Saskatoon is a city located in central Saskatchewan, Canada, along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. Saskatoon is the most populous city in the province. Residents of Saskatoon are usually called Saskatonians.
Known as the "City of Bridges" for its seven river crossings, the city's name comes from the Cree word for the saskatoon berry, "misaskwatomin". Another long-time nickname for Saskatoon is "Hub City," while the name is also commonly abbreviated "S'toon." Following the release of the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? in 1988, many residents began referring to the city by the nickname "'Toontown," after a similarly named location in the film. A tongue-in-cheek nickname for the city by some residents is "Saskabush". Saskatoon is reputed to be the "Paris of the prairies," a title which likely originated in the song "Wheat Kings" by The Tragically Hip, a prominent Canadian rock band.
Saskatoon, also known as "Canada's Science City," is world renowned for its incomparable mix of scientific infrastructure. Among this infrastructure is Canada's largest science project in over three decades, the Canadian Light Source (CLS) Synchrotron.
As the largest urban centre in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon is extremely self-sufficient for its size (roughly 230,000). Within city limits, residents find all amenities common to centres much larger, all within a 15-minute drive from one end of the city to the other. Visitors to Saskatoon are surprised by its beauty and the way city planners have utilized the riverbank location to maximize the city's intriguing attractions.
A Rather Dry History
The first permanent settlement of Saskatoon occurred in 1883 when Toronto Methodists, wanting to escape the liquor trade in that city, decided to set up a "dry" community in the rapidly-growing Prairie region. Their organization, the Temperance Colonization Society, first examined this area in 1882 and found that it would make an excellent location to found their community based on the ideals of the Temperance League. The settlers arrived on the site of what is now Saskatoon by travelling by railway from Ontario to Moose Jaw, and then completing the final leg via horse-drawn cart (the railway had yet to be completed to Saskatoon). The plan for the Temperance Colony soon failed as the group was unable to obtain a large block of land within the community.
In 1885, several houses on 11th Street were used as military hospitals during the North-West Rebellion. One house, the Marr Residence, is currently a heritage site run by the Meewasin Valley Authority. The first school, Victoria School opened for classes at the corner of 11th Street and Broadway Avenue in 1888. This small school, now called the "Little Stone Schoolhouse", now sits on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan. The Qu'Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railway reached Saskatoon in 1890 and crossed the South Saskatchewan River, causing a boom in development on the west side of the river. In 1901, Saskatoon's population hit 113 and the community on the west bank of the river adopted the name "Saskatoon", while residents on the east side of the river adopted the name "Nutana". A third settlement, "Riversdale", also began just southwest of Saskatoon.
In 1906 Saskatoon became a city with a population of 4,500, which included the communities of Saskatoon, Riversdale, and Nutana. In 1956, the fast-growing community annexed the neighboring town of Sutherland.