Battleford, Batoche & Beyond Tour
This driving tour of central Saskatchewan allows visitors to walk in the footsteps of those who turned the tide of history of the Canadian West. This tour will retrace the steps of fur traders and the North West Mounted Police, to the North West Rebellion and subsequent hanging of Louis Riel, a man whose legacy of hero or traitor is still hotly debated. This is the West in her infancy, the raw West of red-hot passions and burning pride.
To begin, travel north from Saskatoon on Hwy # 11 to the town of Rosthern. This pretty town offers many recreational opportunities including an 18-hole course at the Valley Regional Park. Visit the Station Arts Centre, an award-winning renovated CN Station converted into an art gallery, tea room and performing arts theatre. Other sites include the Mennonite Heritage Museum, and Petite Ville, a historic Métis settlement predating Batoche.
From Rosthern, travel east on secondary Hwy # 312 to the Seager Wheeler Farm, a National Historic Site. Exhibits include original buildings, flower gardens and a century old house also serving as a tea room and visitor centre. Seager Wheeler (1868-1961) was an international prizewinner in wheat competitions and author of numerous publications on progressive farming techniques.
Continue east on Hwy # 312 and then north on Hwy # 225 to Batoche National Historic Site of Canada, once the center of Métis settlement during the late 1800s, and the last battlefield in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885. Several restored buildings provide a glimpse of the lifestyle of the Métis of Batoche between 1860 and 1900. The visitor centre and exhibit hall offers an exceptional award-winning audio-visual presentation.
From Batoche, retrace your route back to Hwy # 11. A recommended side trip is to the town of Duck Lake, located on Hwy # 11, (88 km North of Saskatoon and 44 km South of Prince Albert.) Duck Lake is in the center of an area great in historical importance; the site of the Battle of Duck Lake, the site of the Duck Lake Massacre, Fort Carlton, a buffalo jump and the St. Laurent Shrine.
From Hwy # 11, turn west on Hwy # 212 to Fort Carlton. Fort Carlton Provincial Park takes you back in time to the original site of a Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading post that operated between 1810 and 1885. Visit the reconstructed pallisade, provisions store, clerk’s quarters and tipi encampment. Interpreters guide visitors through these areas. Campground onsite.
Retrace your route back to Hwy # 11, and continue north to Prince Albert. The city itself offers many cultural experiences, including historic sites, fascinating museums and fine dining.
From Prince Albert, travel north on Hwy # 2, then turn west on Secondary Hwy # 264 to Prince Albert National Park. The park protects a slice of the boreal forest and contains many outstanding natural and cultural features, including the only fully-protected white pelican nesting colony in Canada, rare fescue grasslands, free-ranging plains bison and the isolated, lakeside cabin of conservationist Grey Owl. A rich Aboriginal history in the area dates back over 8000 years. The village of Waskesiu in the park offers full accommodations and services.
Return to Hwy # 2, and turn south travelling almost to Prince Albert. Turn west on Hwy # 40 to the Battlefords. At the junction of Hwy # 12 travel south from Blaine Lake for 14 km then turn east on the grid road; travel 10 km to the Doukhobor Dugout House. Visit the dugout ruins, the reconstructed dugout and archaeological dig as constumed interpreters, including ‘Leo Tolstoy’ recount the dramatic story of the Russian Doukhobors who fled their homeland to start a new life in Western Canada.
Retrace your steps to Hwy # 40 and turn west to North Battleford. At the junction of Hwy # 40 and Hwy # 4, go south to Fort Battleford National Historic Site. Established in 1876, Fort Battleford presided over some of the most pivotal events in the history of Western Canada.
The site commemorates the role of the North West Mounted Police at the fort from 1876 to 1885, as well as the role of the fort during the North West Rebellion of 1885, included its role in the siege of Battleford. Tour the new visitors centre and fully restored original buildings, four with period furniture. Barracks 5 houses an interpretive display.
Travel north on Hwy # 4 (which becomes Hwy # 40), then turn west to rejoin the Yellowhead Highway # 16 to Edmonton.
Points of Interest
Prince Albert National Park