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I know, I know... this travel blog is dedicated to our backroad journeys of British Columbia but I had such a great time during my latest trip to Saskatchewan that just had to share.
Before you say, "What's there to see on the prairies?" please allow me to sway you just a bit. The prairies may be flat but what it lacks in mountains and valleys, it more than makes up for with history, friendly people and small town charm.
One of my dearest friends moved from BC to SK many years ago and we've done our best to stay connected. Since COVID began, I had not been out to see her in over two years, and so, when I was finally able to visit, she planned a four day road-trip for us that would include a stay at the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa in Moose Jaw.
The name "Moose Jaw" does not exactly scream "resort town" does it? There are two possible explanations for the name; the river running through the town looks like the jaw of a moose or the name originates from the Plain Cree word moose gaw meaning warm breezes. I like the second explanation best. Either way, Moose Jaw is an unique destination that you don't want to miss.
Moose Jaw was built in 1882 as a hub city by the CPR. It's believed that in 1908, Chinese immigrants, fleeing discrimination, abuse and the Canadian imposed Chinese Head Tax, built a network of tunnels underneath the city where they could live in relative safety. Later, during prohibition, these tunnels found a new use; a hideaway for gambling, prostitution and rum running. It's rumoured that many Chicago mobsters visited Moose Jaw in the 1920s, including Diamond Jim Brady and Al Capone himself. One hundred years later the stories and urban legends abound, resulting in Moose Jaw being dubbed "Canada's Most Notorious City."
Today, walking down the streets of Moose Jaw is like turning back time. Neon signs still light up the streets and the buildings, while trendy inside, have been preserved to retain their historic vibe on the outside.
Moose Jaw has something for everyone; for the foodie, the fashionista and the history buff. You can shop till you drop or chill all day. These are just a few of my recommendations:
Thanks for taking this little side trip with me to one of my favourite prairie towns. Until next time...