Okay, I spent a bit more than just a night here in the town that a Canadian from the train to Jasper described as “if you really want to make a stop between Calgary/Edmonton and Toronto – I don’t know why you want to – and have to decide between Winnipeg and Saskatoon go to Saskatoon. People are friendlier there.”
That were his words. So I chose Saskatoon for about 24 hours and it was a great day.
With the exception that I started freezing and completely lost in the morning at the Greyhound bus station which is somewhere out of town in the north. It cost me nerves, a coffee and toast at Tim Horton’s – they are everywhere! -, a crazy street crossing with a 2.5 km walk to the closest public transport and about 30 minutes of waiting in the wind for the next bus that brought me into town.
But afterwards the sun came out, the Airbnb was really great – cats again! – and what I found just outside was the lovely lively neighborhood of Riversdale where I could easily spend a day or two.
I decided to add the new museum of modern arts to my empty list of things to do in Saskatoon and had lots of fun with the items of Jimmie Durham. Quite often for me the building itself is the best thing about a museum but in this exhibit I had to laugh very often about his hilarious pieces. (I was not allowed to take pictures so you have to inform yourself if you like to. But the fun was in the details.)
The walk along the river must be beautiful in summer and for stretching the legs in winter it’s a nice way to avoid the busy streets. The great range of – you know what follows – coffee shops did an excellent job to warm up after being outside. The Underground Café offered me additionally a omg-is-this-tasteful toasted sandwich with apricot, cheddar and walnuts and the Hometown filled me with veggie eggs benny, a good coffee and a good barista talk on the next day before my two days of train and train food started.
On the way to The Bassment, a jazz club where I wanted to go to the concert of a Canadian roots traditional band, I stumbled over the 9 mile legacy brewery – oh no! – and couldn’t help but fell for my weakness: the Hot Dog stand in front. With the specialty that it offered veggie dogs which made me really happy alongside with the beer that was dope! So fueled up I left for the concert with giving the sign over the door a last look “Don’t believe the hype.”
The performance of “Gordie Mackeeman and his rhythm boys” was a musical wrap up for the day with the fun fact that I must have dropped the average age about 20 years. Well, I guess they counted me as a statistical outlier.
Before I fell to bed I checked that the first bus which should bring me close to the train station wouldn’t be early enough if the train was on time. I set the alarm for 6 am, enough to walk in worst case the 6 km to the station. But honestly I calculated already that the train would be at least 2 hours late and I would have a proper breakfast before leaving Saskatoon.
An email in the morning from Via Rail confirmed that the train would be about 4 hours delayed so enough to sleep in a bit longer and have brunch at Hometown before carrying all my stuff and the “2 1/2 days of food for the train” to the station.
In the end I left Saskatoon 7 hours delayed. And I was a bit sad not to stay another day.
Saskatoon: definitely worth a stopover on your tour across Canada.