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First impressions of Saskatoon

The story of a first visit in Saskatchewan's biggest city.

I arrived in Saskatoon on a beautiful Sunday in September. The sun was shining, the air was warm. The cloudless sky allowed me to see the flat landscape of the Prairies during my flight: the land cut with rigour, the multiple colours of the crops, the yellow, the red, the burnt orange. No doubt: fall had arrived.

This is my first time in Saskatchewan and I do not know what to expect. I was told that quality of life in Saskatoon is superb, that the city is very calm, that the multiple bridges and its river are gorgeous. I fully intend to go and discover that by myself.

I drop my bags at the Alt Hotel Saskatoon and go for a walk. Ideally located in the River Landing area, I'm only seconds away from the river and so that's where I decide to start.

The Saskatchewan River is shining in the autumn sun and people are taking full advantage of it: joggers, runners, parents pushing baby in the stroller, friends sharing a picnic. I just love it!

I take the path along the river to the University Bridge, located a twenty minutes’ walk from the hotel. The walk is very pleasant under the big trees with yellow leaves, where I also meet some geese and a hare. Yes, right in the heart of the city!

While on the bridge, I take the opportunity to take some shots of the ever-changing Saskatoon’s skyline, as the city is (finally!) expanding, very much to the delight of its inhabitants.

Fun fact: did you know that the city is nicknamed the Paris of the Prairies because of its multiple bridges over the river? So romantic!

Crossing the other side of the river, I head for the Meewasin Trail, a trail that runs along the water's edge. All passers-by greet me, smile at me, wish me a good day.

I return to River Landing making a few stops to admire the view, including on the Broadway Bridge and the Victoria Bridge. It's fantastic to have so many beautiful views of the city that easily.

Back in downtown, I go into some shops to take the pulse of the fashion scene here. At Spank, a women's clothing store, I mention to both employees that this is my first visit to Saskatoon. They give me a list of their favourite places in town: other clothing stores, cafes, brasseries, restaurants. I am speechless! It is a community that helps each other and is not shy to recommend a competitor. That is simply wow.

I buy a few things and while I shop, everyone I talk to wonders how is my day going, what I have planned for the rest of my evening, if I thought of going to such and such a place, and me ask a few questions about what I am doing and who I am. I feel them so genuinely interested, as long-time friends you haven’t seen in a few months and want to catch up.

After this first day of discovery, I think I understood Saskatoon's state of mind: it's a quiet and peaceful city where people are happy, quite simply. They are generous with their time, their knowledge, their smiles. They are proud of their city, which continues to grow, and has so much to offer. The friendly passers-by and the people I talked to made me love the city instantly.

I'm just looking forward to tomorrow to continue my discoveries.

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Virginie LandrySeptember 16th, 2019
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