the Red Deer Valley, Drumheller was once a booming Coal town with over 100 active coal mines in the region. Now, it is best known as the home of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.
Royal Tyrrell Museum was named after, Joseph Burr Tyrrell, a geologist who accidentally unearthed the first dinosaur fossil in the Red Deer Valley in 1884 while searching for coal seams. Royal Tyrrell opened in 1985 and is a world renowned museum boasting over 130 000 fossils and one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) skeletons in the world.
This afternoon we continue through the Badlands to the golden prairies as we cross from Alberta in to the province of Saskatchewan known as Land of Living Skies. Saskatchewan is primarily known for its agriculture production but also has significant oil reserves and is the world’s largest producer and exporter of Sylvite, commonly known as Potash.
We arrive in Saskatoon, a bustling city with a thriving art scene on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River late this afternoon where the evening will be at your leisure.
Overnight: Delta Bessbourough (Breakfast)
This morning we travel a short distance north of Saskatoon to Wanuskewin Heritage Park, a place steeped in Aboriginal history. Wanuskewin, which means Gathering Place, is an ancient site dating back 6000 years where nomadic tribes who roamed the Northern Plains came together to hunt, gather food and shelter themselves from the frigid winters. Archaeological sites at Wanuskewin date back 6000 years which make them older than the Egyptian Pyramids. Much of Wanuskewin has been unearthed and preserved, and continues to be discovered with active archaeological digs but a great deal remains undiscovered.
We continue onto Batoche National Historic Site, originally a Metis settlement, it has become known for its role in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885. The Northwest Rebellion was a brief uprising by the Metis people, led by Louis Riel and ultimately ending in the definitive battle at the Siege of Batoche. Discover the story of this important moment in Canadian history at Batoche, where bullet holes from that fateful battle can still be seen today.
Travelling back in to Saskatoon, we discover the inspiration for the city name, the Saskatoon Berry at a local berry farm. Saskatoon berries are grown primarily in Western Canada and north western regions of the United States. A sweet, dry berry, now used locally for baking and preserves, was once used by Aboriginals to make pemmican, historically, a staple of their diet.
Our day ends with a peaceful dinner cruise on the South Saskatchewan River, under the lights of downtown Saskatoon.
Overnight: Delta Bessbourough (Breakfast, Dinner)
Departing Saskatoon this morning we travel south to Regina, the capital city of Saskatchewan. The home of Saskatchewan’s government, Regina was named originally names Wascana, Cree for ‘Buffalo Bones’ before being renamed Regina, Latin for ‘Queen’ in 1882 honouring Queen Victoria.
We explore Regina on a city tour featuring the Saskatchewan Legislature, Government house, and the Wascana Centre. Wascana Centre is the largest urban park in North America, more than double the size of Central Park in New York City, honours the original city name and has become an important community space for Regina residents.
Our tour of Regina ends at the RCMP Heritage Centre and Depot Academy, the home of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), where RCMP members have trained since 1885 and even today remains the only RCMP training site in Canada.
Overnight: Doubletree by Hilton Regina (Breakfast, Dinner)
Heading west on the Trans-Canada Highway, we arrive in Moose Jaw, a small city with a big history. Moose Jaw, home of Canadian Forces Base Moose Jaw which is the base of the world renowned Snow Birds, an Air Force aerobatic flight team. Moose Jaw is also famous of the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, prohibition era tunnels used by Al Capone himself between Chicago and Moose Jaw, which we explore on a guided tour.
Continuing west the flat prairie, turns in the rolling hills as we once again cross the Saskatchewan, Alberta border as we arrive back in Alberta and in the small city of Medicine Hat. Home of the ‘World’s Largest Teepee’ and perched along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, Medicine Hat is a thriving small city.
In Medicine Hat, we visit Medalta Museum, showcasing the history of Medicine Hats clay industry. Beginning in 1885, the clay industry in Medicine Hat produced bricks, tile, pipe and cement for much of western Canada and was one of the few industries that managed to survive labour shortages created by WW1.
Overnight: Comfort Inn Medicine Hat (Breakfast)
Our first stop today is at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park and National Historic Site in south eastern Alberta, featuring the largest collection of rock art in North America. Petroglyphs and pictographs carved and painted on sandstone walls record the history of the Blackfoot and Shoshone, dating back thousands of years.
We continue on to the small Alberta town of Fort Macleod, home of the Fort Museum of the North West Mounted Police, featuring exhibits curated from over 8,000 artifacts telling the stories of the First Nations people, the early history of the Northwest Mounted Police, and the settlement of the region. Just outside of Fort Macleod, we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump, one of the world's oldest, largest, and best preserved buffalo jumps. The Jump bears witness to a method of hunting practiced by native people of the North American plains for nearly 6,000 years.
Finally, we travel north to Calgary where we enjoy a special farewell dinner and reflect on our journey.
Overnight: International Hotel (Breakfast, Dinner)
Following breakfast, bid farewell to your fellow travellers as you begin your return journey.
Tour Includes: 7 nights of accommodation (3.5–4 star), professional Tour Leader, transportation on deluxe motorcoach, roundtrip airport transfers in Calgary, 11 meals: 7 breakfasts, 4 dinners.
|8 Day Canadian Heartland: Exploring HIstoric Saskatchewan & Alberta|
|Pricing is per person|
|CAD (does not include 5% tax)|
|Note: Arrival and departure flights can be booked for any time on first and last day of the tour.|