Seated above the opimihāw Creek and South Saskatchewan River, Wanuskewin Heritage Park is a window into part of Canada’s history that remains largely undiscovered. What began as a dream to tell the story of the land and its first peoples has grown into part of a broader national identity.
Today, Wanuskewin is an opportunity to delve into the past and discover what life was like pre-contact for the first peoples of the Northern Plains, along with how Indigenous cultures are still connected and represented here today. The theme is one of interpretation—exploring and sharing Plains cultures to gain a better understanding of ourselves, Saskatchewan’s Indigenous peoples, and our common heritage.
The story of Wanuskewin begins on a small cattle ranch owned by Michael Vitkowski. The proliferation of archaeological sites located on the property, including a medicine wheel, sparked interest in attempting to protect the area from development. The notion of establishing a heritage park was born, but many years passed before the idea came to fruition.
In partnership with the Meewasin Valley Authority and the City of Saskatoon, Wanuskewin Heritage Park became a Provincial Heritage Property in 1983. In 1987, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II declared Wanuskewin a National Historic Site, and in 1992 the Visitor Centre and trails opened to the public.
Following extensive renovations completed in 2020, our trails have been refurbished and our building has more than tripled in size, featuring many new and exciting exhibit components and programming initiatives. These updates enabled us to welcome bison back to Wanuskewin in 2019, reinstating these large grassland animals as a sitewide focal point.
As we move forward with our hopes of achieving UNESCO World Heritage designation, we prepare to share the story and significance of this site with the world.