Rolling Along a Regina Landmark in Style
It takes a special type of person to be a tour operator.
They need not only be passionate about their product; they have to be great at dealing with people, have the ability to field all sorts of questions and in many cases, exhibit extreme patience. Over the years I’ve spent traveling and trying out different tours, I’ve noticed that more often than not, the tour operator’s personality can make or break an experience.
It’s always appreciated and somewhat heartwarming to find an operator who holds qualities that enhance an experience, especially one with a good product. I can assert that the future for tour operator Jasmine Kindred of Regina Rolling Robot Tours is shining bright. Kindred was born to do this.
After taking her first Segway tour in January 2017 in St. Martinique, one she describes as “exhilarating”, Kindred returned home hoping to take a local tour. When learning that Regina didn’t have any offerings of the sort, she was motivated to set up shop. She wasted no time. Along with two guides, Kindred’s been offering tours of Wascana Park now for two months.
Recently, me and my boyfriend Jamie took a 1 ½ hour Segway tour of Wascana Marsh with Kindred. Greeting us with a wide smile and a personality that put us both at ease within seconds; we were excited to get our roll on for the first time.
“You can come over to your robots,” says Kindred. His name is Nitro and hers is Bucking Bronco,” she says pointing over to two smaller machines. My face must have displayed what my head was thinking – Was this my robot’s actual personality? Do I really want to get on a machine called Bucking Bronco? However, Kindred’s explanation helps calm my nerves.
“I name my robots in hopes that people treat them with respect,” says Kindred. “I use the name “Bucking Bronco” to gently entertain the idea that if people don’t respect the devices or pay attention to potential hazards on the trail, they could potentially get “bucked” off. Luckily, the Segway and Ninebots are very stable and easy to ride when riders are following the rules.”
Not one to generally break rules when riding robots (who am I kidding – this was my first time!), I decide right there and then I’d rather not fall off the device and give her my undivided attention.
We’d be riding on Ninebots – newer technology Kindred explained. Smaller than the Segway she was operating; Kindred says the rolling robots are “very responsive”.
She quickly leads us through the basics before letting us zip around the Wascana Park pathways. In the parking lot of Wascana Marina, we learn how to turn the machine on, step on, what it takes to move and stop it, etc. “If you can master this lot, it’s the hardest part of the tour,” she jokes referencing the uneven ground and potholes.
We practice going forward and turning around tiny cones. “You guys are naturals,” says Kindred who asks if we are ready to roll. Pumped to zip through the park on these fun little machines, we get going.
Thankfully my “Bucking Bronco” is on the well-mannered side and easy to manage. These machines should be easy to manage expresses Kindred – “they essentially do the driving for you.” And she’s right, it’s really easy. All it takes is a slight lean forward to move and pick up speed, and the nuanced movement of each foot to turn. I’m awed at its simplicity and intuitiveness. It’s indeed very responsive.
Though I’m a big fan of the Wascana Marsh area already thanks to it being home to so many wonderful bird species (something Kindred and I bond over during the course of the ride), I soon learn the tour she provides is enlightening, informative and fun.
It’s mid-morning on a Sunday and a bit cool – the pathway is quiet compared to the more utilized side of Wascana Lake where Kindred runs her other tour. We stay about 8 feet apart as directed and pick up some speed during open stretches while catching nice warm breezes.
We stop, stretch and pause a few times throughout the tour long enough for Kindred to explain some of the area’s history. During breaks she goes into depth about local artwork, First Nations culture and of course, the birds.
“That’s Pelican Island and just over there is Goose Island,” she points to her left. Then she goes into her ‘don’t feed the geese bread campaign,’ which I’m delighted to hear. “I love Canadian Geese so much. They get such a bad rap. What I love is that they mate for life! Did you know there are over 500 pairs here in the park?” she asks.
Then she wins over the heart of this little bird lover. “My little takeaway gift is bird seed for you guys so you can come back and feed the geese when you come back,” she says.
This lovely discussion leads us to the bird sanctuary; a spot where captive and injured birds live. Over 115 species visit Wascana Park each year making it an important stop over point.
Back on the path, she points out artist Joe Fafard’s well-loved “Mind’s Garden” sculpture. We stop and go inside to take a closer look at its intricately carved stories.
Shortly after, we swing behind the First Nations University of Canada, and then pass the Regina plain native species restoration site before going by the Wascana Greenhouse. We stop again at the Nature Conservation Area once more to stretch and chat.
“I want to spark people’s interest about walking through the nature trail,” say Kindred. “The Nature Conservation Tour around the Wascana Marsh is my favourite trail to take locals on who have never taken the time to check-out this area of Wascana Centre.” In addition to sparking the interest of the community who don’t know about the wonders of the marsh area, Kindred’s larger business goal is to extend services to visiting tourists.
“I am proud to call Regina home and am motivated to showcase the gem of Regina-Wascana Centre. Like many locals, I am always looking for fun, unique activities to do here. It’s also a perfect activity to take your visiting family/friends or business partners on that leaves a positive, lasting impression of Regina.”
I couldn’t agree more. Kindred has a winner here, and potential to create and offer even more diverse tours. By sharing from her wide cultural knowledge base, she imparts learnings about the park, its flora and fauna, and history, making it not only a fun, but really interesting tour. So what are you waiting for? Get rolling Regina!
Learn more at https://rrrtours.ca./