Is driving through Saskatchewan boring?

Saskatchewan has a reputation as a boring drive through an unending sprawl of wheat fields. (Kirk Fraser/CBC - image credit)
Saskatchewan has a reputation as a boring drive through an unending sprawl of wheat fields. (Kirk Fraser/CBC - image credit)

Stream Good Question, Saskatchewan on CBC Listen or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Saskatchewan has a reputation as a province to skip over.

"Everybody had been telling us, 'Oh, just fly over the Prairies, there's nothing there,'" said Mark Richardson, author of Canada's Road: A Journey on the Trans-Canada Highway from St. John's to Victoria.

"You don't make any turns, you just go straight."

The Trans-Canada Highway, also known as Highway 1, stretches 7,000 kilometres through all 10 provinces. It is a popular route for driving between major Canadian cities.

Some people seem to think there's nothing to see on the stretch through southern Saskatchewan.

"It's pretty flat and nondescript," said Kevin Weedmark, editor and publisher of The World Spectator, Moosomin's local newspaper.

Weedmark asked the CBC podcast Good Question, Saskatchewan, "Why is Highway 1 where it is?"

Weedmark said that if the highway were just a few kilometres further north, drivers would see a totally different side of Saskatchewan.

"Every time I drive in the region, I think, what if this highway was through the Qu'Appelle Valley, because it runs parallel to the highway all along," said Weedmark. "You'd be driving by Round Lake, Crooked Lake, Fort Qu'Appelle, Pasqua, Lake, Craven, Lumsden.

"How different would people's perception be of Saskatchewan if that was the case?"

Richardson, who has driven the Trans-Canada multiple times and researched it extensively, said the highway was meant to be efficient, not pretty.

"It was agreed that it would take the shortest possible route," he said.

According to Richardson, the insistence on reaching your destination as quickly as possible persists today.

"Many people leave Regina saying, 'Oh, I've got to get to Calgary.' They probably won't even stop," he said.

Richardson believes the short, flat route has shaped the notion that Saskatchewan is the province to skip over.

But he said people with that attitude will miss the province's beauty.

"There's so much on the Prairies if you just want to look for it, right?"

Richardson said he would like to remind folks you don't have to take the Trans-Canada Highway. Other routes might take you longer, but the scenery will be worth it.

"It's much better, I tell you."

Land of Living Stories Lebret Qu'Appelle Valley Saskatchewan
Land of Living Stories Lebret Qu'Appelle Valley Saskatchewan

The Qu'Appelle Valley is one of the beautiful sights available to those willing to detour off the Trans-Canada Highway. (Ntawnis Piapot/CBC)

Richardson suggested there should be signs alonf the Trans-Canada telling people what they could see if they're willing to make a bit of a detour.

Weedmark gave one idea. He said the next time you're on Highway 1 near Moosomin, head south into the Pipestone Valley to see Moosomin Lake.

"It's a beautiful, beautiful spot," he said. "Driving down the Trans-Canada, you might not realize it's there, but it's an absolutely amazing, amazing little spot just off the highway."