Originally called Rupert’s Land, Saskatchewan formally became a province in 1905. Despite being a young province, its history extends far into the past. Indigenous peoples have occupied Saskatchewan for thousands of years, and the province was first settled by Europeans in 1774.

If you’re looking to take a road trip and explore Saskatchewan’s rich history, consider visiting the following heritage sites! Each offers a unique view into the province’s past and insights into how Saskatchewan evolved into what it is today.

Addison Sod House

As settlers flooded into the prairies, many individuals built sod houses, or “soddies,” to live in. Soddies were built of sod bricks, large rectangles of earth held together by dense grass roots. The so-called bricks were placed grass-side down and created thick solid walls that would protect inhabitants from harsh prairie weather.

These homes were originally intended to carry their inhabitants through their first few harsh prairie winters while they built more permanent structures. As such, very few examples of this unique prairie architecture remain.
the sun sets over a natural winter landscape in saskatchewan
One enduring soddie, built by Jim Addison between 1909 and 1911, became a National Historic Site of Canada in 2004. When you visit the Addison Sod House, you can witness firsthand the care that Jim Addison put into building this home, which ultimately has enabled it to stand for over 100 years.

Esterhazy Flour Mill

If there’s one thing Saskatchewan is known for, it’s wheat. This prairie province acts as the breadbasket of Canada and has fertile soil that has supported farmers for decades. So, it only makes sense that flour mills and grain elevators symbolize Saskatchewan’s rich agricultural history.

Esterhazy’s Hungarian Patent Mill is both a historic site and an architectural marvel. Visitors can marvel not only at the mill’s size, but at the detailed hand-made chute, wooden pegged beam connections, and the post and tennon, all of which were constructed before electricity was available in the area.

Île-à-la-Crosse

As the second oldest community in Saskatchewan, Île-à-la-Crosse is rife with history. This historic site originated as a borderland between the Dene and Cree peoples. As settlers began to build trading posts, Île-à-la-Crosse evolved into a meeting place for the Cree, Dene, Metis, and settler populations.
a saskatchewan lake reflecting a bright blue sky and flanked by trees on a summer day
Inherently shaped by the fur trade, Île-à-la-Crosse acted as a site for early Metis culture as Indigenous and settler populations formed familial and business relationships.

While there are many sites in Saskatchewan where cultural and economic exchanges took place, Île-à-la-Crosse is unique due to its complicated 240-year legacy, connection with Louis Riel’s sister, Sara Riel, and stunning natural environment.

Marr Residence

Nestled in the heart of Saskatoon, the Marr Residence is a National Historic Site that has stood proud throughout the city’s tumultuous history. Built by Alexander and Margaret Marr, this home speaks acts as a tie between contemporary Saskatoon and its historical origins.
A west facing view of Saskatoons skyline in the early evening the south saskatchewan river is calm and reflects the skyline above
As a home, former field hospital, and historic site, the Marr Residence has always welcomed residents and visitors. Currently, the site offers various tours throughout the year, but the garden adjacent to the house is always open to the public for free!

This well-tended garden is the perfect place to take in the house’s dormer windows and second empire architectural style, catch up with friends, or study. If you want to take a piece of history home with you, you can purchase Mrs. Marr’s Rhubarb Recipes cookbook or homemade rhubarb leaf stepping stones from the gift shop or online.

National Doukhobor Heritage Village

The National Doukhobor Heritage Village is situated around the Veregin Doukhobor Prayer Home, which was declared a Provincial Heritage Building in 1982. However, the heritage village itself was established on June 29th, 1980, on the Doukhobor holiday, Peter’s Day.

Despite many Doukhobors relocating to British Columbia in the 20th century, this unique culture has remained steadfast and proud in the prairies. The National Doukhobor Heritage Village is one example of how the Doukhobor’s legacy has impacted Saskatchewan.

The two prayer homes, which ground the village in its unique ethnoreligious faith, are flanked by eleven other buildings, including dwellings filled with historical artifacts. Each building offers visitors insights into Doukhobor customs and the ways they adapted to life on the Canadian prairies.

If you want to elevate your experience at the heritage village, consider calling ahead! The village hosts celebrations where guests can try Doukhobor delicacies like Shishliki and Doukhobor bread baked in a peche.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re visiting, new to Saskatchewan, or are a lifelong resident, there is still plenty to explore in the land of the living skies, especially in the spring and summer.

So, if you want to learn more about Indigenous cultures, pioneer life, or the people that helped kickstart the province’s bustling cities, you can start by checking out the above heritage sites!

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For more information on our property management services, reach out to us today!