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Taken at face value, Saskatchewan would appear to be one continuous wheat field. And the traveller passing through southern Saskatchewan in late summer can hardly be forgiven: this is Canada's breadbasket, after all, producing a full 60 percent of the nation's wheat in acres of golden fields that literally stretch to the horizon. However, a little probing reveals something beyond the stereotype. Venture further north to Saskatchewan's two major cities, and surprising architectural touches are revealed. In other areas, a preponderance of Eastern European churches pop up - delicately painted church domes rising from the prairie like elegant Easter eggs, testament to the province's solid Ukrainian influence. (This influence is so strong that Ukrainian has been an optional language in the province's high schools since 1952.)

Farther north, the prairies abruptly give way to foothills and then genuine mountains, woods and lakes - making it a bit less surprising to learn that there is more forest - half a province worth like elegant Easter eggs - than farmland here. All of the major rivers in the province flow east into Manitoba, eventually emptying into Hudson Bay.

The province's two major cities both contain fewer than 200,000 residents and strive to fill the short summer with festivities. Regina is the elegant capital, so English it appears never to have left the Crown, and choc-full of museums. Saskatoon, meanwhile, has a large university and offers a profusion of restaurants, sports, nightlife and culture.

Prarie Buffalo

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