Okay I admit it, I was wrong. I had pictured Saskatoon as this outpost in the middle of blowing wheat fields, where kindly farm people in green ‘Riders’ jackets roamed the streets, exchanging pleasantries about the weather.
Saskatoon is happening. Split down the middle by the mighty Saskatchewan River, the city has fantastic walk/bike trails running the length of the city and has even installed an all-season outdoor gym in case you get the urge to stop and put in 15 minutes of cross-fit training. The 3 D’s cycled from the “Gordon Howe campground” (no Gordie nicknames here please, he is an icon in these parts) to the downtown center with The Dog happily taking point. Flat trails, water views, funky art installations, where are the wheat fields!!
And the food! They have great restaurants and pubs filled with trendy bearded hipsters sipping craft beers with a side of cauliflower fritters and Duck sliders. Where is the meatloaf and mashed potatoes?
Traveling takes a toll on a girl’s toes and The Dog’s famously curly locks. Saskatoon had our backs. A shop downtown specializing in braided cornrows, with a sketchy facade and a collection of mounted wigs everywhere you looked, was the first stop for a pedicure emergency. Job done, toes buffed, painted and sassy-looking, it was The Dog’s turn. A couple of pounds of fur later, his head resembling a gone to seed dandelion stalk, The Dog emerges from the salon.
Little secret here, I love museums. I love pulling back the curtain on what was, on how much has changed in a relatively short period of time. We spent an afternoon at the Western Development Museum, a comprehensive look at the Saskatchewan of old and some of the crazy inventions that came out of this province. (Anyone care to drive a wind-powered car that reached 3 km/hour at top speed, or one that has a giant barrel on the roof filled with straw gas?!)
I should have known Saskatoon would be cool. My brother, always a trend-setter, has lived here for ten years, coyly down-playing the city, “it’s okay” he always says. Now I know why, it’s been a clever ploy to keep others away, to keep the city his.
Fare thee well Saskatoon, your secrets are safe with us. Now we’re off to find some farmers and wheat fields.