Saskatoon is a city in central Saskatchewan. With a metropolitan population of nearly 300,000 people, it is the province's largest city. It's a little oasis among wheat fields.
The name Saskatoon comes from a native word for a berry that grows along the river called missaskquahtoomina. Saskatoon is located along the South Saskatchewan River and is known as a city of bridges, which has led, along with its cultural sophistication and wealth of Art Nouveau architecture, to its nickname as the Paris of the Prairies. Saskatoon is home to the University of Saskatchewan, which is home to "The Canadian Light Source", Canada's only synchrotron.
|Daily highs (°C)||-10||-6||1||11||18||23||25||24||18||11||-1||-8|
|Nightly lows (°C)||-20||-16||-9||-1||6||11||13||12||6||0||-9||-17|
See the Saskatoon 7-day forecast at Environment Canada
When flying within Canada either Air Canada, Jazz, and WestJet can be flown. These airlines link Saskatoon directly to major Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Toronto. Flights to Regina are served by Express Air - a West Wind Aviation company.
To get to the city centre from the airport:
- Saskatoon Transit: Route 12
- Rent a vehicle from one of the car rental companies
- Cab: Should run you approximately $12
The Canadian is a train operated by VIA Rail three times weekly between Vancouver and Toronto, serving passengers from Edmonton and Winnipeg. A train from Toronto will take over two days and the prices in economy are only slightly cheaper than flying, depending when you book. Trains stop at the Saskatoon railway station, located at 1701 Chappell Dr (at Burma Rd) in a remote area southwest of downtown. There is no public transit directly serving the station and the nearest bus stop is 1.5 km away (at 11th St and Fairlight Dr).
Saskatoon is on the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) which connects to North Battleford and Edmonton to the west and Winnipeg to the east. This highway is entirely divided (save for a few minor exceptions and construction zones) between Edmonton and Saskatoon. Highway 11 connects to Prince Albert to the north and Regina to the south. You can also drive via Alberta Highway 9/Saskatchewan Highway 7 from Calgary, but this highway is not divided.
The Saskatoon Bus Depot is located in downtown Saskatoon at 50 23rd St E, between Pacific and Ontario. The bus station is served by Saskatchewan Transportation Company, which connects Saskatoon to most Saskatchewan communities, and Greyhound Bus Lines, which connects Saskatoon to most other cities throughout Canada.
Sasktoon Transit  serves most of the city. Both regular and express (DART) service is provided. Most buses go through the downtown terminal and it is very easy to get anywhere in the city from this terminal, located between 2nd and 3rd Avenue on 23rd Street. Timetables for every bus can be found at the downtown terminal or online [dead link]. At outlying stops, call the 'Phone & Go' line (+1 306-975-7500) and use the 4-digit stop code to determine information about the routes that service that stop.
Saskatoon is a very bicycling friendly city and boasts the second highest per capita commuter cycling rate in Canada. Recreational cyclists will enjoy exploring the Meewasin Valley Trail along the South Saskatchewan River. Almost all parts of the city are accessible by bicycle and bicycle lanes and routes are marked along some key corridors... be careful because there are also a lot of bad drivers.
Walking is also a great way to get around Saskatoon. If your accommodation is in or close to the downtown, you will be within walking distance to Saskatoon's best shopping, educational and cultural attractions.
Taxis are easy to find but generally pricey. A ten minute drive (enough to get you most places in the city if it's not rush hour) will cost $10-15. Call Blueline at +1 306-653-3333 or Radio at +1 306-242-1221, or just hail a taxi. Prices are set by the city so the cost should be equal.
The Bessborough Hotel overlooks the South Saskatchewan River and is probably the most famous landmark in the city. The river itself offers a multitude of beautiful vistas along the Meewasin Trail system that runs the full length of both shores. This trail system effectively creates two well-maintained and well-used linear parks cutting through the centre of the city, dotted with attractions, interpretive sites, and full-sized static parks along the way. It passes through or alongside both the University of Saskatchewan and the downtown area, as well as numerous residential neighbourhoods.
The only developments allowed on the publicly-owned riverbank are some of the most worthwhile attractions in the city: River Landing, a downtown-adjacent multi-use public space, including a childrens' water park, an amphitheatre, a concession, and public art; the Mendel Art Gallery, a public art gallery on the river surrounded by park space and home to many events; and the Bessborough Hotel, mentioned above.
Be sure to check out the six bridges (including two railway bridges). A seventh bridge will open in mid-2013. It links the south industrial/Stonebridge area to the west end of Saskatoon, crossing just south of the Queen Elizabeth Power Plant.
If you have young children, the rides at Kinsmen Park cannot be beat. There is a miniature train, Ferris wheel and merry-go-round. Each ride costs $1 per person. Adult goes free with a paid child's ticket. This attraction is near the Kinsmen Play Village, the Ukranian Museum of Canada and across the street from the Mendel Art Gallery. The Kinsmen Park rides are closed for 2013 due to renovation, and will reopen in 2014. All of the rides are being rebuilt. The Kinsmen Waterpark is still open and features a kiddie pool, a maze, multiple sandboxes, and multiple playground playsets.
There are various shopping malls all around the city. Midtown Plaza, is probably the most convenient place for tourists to go to since it is in downtown Saskatoon. It is known to be the largest mall in the city with over 130 stores and services, with two fairly large department stores such as Sears and The Bay.
Saskatoon Blades - Catch the local Western Hockey League team in action at the Credit Union Centre.
Saskatoon hosts many festivals and events during the summer. These include:
Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan - Saskatchewan's only professional theatre. Performs Shakespearian plays in a pair of large tents beside the Mendel Art Gallery in July and August.
Art in the Heart - this is a great little event in the Caswell area. There is artist vendors from Saskatoon, as well as crafts, face-painting and henna. Live local music is playing all day, and there is a kid's area in the Church Basement where they can do crafts and learn a play. Truly a unique experience to check out when in Saskatoon. Late September.
SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival - Major jazz festival. Combines free public performances, beer gardens at the Bessborough Hotel with major artists, and various paid performances in venues around the city. Runs from mid-June through the beginning of July.
Northern Saskatchewan International Children's Festival - Children oriented activities located on the riverbank of Saskatoon in June.
Saskatoon International Fringe Festival [dead link] - Street performances and alternative theatre centred around Broadway Avenue in August.
Folk Fest [dead link] - an annual, multi-cultural festival comprised of up to 25 ethnic pavilions located throughout the city. Inside each pavilion, visitors will find cultural displays, dance, song, food, folklore, fables and skits. Runs in August.
Canada Remembers Airshow - Dedicating to remembering Canada's veterans, combines ground displays of intage aircraft, WW II trainers, fighters and bombers as well as the latest in jet-powered aircraft. Has active air acts which include vintage WWII aircraft, current military aircraft, and the Canadian Forces' Snowbirds Demonstration Team. Runs in August. 2009 will be its last year of performance.
Taste of Saskatchewan - An annual festival in which 30 of Saskatoon's finest restaurants provide hors d'oeuvres alongside live entertainment. Often taking place in the latter half of July, the festival's riverside location (next to the Bessborough Hotel) provides an excellent atmosphere.
- Diefenbaker Canada Centre. The only combined Prime Ministerial archives, museum and research centre in Canada. 1950's period replicas of the Prime Minister's office and cabinet rooms, temporary and permanent exhibits on Mr. Diefenbaker.
- Mendel Art Gallery, 950 Spadina Cres E. Contemporary and historical art. Open every day except Christmas.
- Meewasin Valley Centre, 402 Third Ave S, ☎ . 9AM-5PM. Local cultural and natural history museum along the S Saskatchewan River. Free.
- Ukrainian Museum of Canada. Preserves and recreates Ukrainian culture in Canada.
University of Saskatchewan - Many buildings in the University have permanent, free exhibits set up. Most notable is the Biology Building, which has 2 full-size models of dinosaur bones, as well as some animals to look at.
Wanuskewin Heritage Park - 5 km north of Saskatoon on Wanuskewin Rd. Wanuskewin is an international visitor site to learn about 6,000 years of First Nations culture.
Western Development Museum - The museum features 1910 Boomtown, the longest indoor museum street in Canada, which presents the time of pioneer settlement and farm expansion in the Canadian West. It illustrates the technological progression of agricultural and transportation practices through interpretive displays and extensive artifact displays. It also has a large collection of vintage farm machinery which is worth a look if you are interested in mechanical things.
- Darrell Bell Gallery, 317–220 3rd Ave S. For contemporary art and craft
- McNally Robinson, 3130 8th St E, ☎ . Large bookstore and cafe.
- Midtown Plaza. Downtown and it is one one of Saskatoon's largest shopping centres. It contains the usual Canadian department stores, and has a Bay and a Sears at each end.
- Rouge Gallery, 208 3rd Ave S, ☎ . For emerging and established Canadian artists
- Turning the Tide. Just off Broadway (Behind Lydia's) is an excellent store with a great selection of books and videos for your (R)evoltionary media needs
- Saskatoon Farmer's Market, 414 Ave B S. Every Saturday all year round the Farmer's Market is held in this building. Holds an array of ethnic and homegrown foods sold by locals, as well as some arts & crafts, and other things.
- Meewasin Valley Centre, 402 Third Ave S (along the S. Saskatchewan River), ☎ . 9AM-5PM. Local cultural and natural history free.
- The Trading Post, Second Ave (between 20th & 21st Sts). Aboriginal Art, local handicrafts, mocassions, beads and other random Saskatchewan stuff. Great place to buy gifts or souveniors.
Broadway Avenue (particularly between 8th Street and 12th Street, and generally including roughly a block on either side) is a popular shopping and cultural area. There are many little boutique and specialty shops worth checking out, as well as numerous restaurants and bars. It is a pedestrian-friendly environment with a high density of some of Saskatoon's most popular businesses.
The Central Business District (bounded by 19th Street on the south, Idylwyld Drive on the west, 25th Street on the north, and Spadina Crescent (South Saskatchewan River) on the east) also contains plenty of shopping opportunities outside of the large Midtown Plaza shopping mall on 1st Ave. The majority of this shopping opportunity is realized along 21st Street and along 2nd Avenue. Where these streets intersect is considered by many to be the "heart" or centre of the city, particularly in terms of pedestrian-oriented amenities.
- Calories Bakery and Restaurant, 721 Broadway Ave, ☎ . A intimate French restaurant with local art, focusing on French cuisine from fresh Saskatchewan-made ingredients. Has a bakery in the back with delicious desserts, and amazing cheesecake
- Chianti Cafe, 102 Idylwyld Dr N, ☎ . Saskatoon's best pasta house. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday is pasta frenzy - all pasta's are $8.95 - a relaxed, semi-Italian atmosphere with freshly made dishes
- Park Cafe, 512 20th Street West, ☎ . Saskatoon's best hidden gem. Uses the finest locally sourced food to make a large variety of fresh dishes. Great breakfast, friendly staff, very awesome and somewhat rad clientele.
- Homestead Ice Cream and Cappuccino, 902 Victoria Ave, ☎ . Old fashioned ice cream parlor complete with old school outfits and a jukebox. Wide range of ice cream flavours (including some ridiculously funky ones), milkshakes, sundae's and other yummy goodness. A must stop.
- Various fast food places.. Easily found around the city. Also keep an eye out for small Chinese-Canadian places, they can be good at a reasonable price.
- Alexander's Restaurant and Bar, 414 Cumberland Ave, ☎ . American (Really good veggie and hamburgers). They have a nice bar upstairs. They have the best French Fries in the city.
- Bonanza Steakhouse Family Restaurant, 3010 8th St E phone=. Excellent entrées accompanied by an extensive salad bar and buffet. Very reasonably priced and excellent for a family meal.
- Fuddruckers, 2910 8th St E, ☎ . Only location in Canada. Great burgers and fries with a help-yourself concept to add toppings to your burger. Nice atmosphere and friendly staff. Buffalo burger recommended.
- Granada House Family Restaurant, 904 22nd St W, ☎ . A excellent family owned Greek restaurant. Excellent lasagna.
- Broadway Cafe, 814 Broadway Ave, ☎ . 50's themed restaurant with very good American food. Good selection of burgers, and excellent milkshakes.
- 2nd Ave Grill, 10-123 2nd Ave, ☎ . "The 2nd Avenue Grill has a delicious selection of soups, appetizers, greens, burgers, wraps, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, seafood, poultry, pork and beef dishes." $9-33.
- The Granary, #2806-8th St, ☎ . "This is a must-visit restaurant in Saskatoon. The interior is decorated with objects found in the first prairie settlements. The exterior looks like a grain elevator. Nothing says "Saskatchewan" more than the Granary." $20-50.
- Moxie's Bar and Grill (Moxie's), 3134 8 St E, ☎ . "Fine cuisine. Great for drinks in a quiet atmosphere after-hours as well" $20-60.
- Truffle's Bistro, 230 21st St E, ☎ . Small but elegant family owned bistro that uses local products. Main courses include duck, beef, fish and vegetarian dishes.
- Calories, 721 Broadway Ave, ☎ . Excellent bistro-style restaurant with a rotating seasonal menu along with fantastic desert options. $30-$100.
- The Yard and Flagon Pub, 718 Broadway Ave, ☎ . A British-style, relaxed pub atmosphere located on trendy Broadway. Voted Saskatoon's best chicken wings, $4 on Tuesday. In the summer there is an amazing rooftop patio.
- Buds on Broadway, 817 Broadway Ave, ☎ . A blues bar with live music, pool tables and lots of friendly bikers.
- Amigos Cantina, 632 10th St E, ☎ . A Mexican Cantena. Restaurant by day (the best veggie burger in the city) and other great cuisine. At night it transforms into a hopping live music venue. Tons of bands pass through from indie to punk.
- Hose and Hydrant Brew Pub, 612 11th St E, ☎ . If you feel like dressing up and dancing to popular radio music, this is the place to go. They also do offsale (although a little overpriced). Used to be an old fire hall.
- Vangelis Tavern, 801 Broadway Ave, ☎ . There is live Sunday Jams, the occasional techno night, a pool table and Pac-man machine. The food is horrible, but sometimes it's a decent spot to grab a drink.
- Winston's English Pub and Grill, 243 21st St E, ☎ . Attention Beer Drinkers: Winston's has the largest selection of imported and domestic brews. A wide range of stuff in bottles and a great selection on tap. Friendly pub atmosphere downtown.
- Louis' Pub, University Campus, ☎ . A hot spot for young students, sometimes has live music.
- The Sutherland Bar, 810 Central Ave, ☎ . A night club in east-central Saskatoon that is frequented by students.
- Jax Nite Club, 302 Pacific Ave, ☎ . Night club frequented by an older crowd, including many cougars.
- Dino's Bar and Grill, 906 Central Ave, ☎ . Features the best Steak Sandwiches in all of Canada.
- Double Deuce Bar & Grill (The Deuce), In the Centre Mall on 8th St E, ☎ . A very popular bar among young partiers, main night is Tuesday where they serve $2.50 drinks all night. Plays mainly top 40 mixes.
- 6Twelve lounge (612 Lounge), 612 Spadina Cres (Inside the Sheraton), ☎ . Saskatoon's Best Lounge (Planet S) 6Twelve is a lounge where guests can experience craft cocktails and cutting edge share plates, in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Their philosophy is based on a commitment to fresh & creative drinks, music, and food, which are always presented without pretension.
- Crackers Restaurant & Lounge, #1-227 Pinehouse Dr., ☎ . Crackers is a karaoke bar and restaurant. They have karaoke Monday-Saturday. With Thursday having live music from 7-10 PM. They have fall and winter karaoke leagues on Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Days Inn, 2000 Idylwyld Dr N, Circle Dr.
- Campland Rv Resort, 9.5km NW of Saskatoon on Hw 16, ☎ .
- Laura's Lodge, 1026 College Drive (Adjacent to Netty's Nest), ☎ , toll-free: , e-mail: email@example.com. Located very near the Royal University Hospital, close to the U of Saskatchewan, and just over the bridge from downtown, this economical bed and breakfast was converted from priests' living quarters to a hostel for medical visitors to a general bed and breakfast over several decades. Free wifi, parking. Communal kitchen and living room. Staff present 24 hours/day. $60-90/room, breakfast $7 per person.
- Netty's Nest, 1024 College Drive (Adjacent to Laura's Lodge), ☎ , toll-free: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Located very near the Royal University Hospital, close to the U of Saskatchewan, and just over the bridge from downtown, this 18-room lodge has double and queen-bed rooms with shared bathrooms, laundry facilities, wifi. $65-127/room.
- The Travelodge Hotel Saskatoon, 106 Circle Drive W (NE corner of Idylwyld Dr and Circle Dr interchange), toll-free: . The Travelodge is on the North side of Saskatoon and is situated at the intersection of Idylwyld Drive and Circle Drive. The Travelodge Hotel Saskatoon is the largest Travelodge in Western Canada and the 2nd largest hotel in Saskatchewan.
- The Parktown Hotel, 924 Spadina Cres E, ☎ . Established in 1958, graces the South Saskatchewan riverbank along the Meewasin Trail.
- Delta Bessborough, 601 Spadina Cres E. A four star ten-story hotel. It is built in the "chateau style" typical of Canada's other railway hotels. Many of the rooms look on to the river. The room style can best be described as "shabby genteel".
- Hilton Garden Inn Saskatoon Downtown, 90 22nd St E, ☎ . $169-209.
- Sheraton Cavalier Hotel Saskatoon, 612 Spadina Cres E, ☎ . The Sheraton is just across the street from the Bessborough, and looks onto the river.
- Radisson Hotel Saskatoon, 405 20th St E, ☎ . The hotel is Saskatoon's tallest hotel with views of the South Saskatchewan River and the city.
Saskatoon has a fairly high crime rate per capita, but this tends to be concentrated in small areas of the city.
The majority of the alphabetized avenues west of Idylwyld, from Avenue B through to Avenue Y (often referred to as "Alphabet Soup" by locals) are considered to be sketchy, with a high amount of gang/drug activity, violent crime and prostitution. It's probably best to avoid this part of town, particularly the alphabet avenues south of 22nd Street, and also immediately surrounding the 33rd Street intersection with Idylwyld. That said, it's usually relatively safe during daylight hours - and there's little reason for tourists to be in these parts of town anyway.
The east side of the river has the general reputation among locals of being safer than the west side.
The usual common-sense rules apply, and you should be fine.
There is a free wireless internet network in the whole of Saskatoon’s downtown core, Broadway Avenue, as well as on the University of Saskatchewan campus  [dead link].
|Routes through Saskatoon|
|Vancouver ← Edmonton ←||W E||→ Portage la Prairie → Winnipeg|
|Edmonton ← North Battleford ←||W E||→ Yorkton → Portage la Prairie|
|ENDS ← Prince Albert ←||N S||→ Davidson → Regina|