Apparently Saskatoon, the city in central Saskatchewan, Canada, gets its name from a berry. Saskatoon also has a reputation for being the sunniest city in Canada, and with a record temperature in 1988 that passed 40° Centigrade that may very well be the case.
Unfortunately, Canada has a reputation for enjoying bad weather, and Saskatoon’s lowest recorded temperature of -50° Centigrade, does surpass its record high by a substantial amount.
Nevertheless, Saskatoon is a pleasant mid-size city with a population of about 260,000 people, which makes it big enough to enjoy good facilities, yet small enough to be friendly and lacking the claustrophobia that you sometimes feel within a megapolis.
The city boasts a lot of parkland, and a large outdoors area which follows both banks of the Saskatchewan River, which flows through the city. Called the Meewasin Valley Trail, it runs for approximately 60 kilometres along the river. The trail encompasses conservation areas, parks, museums, interpretive centres, the university lands, canoe launches and community links. Including the South Saskatchewan River, the Meewasin Valley Trail is a very large urban conservation zone.
Saskatoon is home to Canada’s only Prime Ministerial Centre, the Diefenbaker Canada Centre, which is housed in the grounds of the University of Saskatchewan. Named after John G Diefenbaker, Canada’s 13th Prime Minister, it was established in the city as Diefenbaker was a proud Saskatonian who dreamed of a united Canada. Existing to celebrate Canadian history, the museum preserves and interprets core collections representing the life and times of John G. Diefenbaker, presents national and international cultural exhibitions, and develops educational and public programs.
For those more interested in cards than culture, the city also houses the Dakota Dunes Casino, which is located just 20 minutes south of the city on the Whitecap First Nation. It is a glitzy Vegas-style casino which, in addition to the gaming, presents great entertainment and conference facilities.
Perhaps it is because of Saskatoon’s friendly, by Canadian standards, climate, but the city has more restaurants per head of population than any other city in Canada. Many of these restaurants celebrate local produce and cuisine, and promote the farm to fork philosophy of cooking with only the freshest, seasonal produce.
One local favourite is Perogies, which are Eastern European-style dumplings that have been stuffed with a variety of ingredients, including sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese and fruit then either baked or fried. Saskatoon is home to Baba’s, which is reputed to be Canada’s only drive through Perogies store.
For those who love shopping, the trendy Broadway shopping district is just the place to pick up a great bargain.