The Saskatchewan city of Saskatoon is a melting pot of different cultures. Known as “the city of bridges,” it sits on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River and features wide, tree-lined streets amid extensive parks and green spaces. Before the arrival of Europeans, the Cree First Nations were the dominant Prairie people and lived in this area. Every spring and summer they hunted buffalo on the Great Plains and set up camp in the Saskatoon area. Ontario Methodists incorporated the town itself in 1882, led by John Lake, with the intention of establishing a temperance colony. With the opening of the railroad in 1908, the entire region saw an influx of new immigrants. The result was that people of many different nationalities – Germans, Scandinavians, Ukrainians and British – all contributed to the development of the city.
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1 Wanuskewin Heritage Park
Wanuskewin Heritage Park is located approximately three kilometers north of Saskatoon (from the Cree word meaning ‘living together in harmony’) to promote a better understanding of the Indigenous peoples who once lived in the region. The park is the site of some exciting archaeological discoveries – some dating back at least 6,000 to 7,000 years ago.
One of the most important archaeological finds is a “medicine wheel”, estimated to be about 1,500 years old, consisting of a central cairn enclosed in a ring marked by three smaller cairns. Other cairns have been found marking the path along which buffalo were mined before being driven over a precipice to their death. The animals were slaughtered in the valley below, with the meat preserved with the hides and bones made into clothing, tools and shelter.
Address: RR 4 Penner Rd, Saskatoon
Official site: https://www.wanuskewin.com/
2 Western Development Museum
Highly recommended is a visit to this, the largest of Saskatchewan’s four western development museums that authentically reconstruct and document the history of the Canadian West.
“Boomtown 1910,” the reconstructed main street of a typical prairie town, is lined with old shops, including a Chinese laundry and barber shop, as well as a church, firehouse, train station and other historic buildings. There is also a collection of vintage cars (invaluable today) and old tractors.
Address: 2610 Lorne Ave. South, Saskatoon
Official site: https://wdm.ca/
3 Ukrainian Museum of Canada
The Ukrainian Museum of Canada is dedicated to the many settlers who came here from Ukraine and who contributed so much to the country’s development. The artwork on display includes embroidered fabrics, wood carvings, traditional items of a religious nature (such as decorated Easter eggs) and ceramics.
Address: 910 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon
Official site: https://www.umc.sk.ca/
4 Diefenbaker Canada Center
The Diefenbaker Canada Center on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan is a combined archive and museum dedicated to the life and times of Canada’s 13th Prime Minister. In addition to the permanent displays, including replicas of the Cabinet Room and the Prime Minister’s Office in Ottawa, the center is used for temporary exhibitions on history, politics, science and art. Diefenbaker and his wife are buried nearby.
Address: 101 Diefenbaker Pl, Saskatoon
Official site: https://www.usask.ca/diefenbaker/
5 Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo
The Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo has settings that resemble natural habitats for more than 90 species of birds and animals, from capuchin monkeys to gray wolves. A tropical fish display and nature walking trails can also be found at the zoo, a non-profit, volunteer-driven operation.
Address: 1903 Forestry Farm Park Dr, Saskatoon
Official site: https://saskatoonzoosociety.ca/
6 Editor’s Pick Mendel Art Gallery
Located on the South Saskatchewan River, the Mendel Art Gallery features temporary and permanent exhibitions of international, national and regional art. Adjacent to the gallery it is lovely Citizen Conservatoryfilled with colorful seasonal plants, orchids and other tropical rarities.
Address: 950 Spadina Cres E, Saskatoon
Official site: https://www.mendel.ca/
7 Meewasin Valley Trail
On both banks of the South Saskatchewan River, the Meewasin Valley Trail winds a pleasant course to city parks, near major tourist attractions and past historic sites. The route, part of the nation that spans the Trans Canada Trail, is popular with hikers year-round. Summer offers extra fun with canoe rental and bicycle tours.
Official site: https://meewasin.com/visitors/trails/
8 University of Saskatchewan
The university campus is a vibrant intellectual and cultural center in the city, with a surprising appeal. There is the restored 1905 Victoria School on site – Saskatoon’s very first school. Built in a Collegiate Gothic style, the university’s Peter MacKinnon Building is a National Historic Center and the focal point of the campus. There is also an observatory, sculpture garden, and theater at the famous university.
Address: 105 Administration Place, Saskatoon
Where to Stay in Saskatoon for Sightseeing
We recommend these great Saskatoon hotels near downtown shopping and attractions:
- The James Hotel: Luxury boutique hotel, riverfront, stylish decor, high thread count linens, marble bathrooms.
- Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon Hotel: mid-range pricing, river views, central location, indoor heated pool and whirlpool, ice skating rink nearby.
- Hampton Inn & Suites Saskatoon Airport: Affordable rates, 10 minutes to downtown, free hot breakfast, indoor pool and hot tub.
- Comfort Suites Saskatoon: great rates, coffee makers, pool and slide, hot tub.