Regina's 'fabulous' islands getting attention

Regina is known as the place where Mounties get trained and Roughriders play football — maybe not as an island paradise. But maybe it should be.

Visitors are finding out the landlocked provincial capital is home to a chain of islands

Members of the Regina Rowing Club are familiar with Spruce Island, a natural area that's one of a half-dozen islands in Wascana Lake. (Evan Radford/CBC)

Regina is known as the place where Mounties get trained and Roughriders play football — maybe not as an island paradise.

People who live in the city of 200,000 know all about the six tiny islands in the middle of Wascana Lake.

Still, it might come as surprise to visitors, says Bernadette McIntyre, the CEO of Wascana Centre Authority.

"Can you imagine, a man-made lake in the middle of the Prairies that has all these islands? It's fabulous," McIntyre said. 

Park-goers can take a Wascana Centre boat to at least one of them, Willow Island. Others can be accessed by canoe or kayak, while still others are not set up for public excursions.

Can you imagine, a man-made lake in the middle of the Prairies that has all these islands? It's fabulous.- Bernadette McIntyre, Wascana Centre Authority CEO

Each island has different charms and attributes, McIntyre notes:

Willow Island — the home of Canada Day fireworks is heavily used for weddings and picnics. Some Wascana Park visitors complain about the mess left by geese, but Willow Island's goose fence keeps that to a minimum.

Spruce Island — is a natural habitat that's familiar to kayakers but sees few human visitors. It's home to various species and has become a refuge of sorts for deer and moose in the spring. Occasionally, dogs make it out to Spruce Island and have to be rescued.
Pine Island — a sporting venue and viewing areas that's seen a lot of development since 2004's "Big Dig" — a $30-million dredging project. It gets lots of foot traffic, because a short bridge connects it to the park. There's also a popular waterfall.

Pelican Island ​— located between the Science Centre and the waterfowl display ponds, it's exactly as billed: a nesting area for pelicans. It was created as part of the Big Dig.

Goose Island -- just to the east of the Conexus Arts Centre and as the name suggests, it's a habitat for Canada geese.

Tern Island — the tiniest island of the Regina group, sometimes it disappears when Wascana Lake levels are high.

With tourist season in full swing, it's something that could raise eyebrows for people coming to Regina.

"It's an island view from anywhere in Wascana Centre," McIntyre said.

Edmonton's Marilyne Allen was checking out Willow Island during a recent visit to Regina. (Evan Radford/CBC)

With files from Evan Radford


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.