Known as the “Paris of the Prairies”, Saskatoon is an underrated tourist destination tucked away in the Canadian state of Saskatchewan. Located along the Trans- Canada Yellowhead Highway, this city was developed as a temperate colony due to its physical geography and the presence of the South Saskatchewan River. For the early settlers in this region, the Saskatoon berry was an important staple food and hence the city was named after the berry. As the dawn of the 20th Century hit the West and rapid industrialisation took over, Saskatoon saw tremendous growth in its population, attracting people from diverse cultural backgrounds. In today’s date, the city is home to communities from all parts of the world, who live in perfect harmony with each other.
For architecture and art lovers, Saskatoon is the perfect example of a place which has grown into modernisation, keeping intact it’s indigenous culture.
Here is a list of Places to visit in Saskatoon for the Travelling Architect:
1. Delta Bessborough
This 85-year old hotel is located is surrounded by the South Saskatchewan River on the east and is popularly called ‘The Castle on the river.’ Built to resemble a Bavarian castle, the Delta Bessborough is one of Canada’s grand railway hotels and was designed by John Archibald and John Schofield. The hotel is built in the Châteauesque architectural style, native to Canada and is an excellent specimen of the Canadian style of architecture.
2. Diefenbaker Canada Centre
Located in the University of Saskatoon, this modernist style museum is dedicated to John Diefenbaker, the 13th Prime Minister of Canada. The museum preserves and interprets core collections that represent his life and interests.
3. Meevasin Valley
For nature lovers, the trail of the Meevasin Valley is the best way to explore the ‘City of Bridges’. The Meevasin trail, which is popular among tourists and nature enthusiasts runs over 80kms in and outside the city of Saskatoon. The riverbanks of this trail are marked by trees, beautifully landscaped parks and riverside cafes.
4. Mendel art gallery
The Mendel Art Gallery was started in the 1960s by Frederick Salomon Mendel, a businessman and an art lover. The design of the building was chosen by the medium of the nation’s first architectural competition. Finally opened in 1964, the Mendel Art Gallery became one of the finest examples of Modernist architecture in Saskatchewan. It housed a total of 7500 works of art before its collection was transferred to the Remai Modern Museum in 2017. In present date, the art gallery has been converted into the ‘Children’s Discovery Museum’.
5. Remai Modern Museum
The Remai Modern Museum is a museum of modern and contemporary art, located on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. The Remai Modern building has been designed by Bruce Kuwarbara and has been rewarded with the 2011 Award of Excellence from Canadian Architect magazine.
6. Remai Arts Centre
Set adjacent to the Remai Modern Museum, the Remai Arts Centre was constructed in 2007 and has a main theatre with a capacity of 450, a smaller 100 seat theatre and other supporting facilities. It is home to the Persephone Theatre company which organises various events and educational programmes in the Arts Centre.
7. Wanuskewin Heritage Park
Wanuskewin Heritage Park is an archaeological site dedicated to the nomadic tribe that roamed the Wanuskewin plains six thousand years ago. With artefacts such as tipi rings, pottery fragments and animal bones, these sites give an insight into the daily life of early men and their thriving societies.
8. University of Saskatchewan
The foundation of this University was laid in 1910 and the design was inspired by the traditional Gothic architectural style. The university offers a wide variety of learning programmes in different languages and tries it best to keep intact the indigenous culture on campus. The University campus is also home to various museums, laboratories and observatories.
9. University of Saskatchewan Observatory
The Observatory houses a 3-metre-long telescope with a 6-inch diameter lens that is open for stargazing on Saturdays along with various education programmes by the professors.
10. Saskatoon Western Development Museum
The development of this museum started in the 1940s as members of the Canadian North-West Historical Society began to preserve early farm machinery. Initially established in Battlefords, the museum was shifted several times before it was finally moved to Saskatoon in 1949.
11. The Bridges of Saskatoon
Having rightfully lived up to its reputation as the ‘City of Bridges’, Saskatoon has eight main bridges that vary from the grand trunk railway bridge, the Broadway bridge to pedestrian bridges. The construction of each of these bridges has played a significant role in the history and economy of the city.
12. Ukrainian Museum of Canada
Built to honour the Ukrainian culture in Canada, this museum is Canada’s first Ukrainian museum. It has three galleries in which a diverse collection of Ukrainian artefacts ranging from photographs, documents to ethnic textiles have been put to display.
13. Third Avenue United Church
This church, built in the Gothic architectural style, is one of the three largest United Churches in Canada. Built-in the 1910s, it was described as the ‘first permanent home of religion in Saskatoon’. The church contains the largest Sanctuary of any church in Canada and its façades are enveloped by massive hand-painted glass windows.
14. Saskatoon Forestry farm park and Zoo
This Forestry farm park and Zoo located in Saskatoon is home to a variety of western Canadian animals and exotic species, and is Saskatchewan’s only CAZA-AZAC accredited zoo. Designated as a natural historic site in 1990, it also contains a gazebo picnic site, a fishing pond, a kinsmen zoo train, and various gardens.
15. Public Art Collection in Saskatoon
The city of Saskatoon Public Art Collection consists of 40 outdoor works of art that have been put to display on various landmarks at different sites. This remarkable collection spread across the city, accessible through various routes adds flying colours to the indigeneity of Saskatoon.