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WinterCityYXE: Saskatoon’s Winter City Strategy

WinterCityYXE

 

Winter City Workshop

Mayor Charlie Clark is hosting a Human Centred Design Workshop on "Saskatoon as a Winter City",  on Tuesday November 21, 2017.  We want to hear your great ideas to make our winter city less chilly and more cozy!  Here is your invitation!!!

 

Check Out What Our Winter City Already Has to Offer!

There is already so much to do in Saskatoon in the winter! From outdoor winter activities like skating and cross country skiing, to PotashCorp Wintershines, one of Canada’s Best Winter Festivals, to attending a winter camp. 

Check out the City of Saskatoon  Fall 2017 Leisure Guide for a listing of hundreds of indoor and outdoor winter activities! The 2018 Guide is coming out soon!!

Outdoor Recreational Facilities

Check out our  ​WinterCityYXE interactive map that shows the locations of outdoor skating rinks, dog parks and other facilities, PLUS amenities to support these activities like public washrooms and places to warm up!

Meewasin Trail

The Meewasin Trail is home to beautiful pathways that wind along the South Saskatchewan riverbank and displays stunning views of both downtown and the forested riverbank.

http://meewasin.com/map/

Cross Country Ski Trails

Kinsmen Ski Trail

Wildwood Ski Trail

Willows Ski Trails

The City of Saskatoon thanks the Saskatoon Nordic Ski Club for their efforts in creating and maintaining the trails at these locations.

City Groomed Trails

Holiday Park Golf Course: Access at Avenue U South Outside loop 3.5 km double classic track & skating lane

Lower Meewasin Park: Access at Pinehouse & Whiteswan Drives Loop 4.8 km single classic track

Upper Meewasin Park: Access at Pinehouse and Whiteswan Drives Loop 3.4 km single classic track

Meewasin Park to Adilman buffer: Access at eastend of Adilman Drive or Meewasin Park 2 km single classic track

Diefenbaker Park: Access at Ruth Street & St. Henry Avenue 2.6 km single classic track

Forest Park: Access at Lowe Rd, Nelson Rd & Forest Dr. 3.0 km single classic track. Connecting link to Silverspring Park

Cross Country Ski Trails in Varsity View:

President Murray Park (Wiggins Avenue & Aird Street)

Grosvenor Park (Copland Crescent & Leslie Avenue)

River Landing

River Landing is located on the banks of the beautiful South Saskatchewan River. In addition to the Meewasin Trail running through River Landing, an Outdoor Adult Fitness Circuit and Pavilion Building public washrooms are open all year round. A Ceremonial Fire Vessel is available for rent as a warming and gathering place. 

Do you have a winter facility you would like to add to our interactive map? Email (All submissions will be reviewed to ensure they fit within our Winter City Strategy themes prior to posting).

Outdoor Winter Events 2017 - 2018

November 1- January 7: Eaton's Once Upon a Christmas at the WDM

 Since 1987, the Eaton's Once Upon a Christmas exhibit has delighted visitors, young and old. The exhibit continues to be a major attraction for those who visit the Western Development Museum during the holiday season. It offers an opportunity for parents to share with their children memories of their childhood and it allows children to enter to a world of make-believe and magic.

November 18 – January 6: Enchanted Forest Holiday Light Tour

For 19 years, the Enchanted Forest Holiday Light Tour has been making the winter season sparkle.

November 19 - Santa Claus Parade 

The 27th annual Santa Claus Parade starts at 1:00 p.m. and downtown Saskatoon will come alive with the sights and sounds of Christmas, bringing joy and excitement to thousands of onlookers as they watch festively decorated floats, baton twirlers, marching bands and community groups parade by.

November 19:  Gingerbread Run

Though the Run has sold out for this year, you can still come out and cheer the participants on.  The Run starts at Brainsport on 10th Street, and follows the beautiful scenic trails along the river.

November 24 – December 2: Festival of Trees

The 2017 theme of “My Favourites Things” is inspired by the famous song from the movie, The Sound Of Music .  It will highlight a multitude of Favourite Things in our tree decorations, gingerbread houses, special events and attractions—all held at the Western Development Museum.

December 19 - Tim Hortons Twinkle Lights Skating Party 

The Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink @PotashCorp Plaza located in Kiwanis Memorial Park will have its official opening ceremony on Thursday, December 19, starting at 5:00 p.m. The celebrations will include a tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. as well as hot chocolate, baked goodies and free giveaways courtesy of Tim Hortons. Check meewasin.com  and Facebook for more details closer to the event.

January – April:  Saskatoon SCOA Globe Walk  Get ready for Globe Walk 2018!  If you are 50+ years – challenge yourself and motivate others to take part in a fun winter fitness program – with a bonus of great social activities. You’ll stay active and work with your team to achieve an awesome new Globe Walk goal.  Our theme for 2018 is the Winter Olympics.  Stroll or roll, hike or bike, swim or gym … Your favourite form of exercise will help Globe Walk reach new heights in 2018.  2,000 steps counts as 1 mile. For those who prefer physical activity that can’t be measured in steps or distance, you can log one mile for every thirty minutes of physical activity. We’ll begin the challenge in January 2018 and continue counting miles until April 30, 2018. 

January 13 - February 25 Crokicurl

Crokicurl combines two iconic Canadian pastimes, crokinole and curling, to become an exciting outdoor sport and winter placemaker to draw people to Broadway. The rink will be located at 12th Street and Broadway Avenue. Updates will be coming at the Broadway Business Improvement District website 

January 18-20 - Theatre on the Trail

Theatre on the Trail is a one-of-a-kind winter experience created by Sum Theatre. This original, large-scale and completely free theatre experience will invite audiences to explore the wintertime beauty of Saskatoon’s beautiful Meewasin Trail - animated and brought to life in a way you’ve never seen before! Audiences will take a 20-minute walk down the riverbank trails, encountering brand new artwork, performances, and interactive experiences as they walk. Led by an exciting group of Indigenous and Newcomer Artists, Theatre on the Trail will embrace Saskatoon’s Indigenous roots and Multicultural future by exploring our connection to the land we call home in a fun, family-friendly artistic experience. Updates are coming with Sum Theatre.

January 18-21: Winterruption 

Broadway Theatre presents Winterruption, encompassing 23 shows in 9 indoor venues, and also an outdoor festival featuring storytelling, free sleigh rides, face painting, free hot beverages, outdoor food and more.  As part of Winterruption, a tipi will be raised in late November as central venue for free storytelling during Winterruption.  It will also be used by Ecole Victoria School for much of the winter. 

January 27 – February 4: PotashCorp Wintershines

Called one of Canada’s Best Winter Festivals by the Globe and Mail, Wintershines offers something for the whole family. From ice carving to winter camping to scavenger hunting at the snow park, the event is sure to warm your heart!

Activities include:

  • Winter Camp in the City
  • International Ice Carving Events
  • Outdoor Petting Zoo
  • Warm the Heart Soup Cookoff
  • Wintershines Snow Park
  • And more!

January – March There will be a series of events collectively called Ice Cycle 2.0 put on by Saskatoon Cycles.

Production of the theatre show "Spin" in partnership with the Broadway Theatre at the Refinery. The show will run for three nights in January, with one night dedicated to Saskatoon Cycles members (TBC--January 18). There will be a bicycle valet for all three nights of the show. There will be a special Saskatoon Cycles event with dessert and a reception before the show on January 18.

As part of Winterruption in January, there will be a winter cycling workshop (in partnership with Bike Doctor). Participants will have the opportunity to ride winter-adapted bikes with an experienced winter cyclist from Saskatoon Cycles.

A Bicycle Sculpture Art Event (in partnership with SCYAP, Bridge City Bike Co-op, and some Saskatoon schools): Art reception on March 3, 2018 at Riverside Badminton & Tennis Club.

Outdoor bike trip to South Corman Park. Still in planning stages, date and further details TBD

Outdoor coffee: Still in planning stages, date and further details TBD

Keep an eye out for updates with Saskatoon Cycles.

February 3 Wanuskewin Winter Festival
This is a family event with programming centred around Indigenous games, activities, and trapping skills.  Activities will be inside and outside. Keep an eye out for updates with Wanuskewin Heritage Park.

February 11: Hypo1/2
Join in the Hypothermic ½ Marathon. Each registrant will receive a Running Room Backpack and reversible neck warmer.

February 26 – March 4: Saskatoon Blues Festival

 Musical talent from national and international stages gather in Saskatoon clubs, bars and coffee shop during festival week.

March : Brainfreeze - TBC

Run the 5K, 10K or Half-marathon at the 2018 Brainfreeze by Brainsport.

Do you have a winter event or activity you would like to add to our inventory? Email  (All submissions will be reviewed to ensure they fit within our Winter City Strategy themes prior to posting).  

Outdoor Programs and Activities

Cross Country Skiing Events

Saskatoon Nordic Ski Club hosts a number of skiing programs including:

  • Grapefruit Cup races (Tuesday nights at Wildwood Golf Course in January and February)
  • Saskatoon Loppet (5 - 50 km race)
  • Sask Cup Races (provincial race series)
  • Blind Skier Events

View the full calendar of events.

 

Cross Country Skiing Programs

Saskatoon Nordic Ski Club programs include:

  • Jackrabbits: 165 children (ages 3 - 12) enrolled in Skills Development programs
  • A section for blind and low-vision skiers
  • HiPer Adult (age 19+) race team
  • HiPer Junior (ages 14 - 19) race team
  • HiPer Youth (ages 8 - 14) race team
  • Sunday and mid-week group ski to Eb's Trails and other locations
  • Adult ski lessons
  • Ski at School for grades 4, 5 & 6

View the full calendar of events.

 

FatBiking

FatBiking, or snowbiking on 3.7-5 inch wide tires, is becoming a popular winter activity in Saskatoon and many recreational fat bike riders become winter commuters!  The Fatlanders FatTire Brigade hosts a number of events and activities to try out the sport.

Kicksledding

A kicksled consists of two skinny runners attached to a handle bar at about waist height. The runners have a rubberized spot to rest your foot and keep your balance and some have seats for transporting small children. You can even harness a dog to the sled and attach a brake. 

Outdoor Running

Get out and run and discover how great winter running can be!

Brainsport offers a Run Academy Winter Session where courses are interactive and fun filled. Great coaches provide training in healthy running techniques and injury prevention.

Saskatoon RoadRunners Running Club offers ski and/or snowshoe crossing training Sundays at Holiday Park Golf Course

Tobogganing

Diefenbaker Park and Pest Hill in the George D. Archibald Memorial Park North are great places for the whole family to toboggan. Parks, including Harold Tatler North and South in South Nutana Park, also have small togobbaning hills. http://www.snpca.ca/

There are also two toboganning hills in Willowgrove University Heights.

Winter Kids Camp

Book your kids into winter camp at Wanuskewin Heritage Park February 21-24, where they’ll take guided trail walks, take part in archeology digs, build outdoor tipis and more!

Want to add a winter program or activity? Contact  … (not sure how we can set this up?)

Outdoor Public Art

Winter is a great time explore Saskatoon's public art, both permanent and temporary.

These artworks particularly shine in winter:

  • Land of Berries - Neon Light Installation by Tony Stallard, Joi Arcand, Joseph Naytowhow and Kenneth T Williams. Located on the North Side of Persephone Theatre
  • Moose Jaw Trail by Jill Anholt & Susan Mavor – Located in Mark Thompson Park in Stonebridge

New public art installation coming this winter: 

  • River and Sky 

 Browse our public art collection.

 
Browse our public art collection using our Placemaker Program

Do you have a winter event or activity you would like to add to our inventory? Email (All submissions will be reviewed to ensure they fit within our Winter City Strategy themes prior to posting).  

Perform an online search for Winter Sports Equipment in Saskatoon to find a listing of retailers who rent equipment.

 

What is WinterCityYXE?

WinterCityYXE supports a number of the City’s  Strategic Goals and is an intentional effort by the City and community stakeholders to celebrate what makes Saskatoon unique as a four-season place that is inviting, vibrant and prosperous, even in the coldest months of the year. 

Across North America and internationally, city leaders are partnering with community groups to highlight and tackle specific problems that occur in cities in the winter months, with the goal of improving the vitality of their community.  Facilitated through the City of Saskatoon’s (City) leadership and engaging the interest and efforts of the entire community, a Winter City Strategy will articulate the changes necessary to help residents, businesses and visitors ‘embrace’ winter with as much enthusiasm as they have for the summer season.

The goals for a Winter City Strategy are to improve broader community accessibility, inclusion, activity and energy, and lead to greater economic vitality (particularly within service, accommodation and retail sectors) as the opportunities of winter are realized and the challenges mitigated.  The intent of the Strategy is to be broad, responding to opportunities associated with winter life, winter design and winter economy; as well as addressing perceptions, attitudes and behaviours of citizens to generate a positive winter culture.

Winter 2018 - Themes for Action

Based on the feedback from the engagement sessions, the next steps will involve the City and community working on the following themes:

Improve mobility: provide better snow clearing, create walkable spaces for pedestrians that are shielded from the wind, heat key sidewalks and improve both the City’s transit system, and the overall transportation system.

Improve infrastructure and facilities: build more warm-up shelters and winterized washrooms, ensure there is power, electricity and water to support outdoor facilities, and create infrastructure to support equipment rentals where activities occur. Also, provide more support to outdoor rinks, use colour and art in building design, and introduce lighting in key locations, allow seasonal businesses along the Meewasin Trail and build a portable stage. Provide better parking (more indoor lots).

Provide more support to existing activities: invest in cross-country skiing including enhancing facilities at Kinsmen Park. Expand Wintershines and create partnerships to hold events and share culture. Provide amenities like hot drinks at outdoor activities and use space we already have (parking lots) to hold events, and offer affordable equipment rentals near activities.

Create more events and things to do: hold both large events and festivals, and smaller ones in neighbourhoods. Share Indigenous culture through events and expand the public art program, ensure events and activities are affordable. Also, encourage the creation of outdoor cafes, educate people about how to do activities, and create new incentives for businesses to support the arts.  

Enhance promotion of winter activities and events: have one location for all winter information and supporting others in promoting their own activities and events.

 

Winter 2017 - Project Phases

Phase 1: Building on the Strength of Existing Assets

An inventory of existing assets that support the experience of winter will be developed from existing information available throughout the community.  This webpage contains interactive maps, an events calendar, and lists of programs and opportunities already available in Saskatoon.  If you know of an existing winter-related ‘asset’ that is not listed here yet, please  let us know

Phase 2:  Engaging the Community in Change

Stakeholders gathered for a kick-off in March 2016, and identified the need to first inventory existing assets/activities and improve awareness of them before making any further planned improvements to Saskatoon’s winter experience.

From this workshop came the four step process for developing in a Saskatoon Community Winter City Strategy:

  1. Build on the strength of existing assets
  2. Engaging the community in change
  3. Implementing Actions
  4. Developing the Strategy

Engagement continued between January and April 2017, and the results were shared at a community workshop on April 27, 2017. Nine roundtable sessions were attended by 60 individuals representing 48 sector groups; and there were 531 responses to our online survey.

A big thank you to the WinterCity Community Working Group:

Kim Ali (OnPurpose Events)
Shad Ali (OnPurpose Leadership)
PJ Bell (Saskatoon Cycles / LivableYXE)
Will Brooks (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan)
Gina Dipaolo (University of Saskatchewan)
Eric Lefol (Federation des Francophones de Saskatoon)
Gail Motsi (Saskatoon Nordic Ski Club )
Ian Shaw (Saskatoon Open Door Society)
Candace Skrapek (Age Friendly Saskatoon)
Lenore Swystun (Prairie Wild Consulting)
Kirby Wirchenko (Broadway Theatre)
Chris Standing (Wanuskewin Heritage Park)
Brent Penner (Downtown YXE)

The City also provided funding for some community groups to attend the Winter Cities Shake-Up Conference in Edmonton in February 2017.

As well, the City issued a call for submissions to support existing or new community initiatives in the winter. Six submissions were chosen, and their projects are highlighted in  “Check Out What Our Winter City already Has to Offer” page

 WinterCityYXE Engagement  Video 

Photo Gallery

These photos portray just a few ways in which Saskatoon is already great in so many ways – winter life, design, culture and economy!

You can download and use these photos and videos in your own winter materials. 

Video


WinterCityYXE