13
Jan
09

On the road again: The Ottawa Project visits Saskatoon

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan last week for the 71st annual Canadian University Press conference, and during one of the few times where I wasn’t busy taking in the conference, I took some time to get out and explore Saskatoon.

My initial impressions were that Saskatoon is a very different city from those in Ontario. Most of the roads were quite wide, which made everything look very spread out to my Eastern eyes. Additionally, Saskatoon doesn’t use salt on their roads, so instead of the wet, slushy conditions you get on Ottawa roads and sidewalks during the winter, you tended to have a very hard-packed snow covering most paved surfaces. In fact, not once did I regret my decision not to take heavy winter boots with me—unlike in Ottawa much of the time, running shoes were more than adequate to keep my feet dry.

Over on his blog, my friend and fellow conference-attendee Carl Meyer described Saskatoon as a “cold desert”. While that may be scientifically accurate (I believe most of Saskatchewan falls a little short of being classified as a desert climate), I can certainly agree with the sentiment. The air is incredibly dry, and the cold is a biting one; you don’t really notice it at first, but the longer you’re out in it, the more it gets to you. All that said, I did find it to be an interesting city, one I’d like to go back and have a chance to explore more during warmer months. Follow the jump to see some of my pictures with comments.

Riverside trail

One of the trails running along the riverside through downtown Saskatoon

One of the first things I noticed about the area around our downtown hotel was the plethora of tree-lined streets and riverside parks. There were some great walks along the shore of the river, and it was nice to see how much Saskatoon had embraced its rivers for pedestrians. I can’t help but compare to Ottawa where  outside the downtown core, we tend to block off our river from the rest of the city with parkways. I’m not sure how far exactly these trails extend, but looking on Google Maps, they seem to run through much of the city.

Under the Broadway Ave. Bridge

Under the Broadway Ave. Bridge

Saskatoon is also known as being a city of bridges. There are no less than seven that cross the South Saskatchewan River within the city limits, a fact that becomes readily apparent through the downtown area—it seems that just around every turn in the river, you can see a new bridge. This, of course, serves to integrate the two sides of the city quite well, and most of the bridges are asthetically pleasing and do a nice job of improving the cityscape.

Broadway Ave.

Broadway Ave.

Just across the South Saskatchewan from downtown, you’ll find Broadway Avenue. This is a small shopping district that roughly compares to somewhere like The Glebe or Westboro here in Ottawa. It has the look of a streetcar suburb, and while I was able to find out that Saskatoon did indeed have a streetcar system, I can’t find any routing information, so I’m not sure whether this was actually a streetcar suburb or not. If anyone out there knows where I could find that information, incidentally, I’d appreciate it if you could pass it along.

The most notable difference, one that struck me all through the city, which I alluded to earlier, is the width of the street. These wide avenues were something I found continued even as I began to move through more residential areas.

Wide residential street.

Wide residential street.

I think that about sums up my impressions of the city. They’re pretty superficial, for the most part, and I’m certain I’d have more to say if I could get a chance to explore it in warmer weather, but hopefully this gives you some idea of what the city is like. I’ll leave you with a few more pictures I took around the town.

There were some very pleasant-looking tree-lined streets that I found.

There were some very pleasant-looking tree-lined streets that I found.

As a journalist, I was interested to note how much the Star-Phoenix seemed to be integrated into Saskatoon.

As a journalist, I was interested to note how much the Star-Phoenix seemed to be integrated into Saskatoon.

Wooden and paneled houses were quite common where I was, with very little brick or stone.

Wooden and paneled houses were quite common where I was, with very little brick or stone.

I also encountered a few back laneways. These always add a neat touch, and I find them very much a Western thing.

I also encountered a few back laneways. These always add a neat touch, and I find them very much a Western thing.

The skyline of Saskatoon.

The skyline of Saskatoon.

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1 Response to “On the road again: The Ottawa Project visits Saskatoon”


  1. 1 Zoe
    June 21, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    I believe the street car ran down Victoria ave which is just two blocks from Broadway, but don’t quote me lol. I suggest definitely going back to Saskatoon in the summer! The winters can very skin biting harsh! Also almost 90 percent of the city has an back alley. My favourite neighborhood is the Nutana slash Beuna Vista area. Which includes Broadway.


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