Today we only walked 17 km, but it gave us time to explore the beautiful urban trails of Regina. We picked up the Trans Canada Trail where we left off, on the paved cycling path around Wascana Lake, which is also called the Blue Route.
From this side of the lake we again enjoyed a wonderful view of the Saskatchewan Legislative Buildings, and the decorative Prince Albert Bridge beside them.
A little farther around the shore we came to a complex of large wood paneled buildings that housed the Wascana Racing Canoe Club and the Regina Rowing Club. There were a fleet of colourful kayaks and canoes for rent, and a group of young summer campers were out learning how to paddle. It looked like a lot of fun. At the upscale Willow Bar above the club patrons enjoyed the view across the lake from large, cozy looking chairs on the outdoor patio.
As we made our way along a small sandy beach and then crossed a curved pedestrian bridge with picturesque red railings we stopped to watch a group of birds. There were Canada Geese and Mallards in the water, American Crows sitting in the red pines overhead, and young Ring-billed Gulls hanging out on the shore. A small flock of House Sparrows was eating grass seeds, and a group of Rock Doves joined them. A Barn Swallow was foraging above the water, and a lone American White Pelican was paddling below it. As we watched this activity a young city worker asked if we were interested in birds, and told us there is a Peregrine Falcon nest on the Legislative Building. Very exciting to learn about the potential to see a Falcon in the city as well as be reminded that people everywhere are closet birders!
As we continued around the forested shore we came to a beautifully carved and colorfully painted totem pole, which was gifted from the BC government in 1971. It was created from western red cedar by Lloyd Wadhams of the Namgis First Nation, and given to mark the centenary of BC's joining with the Dominion of Canada on July 20th, 1871.
Just a few meters farther down the forested path was the Sisters Legacy Statue, depicting two Catholic sisters, one a teacher and the other a nurse. The bronze casts were done by Prince Albert artist Jack Jensen, and were intended to commemorate the courage and commitment of religious women across Saskatchewan who helped establish health services and education in their local communities. The proximity of this monument to the totem pole gave us food for thought, and pointed to the complexity of the role religious orders have played in our history and in that of First Nations.
As we continued around the lake we came to a small water treatment facility that had a large pipe with water flowing out of it. What could have been an ugly necessity was made into something interesting by the presence of several cute wooden animals positioned on the pipe, and the story of a squirrel named Frank which details how the woodland creatures made their home a better place for everyone!
It was a mostly sunny morning, and the trail was full of people out jogging, walking, and cycling. I always enjoy seeing a beautiful trail being well-used and appreciated, and the waterfront certainly seemed to be alive this morning. The park itself was also being revitalized, with construction work being done around the "Bitter Memories of Childhood" monument which commemorates the famine in the Ukraine, USSR, and Cossack territories in 1932-33, that killed millions of Ukrainians and Cossacks.
We were surprised to find a cairn dedicated to the United Empire Loyalists a little farther down the shore. The monument honours Americans who sided with the British during the American Revolution, and apparently the stones in the cairn were collected from the farms and homesteads of the descendants of Loyalist pioneers who settled the lands around Regina.
At this point we had made it around the lake to the Legislative Buildings, and enjoyed walking past the beautiful flower gardens once again. As we passed by a jogger stopped to ask what we were doing, and enthusiastically declared that he was jealous of doing a cross country hike.