A travel journal
to Saskatoon by girlfromals
Quote: Saskatoon, named after the native Saskatoon berry, is Saskatchewan's largest city with over 200,000 inhabitants. Originally home to First Nations peoples, this city on the river has grown into a manufacturing and scientific star on the prairies. The city offers much to the visitor.
The Western Development Museum in Saskatoon focuses on the settlement of the prairies. It features a recreation of a boomtown in 1910. You can check out the antique cars and trains and check out the operating blacksmith shop as well.
The Bessborough Hotel may be to expensive to stay at but it is definitely worth checking out from the outside. Located downtown on the bank of the river, our "castle" is a fine example the hotels which the Canadian Pacific Railway constructed.
Saskatoon is a busy place in the summer. Chances are you will run into a festival of some sort during your stay. Here are just a few examples: Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, The International Jazz Festival, the North Saskatchewan International Children's Festival, FolkFest, and the Fringe Festival. There is definitely something for everyone!
The Berry Barn, located south of town on the South Saskatchewan River, is a great place to try out the Saskatoon Berry - it comes in many forms from pies and chocolates to wine! You can pick up a few treats to take home with you.
The Marr Residence, the second oldest house in Saskatoon, served as a hospital during the 1885 Rebellion at Batoche.
Once in Saskatoon, a car is certainly the most efficient way to get around. The bus system is pretty good and the drivers are friendly and helpful. For information on the bus check out the Saskatoon Transit website.
Restaurant | "Samurai Restaurant"
The interior is decorated in traditional Japanese style creating a very relaxing atmosphere. The hostess wears a kimono. The tables look like you will have to sit on the floor but there are actually chairs to sit on. Each table comfortably sits 8. Reservations are definitely recommended if you are a large party and require an entire table. If you are just 2, you will be seated at a table with others whom you will get to know over the course of the evening. And you will definitely need an entire evening - instead of going to a few different places you can spend hours at this great restaurant with your friends. My family took my host parents from Denmark to the Samurai because they had never had Japanese food before. They had a chance to try out chopsticks! My host mom mastered them in no time! We had a great evening and it was considered 'hyggelig' (the closest translation is cozy) - a very high compliment from Danes.
Start the evening off with a tasty appetizer. I recommend any of the tempura selections. Your chef will come out and prepare your appetizer at your table. The food is fresh and very tasty.
For the main course there are just too many things to choose from. We ended up ordering individual dishes but shared bits and pieces. Once again, the chef will come to your table and prepare your food. The best part is the fire show. Check out the photos below. Out chef willingly obliged to do the fire show twice for our Danish guests and so we could get pictures. Once again the food is absolutely fantastic. If you love seafood in Japanese style, you will love the dishes. One great thing about the Samurai is that they offer options for vegetarians - there are a number of tofu dishes with fresh vegetables.
For dessert, you can try Green Tea Ice Cream. Yes, it is made with green tea and is even green. It sounds strange, but is quite tasty. Have it with some Japanese tea and your dessert will be complete.
It is a bit expensive, but you could also spend the same amount of money doing 2-3 things in the same number of hours elsewhere. It is all in how you think about the experience. If you can manage it, I highly recommend an evening at Samurai. It will be a memorable evening!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 17, 2002
Samurai Japanese Restaurant
601 Spadina Crescent East
Restaurant | "Crawdaddy's Louisiana Bar & Grill"
The interior of the restaurant has been completely renovated with French Quarter iron, painted brick walls, and a post and beam system which takes you all the way back to a New Orleans restaurant at the turn of the century. The Voodoo Lounge is a 200-seat showroom featuring Blues, Jazz, and Zydeco music.
There is a wide offering of traditional Cajun and New Orleans style cooking. The first time I went to Crawdaddy's, I had recently returned from New Orleans. I wasn't sure what to expect especially after having eaten the real thing. I was pleasantly surprised. The food tastes and looks authentic! And do you ever get your money's worth! There is so much food on the plate, that even the most hungry will have some difficulty finishing! And you must try the large selection of hot sauces available at every table. I love hot and spicy food so this is my kind of restaurant. I've never had anything that I didn't like.
My sister and I took my Danish host parents to Crawdaddy's. I wasn't exactly sure how they would deal with the spicy food as Danish food is not hot or spicy. My host dad stayed away from the hot sauces, but I think my host mom tried every one there was on the table!
This is a very popular place so I would recommend reservations. You can check their website for further information, including upcoming musicians or give them a call. Check it out!
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 17, 2002
Crawdaddy's Louisiana Bar & Grill
244 1st Avenue North
I have been to Wanuskewin several times and cannot say enough about it. It is fun and educational at the same time.
When you enter the interpretive center you will see a large display showing the herding of the buffalo/bison. To the right of this display is the theatre. You absolutely have to see the multimedia presentation; it runs every 30 minutes. The film explains the history and significance of Wanuskewin.
When the film is finished, head into the interactive display gallery. You can see the native animals and plants of the prairies and even try on furs! There are various computer terminals set up where you can choose different presentations on things like making clothing or food preparation.
Make sure to look up, way up and you will see the bison coming over the bison jump. Across from the jump is a large tipi. Inside you can listen to a number of traditional stories.
If the weather is nice, head outside on one of the trails mentioned in the film. The walk takes you through grassland. Depending on which trail you choose you might be able to see the ancient medicine wheel. These walks are extremely peaceful and remind us of the spiritual nature of Wanuskewin. Be sure to stop by Tipi Village on the way back to the building.
Wanuskewin offers many special events. Perhaps the biggest day is National Aboriginal Day, June 21. Be sure to check the website for dates and times.
You can eat bannock in the restaurant and even book an overnight stay in Tipi Village. The gift shop is a popular spot for visitors, offering many types of traditional First Nations art.
Wanuskewin is not difficult to find. Look for the bison signs along the roadways. If you need directions, the website provides a good map. The Park is open year round, 9am-9pm from Victoria Day to Labour Day and from 9am-5pm in the fall and winter. There is an admission fee and there can sometimes be an extra fee for special events.
Be sure not to miss Wanuskewin - it is one place you must stop on your trip to Saskatoon. After your tour, you'll be able to say exactly what Wanuskewin means to you!
Wanuskewin Heritage Park
RR #4, Penner Road
Saskatoon S7K 3J7
Attraction | "The Berry Barn"
The main building is a replica of an old red barn which used to be common across the prairies. Inside is a restaurant, featuring home-made eats and treats, with seating for over 100 and an outdoor patio with a further 30 seats. Outside are located the beautiful flower gardens. Located on the bank of the South Saskatchewan River, the flower gardens provide a very relaxing place to stay for a little while during a hectic sightseeing trip. The kids would love to run around the garden! Try out the rocker swing. I can't remember what set us off, but we couldn't stop laughing the rest of the day because of something to do with the swing!
If you feel energetic, you can head over to the orchard and pick Saskatoon berries to take home to make your own delicious treats!
The barn also contains a gift shop. In fact the entire barn is covered with all kinds of arts and crafts which are for sale. The special Saskatoon berry products (as well as products made out of other prairie delights such as chokecherries) are found in the gift shop itself. If you can imagine it, it's got Saskatoon berries in it. Tea, chocolates, jams, jellies, and even wine! These make lovely gifts for people back home. And what is even better is that they taste good too!
If you are not familiar with Saskatoon or the area, the Berry Barn can be a little difficult to find. Just give them a call at (306) 978-9797 and they'll give you directions to find the place. You will definitely need a car to get there. The Berry Barn is open almost all year round, closing for a couple of months after Christmas to give the family that runs it a break.
If you have time to stop at the Berry Barn, please do. It will be a berry good experience for the entire family.
830 Valley Road
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 3J6
Attraction | "Bessborough Hotel"
The 'castle' was one of a string of hotels which the Canadian Pacific Railway constructed across Canada, all of which are known for their inspiring architecture. The construction of the Bessborough, named after British nobility, was begun in 1928 and was almost abandoned during the Depression. Residents and visitors are glad that construction was completed as the Saskatoon skyline would not be the same without the Bess.
At the time the Bess was constructed, land along the riverbank was cheap, providing a perfect opportunity for the railway company to turn a profit on the construction of the hotel. The natural vista provided the perfect spot for a hotel with 5 acres of private gardens surrounded by acres more of public park.
As the hotel is rated 4 star, I have not stayed in it (student budget here!). I have, however, attended conferences within and I must say that the interior inspires images of imperial grandeur a la the late Queen Mother and her era.
If you can afford to stay in the hotel itself, I highly recommend it. The 225 rooms on 6 floors were renovated in 2000. Prominent visitors to the city stay in this hotel (royalty and the like) when in town. Call (306) 244-5521 or toll free 1-800-268-1133 for reservations.
If you cannot afford to stay in this luxurious hotel, I highly recommend taking a walk down to the river and around the hotel in the public park. It provides for a stunning photo to take back home. You can tell people that Saskatoon indeed has a castle!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 30, 2002
601 Spadina Cres E