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Surprising Saskatoon

Things to Do, What's New — By shelaghmcnally on April 27, 2011 at 6:12 pm
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Photo Courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan, Gene Hattori, F11 Photo Design

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan has surprised the rest of Canada by transforming into an unexpected hot spot for tourism. As a small prairie town, it was once considered a sleepy backwater with little to offer except its sweet Saskatoon berry. But now,  Canada’s City of Bridges has become known for its eclectic mix of unspoiled wilderness alongside international cuisine and cultural events.

This transformation is due, in large part, to the province’s abundant resources of uranium and potash, which has created an influx of foreign investments. This prosperity has heightened the appeal of Saskatoon’s vibrant downtown and lively cultural scene. With 150 shops, restaurants and theater, the Broadway District has become the center of a burgeoning gourmet scene where local chefs redefine Prairie cuisine and find enterprising ways to showcase regional foods.

This is a city that loves to party so there are festivals year round. May’s Vesna Festival celebrates everything Ukranian, the emigrants who first settled this northern region. The annual Fringe Theatre Festival from July 29 to Aug. 7  is always a highlight, as is the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival June 25 to July 4 followed by the popular Reggae and World Music Festival in August. In the fall, Saskatoon is host to one of the largest Native American Powwows, Spirit of our Nation .

Nature is close by with hiking/biking trails leading to the 60-kilometer Meewasin Valley Trail, which follows the banks of South Saskatchewan River. This river actually divides the city in two and downtown kayaking companies make it possible to kayak past the city center (weather permittıng).

There are two world-class museums not to be missed as well.  The Ukrainian Museum of Canada is notable for its exquisite collection of painted Easter eggs and the Mendel Art Gallery for its Canadian and European art. Kids will enjoy the 1910 Boomtown exhibit at the Western Development Museum that recreates daily life during Saskatoon’s first potash boom.

Saskatoon offers a chance to experience the vibrancy of Northern Canada in the 21st century by combining a colorful pioneer past with a modern sophistication. This is a city with its own personality and style found nowhere else.

 

Tags: Broadway district, fringe theater festival, potash boom, prairie cuisine, prairie festivals, Saskatchewan Jazz festival, Saskatoon, saskatoon berry, summer festivals, up and coming tourist spot

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