Saskatoon in the winter can be tough. The winter is long and it can be cold, numbingly cold. But Saskatoon is a city where it’s possible to not only survive the winter – but to thrive in it.
Here are 10 ideas to see you through a Saskatoon winter.
- Pick a section of the Meewasin Valley trail to walk – either within the city or through the Rural Municipality of Corman Park. The trail is almost 60 kilometers long. The stretch I walked in downtown Saskatoon was beautiful, even on a -30 C day. Picture deep blue skies, sparkling snow and brilliant sunshine- all the hallmarks of a Saskatoon winter.
- Visit the Mendel Art Gallery. Currently they have an exhibit featuring arresting photos by aboriginal artists entitled Steeling the Gaze. Don’t miss the chance to poke your nose in the gallery shop either. You’ll find unique gifts from local, national and international crafts people. Finish your visit with a coffee and pastry at the onsite cafe. And if you need a touch of colour in your life have a wander through the onsite conservatory.
- A few hours or a full day out cross country skiing will definitely make you feel alive. If you don’t have much time make a few laps around Kinsmen Park in downtown Saskatoon. But if you’ve got a whole day then definitely head for Eb’s Ski Trails – a 55 kilometer wilderness ski trail system maintained and groomed by the Saskatoon Nordic Club. And if you need help getting started cross country skiing give Cliff at CanoeSki a call.
- For an indoors activity take a tour or arrange a tasting at Saskatoon’s LB Distillers . They manufacture Saskatoon’s only vodka, gin, whiskey and liqueurs. And they bill themselves out as making the only gin in the world that includes Saskatoon berries in the recipe.
- Rent a kick sled from Escape Sports and work up a sweat on the trails in the city no matter what the temperature is outside. Look for some hills because I can assure you from my kick sledding experience that you’ll get an adrenalin jolt on the way down.
- Go skating at the Cameco Meewasin skating rink – next to the Bessborough Hotel. Skating and skate rentals are free – and the warm-up lodge is a pleasure to hang out in, especially with the wood burning fireplace adding to the charm.
- Take a stroll down Broadway – a dynamic area rich in the arts that is easily accessed on foot from downtown via the Broadway Bridge. Look for unique and locally owned retail shops, small cafes, pubs, restaurants and art galleries.
- Plan to attend the annual WinterShines Festival in January and February. It’s over for 2013 and if you didn’t make it this year be sure to visit in 2014. The Festival celebrates winter and features something for everyone including ice carving by international ice carvers, a soup cook-off with the Heart and Stroke Foundation as the beneficiary, an outdoor ice climbing wall and a petting zoo. I would like to mention that the chef I was teamed up with – Doug Hyndford from the Saskatoon Inn – won the Judge’s Choice Award for his soup – Gin Rickey Rabbit soup.
- Tired of cooking? Then visit one of Saskatoon’s great restaurants. Perhaps the start-up costs for new restaurants are less expensive than other cities in Canada or there are just a lot of talented chefs in the area, but Saskatoon surprised and delighted me with its restaurants. Look for creative cooking with local ingredients at affordable prices.
- And if you’re completely crazy – go for a winter bike ride.
What else would you recommend doing so you can survive and thrive in a Saskatoon winter?
***I was a guest of Tourism Saskatoon but all thoughts are my own.***