25+ Fun & Interesting Facts About Saskatoon

Beautiful paddling on the South Saskatchewan River
Beautiful paddling on the South Saskatchewan River

On my first visit to Saskatoon – the largest city in the province of Saskatchewan, I was surprised to see what a vibrant young city it is. It’s also home to a great foodie scene that 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.

Looking up the South Saskatchewan River from the CPR Bridge
Looking up the South Saskatchewan River from the CPR Bridge in Saskatoon

Saskatoon history

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.

The Visitor Centre at Wanuskewin seen from the Path of the People trail
The Visitor Centre at Wanuskewin seen from the Path of the People trail

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.

Places to visit in Saskatchewan include the South Saskatchewan River on an SUP
SUP on the South Saskatchewan River right into Saskatoon

Saskatoon demographics

According to the 2022 greater Saskatoon has a population of 273,980. It grew about 11.3% between 2016 and 2022.

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

Saskatoon weather

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

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

Food and shopping 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.

The fried chicken sandwich from Odla is awesome
The fried chicken sandwich from Odla is awesome

Breweries and Distilleries in Saskatoon

There are 7 breweries in Saskatoon, three distilleries and one cider company. I highly recommend the tour at Black Fox Distillery, a place where they age their spirits in barrels outside year round.

Things to do in Saskatoon in winter include sipping whiskey in the geodesic dome at Black Fox Farm & Distillery
Things to do in Saskatoon in winter include sipping whiskey in the geodesic dome at Black Fox Farm & Distillery

Saskatoon Festivals

Saskatoon has become a city of festivals. The Potash Corp Wintershines Festival features 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.

The vibrant Broadway area in Saskatoon
The vibrant Broadway area in Saskatoon

Famous people from Saskatoon

One of the interesting facts about Saskatoon is the number of famous and/or notable people from the city. They 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).

Random interesting facts about Saskatoon

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.

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

Saskatoon is the home of the largest indoor entertainment venue in Saskatchewan – the SaskTel Centre, with the ability to host 15,000 people.  

25 Fun, Weird and Interesting Facts About Saskatoon
Lots of colourful murals around downtown Saskatoon

Outdoor activities in Saskatoon

One of the interesting facts about Saskatoon is that it is home to 200 parks covering 870 hectares. If you included sports fields and naturalized areas, you’ll find 2,130 hectares of open space. 

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 city on a great network of trail – particularly along the river. Fat biking is popular in winter.

In summer, you can stand up paddleboard on a long stretch of the South Saskatchewan River and finish in downtown Saskatoon.

25 Fun, Weird and Interesting Facts About Saskatoon
A downtown Saskatoon section of the Meewasin Trail in winter
Places to visit in Saskatchewan include the South Saskatchewan River on an SUP
SUP on the South Saskatchewan River right into Saskatoon

Further reading on interesting facts about Canadian cities

Click on the photo to bookmark to Pinterest.

Fun and interesting facts about Saskatoon

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

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

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

  4. Actor Kim Coates, Sons of Anarchy tv series, and 40 other movies and plays, is from Saskatoon as well.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  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. 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.

  9. 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 🙂

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

      2. @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.

  12. Now I officially know 25 things about Saskatoon compared to the zero I knew when I woke up this morning. This looks like a great series.

  13. 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 !

  14. 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.

    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. What about Shannon Tweed, Gene Simmons from KISS’s wife. She’s also from Saskatoon!!

      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. @Theresa I have only visited once and was very impressed. There seems to be a lot of community spirit as well. And I thought the restaurants were excellent.

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

  15. Love the Two Gun Quiche House! For some reason, I’m always interested in sister cities, too. Lot of fun facts & cool pic of Saskatoon from the bridge.

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