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Most residents and visitors to Regina have made their way to Wascana Park for one reason or another. As a focal point within the city, it’s popular to enjoy both the natural and historical features of the park. But few are aware of some of the park’s interesting features, facts and record-breaking accomplishments.
Here are five facts you might not know about Wascana Park:
#1. It’s one of the largest parks in North America
Bigger than the 405 hectare Stanley Park in Vancouver and 341 hectare Central Park in New York combined, Wascana Park is one of the largest in North America at 930 hectares, or 9.3 square kilometres. That means there is more than enough space for residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors – right in the middle of the city!
#2. Location of the longest bridge over a narrow channel of water
Although unconfirmed, but popularly declared by several official sources within Regina, the Art Deco ornamented Albert Street Memorial Bridge on the edge of Wascana Lake is rumored to be the longest bridge over the shortest span of water in the world. At 256 metres long and 22 metres wide, it bridges Wascana creek. Built in 1930 and designed as a relief project during the Great Depression, it employed 700 men and was dedicated to soldiers who fought and died in World War I.
#3. Home to a record-setting turtle
Found in the depths of Wascana Lake is Olga, the world’s largest Western Painted Turtle. On June 2, 2015 Olga’s carapace (the top of the turtle’s shell) was measured to be 26.6 centimetres long, breaking the previous record of 25 centimetres set in 1922. However, as Olga is well over 15 years of age and turtles tend to slow in growth following maturity, she most likely will not grow any larger. Fun fact: the gender of painted turtles is determined by the temperature of their nest. Warmer nests result in female offspring while male offspring result from cooler temperatures.
#4. Perfect to stop and smell the roses
Backed by an impressive view of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, the Queen Elizabeth II Gardens offer a colourful display of flowers to enjoy throughout the spring and summer months. Approximately 25, 000 annuals are planted in the garden with an additional 5,000 planted throughout the Legislature grounds. The entire Wascana Centre Authority (including the University of Regina and Research Park) is home to 50,000 plants. Definitely worth stopping to smell the roses.
#5. The park provides free grain to feed the birds
The Waterfowl Display Ponds are a series of three ponds located across from the Conexus Arts Centre. It’s a lesser known area within the natural landscape of Wascana Park and visitors are welcome to feed Stella the swan as well as the resident geese and ducks. The Wascana Centre provides free grain for the birds but also encourages locals to bring leafy greens as bread isn’t healthy for the birds.