Saskatoon's downtown as seen from the University Bridge.

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.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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
Precipitation (mm) 15 11 12 24 52 60 63 43 33 17 13 14

See the Saskatoon 7-day forecast at Environment Canada

Get in

By plane

Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker Airport (IATA: YXE) serves domestic, international and northern communities.

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.

Delta Airlines and WestJet fly to Saskatoon from Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Las Vegas in the United States.

To get to the city centre from the airport:

By train

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.

By car

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.

By bus

Saskatchewan Transportation Company connects Saskatoon to most Saskatchewan communities.

Greyhound Bus Lines connects Saskatoon to most other cities throughout Canada.

Get around

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. 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.


Bessborough on an early evening from the street(s).

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 - Street performances and alternative theatre centred around Broadway Avenue in August.

Folk Fest - 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 Diefenbaker Canada Centre is a unique public facility, combining the only Prime Ministerial archives, museum and research centre in Canada. The galleries feature permanent exhibits on Mr Diefenbaker, period replicas of the Prime Minister's Office and Cabinet Room (ca. 1950's) and temporary exhibits relating to diverse topics.

Mendel Art Galley (950 Spadina Cres E) - The Mendel Art Gallery features contemporary and historical art. It is open every day except Christmas Day.

Meewasin Valley Centre 402 Third Ave S (along the S Saskatchewan River), ☎ +1 306 665-6887, 9AM-5PM. Local cultural and natural history - free.

Ukrainian Museum of Canada - The Ukrainian Museum of Canada vividly preserves and recreates Ukrainian culture in Canada through temporary and permanent displays.

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.

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.


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.










Stay safe

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 .

Go next

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

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, February 28, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.