WinterCityYXE: Saskatoon’s Winter City Strategy
Winter City Grant Recipients:
As part of the Winter City Strategy, community groups were invited to apply for funding to help enhance their winter activities. Check out what these groups are doing this winter.
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 Winter 2018 Leisure Guide for a listing of hundreds of indoor and outdoor winter activities! The 2018 Guide is coming out soon!!
Outdoor Recreational Facilities
Outdoor Winter Events 2017 - 2018
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 – 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.
January - March 2018
Ice Cycle 2.0
Recipient: Saskatoon Cycles
Location: Various locations around Saskatoon
A collection of events that will bring together local organizations, businesses, and community groups to celebrate winter cycling culture in Saskatoon.
February 11: Hypo1/2
Join in the Hypothermic ½ Marathon. Each registrant will receive a Running Room Backpack and reversible neck warmer.
Musical talent from national and international stages gather in Saskatoon clubs, bars and coffee shop during festival week.
Outdoor Programs and Activities
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.
Reports to City Council about the Winter City Strategy
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:
- Build on the strength of existing assets
- Engaging the community in change
- Implementing Actions
- 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
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.