The historic town of Lumsden 30 kilometres north of Regina on Highway 11 is a picturesque piece of paradise nestled in the Qu’Appelle Valley. The surrounding hills are home to fruit orchards, hiking trails and corn mazes while the town itself boasts boutique shopping opportunities and dining options including a brewery, winery and distillery. Its unique geography and the passionate entrepreneurs that call it home means there is a little something for everyone.
Here is a complete guide to the town for every type of traveller.
Chef JP Vives has put Lumsden on the map with his spin on “common food done uncommonly well” at Free Bird. It is the place to go for an evening out or an afternoon of drinks on their outdoor patio. From truffle fries and chicharron to their signature friggen fried chiggin, it’s a creative blend of food to fill the soul.
Down the street from Free Bird is Jane Dough’s Bakehouse and Coffee Company. They’ve perfected the baked bread bowl and on any day of the week, you’ll find it offered on their lunch menu with a rotating selection of hearty fillings like chicken stew, hamburger soup or clam chowder. Their baked goods are just as satisfying with monster-sized cookies, buttery scones and a delectable rocky road brownie.
Newly opened K&R Food Takeout is ideal for those looking for a healthy bite on-the-go. Their menu focuses on Asian cuisine and offers fresh rolls, wraps and noodle bowls. Portion sizes make it easy to save a little for later and I was delighted to find bubble tea (my favourite drink) on their menu.
THE CRAFT CONNOISSEUR
The craft beverage scene in Lumsden is one of the most varied in the province with a brewery, winery and distillery.
Iron Bridge Brewery is the newest microbrewery to join the growing list of Saskatchewan craft brewpubs. Launched this past fall, they’ve set up shop on 3rd Avenue with an outdoor patio and tasting room. They also offer tours that share how their brewing process is different from other breweries. While Pirates Paradise has quickly become a fan-favourite, I can personally vouch to the full flavours of their Muddy Irish Stout.
On the outskirts of town is Saskatchewan’s first distillery: Last Mountain Distillery. For Colin and Meredith Schmidt, it all began within the small confines of their home garage a decade ago. Today, the distillery has won numerous awards and is well-known for their dill pickle vodka made from a variation of Colin’s grandmother’s pickle recipe and real cucumbers and fresh dill. They’re constantly creating new flavours of their vodka, whisky, rum and gin and are proud to source their malted barley and wheat from local farmers down the road.
Over the Hill Orchards is something special and unique to the Canadian prairies. Dean and Sylvia Kreutzer are visionaries when it comes to growing fruit varieties in a cold-climate. On an autumn day in September, I was delighted to find plump strawberries hanging from the vine so late in the season. Even more surprising were white blooms among the fruit - a tell-tale sign of future strawberries. This specific variety is local to France but the Kreutzer’s are testing its hardiness on the prairies. The orchard specializes in spreads, toppings and wines. While you can purchase everything on-site, the best experiences are the picnic in the orchard, supper in the orchard and private wine tastings with the views overlooking the valley.
THE OUTDOOR ADVENTURER
The first stop for any outdoor adventurer upon their arrival into Lumsden should be at Jerky Boys Meats. With nine flavours of jerky including honey pepper, mesquite, whiskey teriyaki and pepper, it’s the perfect snack to pack on the trails. For overnight trips, they also have smoked sausage ideal for a warm meal over the fire.
There are a lot of adventures to choose from around town, including hiking, kayaking, canoeing, sailing and mountain biking. The Wascana Trails have 15 kilometres to explore and are great in winter for cross-country skiers and snowshoeing (read more here about my solo hiking trip on the trails). The 16-kilometre Lumsden and Deer Valley trails connect with The Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail) that winds through the valley. There are several lookout points with stunning views particularly in autumn when the colours are changing.
For paddlers, both Wascana Creek and the Qu’Appelle River make for great day or multi-day trips by kayak, canoe or paddle board. For a quick trip and a gorgeous spot to catch the sunset, head out from the vet clinic west of town and paddle under the old trestle rail bridge crossing the river. As the seasons change, so do the water levels so make sure to ask around or contact the town’s community coordinator for updates on water conditions.
THE FAMILY ROAD TRIPPERS
Lumsden is the perfect place to bring the family. One of the most iconic stops is at Street Treats Ice Cream Shoppe. Ice cream portions are generous and perfect to cool down on sunny days. Connected to the ice cream parlour is The Painted Parasol located in the old post office. It’s every child’s dream when it comes to old fashioned candy and unique toys and puzzles.
Happy Hollow family farm and corn maze is less than ten minutes southeast of Lumsden and is where kids can run free to experience a giant jumping pillow, barnyard animal area, wagon ride and corn maze. They also have pumpkins for sale and a small gift shop on-site. (Please note that due to covid-19 restrictions, Happy Hollow is currently closed for the remainder of the 2020 season).
Back in town, the Lion’s Park on James Street offers a 9-hole disc golf course, playground and picnic tables and benches for an afternoon picnic. I picked up takeout from K&R and we sat under 100-year-old cottonwoods while hanging out and enjoying the sunshine. Don’t forget to snap a family portrait in the giant wooden picture frame at the edge of the park. Down the road and across the town’s iron bridge is the gorgeous River Park Campground surrounded by tall, leafy trees, making it an ideal weekend trip from the city with the family.
THE BOUTIQUE SHOPPER
Boutique shopping isn’t just for big cities anymore. Thr3ee Clothing Connection has proven that with a global market digitally shopping their carefully curated clothing and accessory lines. However, a trip to Lumsden to shop in-person is well worth it as the ladies in the store are happy to lend a hand to help pick perfectly-styled items to match your body type and sense of style. It’s also the place to invest in a capsule wardrobe as their pieces are both classic and chic and a great base to build out from.
For those on the hunt for fresh produce from a genuine country market, Corn Maiden Market at Lincoln Gardens is a must-stop destination. In addition to the fresh, in-season vegetables, herbs and produce they grow, they also offer a variety of locally made items in their gift shop.
The Painted Parasol gets an additional mention as it’s not just a candy shop for kids. The store is also a gift shop with a variety of home decor, giftware, jewellry, local arts and crafts and bath and body products. It’s easy to get lost in the aisles of the shop, discovering cute items to take home.