Saskatoon: Saskatchewan’s Valley City

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South-Saskatchewan-RiverSaskatoon on the South Saskatchewan River
PhotoCredit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Douglas E. Walker

By: Tourism Saskatoon Edited: Bob Kenyon

The city of Saskatoon, is the largest in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan.

The south branch of the Saskatchewan, river that flows through the Saskatoon and the province gets its name from the Cree word “Kisiskatchewani Sipi,” meaning swiftly flowing river.

The South Saskatchewan River is made up of several other rivers including the Bow, Elbow, Oldman and Red Deer rivers, that flow from Banff and southern areas of the Rockies. Its sister The North Saskatchewan river system, begins in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, west of the David Thompson Pass. The two rivers join, east of Saskatoon, to form the Saskatchewan River, that flows on into Manitoba. The waters eventually make their way to Hudson’s Bay, as the Churchill River at Churchill, Manitoba.

Saskatoon is centrally located within the province along the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway 16. It’s 780 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, the capital city of Manitoba. It’s about 520 kilometres southeast of Edmonton, the capital of Alberta. 300 kilometres south lies the United States.

saskatoon berries

Many a recipe used in Saskatchewan restaurants and homes call for tasty Saskatoon berries. The most popular is, of course, Saskatoon berry pie. Photo Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan

The city gets it’s name from the Cree name, (Mis-sask-qua-too-mina) for a wild, edible, purple bush berry, that grows in much the the three prairie provinces.

Lets take a tour of Saskatoon and area:

A Step Back in Time

Tipi Wanuskewin Heritage Park

Tipi – Wanuskewin Heritage Park, National Historic Site. Photo Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Hans-Gerhard Pfaff

Begin your day with an invigorating and awe-inspiring trip to Wanuskewin Heritage Park, where over 6,000 years of Northern Plains Aboriginal history is celebrated. Enjoy bannock in a beautiful natural setting.

Continue your walk through history at the Western Development Museum. The past comes alive as you are transported through 100 years of pioneer history from 1910 Boomtown through the Winning the Prairie Gamble exhibit.

Western Development Museum

Western Development Museum. Photo Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Hans-Gerhard Pfaff

Rich, colourful, cultural heritage on the prairies is on display at the Ukrainian Museum of Canada. Afterwards, pay a visit to Saskatoon’s oldest building (1884) on its original site: the Marr Residence. Programming, at the house, varies throughout the year and may include pioneer gatherings, storytelling and music, or even a rhubarb festival. Just be careful not to disturb the ghosts!

For the Love of Arts

For the artist, in you, be sure visit the Affinity Gallery, of the Saskatchewan Craft Council, on Broadway. Don’t miss the many unique shops that make up the Broadway District. You’ll be glad you did!

Broadway District

Broadway District. Photo Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Eric Lindberg

Explore the shops downtown. As you move through the area, you will see many sculptures by local artists. Saskatoon has one of the highest number of restaurants per capita in Canada – and great ones with many of them embracing the farm to fork philosophy. Enjoy a leisurely luncheon at any one of many downtown eateries.

Stop by the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival (seasonal) box office to pick up your tickets for an entertaining evening performance. Consider a French theatre performance by La Troupe du Jour. If you’re in the mood for music, TCU Place is home to the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and hosts other major performances throughout the year.

Tour the Riversdale District and view the amazing wall murals and interesting sculptures that accentuate this culturally diverse area. While there, visit the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market to pick up some fresh produce and homemade crafts.

The Great Outdoors

Boasting hundreds of acres of riverbank parks and trails to explore, Saskatoon is a nature-lover’s delight.

Start with a visit to the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo. Go early and catch feeding time for the animals, many of which are native to Saskatchewan. Make sure to get ice cream before taking a leisurely walk along the Meewasin Valley trails that follow the South Saskatchewan River.

Bessborough Hotel. Photo Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Eric Lindberg

Bessborough Hotel. Photo Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Eric Lindberg

Cross either the University or Broadway bridges for a signature view of the city’s landmark. Similar to Edmonton, with it’s historical railway hotel, the MacDonald; Saskatoon also has a “Castle on the River” – the Bessborough. In both cities, these great hotels, of the railway age are perched above the river.

In summer, board the Prairie Lily docked behind the Mendel Art Gallery for a relaxing river cruise. Then, lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails at Beaver Creek Conservation Area. Don’t forget your binoculars; it’s a great bird watching spot.

Winter Wonderland

Winter is a special time in Saskatoon; beautiful white landscapes, sundogs and hoar frost are a few of the marvels to share. Dress warmly, and you’re off to enjoy winter in Saskatoon!

View lavishly decorated trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses and more at The Festival of Trees (end of November) at the Western Development Museum.

Take the kids skating at the Meewasin Rink beside the Delta Bessborough. Or if you want to relax a bit, enjoy a leisurely horse drawn cutter ride in Kiwanis Park.

Things to Remember

If you’re planning a trip to Saskatchewan, they are the only Canadian province that doesn’t use daylight savings time.

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