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Regina = 4h/259km; Winnipeg = 9h/866km
ROUTE = Regina/Winnipeg to Swift Current to Val Marie
You’ll leave Hwy1 at Swift Current and head south along Hwy4
Swift Current offers four good grocery stores, a range of restaurants close to the highway, and a couple of foodie favourites on Central Ave, (check out Nightjar Diner Co). A Walmart right on Hwy4 offers clean, accessible bathrooms and even organic veggies. At the other end of the same mall, Safeway offers the best fresh baked bread and buns you can find outside of the Swift Current Saturday farmer’s market. A strong regional art gallery, museum and great music at the downtown Lyric Theatre adds layers to this small city of 15,000.
Gas up in Swift Current, as there is only one more gas station before you reach Val Marie. It’s a good one though: brothers Leo and Sam offer friendly local service at LaCelle’s Husky Gas Station in Cadillac. They have rescued many a traveller with good repair work – ourselves included.
About half an hour (50 kilometers) south of Swift Current you’ll pass Treasure Valley Markets on your right hand side. Watch for signs! This is well worth a stop for ice cream, a petting zoo and seasonal organic fruit and veges. Linda and her husband have been farming organic for over 50 years. Her spring asparagus and saskatoon berries are much anticipated across the region.
If you’re still hungry, The Cadillac Tavern Bar & Grill is only 8 kilometers further south in the Village of Cadillac. They often have live music in the evenings and are a popular local watering hole.
Heading south from Cadillac, the road crosses the Continental Divide — the high point ridge that meanders across the North American continent east-west; where rivers on the north side flow up to the arctic while those on the south side flow down towards the Missouri. The vista is breathtaking. Weather can change quickly on the “Divide”. Deer and other wildlife range the ditches so keep your eyes peeled, especially as dusk approaches. The lack of traffic means wildlife often cross the highway unexpectedly.
When you pull into Val Marie, you’ll see a BA Card Lock Gas Station on your right (with a booth that accepts all Canadian credit cards) and Grasslands National Park Visitor Centre on the Left. Stay on the highway for another 5km, crossing the flats of the Frenchman River valley and, when the road rises on the other side and starts curving right, turn left at Rosefield Grid Rd where you’ll see our sign.
Welcome! You’re one kilometre away from comfort on the edge of the grassland sea.