1.25 kilometres - 15 minutes
Wascana Centre is a place for fun. Enjoy a picnic in Goosehill Park, explore the Saskatchewan Science Centre, visit the Kramer Imax Theatre, or play at Candy Cane Park. There’s something for everyone!
The Wascana Marina was constructed for the 1975 Western Canada Summer Games. It provides a launching site for the many canoes and sailboats found on Wascana Lake during the summer months. The Wascana Marina Building was officially opened May 15, 1981 to serve as a warm-up shelter in the winter, but in January 1986 it was altered to serve as a year round restaurant facility. For the 2005 Canada Summer Games it was expanded to include larger storage facilities as well as year round washrooms/change rooms. The building was renamed the Canada Games Wascana Lake Centre. The Forbes Foundation play area in the lower marina was completed and opened in July 2011.
Across the road and to the north is Wascana Place. Maps and information on Wascana Centre and the city are available here. When it's not booked, the beautiful Lady Slipper Courtyard at the rear of the building is also open Monday - Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm for the public to come and enjoy.
Behind Wascana Place you will find the Oskana exhibit. The circle is an archaic power symbol dating far back into prehistoric times representing fertility, growth, woman, and goddess. Examples can be found in the carvings of Indigenous peoples dating back 20,000 years. The medicine wheel and the teepee circle are more examples of the significance of the circle to the early inhabitants of the plains.
As a counterpart to the circle symbol, the bronze bison skulls symbolize death, an ending or termination. They are the literal representation of Wascana - the corruption of the Cree word “oskana” - pile of bones. [specifically bison bones]
The radicals (large boulders deposited throughout the prairies at the end of the last ice age) were carried from the general region of Flin Flon, Manitoba and act as a metaphor for the migrations important to the history of the prairies. The migration of the Indigenous communities to and back from Central and South America and the immigration from Eastern Canada, Europe and elsewhere. This sculpture was completed in the summer of 1989 by Saskatchewan artist Doug Hunter.
Once you cross Broad Street you enter an area of Wascana Centre called Goosehill Park, a popular picnic area. The gently rolling terrain was built by using the excavation of a sunken parking lot behind the College Avenue Campus of the University of Regina. In the winter Goose Hill becomes a favourite spot for tobogganing and cross country skiing.
The Wascana Marsh, east of the Broad Street Bridge, is formally designated as a wildlife refuge. This came about in September of 1913 when the provincial government established the area as the Wascana Game Preserve. Part of the preserve later became the Wascana Bird Sanctuary and then the Wascana Waterfowl Park.
As you walk along the lakeshore if you look across the lake you can see the Conexus Arts Centre. The Conexus Arts Centre provides southern Saskatchewan with a versatile centre for cultural and theatrical productions. It was built as a centennial project in 1967 and completed in 1970.
This area is one of the busiest barbecue areas in Wascana Centre. Each site has been designed as a self-contained unit made up of two picnic tables, a concrete barbecue, and a waste container. The privacy provided by the trees and shrubbery around each barbecue site encourages people to use the facilities for family and group functions.
Up ahead the oval concrete structure is a typical Wascana Centre washroom. Many people consider these washrooms to be the safest place to shelter in the event of a tornado because the concrete walls are 15 inches thick at their widest point. These washrooms have also received many awards for their architectural design.
Looking over at the lake you can see Pelican Island. It is one of two new islands that were built with excess soil from the “Big Dig” in 2004. From shore you can observe a variety of birds on the island such as pelicans, crested cormorants, ring-billed gulls, and common terns. The other island, Pine Island, which is accessible by a walk way, is located just west of the Broad Street Bridge.
You will come upon the Skateboard Plaza which was built by the City of Regina. The skate plaza was designed for “street skating” by incorporating urban terrain elements such as benches, rails and ledges. Through the use of landscaping and art, the skate plaza was built to resemble a town square, which allows it to be a multi-use park that is aesthetically pleasing.
In 1987 the Saskatchewan Power Corporation sold the large brick building on your right to the Saskatchewan Science Centre. The Science Centre’s doors opened in 1989 with numerous facilities for the public. There are permanent exhibits for all-ages and the Discovery Shop has many gifts for the scientific mind. The low white building attached to the Saskatchewan Science Centre is owned by SaskPower, and is used as a research and development centre. Originally the buildings on this site were used as part of a province-wide electrical distribution system. The modern grey building connected to the Science Centre is the Kramer Imax Theatre. This theatre contains a five story high screen, showing the most technically advanced motion pictures ever created. The Skye Cafe & Bistro is also attached to the Science Centre buildin and provides a wide variety of world-class dining selections.
Across the lake is Goose Island, one of the favorite nesting grounds for Canada Geese. The rectangular man-made pond in the centre of the island was originally a dug out and now serves as a shelter for the geese. Each year approximately 250 pairs of geese nest in Wascana Centre. Canada Geese stay with the same mate their whole lives. In most cases they do not nest until at least three years of age. In their third year, the female and her mate return to nest in the general area where they were raised and learned to fly.
Up ahead on the left is Candy Cane Park, named for the candy cane striped structures in the play area. It was constructed in 1979 during the International Year of the Child. This is a popular children’s park with many climbing opportunities. There are also a number of picnic sites in this area.
This walk ends at the overlook with a reflection on the past when Wascana Lake was just a small winding creek surrounded by nothing but thick grass and herds of buffalo. This area was a prime hunting ground for many tribes who lived off the buffalo. Once the buffalo had been killed, racks would be set up along the banks of the creek to dry the meat. The bones were then gathered in a pile. According to tribal beliefs, the spirit of the slain animals lingered near the bones and to ensure safe passage, each hunter deposited a bone as he passed. That is why Regina was referred to as Pile O’ Bones. That is also where the name Wascana comes from. Wascana is derived from a Cree word, OSCANA, which means “the place of the pile of burnt bones”. Captain Palliser, upon a visit to the area in 1857 mistook the word Oscana for Wascana, which we have used ever since.
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