Culture & Recreation

“We have fantastic festivals all year round. For me, the city really comes alive in the summer – with the number of music, food, arts and cultural festivals there’s something exciting to do every weekend.” – Czarina Sastaunik

Whether you’re a film buff, an opera aficionado or a sports fanatic, there’s no better place to be than Saskatoon. With year-round festivals, live theatre and a vibrant music scene, it’s a city with something for everyone.

As many of the city’s events centre in and around the downtown, the city’s Experience Downtown website is an excellent resource for upcoming events.

Events and festivals

An exceptional fringe festival drawing actors from around the world, a mouth-watering food festival and a bit of Shakespeare by the South Saskatchewan River are just the tip of the iceberg. Saskatoon has enough exciting events to keep your social calendar full all year long.

Some of the more notable annual events, listed in order of date, are:

PotashCorp Wintershines 

PotashCorp Children’s Festival of Saskatchewan 

Sask Tel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival 

Wakeride 

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan 

A Taste of Saskatchewan 

PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival 

Saskatoon Exhibition 

Folkfest

Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Festival 

Rock 102 Cruise Weekend 

Saskatoon City Hospital Festival of the Trees 

BHP Biliton Enchanted Forest Holiday Light Tour  

A full line up of events and festivals can be found on Tourism of Saskatoon’s website 

Interpretive Centres

Beaver Creek Conservation Area

Beaver Creek Conservation Area is located 13 kilometres south of Saskatoon. A sheltered creek, river valley, and prairie habitat offer a diversity of flora and fauna for visitors. It is the microcosm of the Meewasin Valley, and contains one of the few uncultivated short grass prairie sites in Saskatchewan. An interpretive centre and staff provide opportunities to discover nature during the four seasons along a selection of five nature trails.

The Berry Barn

Designed as a place to “get away from it all in a unique country setting,” The Berry Barn is located south of Saskatoon on Valley Road. The 27 acre orchard of saskatoon berry bushes offers fresh berries for purchase – already picked and sorted. There is also a U-pick area, open daily during picking season. The annual harvest yields between 22,000 and 28,000 pounds of saskatoon berries – all hand picked and graded.

Meewasin Interpretive Canoe Tours

Learn about the beautiful South Saskatchewan River in one of Meewasin’s 10-passenger voyager canoes.  Experience that of the early explorers two hundred years ago. Charters run early June to late August. Call (306) 374-2474 for more information and to book a tour.

Meewasin Valley Centre

Experience Saskatoon’s cultural and natural history at the heart of the Meewasin Trail. Located at the foot of the Victoria/Traffic Bridge, the Meewasin Valley Interpretive Centre offers hands-on exhibits, tourist information, a gift shop, walking tours, special events and exciting interpretive programs. The Centre focuses on the original areas of urban development in Saskatoon. It’s a place to learn about the Meewasin Trail system, Saskatoon’s history, the South Saskatchewan River, and the future of the Meewasin Valley. Admission is free and donations are welcomed. Please call 665-6888 for more information. Or get a hold of us by email at: meewasin@meewasin.com

Saskatoon Forestry Farm

It all began with a tree nursery. Millions of saplings and a hundred years later, the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo remains a cornerstone of ecology, inspired learning and lasting memories in the Prairies. Today, this National Historic Site boasts carefully crafted garden spaces, restored heritage buildings, a great new naturally-themed playground and Saskatchewan’s only CAZA accredited zoo. Whether your visit is lively and exciting or quietly reflective, this distinctly-Saskatchewan experience is sure to be a memorable one.

Shearwater Tours

See Saskatoon for the river, on the classic riverboat “The Prairie Lily.” Each scheduled tour lasts about one hour, leaving from the Shearwater docks behind the Mendel Art Gallery on Spadina Crescent near the University Bridge in downtown Saskatoon. The ship travels under four of Saskatoon’s eight bridges, past the downtown core with its elegant landscaped parks, natural areas, and some of the city’s most opulent residences. Enjoy watching canoes, kayaks, rowing skiffs, wakeboarders and waterskiers. Enjoy this beautiful river valley, recognized as one of the finest and best-kept in the world. On the daily scheduled sight-seeing cruises, you will appreciate carefully-researched commentary, which will inform you about the river, its landmarks, cultural highlights, and fascinating history.

Arts and culture

Saskatoon boasts a thriving arts and culture scene – and with the development of River Landing and a new art gallery, it’s growing to rival larger Canadian cities.

For more information on local arts and music please look at Ominocity – a Saskatoon e-zine that promotes local events and emerging talents. 

Movies

Saskatoon is fortunate to be home to two cinemas that are steeped in history – the Roxy and Broadway Theatre.

 The Roxy is the city’s oldest movie theatre still in operation. Built during the depression in Spanish colonial style, the walls are lined with small balconies, windows and towers resembling a charming Spanish village. Operating primarily as a cinema, the Roxy also hosts events and performances.

The Broadway Theatre offers patrons an exciting variety of film, arts and cultural events. Built in 1946, it is Canada’s only community-owned, non-profit repertory cinema. The theatre specializes in domestic and international independent films.

Other movie theatres in the city are:

Cineplex Odeon Centre Cinemas

Galaxy Cinemas Saskatoon

Rainbow Cinema

Live Theatre

Theatre lovers will appreciate the diverse selection of plays and musicals Saskatoon offers. Locally-written plays at the Persephone Theatre, Broadway hits at TCU Place and Shakespearean sonnets on the South Saskatchewan Riverbank await you.  

Persephone Theatre

TCU Place

Fringe Festival

Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan

La Troupe du Jour

Live Five

Wide Open Children’s Theatre

Music

As the hometown of Joni Mitchell and The Sheepdogs, Saskatoon takes its music seriously.

 The city’s largest event venue, Credit Union Centre, plays host to sold-out, big-name acts, while TCU Place and the Odeon Events Center feature an exciting line up of Canadian and international artists. Jazz lovers are well served by the rich diversity of acts hosted by The Bassment.

 The South Saskatchewan River provides a stunning backdrop to several concert venues at the annual SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. Drawing over 80,000 music lovers who come to soak up the sounds of jazz, pop, blues, funk and world music, it’s an experience not to be missed.

 And let’s not forget the dynamic Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. With a season featuring the music of Queen, Sinatra and a night of Oscar winning music, this is not your grandma’s symphony.

Annual Music Festivals

SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival

Saskatoon Blues Festival

Saskatoon Reggae and World Music Festival 

Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Festival

Museums & galleries

Saskatoon has a lot to offer when it comes to museums – from a walk through a 1910 boomtown, to a glimpse into the life of Canada’s 13th prime minister.

Here are the highlights:

History buffs will be right at home at the Western Development Museum. Visitors are transported back in time through an indoor representation of a typical Saskatchewan boomtown circa 1910.

 Perched on the west side of the South Saskatchewan River near the foot of the University Bridge is the Ukrainian Museum of Canada.  The artifacts on exhibit demonstrate Saskatchewan’s rich Ukrainian heritage and its contribution to our country.

The University of Saskatchewan is host to the Museum of Natural Sciences, where evolution is outlined throughout geological time with displays of living plants, animals, fossils, rocks and minerals.

The Diefenbaker Canada Centre houses the Diefenbaker archives, museum and gallery. The Centre promotes community engagement and offers visitors an interactive look at John G. Diefenbaker’s influential role as Canada’s 13th prime minister.

The Children’s Discovery Museum on the Saskatchewan provides a unique venue that brings together children, families and community for interaction that develops essential foundational skills, lights a creative spark and stimulates lifelong learning.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park explores and explains the meaning of the plains culture to help visitors gain a better understanding of Saskatchewan’s First Nations peoples and our common heritage. With an interpretive centre, two galleries, a restaurant and interactive trails, there’s something for everyone in the family.

The Saskatchewan Railway Museum is located on the Pike Lake Highway, just west of Saskatoon, on seven acres of land. The museum is open during the summer months from May long weekend to the September long weekend and by appointment on other days.

Galleries

Saskatoon has a colourful arts scene that’s growing and evolving all the time. As a city that is often referred to as the Paris of the Prairies, it seems only fitting that it will soon be home to a world-class landmark situated on the riverbank – the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan.

Set to be the largest gallery in the province, The Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan already boasts an exceptional collection of 405 Picasso linocut prints. Groundbreaking commences in 2013, and expected completion is late 2014 to early 2015.

Nestled into the west bank of the South Saskatchewan River, the Mendel Art Gallery houses a rich diversity of local, national and international exhibits. The public gallery sits adjacent to the lush Civic Conservatory – home to seasonal flower displays and a vibrant collection of orchids, tropical and arid plants. Admission is free to both the Mendel Art Gallery and the Civic Conservatory.

The Gordon Snelgrove Gallery, located on the University of Saskatchewan campus, is a teaching facility and a public gallery managed through the university’s department of art and art history. It provides a venue for new work by artists and curators – both within the department and the wider community.

The city also offers many commercial art galleries including:

AKA Gallery – Artist-run centre facilitating the production, presentation and interpretation of a diversity of contemporary art with an emphasis on innovative artistic practices

Darrell Bell Gallery – Contemporary Canadian art with an emphasis on professional Saskatchewan artists

PAVED Arts – Non-profit, community-based organization that aims to advance knowledge of “PAVED” (photography, audio, video, electronic and digital) arts

Rouge Gallery – Dedicated to the presentation and promotion of emerging as well as established Canadian artists

The Stall Gallery – Specializes in contemporary paintings, drawings and prints

The Gallery/art placement – Emphasizes the work of senior and mid-career, Saskatchewan artists while also representing established western Canadian painters

Shopping

While Saskatoon’s shopping centres are sprinkled throughout the city, the downtown and Broadway districts offer a truly unique shopping experience. With 130 stores, downtown’s Midtown Plaza is the province’s largest shopping centre.

 Independent, eclectic boutiques line bustling Broadway Avenue, and new retailers are opening up shop downtown all the time.

 Looking for something truly unique? The Mendel Gallery Shop offers plenty of interesting gifts made by local artisans – including jewellery, glassware, ceramics, wood and metal ware.

Food and nightlife

When Saskatonians are looking to grab a bite to eat, they are fortunate to have plenty of choice. As one of the top Canadian cities for the number of restaurants per capita, even the most discerning foodie will find something fantastic to feast on.

If locally produced food is important to you, then you won’t want to miss the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. Open year-round at River Landing, their focus is on local agricultural products, baked goods, prepared foods and crafts.

When they’re not checking out the latest bistro or trying out a new recipe with local ingredients, Saskatoon’s talented food bloggers are writing about their culinary adventures.

Here are just a few great local food blogs:

Sweet Sugar Bean

Home for Dinner

Wanderlust and Words 

With a lively mix of comedy, improv, concerts, and even poetry slams, Saskatoon’s nightlife simply thrives. Bars, pubs and night clubs are scattered throughout the city, but the activity centres around downtown and the Broadway district.

The city’s oldest movie theatres are a lot more than just movie theatres. The Broadway and the Roxy Theatre host special events year-round – from book readings, to lectures and concerts.

Tourism Saskatoon – nightlife directory

Laugh Shop Comedy Club

Saskatoon Soaps Improv Comedy

The No-No’s Improv Comedy

Tonight it’s Poetry

Broadway Theatre – live events

Roxy Theatre – special events

Sports and activities

Whether it’s a sunny summer day or a snowy winter one, Saskatoon has you covered when it comes to sports and activities.

 In the summer, Saskatoon’s pristine trails and pathways buzz with activity – from cyclists, to joggers, to those simply going for a leisurely afternoon stroll. Golfers have plenty of great courses to choose from, and the South Saskatchewan River welcomes rowers and paddlers alike.

 When the temperature drops, the activity doesn’t stop. Saskatoon boasts several cross-country skiing trails, a public outdoor skating rink on the riverbank and several indoor skating and curling rinks.

 As for spectator sports, the Saskatoon Blades junior hockey team draws the crowds to Credit Union Centre and the University of Saskatchewan Huskie Athletics attract fans from across the province for their competitive sports, including: basketball, hockey, volleyball, track and field, cross country, wrestling, football and soccer.

 For a comprehensive list of Saskatoon’s recreation facilities, including golf courses, tennis courts, indoor pools and much more, visit Tourism Saskatoon’s recreation directory.

 If you’re interested in joining a co-ed recreational sports team, the Saskatoon Rec League is a great place to start as they offer 10 different sports and activities for various skill levels.

Directories

Tourism Saskatoon – recreation directory

City of Saskatoon – leisure centres

Saskatoon Sports Council – Community school sports leagues (youth programs)

Activities

Adult Safe Hockey League

Cameco Meewasin skating rink (outdoor)

City of Saskatoon – cross-country skiing information

City of Saskatoon – indoor rinks

City of Saskatoon – golf courses

City of Saskatoon – park locations

Fishing in Saskatchewan

Meewasin Trail

Saskatoon Adult Soccer

Saskatoon Youth Soccer

Saskatoon Ball Hockey League

Saskatoon Box Lacrosse

Saskatoon Curling Clubs

Saskatoon Lions Speed Skating Club

Saskatoon Minor Baseball

Saskatoon Minor Basketball Association

Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association

Saskatoon Minor Softball League

Saskatoon Rec League

Saskatoon Rowing Club

Saskatoon Nordic Ski Club

Spectator Sports

Huskie Athletics

Saskatoon Blades

Saskatoon Valkyries

Saskatoon sports – event listings