Saskatchewan, a Canadian land locked province where the sky really is it’s own special natural attraction, in fact it even says “land of living skies” on our license plates, and for very good reason. There are many reasons to live in or visit Saskatchewan, and it’s natural beauty is just one. In Saskatchewan, day or night, the sky provides an escape to gaze into its depths. The wide open space, the wide open sky, and the freedom of the open road make Saskatchewan a pleasant surprise.
The first thing most people might think of when they hear Saskatchewan, is that it’s a flat prairie province in the middle of Canada. Although it is partially true, it also gives reason to one of Saskatchewan’s best natural assets, the wide open sky views. Trust me, the views from the trans Canada highway are not a very good depiction of the variety found in this province. Fun fact: Saskatchewan is one of two land locked provinces in Canada, and the only one with borders not determined by geographical features. Even the borders are straight!
With a relatively low population to land ratio, the abundance of raw undeveloped land provides the space to appreciate the sky around you. Space to be alone with the view. A variety of weather patterns, cloud formations, severe storms, Aurora borealis, noctilucent clouds and the Milky Way core can all grace our skies. Fun Fact: Saskatchewan is far enough north to get a regular view of the northern lights, but still far enough south that there is still some darkness throughout even the longest days of the year. It’s a unique geographic location that provides the rare view of summer aurora.
With the wide open stretching vistas of the south to the rugged dense forests of the north, Saskatchewan provides a variety of geographic gems from which to view the immensity of the sky.
While the southern portion of the province is vast open prairie, there is a special feeling that embraces the viewer when you can see from horizon to horizon. It can be totally flat and treeless at times, but the space it provides you is like nowhere else. Space to breathe the fresh clean air and smell the wildflowers. Remember, Saskatchewan is not all prairies and flat, over half the province is actually covered in boreal forest, fresh water lakes and plenty of rugged wilderness to explore.
Saskatchewan truly is the land of living skies, a land where the golden glow from a sunrise or sunset can last for hours, where the sky is so dark at night the sky is a shining blanket of stars. The sky holds a power to make you stop, focus and feel in awe at the sight.
Sky Viewing Tips:
For night sky views:
Grasslands National Park is a designated dark sky reserve in Canada, designated by the Royal Astronomical Society. It’s a great place to see the stars, the Milky Way and if the aurora is strong enough, the northern lights can even be seen!
The northern portion of the province is also great for dark sky access as the boreal forest provides true darkness, the further way from light pollution, the better. The blanket of stars is unbelievable.
For sunsets & sunrises:
Typically any location can provide great golden hour views. The southern parts of the province can provide unobstructed views or a lot of old buildings and small towns from early settlements. The north provides forest, lake and river views in an abundance.
Seasonality: Keep in mind that during the summer months sunrise and sunset are very early/late and the night is short. Fall is beautiful when the trees change colour and the seasons change. Winter allows for long nights for stargazing or viewing the aurora while still allowing for golden hour during more reasonable times.
It should be noted these thoughts and opinions are my own and totally biased since I’m born and raised in Saskatchewan. Expressing experiences gained from living in Saskatchewan for 30+ years watching and then photographing the skies.