This park, which is 5500 hectares (13,590 acres) in size, is located along the South Saskatchewan River north of Swift Current in the southwestern part of the Canadian Province of Saskatchewan.
It straddles the western end of Lake Diefenbaker, which was formed with the completion of the Gardener and Qu’Appelle Dams in 1967. The park was created in the same year.
This is a historic river crossing, where generations of Indian and Métis buffalo hunters forded the river. It was later a stage-coach station and ferry landing.
A Northwest Mounted Police patrol station was established here in 1885. Goodwin House, a stone building, was completed in 1900 by a former NWMP officer. Today, it is a heritage site, housing the visitor centre and park office.
Most of the park is made up of native prairie, the second-most endangered terrestrial ecosystem in Canada. In addition to the lake and the prairie, the park has steep rugged hills, razorback ridges, and wooded coulees.
The first ferry, 9 ft (2.7 m) wide, 18 ft (5.5 m) long, over the South Saskatchewan River, was built in 1883 by a man named Sandy MacDonald. It could carry two Red River carts. From 1892 to 1901, no ferry operated. It was operated again from 1902 to 1905.
In 1906, the government built a large ferry about 30 ft (9.1 m) by 16 ft (4.9 m). The construction of the bridge for cars took approximately one year, being opened for traffic in June 1951. This bridge lasted nine months because ice jams that destroyed it. This original bridge lies at the bottom of Lake Diefenbaker.
A ferry was opened again for travel. In June 1953, the official re-opening was held for the new bridge. This bridge was closed in June 1964 to revise it to allow more traffic and to increase its height because of the building of the Gardiner Dam and the creation of Lake Diefenbaker.
During these revisions, three ferries were used. In the winter of 1964-1965, a temporary bridge was set into place. In November 1965, the bridge opened; and in June 1966, the official opening took place.
We would like to thank Darcy Cleasby, Conservation Officer, Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, for information for this page.
(This page was updated in November 2012.)