Wascana Park in Regina, Saskatchewan is often called the Jewel of the Queen City and that's true. It's a massive, lovely greenspace right in the middle of Regina, wrapping around Wascana Lake and anchored by the impressive Saskatchewan Legislative Building. It's beautiful, it's all man made, and we love it.
But more often than not, the park is pretty much empty. Cindy and I walk around the lake most days and we usually don't meet more than a couple of dozen people on our hour long walk.
One major exception to this rule is Canada Day (July 1), when the park is full of people. I walked down to the park in the late afternoon to check things out and see what was shaking.
I knew things were hopping before I ever got to the park. There were cars parked up and down Regina Avenue all the way back to Elphinstone Street and along the side streets too, as people came from all points of the city to have fun in the grass. Lots of red and white outfits, miniature flags and interesting coolers full of refreshments too.
There was lots going on. I avoided the Legislature at the start and turn left instead, making a clockwise loop around the lake. The area around "the Leg" (with a soft 'g' please) was pretty loud. I could hear a cover band playing the Canadian classic "Barracuda" so I gave it a miss for now.
Instead, I walked around to Willow Island and watched some kids feeding the geese. The goslings are already getting pretty big and I'm sure they'll get even bigger after getting fed so much bread today!
The south side of Wascana Park has lots of barbeques and picnic tables and they were all in use today. Heavily in use. The barbeques are a perfect place for a family picnic and it seemed like each bbq had a dozen or more people using it. There were ball games and badminton games going on all over the place. Lots of fun. I was tempted to pose as a long lost cousin so I could get a hot dog and some watermelon, but I chickened out.
The great thing about Wascana Park is that it's so big, many thousands of people can come out and there's still lots of space. For most of the loop around the lake is still green and lovely, even if the path is a little more crowded than usual on Canada Day.
Things are a lot busier in front of the Legislative Building, however. There are lots of food trucks and knick knack booths and activities for the kids. It's a lot noisier than the rest of the park but there's a vibrant energy to the area too. Lots of activities for the kids and grownups too.
Before I left for home, I found where all the music was coming from. This year, they had a real live stage set up with a fenced off beer garden. Being Canada Day, I'm sure the bands were playing Patriotic Songs of the Day, but I couldn't quite make out the words. Ah well. Everyone seemed to be having a good time.
I'll be heading back to the park later tonight for the fireworks. Canada Day fireworks are Regina's biggest, best (and some years, the only) fireworks of the year in the park. They're not to be missed. 2017 is Canada's 150th birthday; I can't wait to see those!