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25 Fun, Weird And Interesting Facts About Saskatoon

25 Fun, Weird and Interesting Facts About Saskatoon

On my first visit to Saskatoon – the largest city in all of Saskatchewan, I was surprised to see what a vibrant, young city it is. It’s also got a great foodie scene I was completely unaware of. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is misinformed about Saskatoon.

Check out these 25 fun, weird and interesting facts about Saskatoon to get a sense of the city.

25 Fun, Weird & Interesting Facts About Saskatoon

The view of the river flowing through Saskatoon on a winter evening

Saskatoon is named after mis-sask-quah-toomina, the Cree Indian name for the local Saskatoon berry – a sweet, violet coloured berry that grows wild.

The city of Saskatoon was established in 1883. It was incorporated in 1906.

The Saskatoon area has been inhabited for between 5,000 and 8,000 years. There is evidence of buffalo kill sites, and teepee rings. Today approximately 9% of the cities population is native.

Saskatoon has a number of nicknames – The Paris of the Prairies because of the bridges, POW – referring to potash, oil and wheat, after the natural resources the city and area is famous for and The Hub City – because Saskatoon has been the hub of Saskatchewan.

Saskatoon has four sister cities – Cologne, Germany; Tampere, Finland; Shijiazhuang, China and Umeå, Sweden.

According to the 2011 census, greater Saskatoon has a population of 260,600. It grew 11.4% in five years.

In Saskatoon 12.1% of the population is over 65, less than the national average. The median age is 35. There are 50 people (in 2011) over the age of 100.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Saskatoon was -50°C in 1893. The coldest temperature with windchill ever recorded was -60.9°C.

Read: 10 Things to do in Saskatoon in Winter

The highest temperature ever recorded was 40.6°C (105.1 F) on June 5, 1988.

Saskatoon averages 2,380.8 hours of sunshine per year.

On the summer solstice the sun rises at 4:45 AM and sets at 9:31 PM. On the winter solstice the sun rises at 9:13 AM and sets at 4:56 PM.

The only earthquake ever recorded in Saskatoon occurred on May 15, 1909. It lasted for about 30 seconds.

Saskatoon lies on the South Saskatchewan River. That explains why there are seven bridges in the city.

25 Fun, Weird and Interesting Facts About Saskatoon

One of the many bridges in Saskatoon

Sailor Dan – aka Dan Hicks is a local legend. His regular route is down Eighth Street to Broadway Avenue and back where he tries to sell his Sailor Dan original paintings.

The Midtown Plaza Shopping Center is the largest shopping center in Saskatoon.

There are more Tim Horton’s per capita than in any other city in Canada.

Forget hamburgers. Drive thru for Baba’s Homestyle Perogies, probably the only perogie drive thru in Canada. 

Saskatoon has one of the highest number of restaurants per capita in Canada – and great ones with many of them embracing the farm to fork philosophy.

"One of the locally run restaurants - Two Gun Quiche House"

One of the locally run restaurants – Two Gun Quiche House

Saskatoon has become a city of festivals. The Potash Corp Wintershines Festival is on right now featuring international ice carvers. Coming festivals include the Saskatoon Blues Festival, the Fringe Festival, the Jazz Festival, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan and the Children’s Festival.

"Ice sculpture at the Wintershines Festival"

Ice sculpture at the Wintershines Festival

Famous and/or notable people from Saskatoon include Joni Mitchell (musician), Farley Mowat (author), Gordie Howe (former NHL player), John Diefenbaker (former Prime Minister of Canada), Ray Hnatyshyn (former Governor General of Canada), Yann Martel (author of  Life of Pi – and the movie version won some Oscars), Jim Pattison (billionaire businessman) and Roy Romanow (former Premier of Saskatchewan).

Saskatoon has been the subject of a number of songs. The Tragically Hip song – Wheat Kings – has a line in it – Sundown in the Paris of the Prairies – referring to Saskatoon. Johnny Cash co-wrote the song – The Girl from Saskatoon.

Two universities call Saskatoon home – the University of Saskatchewan and the First Nations University of Canada.

25 Fun, Weird and Interesting Facts About Saskatoon

Lots of colourful murals around downtown Saskatoon

The world’s largest potash producer – PotashCorp – has corporate headquarters in Saskatoon. Almost two thirds of the world’s recoverable potash reserves are in the Saskatoon area.

Saskatoon is a city of parks with over 870 hectares set aside.

The Meewasin Valley Trail – listed by Reader’s Digest as one of the top 10 greatest hikes in Canada in the fall – extends for 60 kilometres along the east and west banks of the South Saskatchewan River. You can also cycle the trail.

25 Fun, Weird and Interesting Facts About Saskatoon

A downtown section of the Meewasin Trail in winter

Further reading on interesting facts about Canadian cities

Click on the photo to bookmark to Pinterest.

25 Fun, Weird and Interesting Facts About Saskatoon

 

 

 

 

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 88 Comments
      1. there is also the berryfarm(were known for our saskatoon berries), Dukabor bread, Pioneer museum, broadway ave great little restaurants and local artist there, Mendalin art gallery, great buffets, smallest gaz station on 20th street and they hosted the country singer awards and finally there are reserves mixed in with the city center,,,,sutherland and part of 20th street . there is also a large Metis population as well as ukranian and polish. Saskatoon has big hearted people and has opened I think one or two other potash mines. I love my Toon town and all the stumble jumpers that still remain there .

      2. There used to be another Ukrainian drive thru – with the best perogies and borscht – The O&O on 20th street, (around Ave K)

    1. @Mette Don’t worry – most Canadians don’t know much about Saskatoon either. That’s part of the reason for my series is to educate them. Now about that potash in your cookies – I am wondering if we are talking about the same thing. I’d like to see that recipe.

  1. It’s funny, I’m Canadian, but Saskatoon – actually Saskatchewan in general is one of those areas that I really don’t know much about. I really hope the drive-thru perogie thing catches on in the rest of the country because that is pure brilliance.

  2. Years ago there was a little place on 20th Street in Saskatoon called the ‘O & O Drive-In’ that had drive-thru perogies and cabbage rolls.It’s long gone now but glad to read someone’s carrying on the tradition !

  3. Wow I had no idea so many famous people – Joni Mitchell, Gordie Howe, Farley Mowat, Ray Hnatyshyn, John Diefenbaker, etc., were from Saskatoon or that the majority of the population is so young. We rarely hear much about Saskatoon but it sounds like an interesting place to visit.

    1. @Saskatoon I think Saskatoon really shines in the summer because there is a lot going on by the river. It’s quite a crop of well known people out of Saskatoon isn’t it. They showed me a bar where they turned down Joni Mitchell singing – one of those decisions I’m sure someone regrets big time.

      1. No we don’t regret it at all. Joni Mitchell isn’t exactly welcome. She tried demanding her own tribute wing at the Mendel Art Gallery and she was brutally denied! Shannon Tweed however, has come home and was welcomed with open arms and warm hearts. I even went to the same high school as her. Also, there are many other interesting facts about Saskatoon you missed. This list is definitely outdated, as well.

        1. @Tanya The list was done a few years ago if you look at the date. I don’t pretend to get all the facts – but I have fun learning about places. And as you can see from the comments, people are happy to share some new facts – in a respectful manner.

    2. Just to elaborate on the University of Saskatchewan: its population is between 15,000-20,000 a year, it has the only veterinary medicine program in western Canada, has and continues to make ground-breaking research in several areas of science, and has several excellent colleges, including: agriculture, sciences, education, commerce, and medicine, as well as the aforementioned vet med college.

  4. I always enjoy reading this series, and I really didn’t know much about Saskatoon, even though I go there once I year. I do remember working at a retail store at the Edmonton Airport and a lady told me Saskatoon was called The City of Bridges. I have no idea if that’s an official nickname or not.

    Oh and to add the songs about Saskatoon there’s always “Runnin’ Back to Saskatoon” by The Guess Who. It was a standard family road trip rule that we played that song at least once on our drive there.

    1. @Alouise Thanks for the wonderful piece of trivia. Saskatoon is also called the City of Bridges – with seven in total. Would have been fun listening to a family full of singers belting out Running Back to Saskatoon.

  5. Living about twenty minutes from Saskatoon my entire life, I can vouch for its quirkiness. Its a homey place, for sure. I never feel nervous walking at night, people are quick to wave you into a lane in traffic, and I think we have five camera lights. In summer, there is salsa dancing by the river, free ice cream for kids everywhere, and random fireworks “competitions.” Truly a great city 🙂

  6. Overall, a great article, but I don’t understand why everyone thinks “Sailor Dan” is so great.

    His “original paintings”? You mean the two ink drawings that he does over and over and over?

    Oh, and it’s so quaint the way he digs through the garbage and leaves trash all over for overworked restaurant staff to pick up. And how he creeps out the paying patrons of those same restaurants, panhandling and smoking other people’s used cigarette butts from the ground around the doors?

    Yeah, “local legend”, about that…

    1. @Kelly I can appreciate that panhandling is a pain to deal with and obviously I don’t live with the results. But after my recent trip to Colombia I am much more open minded about people who don’t quite fit into society and feel like we need to learn how to deal with them in a compassionate manner. A little local colour is not necessarily all bad.

  7. The ice sculpture is really beautiful 🙂 and it might not be a big deal to keep this intact all the time (as the temperature is that cold).

  8. I’m from saskatoon. It is called the city of bridges but it isn’t just cause we have 7. It is called that because all our bridges including over passes are unique. We don’t have 2 that are the same. Different exit schemes layouts etc.

  9. Great article! But you forgot in other notable and famous people, Kim Coates(Actor), Shannon Tweed (playboy bunny/Gene Simmons wife), Tyler Mane(actor) and songs about Saskatoon, Guess Who-Running back to Saskatoon.

  10. More famous people from Saskatoon. Actor Kim Coates. Wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper. Actress Shannon Tweed. Actor Taylor Mane.

  11. Saskatoon is the home of the one and only Roller Derby Association of Canada’s National Roll Derby Champions, the Saskatoon Mindfox.

  12. Also forgot to mention Sonny James’ song “A little bit south of Saskatoon” as played throughout the movie Slap Shot.

  13. don’t forget. Susan Jacks. not her born name. my brother used to babysit her, when she was a youngster. on empress ave. and the best place to catch pigeons?
    CPR bridge.

  14. good article but Jimmy Pattison did not come from Saskatoon . he lived in Luseland 130 miles west of the city.

  15. I lived in saskatchewan for 22 years, and in saskatoon for 5. I loved this article because it really shines a light on how beautiful of a place it truly is. I still visit a few times every year and in my head it is still home to me and honestly saskatoon is my favorite city i have lived in so far. I lived in vancouver and currently live in edmonton. Some local nicknames you didn’t have are also stoon and saskabush. We do have quite a good humour and we know our weird quirks. 🙂

  16. Yann Martel isn’t actually from Saskatoon. He was born in Spain, but chose to remain in Saskatoon to live after being Writer in Residence with the Saskatoon Public Library.

  17. Saskatoon is not a place to live it is a place to be from.

    Anywhere you die if you walk out the front door, leave.

  18. Although there is a campus of the First Nations University in Saskatoon, the university is actually based out of Regina. The main campus is there and theFirst Nations University is strongly partnered with the University of Regina.

  19. Some things are not very accurate. The lowest temp with windchill was -72c on Jan 10th, 2007. It was my birthday and it sucked.

    1. That was the day of the infamous snow storm where the city was gridlocked and people got trapped on Circle Dr…Not even close to setting a temperature record that day…The walls of snow that were created that day was sure impressive though.

  20. i would just like to add, that in addition to MooseJaw, sask.
    There are tunnels in Saskatoon , made by Chinese immigrants in the early 1900’s . The tunnels are documented , but not well known. Also Saskatoon was first established on the east side of the river, by Bar Colony. A group of Saskatoonians broke free and wasn’t to the west side of the river, where they were “allowed” to drink and purchase alcohol.
    You could not purchase alcohol on the east side of the city until the last of the Bar Colonest died.

  21. Fun reading! Check on the earthquake thing. I remember one in the 80’s. I was lying in be watching the light fixture swinging back and forth wondering what my kids were up to now. My husband called from his office at the Potash head office downtown saying the blinds on the top floor were really swinging.

  22. Great list, but I should point out that it was called “Hub City” because, when viewed from above with all the railroads coming in and out of the city like spokes on a wheel, the town itself in the centre then looks like the hub.

  23. You forgot that Kim Coates from SOA is also from here an comes back all rhe time for visits,to raise money for local charities 🙂

  24. Saskatoon resident here most of my life. Some stuff i knew some I didn’t.

    That said your use of the term “native” did make me shudder. A more accepted term would be First Nations, or indigenous.

    Our Gorden Oakes Redbear student centre just opened on campus at the university designed by Douglas Cardinal. Just outside the city is also Wanuskewin Heritage Park.

  25. I lived in Saskatoon in the nineteen sixties and seventies and loved it. Wonder if it is known that when Our Famous Former Prime John Diefenbaker passed away, he is the only Canadian Prime Minister that was honored by Canada’s Indigenous People to sing him an honor song as he was being lowered into his final resting place into Mother Earth here in Saskatoon. He was after all the Prime Minister who fought for the rights of Indigenous people and it was his government that gave them their right to vote.

  26. Hey canadianuniversityrealestate.com/homes/usask/fun-facts-about-saskatoon has almost the exact same information. I don’t know if they copied you or vice versa but figured would let you know because I love this site!

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