When you think of the Prairies, the first thing that might come to mind is an endless expanse of fields stretching out as far as the eye can see, but there’s so much more to them than that. In fact, the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta are some of the most beautiful and affordable places to live and visit in Canada.
From unique sightseeing spots to perfect towns to settle down in and set up shop (quite literally, if you’re looking to open up a small business), here’s what makes the Prairies so great.
1. Visit A Lake That Changes Colours
It seems that no matter where you are in Canada, there’s beauty all around — Manitoba included. If you’re looking to introduce a little magic into your life, consider visiting Little Limestone Lake, in Northern Manitoba.
Keep in mind that this isn’t your average lake: the water actually changes colours, adopting a turquoise hue when it's warm out. It may not be the Caribbean, but it’s certainly the closest you’ll get without boarding a plane.
2. Get Your Hike On
Hiking in the Prairies? Not exactly what you’d expect, but hear us out. The terrain in the Prairies is actually more varied and mountainous than you’d think, lending itself to both easy and challenging hiking trails throughout Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Obviously, there are hiking trails around Alberta too, as this province is split between the Prairies and the Rockies. If you’re looking for a super active but completely worthwhile hike, check out the Valley of 1000 Devils Route. This remote-wilderness experience is labelled as "very difficult," so be warned.
3. They're Perfect For Road Trips
You’ve heard of road trips across Canada, but what about road trips across the Prairies? Embark on a driving journey quite unlike any other and hit the road all around Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta where you’re sure to be surprised by the sights that you come across.
From golden fields and sand dunes to provincial parks and other natural wonders, there’s lots to explore all across the Prairies. Besides, an exciting and safe road trip is about as wild as adventures can get this year!
4. You Can Live There Affordably — And Even Buy A House
Looking to lay down some roots in the Prairies? Depending on what you’re looking for, this could be a solid choice. According to research conducted by Macleans in 2019, a number of communities in the Prairies have quite an affordable cost of living and low unemployment rates compared to other areas of the country. For example, Weyburn, Saskatchewan, ranked fifth in Canada in Macleans’ affordability category in 2019, thanks to its unique combination of high average incomes and low housing prices.
Let's be real: in 2020, during the age of sky-high housing prices and rents in many areas of Canada (both metropolitan and suburban), affordable living and housing is basically enough of a reason to move.
5. There Are Plenty Of Small- And Medium-Sized Businesses, Great For Entrepreneurs
If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business, the Prairies just might be for you. As it turns out, this region is where 23% of Canada's total small- and medium-sized firms are located, coming in second nationally, right after Ontario. At 98.3%, Saskatchewan is one of the top two provinces with the highest rate of individuals employed by small businesses. Though Manitoba has one of the lowest Canadian percentages (97.6%), small businesses are still the main employers in that province.
To help you feel a little more secure in setting up shop, invest in some top-quality business insurance to make sure you’re well taken care of.
6. Feeling Like You're In The Middle Of The Sahara
Skeptical that the Prairies aren’t just flatlands? You’d better buckle up and prepare to explore the incredible landscape of Saskatchewan's Athabasca Sand Dunes.
You’ll have to travel there by floatplane or boat, but these active sand dunes will make you feel like you’ve been transported to somewhere far more exotic, that’s for sure.
7. It's An Astronomy-Lover's Paradise
If you're a night owl who loves stargazing, Alberta boasts the largest Dark-Sky Preserve in the world, Wood Buffalo National Park. You can camp out and admire the Northern Lights, listen to the howling of wolves, and enjoy the experience of a lifetime.
Looking for the darkest Dark-Sky Preserve in Canada? Check out the Milky Way in Saskatchewan's Grasslands National Park and reconnect with nature like never before.
8. Get A Little Taste Of Europe In The Middle Of Canada
The last place you’d ever expect to find ambiance reminiscent of Europe in the middle of the Prairies. Alas, this is just further proof that the region offers tons of surprises.
Travel to a little town full of French vibes in Saskatchewan called Gravelbourg to take in some classic architecture (especially churches) that will make you feel like you’re in Old Montreal or Quebec City.
9. There’s Great Nightlife — Depending On Where You Are
And on the opposite end of the spectrum, there's also plenty of nightlife to check out — so long as you’re close to a larger city. For example, Calgary is home to a bustling nightlife scene.
Whether you’re in the mood for a pint in a laid back pub or are looking to dance the night away, there’s something for everyone in the downtown sphere (pandemic aside, of course).
Whether you’re in the market for a little house on the Prairies (sorry, it was too easy) or are looking to pay this part of our beautiful country a visit, make sure that you’re prepared for any and every situation with the proper insurance. It’s important to think ahead!
As the largest Canadian-owned independent insurance brokerage in the country, Westland Insurance recently moved into Saskatchewan and Manitoba to help you experience the Prairies and all the wonders the region has to offer.