A Saskatchewan Summer Pastime - 'Going to the Lake'! 25 Fun Saskatchewan Facts
Visiting the downtown of one of the province’s cities on a summer weekend can be a lonely experience. Ask almost anybody what they are planning for the weekend, and the most common answer is “heading to the lake.” Heather Persson shares some fun facts about Saskatchewan’s obsession with making the most of the precious summer days.
5 Aug 2017 Regina Leader-Post
The beach point at Regina Beach attracts swimmers, sun-worshippers and fishermen alike. There are plenty of summer sunny days to enjoy the province’s bodies of water. Photo Bryan Schlosser
1 People around the country think this province is made up of nothing but flat grain fields. In reality, it’s got about 100,000 lakes.
2 According to the Atlas of Canada, the total area of freshwater in Saskatchewan is 59,366 square kilometres.
3 Lake Athabasca is the largest lake in the province, covering an area of 7,935 square kilometres.
4 Lakes in Saskatchewan were formed during glaciation in the Quaternary period. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, glaciers moved southwest across the land, leaving lakes behind them. At one point in the development of Saskatchewan’s topography, these bodies of water nearly covered the whole province.
5 A RE/MAX recreational property report released in 2016 found that 88 per cent of people in Saskatchewan had spent time at a cottage or cabin in the last year. The same report noted respondents cited “quiet atmosphere” and “privacy” as the most important reason for doing so.
6 Little Manitou Lake has a mineral density three times greater than the ocean, so visitors are able to float easily and peacefully. The resort town of Manitou Beach, located about an hour’s drive from Saskatoon, has a mineral spa and resort.
7 Last summer, Saskatchewan Government Insurance registered 51,674 recreational vehicles. These included fibreglass cabin trailers (26,681), metal cabin trailers (16,233), tent trailers (1,876), motorhomes (6,155), buses used as motorhomes (52) and vans used as motorhomes (677).
8 Northern Saskatchewan has incredible lakes, but visitors can also experience incredible waits at Diefenbaker Bridge in Prince Albert as weekends come to a close. Campers can be stuck for hours.
9 The province has one cable-free ferry. The Wollaston Lake Barge Ferry connects Wollaston Lake to Highway 905. It is also the only ferry of the 13 in the province that charges a fee.
10 Saskatchewan is a haven for shorebirds; more than 30 varieties can be found here. Birdwatchers can get a thrill from catching a glimpse of endangered species like piping plovers and even whooping cranes. Chaplin Lake, the Quill Lakes and Last Mountain Lake Bird Sanctuary are hotbeds of birding activity — especially during spring and fall migration seasons.
11 The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation estimates more than 200,000 anglers take to our waters every year. That accounts for 20 per cent to 25 per cent of Saskatchewan’s population.
12 According to the most recent survey by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, people directly and indirectly spend about $500 million on recreational fishing activities in Saskatchewan annually.
13 Tourism Saskatchewan lists 149 fly-in camps and outfitters offering world-class fishing.
14 The ice fishing world record for walleye (kept) was set on Tobin Lake in 2005. The fish weighed 8.3 kilograms. This is a provincial and world record that remains in place today, according to the Sas- katchewan Wildlife Federation. The largest walleye released measured 96.5 centimetres (38 inches) and was also caught at Tobin Lake in 1997.
15 Some popular Saskatchewan lakes are in fact reservoirs created by dams. These include Tobin Lake, Blackstrap Lake, Buffalo Pound Lake, Lake Diefenbaker and the Rafferty Dam Reservoir.
16 The Red Cross still teaches swimming lessons in Saskatchewan lakes. About 2,300 kids took lessons at the lakefront in 24 communities in 2015-16.
17 As of April, 110,225 pleasure craft licences had been issued by Transport Canada for Saskatchewan; the national total is about 2.8 million.
18 Bark canoes were early forms of transportation for First Nations in Saskatchewan, and became important to early European explorers and fur traders. Canoeing and kayaking are still commonly enjoyed in the summer months. More than a dozen clubs are listed on the Canoe Saskatchewan site, and about the same number of canoe outfitters.
19 For generations, Co-op food stores have been serving up supplies for people rolling to and through rural areas on their way to the lake. According to Federated Co-Op, each summer they sell more than a million hotdogs and buns, 200,000 cans of pop, 100,000 bags of ice, a million marshmallows and 150,000 watermelons. (There’s no statistics on how many of the watermelons are used as headwear at Rider games.)
20 We’ve got the weather to enjoy our lake time. Environment Canada lists Regina as the third sunniest city in Canada with 2,338 hours per year, right behind Calgary (2,405) and Winnipeg (2,372). Saskatoon is in fourth position at 2,329 hours.
21 Technically, it’s illegal to skinny dip. Section 174 of the Criminal Code of Canada disallows nudity in public places or on private property that is exposed to public view “without a lawful excuse.” But as FindLawCanada points out, a Saskatchewan court threw out a 1978 skinny dipping conviction involving three men in a remote lake. The judge said it was not illegal to strip and dip in an isolated place, even if the swimmers “misjudged the loneliness of the place.”
22 While people are free to enjoy the public beaches at provincial parks, their pets are not. Fido and Kitty are not allowed in public swimming areas.
23 In Prince Albert National Park it is possible to hike to the site where famed conservationist Grey Owl lived on Ajawaan Lake. Grey Owl and his wife, daughter and two beavers lived together in two structures that have been turned into an interpretive centre.
24 Mosquitos are the bane of the lake-dweller’s existence. In addition to creating itchy welts, mosquitos in Saskatchewan can also bear West Nile virus. Although the transmission rate to humans was considered minimal to low in late June, the risk was expected to rise in July and reach a peak during August. Provincial health officials encourage people to use repellents and stay inside during times of high activity — warm evenings and between dusk and dawn.
25 According to the provincial government, only two things cause wildfires: people and lightning. Every year, wildfires cause intense stress for firefighters and people displaced by evacuations. Campers must always check for campfire bans, and even when they are not prohibited, take great care to ensure fires are out. Keeping fires small, using fire pits and stands, building fires on rock or sand, and keeping a pail of water and a shovel nearby are all important tips. To report a wildfire, call 1-800-6679660.