Explore Canada’s Greatest Western Town
In 2014 an online poll was started by Western Horse Review Magazine asking its readers which community in Canada best represented western culture and embodied the western spirit. Despite being up against such formidable opponents as Calgary (famous for it’s Stampede) and Ponoka, the Ol’ Cowtown of Maple Creek won out, and was named “Canada’s Greatest Western Town.” A title it still holds today!
With a rich history that ties together with Fort Walsh National Historic Site, and the start of Canada’s then named North West Mounted Police (now known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – aka RCMP), the Town still visibly showcases that history and offers visitors a chance to explore all that it has to offer.
Historic Walking Tour
Like most Towns with a colourful history, Maple Creek has a Historic Walking Tour, that allows visitors to wander at their leisure to discover the stories behind the buildings and the people that once lived there. Unlike most Towns however, Maple Creek is also featured on the NEW Tripvia App a fun and educational App that’s perfect for long roadtrips with kids and adults alike. Integrating fun facts, interesting tidbits and trivia questions each stop on their tour is geo-fenced so that when left running, it will pop up with information about the Area you’re passing. With Tripvia you can learn about the history behind the Historic Jasper Hotel (now the Jasper Lounge and Events Centre) or the cozy Coffee Shop and Roastery known today as The Daily Grind, which used to be known as The Rex Cafe!
The Tripvia App is also available for trips down the Trans Canada Highway regardless of direction you’re travelling. Click on this link to discover all of their tours: https://www.tripvia.tours/
Held in July every year, Maple Creek’s Annual Heritage Festival celebrates the heritage and unique relationship the Town has between it’s area ranchers and the Indigenous peoples of the Nekaneet First Nation. With drum dancing and dancers dressed in Regalia along with a parade, kids activities, art tent and so much more. Experience the place where Past is Present. You’ll find more information on this year’s event here: http://www.visitcypresshills.ca/events/heritage/
You can’t have a town be called “Canada’s Greatest Western Town” without a Rodeo and Maple Creek has one of the best with the Annual CCA Rodeo put on by the local Ag Society. A two-day event, Saturday offers a Kid’s Rodeo at noon, with the big cowboys at 5pm on the Saturday, followed by live music and a beer garden (another Rodeo tradition). While Sunday offers Slack at 9am and the main rodeo at 2pm. Events you’ll see include: Saddle Bronc, Bareback, Bull Riding, Steer Wrestling, Tie Down Roping, Team Ropin, Lades Barrel Racing, Junior Girls Barrel Racing and Junior Steer Riding. It’s a whole lotta action packed into two-days. Check out details on this year’s event: http://www.visitcypresshills.ca/events/cca_rodeo/
Showdown in Cowtown
A relatively new addition to the Western-themed activities in Maple Creek the Showdown in Cowtown offers up two great events rolled into one with both Indian Relay Races and Bull Riding.
Bone-cracking action paired with high speed horse racing, Indian Races are a new addition to the sport scene in Saskatchewan, but it’s a traditional indigenous event that is a celebration of our First Nations people, as teams of four all decked out in Native regalia,(1 catcher, 1 exchange holder, 1 back holder, and one rider, who must ride 3 thoroughbred horses (horses are adorned in traditional war paint and medicine feathers) in a mad race at break neck speed around the track against 2 other teams in each heat!
More information and online tickets for the exciting event can be found here: http://www.visitcypresshills.ca/events/showdown/
Taste of Maple Creek
Known as a Culinary Hub in Saskatchewan, the Annual Taste of Maple Creek offers up a full day’s worth of entertainment served up western style. It’s a day for local restaurants to showcase what they’re made of and for visitors to taste their culinary delights. Tickets are only $2 each with each “taste” costing between 1-2 tickets. Or you can beat the line-ups and purchase a pack of 10 tickets online. More details here: http://www.visitcypresshills.ca/events/taste-of-maple-creek/
Celebrating Christmas doesn’t seem an obvious way to celebrate western heritage, but with Santa on a wagon or horseback (depending on how Santa feels that year), and wagon rides available, it’s a way to get your Christmas shopping done, in a western way.
Battle of Little Big Puck
A hockey game like no other, this Annual event held in February gives a whole new meaning to game on! Featuring local area ranchers who are card-carrying members of the Rodeo Association, and members of the Nekaneet First Nation, the highlight of the game is the third period, when a red-serged RCMP member refs this battle of Cowboys vs Indians both dressed for battle. It’s definitely a sight that must be seen to be believed!
The Town of Maple Creek is mostly definitely Canada’s Greatest Western Town. Make sure the next time you’re in the Area, you come and explore!