These iconic sites are considered some of the most culturally important places in the West. This is where visitors can connect to those who made history, where you can drink in the now-rare silence, learn the ingenious ways of our ancestors and marvel at the world we share while we enjoy our precious vacation time.
REMINGTON CARRIAGE MUSEUM
| 623 Main St, Cardston, Alta., 403-653-5139, history.alberta.ca/remington
Slow down to one-horsepower, and imagine — just over a century ago this site would have been the new vehicle dealership of its day. Check out the video!
The Remington Carriage Museum displays more than 240 carriages, wagons, buckboards, hansom cabs and other beautifully restored horse-drawn conveyances. The 64,000 sq. ft. (5,900 m2) museum features a working stable, seasonal carriage rides, video displays, wedding rooms, an 80-seat theatre, a Victorian gift shop and a restaurant.
HEAD-SMASHED-IN BUFFALO JUMP INTERPRETIVE CENTRE
| Located 18 km (15 minutes) north and west of Fort Macleod on paved secondary Highway #785, 403-553-2731, history.alberta.ca/headsmashedin
For at least 5,500 years — long before the horse was introduced to the people of the plains — the buffalo jump was an ingenious hunting method used by the indigenous peoples to kill buffalo by driving them off the 11-metre high cliff.
The interpretive centre features indoor and outdoor exhibits including an archaeology dig site, gift shop, cafe, regular immersive experiences in July and August plus many special events. Check out the video!
BARKERVILLE HISTORIC TOWN
| 14301 Hwy 26 E, Barkerville, B.C. Located 80 km East of Quesnel. 1-888-994-3332, barkerville.ca
Founded in 1862, Barkerville was the epicentre of the Cariboo Gold Rush. After the gold played out the town was slowly abandoned. Restoration commenced some sixty years ago to what is now a thriving tourism attraction. Check out the video here!
Today, Barkerville boasts over 125+ heritage buildings, authentic displays, restaurants and shops. All of the site staff dresses their part and Barkerville is now the largest living-history museum in western North America.
NK’MIP DESERT CULTURAL CENTRE
| 1000 Rancher Creek Road, Osoyoos, B.C. Located at Nk’Mip Resort, 2 km east of Osoyoos off Hwy 3. 1-888-495-8555, nkmipdesert.com
Pronounced IN caw Meep, this desert cultural centre of the Okanagan people introduces visitors to the area’s desert ecology and Okanagan legends and history. Check out the video here!
The fascinating desert eco-system is showcased both inside and outside the centre and visitors can hear the legends of Sen’klip (Coyote) in two multi-sensory theatres and experience a traditional pit house and sweat lodge.
GRASSLANDS NATIONAL PARK
| Val Marie, Sask., Free Admission for youth for 2018, 1-888-773-8888, pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/sk/grasslands
If you have a yearning for wide-open, drone-free wild spaces then you must experience Grasslands National Park. For thousands of years, this area has remained largely undisturbed except for the hoof prints of a few billion buffalo. Now, Grasslands was named as one of the Top Ten places to Star Gaze in Canada.
Peaceful hiking and camping areas and quality equestrian camping, Grasslands is an oasis for the purist, and for summer fun, nearby towns host annual events including music festivals. Check out the video!
WANUSKEWIN HERITAGE PARK
| RR #4, Penner Road, Saskatoon, SK, 306-931-6767, wanuskewin.com
Pronounced Whan us KAY win, the centre and archaeological sites, located within a 57-hectare (140-acre) conservation area on the South Saskatchewan River, are revealing the thriving culture of the Northern Plains peoples at sites dated older than the Egyptian pyramids.
Wanuskewin is also a learning site featuring evolving exhibits and workshops in traditional arts such as arrowhead knapping. The gift shop features items made by fairly paid local First Nation artisans, ranging from moose hide beaded moccasins to First Nation artwork. Check out the video!
LITTLE BIGHORN BATTLEFIELD
| Interstate 90 Frontage Rd, Crow Agency, MT, 406-638-2621, nps.gov
This area memorializes the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry and the Sioux and Cheyenne in one of the Indian’s last armed efforts to preserve their way of life. Check it out on video!
In June 1876, 263 soldiers, including Lt. Col. George Custer died after attacking and being soundly defeated by an encampment of several thousand warriors. Sites to explore include a museum, cemetery, walking tour of the Deep Ravine Trail, driving tours of the battlefields, the 7th Cavalry Memorial and the Indian Memorial.
CM RUSSELL MUSEUM COMPLEX
| The Art and Soul of the American West, 400 13th St N, Great Falls, MT, 406-727-8787, cmrussell.org
The Charlie Russell Museum is a must-see. No other artist is more revered for capturing the last of the West with his brush than the late Charlie Russell. Great Falls, Montana, the home of this great artist is also home to a lasting legacy of Charlie’s works and works of his contemporaries.
The Russell also hosts art classes for children and for adults, bringing in some of the West’s top artists to instruct in drawing, painting and sculpture. Check it out on video!