|Our new home city|
My knowledge of Saskatchewan, before Shawn told me of his plans to move here, was abysmal. I liken it to the knowledge that an American, living in Texas, has of Canada. Basically I knew it was there, but why would I know care to know much more than that? It was "Gapyland" to me; the gap between the western provinces (BC, AB) and the eastern provinces (ON, QC). I knew my mom was raised there born in Saskatchewan but I had only been in Saskatchewan one time in my recollection and no plans to return. But fast forward to January 2011 and Saskatchewan is where my husband and I have made plans to be for the next 6-8 years, give or take.
When we first arrived a month ago, I truly felt that it was a complete different country than Alberta. Perhaps, I should blame the fact that I more regularly travel within Alberta, or I leave Canada completely, going to the states or further away. So the differences between the two provinces had me subconciously thinking I was in a different country. Multiple times, I found myself about to make a purchase and thinking, "Drat, I only have Canadian money".
I am a of-the-moment curious person. When I watch a movie I like, the first thing I do afterwards is research all about it. If I read a good book, I am online trying to find out everything, from who wrote it, what reviews did it get, will it become a movie, is there a sequel, etc. That's how I know the entire British Royalty line of the Tudors. I could discuss the lineage and wives of Henry VIII in my sleep thanks to my curiousity after reading "The Other Bolyen Girl". So when I moved to Saskatoon, wikipedia and fellow online encyclopedias became frequently visited by me, trying to learn about this seemingly quiet sister of Alberta. I will share some of my recently acquired knowledge... So, who knew.....
1) "Saskatchewan" comes from a Cree word "Kisiskatchewani Sipi" meaning "swift flowing river", which referred to the Saskatchewan River... Since my grandmother is full Cree AND from Saskatchewan, you would think I would have known this, but nope.
2) Saskatoon is the largest city in the province, with a population of roughly 234, 000. The capital, Regina, follows close behind with 194,000. After that, you get small cities half the size of Lethbridge and the whole population of the province just barely hits a million.
3) Saskatoon is well-beloved for it's architecture and bridges, and is named (not sure by whom, or by how many) "The Paris of the Praries"... or "The City of Bridges". The university, itself, is quite charming with the brick buildings, quite the contrast to the concrete slab called the U of L.
4) Bell Mobility does not exist here, but have no fear Sasktel does, which seems to be the choice of mobile phone providers. Alas, they do not have the iPhone so we signed with Telus.
5) There are only 2 L.D.S. stakes in the entire province. Contrast that with the fact that the town of Magrath and Raymond (2000 pop. each) each have their own stake and . But, literally, half of our ward is young marrieds, like ourselves, so it seems that moving to SK for hopes to get into dental school is the thing to do.
6) After 24 years of escaping the thievery called 'PST' we now are paying 10% tax... (5% fed/ 5% prov)... also, I am pretty sure that Saskatchewan isn't known for being rat-free like Alberta so I am dreading my first run-in with the squirm-inducing creatures.
7) SK is the leading exporter of potash (which Shawn tells me is used in fertilizer) and the world leader in the production of uranium. That means nothing to me, but hey, good job Saskatchewan!
8) Regina is the home to the RCMP Training Academy. Wonder what the crime rate is like with all those Mounties catching their man out here.
9) Some famous
a) John Diefenbaker- 13th Prime Minister of Canada
c) Gordie Howe- Mr. Hockey himself
d) Hayley Wickenheiser- Women's Team Canada Hockey Captain
e) Catriona Le May Doan- Gold Medal Olympic Speed Skater
f) Joni Mitchell- singer/songwriter
So there are some random facts about our new home, Saskatchewan, the easiest province to draw, home of the Roughriders, and not-so-proud owner of ridiculously badly kept highways.