City Scope

Toronto, Ottawa, Southern Ontario, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon:  Which city is for you?  Read on for an overview of the city selected. 

Saskatoon - The Paris of The Prairies

-Sarah Bruno

The name of this charming city was derived from the Cree name “Mis-saskquah-toomina,” referring to the berry that grows abundantly in the area – commonly known as the saskatoon.

Most of Saskatoon’s early pioneers came from Ontario and Great Britain, but the city now enjoys a diverse ethnic demographic that makes for a culturally dynamic city. With a population of approximately 235,000, Saskatoon is the largest and fastest-growing city in Saskatchewan.

Saskatoon ranks high in terms of its quality of life, business opportunities, health initiatives, tourist attractions and educational facilities. It boasts the lowest municipal property taxes per capita of Western Canada’s major cities. The Saskatoon Health Region is the largest single employer in the province, with 10,800 staff members and 700 physicians.

Saskatoon’s location along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River provides ample opportunity for breathtaking views, especially in the Meewasin Valley Authority’s many nature trails. Linking the east and west sides of the city are a total of seven bridges, which is why Saskatoon is often called the City of Bridges.

Several prominent publications annually rate Saskatoon “Number One.” Saskatoon was voted the best city, under a population of 250,000, in Canada by Places Rated Almanac.

Chatelaine Magazine’s 25-city report card on air and water quality rated Saskatoon an “A” and best overall. Today’s Parent Magazine named Saskatoon one of the best five cities for families, partly due to the city’s record for civic awareness and library spending.
Maclean’s has consistently named Saskatoon in the top five health regions in Canada – second in communities with medical schools. Maclean’s also cited the city as a working model that could form the basis for national urban strategy.

 The Globe and Mail recognized the city’s success stories in health, sciences, information technology, the commercialization of university research and economic development.

A National Post correspondent, Les Perreux, finds the unique mix of rural and urban in the City of Bridges strikes just the right note, calling it “the prettiest urban setting I have ever seen.”
“Anyone looking to relocate to Canada, and Saskatchewan in particular,” says Kathy Coles, Research and Communications Coordinator with Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority, “should note that the average price for a house in Saskatoon is $123,249 compared to $154,862 in Edmonton, $208,999 in Calgary, $281,292 in Toronto, and $312,828 in Vancouver.” Coles adds, “We're happy to report that the 2002 building permit total for Saskatoon exceeded $250 million due to an increase in residential, commercial, and institutional construction. Building permits have increased a remarkable 65 percent, the highest since 1986!”

Perhaps Saskatoon’s high number of annual sunshine hours contributes to the city’s brilliancy. There’s 2,380 sunlight hours in Saskatoon to enjoy everything from art galleries, museums, heritage sites to the Saskatoon Zoo and Forestry Farm Park.

But don’t expect all the fun to take place in the day. The equally exciting night life features live theatre, fine dining, concerts at Saskatoon Centennial Auditorium and Saskatchewan Place, jazz nights and the symphony.

Saskatoon also offers a multitude of business opportunities, with a goal to become the most business-friendly city in Canada by 2006. According to a 2002 KPMG study, the city ranks #2 in all of midwest North America, #3 in the entire western half of the continent, and #6 in the entire world for total business competitiveness. Saskatoon ranks on top for the quality of its labour.

In the city’s 2003 Industry Survey, 91 percent of managers rate their employees work ethic as good or excellent, while 92 percent rate labour management relations as good or excellent.

Saskatoon is the headquarters for the world’s largest producers of potash and uranium. Other sectors that play a prominent role are agriculture, agri-food and biotechnology, manufacturing, advanced technology, food processing, nutraceuticals, mining, oil, and gas. This diversity helps Saskatoon weather some of the economic downturns in recent years.

Commercial investment is also strong. Developers recently completed the first phase of a major “Big Box” project called Preston Crossing, which saw construction of a Canadian Tire, Future Shop, Pier 1, Michael’s and Home Outfitters. This is just one of many shopping opportunities in Saskatoon.
In addition, Saskatoon holds the status of “Science City”, much of it focused around the University of Saskatchewan. The university houses fourteen colleges, including six life sciences colleges, and Innovation Place.

Innovation Place, one of North America’s most successful university-related research parks, boasts 110 organizations located in 18 buildings. Innovation Place tenants contribute $248 million to the Saskatoon economy and employ 2,000 people.

Companies located at Innovation Place enjoy a full range of services, from advanced telecommunications to pilot-scale fermentation and production facilities. Nearby farmland allows transgenic field trials for crops. A robust livestock industry facilitates work in animal health.

If affiliated organizations such as Innovation Place and Royal University Hospital are included, employees at the university make up about nine percent of the city's work force.

Half a billion dollars of construction went into construction and development at the University, the site of the largest science project in Canada in more than 30 years – the Canadian Light Source synchrotron.

The Canadian Light Source synchroton project, cost $173.5 million, and expects to open in 2004 with seven beamlines that help scientists view matter at subatomic levels. The football field-sized project is a unique national facility that will light the way to a new era of science and innovation for both academe and industry.

A large part of Saskatoon’s success lies in it’s attitude. People move to Saskatoon to work, live, and invest. Saskatoon provides a safe and friendly community for families and a healthy business environment where opportunities exist for entrepreneurs and seasoned businesses.
Like the tourism slogan states – “Saskatoon Shines!” MTM