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WinterCityYXE: Saskatoon’s Winter City Strategy

WinterCityYXE

We’re leading the creation of a Winter City Strategy for Saskatoon - the goal of the Strategy is to make winter in our city great!

The WinterCityYXE Strategy is about improving our:

  • Winter Life: Celebrating the inviting and fun quality of life we have here, even in the coldest months of the year.
     
    More details on Winter Life

    Winter Life: Celebrating the inviting and fun quality of life we have here, even in the coldest months of the year.

    Let’s talk about finding ways to expand the opportunities for getting out in winter.  Winter Life is about embracing the winter season, and celebrating the unique activities and opportunities available in our city that make life fun and interesting. 

    Saskatoon is vibrant and inviting in the summer season with a wide variety of things to do outside.  What if our winter season was equally inviting?  There are already many ways to adopt an active lifestyle in the winter months – skating, cross country skiing, fatbiking, outdoor running, tobogganing, and the list goes on! 

    A winter lifestyle also includes simply getting out, even if it means to head back inside again to the many indoor leisure opportunities available in Saskatoon!  Walking to the library, Conservatory or to the same locations you would walk to in summer also contributes to enhancing Winter Life in our community.

  • Winter Design: Improving community comfort and accessibility for everyone, even in the ice and snow.
     
    More details on Winter Design

    Winter Design: Improving community comfort and accessibility for everyone, even in the ice and snow.

    Winter Design refers to things we can do to plan, design and maintain our communities better; to make the winter months more enjoyable. Some examples include:

    • Ensuring water, washrooms and warming locations are built into the design of parks and public spaces.
    • Ensuring new buildings are built to take advantage of the winter sun.
    • Installing lighting to make the darker winter season inviting and beautiful.
    • Creating public spaces that take advantage of the sun and block out the cold wind (this is called creating a micro-climate and can be part of permanent designs for public or private spaces, or can be created seasonally by creating snow or ice walls or bringing in designed wind breakers).

  • Winter Culture: Building enthusiasm for winter, taking advantage of winter opportunities, and telling the story of our winter city.
     
    More details on Winter Culture 

    Winter Culture: Building enthusiasm for winter, taking advantage of winter opportunities, and telling the story of our winter city.

    The City of Edmonton is a great example of a city that is changing its winter culture so that citizens embrace winter. Edmonton is being recognized around the world for its Winter City Strategy, and citizens have proclaimed that it’s time they celebrate the joy of winter and embrace the season. They have a plan in place that sees the community working together, and thinking differently, so they can become a great world-leading winter city.

    Other examples of Canadian cities where citizens look forward to winter are Quebec City and Ottawa. In Quebec City, the Winter Carnival offers a diverse program of winter activities and is one of the world’s largest winter carnivals, drawing thousands of visitors to the city each year. In Ottawa thousands of citizens look forward to skating to work each day during the winter on the Rideau Canal Skateway, the largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world.

    In cities that are embracing a Winter Culture, it is the contributions of businesses, community arts and culture groups, community sports and recreation groups, and the positive attitude of citizens themselves that makes all the difference.

  • Winter Economy: Addressing challenges associated with winter to create a more vibrant economy in the winter.
     
    More details on Winter Economy 

    Winter Economy: Addressing challenges associated with winter to create a more vibrant economy in the winter.

    It is common throughout many cities for things to slow down in the winter season (outside the Christmas shopping period).  Let’s talk about ways in which Saskatoon’s Winter Economy could be made more vibrant to sustain our small businesses, attract visitors to new and existing events and festivals, and create a fun and inviting atmosphere that entices people to get out and connect with each other. 

    Some examples for expanding our Winter Economy include:

    • Hosting a “dine-around” within one of Saskatoon’s shopping districts where citizens and visitors can take advantage of great deals or new exciting experiences by stopping in to participating restaurants for warm-up appetizers, hot meals, or a warm after dinner drink!
    • In Winnipeg, a “pop-up restaurant” is developed each winter, hosted by the top chefs in the city.  This unique event is sold out each year and diners enjoy both top-quality food and drink, and the opportunity to eat outside at a big community table with their friends, family, and new acquaintances!
    • In Edmonton, entrepreneurs are being encouraged to investigate business opportunities that would thrive in the winter, like the manufacture and sales of warm clothing and touque/mitt stores, etc. 

This winter and next, we will be engaging with residents, business owners, community groups and other stakeholders to gather ideas on winter life, design, culture and economy.

Video

This video describes what WinterCityXYE is and how you can get involved in helping create the strategy:

 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!

Get Involved in Creating our Winter City Strategy!

Submit your comments and ideas online now! 

 Host Your Own Roundtable Discussion 
 

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. 

Want to get out of the cold? The Saskatoon Civic Conservatory offers is a free place to warm up! Or check out the City of Saskatoon Winter 2017 Leisure Guide for a listing of hundreds of indoor and outdoor winter activities!

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

November 19 – January 7: Enchanted Forest Holiday Light Tour

For 18 years, the Enchanted Forest Holiday Light Tour has been making the winter season sparkle.

January  19-22: Winterruption

Seven venues in Saskatoon are running more than 17 shows to give you a great reason to get out of your house in the longest, coldest, darkest month of the year. There will be music, comedy, podcasts and more.

January 28 – February 5: 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 29: PotashCorp Skating Party

February 4: SRRA & STCI Wintershines Blizzard Triathlon

February 5WinterFest and Skate with the Blades, hosted by the Lawson Heights Community Association

February 12: Hypo1/2

Join in the Hypothermic ½ Marathon

February 11: Free King George Winter Carnival (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm)  Skating, snowshoeing, crafts, bouncy castle, sleigh rides, hot dogs, coffee, hot chocolate and more!

February 18, 19, 20: Frosted Gardens at the Zoo. Open 10 am to 4 pm daily. Fee will be by donation.

The Professional Ice Carving Society of Saskatoon (PICSS) President, Peter Fogarty, is very pleased to have Frosted Gardens move to the Zoo. Come on out to the Forestry Farm Park & Zoo on Feb 18th through the 20th to enjoy viewing snow sculpture displays and various ice carvings.  From 11 am to 3 pm each day you will see professional Live Ice Carving demonstrations.

Children aged 4 - 10 can enjoy the "Little Chippers" activity where they will have the opportunity to chip and carve their own ice sculpture.  The fee for the Little Chippers activity is $5 per child or $8 for a family of 2 children.  This activity will run every 1/2 hour which will be on a first come basis.  Parental accompaniment is required.

Buckeye Café will have a satellite concession selling Hot Chocolate, Coffee, Cold Beverages and Cookies throughout the 3 day weekend!

The Paws Inn Gift Shop will be open 12 noon to 3:30 pm each day.

February 20: Saskatoon SCOA Globe Walk

Gather your team together for a walk in the park. 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the Forestry Farm Park and Zoo. Meet in front of the Superintendents Residence. Hot chocolate will be served! Call  306-651-2255

February 26: East College Park Community Association - Winter Day in the Park

February 26: Montgomery Place Family Fun Day (2:00 to 4:00 pm)

Montgomery Place Community Association is hosting a Family Fun Day for its residents at the Montgomery Park Rink.

Residents are welcome to bring their sleds, skates, cross country skis and/or snowshoes for an afternoon of fun in the park. The event will include an official grand opening of the newly renovated Montgomery Park rink and a celebration of the volunteers who worked so hard to make it happen. Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided at the rec building near the rink.

February 20: Cameco Family Day Skating Party

March 4: South Nutana Park Winter Carnival

South Nutana Park is partnering with the École Canadienne-Française to host a winter carnival that will feature curling, sleigh rides, snowshoeing and more!

March 5: Brainfreeze

Run the 5K, 10K or Half-marathon at the 2017 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 installations coming this winter: 

  • An Eastern Dream of the West, Little Chief Station Riversdale. A lit sculptural installation of the shell of a boat by contemporary artist Jeremy Tsang
  • Jason Gress, Broadway & Downtown - installation to be covered in ice as an ice-sculpture this winter.

 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.

 

Project Background

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.
 

Project Phases

Winter 2017

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

We are engaging with citizens, businesses, associations, volunteers and other community stakeholders using various in-person and online techniques that will help us generate ideas on ways to create a thriving winter city, identify challenges and opportunities associated with that, and suggest policy directions to City Council that could support the Winter City Strategy.

To ensure Saskatoon is perceived to be inviting, vibrant and prosperous by every sector, the planned approach to community engagement has the goal of inclusivity.  Achieving inclusivity will require an engagement approach that allows a broad cross-section of citizens, stakeholders and businesses to participate in identifying their needs, concerns and ideas.  To gain the interest and attention of the community to participate in the engagement, efforts to concentrate engagement opportunities during the winter season will be made.  Planning for winter in the winter season achieves additional benefits as barriers are more physically evident and opportunities are more perceivable. Ideas may also be piloted during the planning phase for the purposes of learning.  For these reasons, the City intends to initiate a concentrated round of community engagement for the winter months of 2017, develop an interim report, and then and then determine our options for moving forward with the Strategy. 

Submit your comments and ideas online now! 

 Host Your Own Roundtable Discussion 

 

Another way the City will engage the community is through funding for ‘quick win’ actions. A small amount of money ($35,000) has been set aside within the Winter City Strategy capital project to support pilot initiatives deemed to advance learning or move core concepts of the Strategy forward. 

Funding Opportunity! Interested in Attending Winter City Shake-Up 2017 in Edmonton?

The development and implementation of the Winter City Strategy will be a City-Community collaboration.  The City of Saskatoon is providing funding for up to four (4) delegates from the community-at-large to attend the Shake-Up 2017 Conference in Edmonton.

 See Call for Expressions of Interest 

New Pilot: Grant Opportunity  

The City is making grant dollars available for new winter program or design initiatives where a gap has been verified and need has been demonstrated. 

Funding will be targeted to meet specific Strategy outcomes.  Administration anticipates that grant dollars will focus on initiatives that:

  • add a new dimension to existing initiatives;
  • pilot an urban design concept in a high-use public area; and/or
  • facilitate linkages between existing initiatives to create new outcomes.

Phase 3: Interim Report

In May 2017, an interim report will be provide an update on work completed to date, initial engagement results, and options for moving the Winter City Strategy forward.

Winter 2018

Stay tuned for the release of plans for moving the Strategy forward!