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 COVID-19 Response for Saskatoon Residents

Starting Monday, June 15, 2020, the Payment Centre, Customer Service & Collections counters located in the lobby of City Hall will open with a limited number of services, view what is available here. The lobby has been modified with the health, safety and well-being of employees and citizens as top priority. The remainder of City Hall remains closed to the public. Our business operations continue to ensure core services for our residents as much as possible. Public transit currently remains operational.

WintercityYXE Strategy

WintercityYXE Banner Image

Across North America, cities that experience cold, dark and snowy winters are developing new ways to help residents embrace the cold winter months.  The concept of designing a “Winter City” is about capitalizing on opportunities to alleviate the real and perceived negative effects of the winter season and reinforce positive ones. The outcome can be a more accessible, inclusive, active, prosperous and livable community during the coldest months of the year.

What is WintercityYXE?

Over the course of the last few years, the City has partnered with the community to create a Winter City Strategy for Saskatoon (called WintercityYXE) that will respond to opportunities associated with winter life, winter design and winter economy, as well as address perceptions, attitudes and behaviours of residents to generate a positive winter culture in our city. ​

How has the community informed the development of the WintercityYXE Strategy?

As part of the development of the WintercityYXE Strategy, we have undertaken broad community engagement to identify opportunities and priorities in the following areas: 

Winter Life:  How can we celebrate the inviting and fun quality of life we have in Saskatoon, even in the coldest months of the year?
Winter Design:  How can we improve community comfort and accessibility for everyone, even in the ice and snow?
Winter Culture:  How can we build enthusiasm for winter, take advantage of opportunities and tell the story of our winter city?
Winter Economy:   How can we address challenges associated with winter to create a more vibrant economy in the winter?

Based on this engagement, a number of outcomes and actions were developed which form the basis of a draft WintercityYXE Strategy. Prior to finalization, the draft Strategy was shared with stakeholders through targeted workshops and with the public through Pop Up Events and an online survey. Feedback from this final round of engagement will inform a revised strategy that will be presented to Council for approval in 2020. Visit the WintercityYXE Engage page for more information.

What has WintercityYXE been working on?

In addition to developing the strategy, WintercityYXE has implemented a number of "quick win" initiatives to celebrate the winter season in Saskatoon:

2019/2020 Winter Season

  • Decorative Lighting Support:  WintercityYXE has provided $50,000 in funding support for the City's decorative lighting program.  As a result of this funding, new decorative lighting is expected to be in place for Winter 2020/2021.  
  • WintercityYXE Grant Program:  As part of the WintercityYXE Strategy, a total of $25,000 is allocated to non-profit organizations, ad hoc groups, businesses or for-profit organizations implementing initiatives that support the WintercityYXE goals and objectives.   Visit WintercityYXE Grants webpage for more information.
2018/2019 Winter Season

Winter Cities Shake Up Conference

From January 23 to 26, 2019, the International Winter Cities Shake Up Conference was hosted in Saskatoon.  The conference was pursued by the community as an opportunity to accelerate the development of the WintercityYXE Strategy and to provide valuable learnings for its content by bringing internal expertise into the discussion.   

Ice Sculptures in Business Improvement Districts

Ice sculptures were placed around Saskatoon to celebrate our vibrant winter culture. These local pieces were designed in collaboration with students from Aden Bowman Collegiate. ​​

 Watch this WintercityYXE video about how ice sculptures are created

WintercityYXE Grant Program

As part of the WintercityYXE Strategy, a total of $25,000 is allocated to non-profit organizations, ad hoc groups, businesses or for-profit organizations implementing initiatives that support the WintercityYXE goals and objectives.   Visit WintercityYXE Grants webpage for more information.​

2017/2018 Winter Season

Warming Huts

In 2018, we borrowed two warming huts from our friends at The Forks in Winnipeg. They hold an international hut design competition every year, and the huts go out on their river as a wind break. They loaned us two of their huts as a pilot program in Saskatoon—all part of our WintercityYXE Strategy. 

Rope PavilionRope Pavilion

by Kevin Erickson and Allison Warren, New York, NY

Through the combination of simple materials, ROPE pavilion creates a highly articulated form and space while nestling itself into the landscape. Its relationship of skin – manila rope and  structure –   birch frame, merge to form a warming hut whose dense shell blocks winter winds while still being perforated for light and views. The wood interior creates a sense of warmth through color and texture and its multilayered rope exterior collects snow, further embedding it within the site. The hut’s dome-like form is optimized for heat retention, bifurcating only for an entry threshold and oculus to the sky above.



by Robert B. Trempe Jr, Nebraska, USA

This “Shelterbelt” seeks to reimagine the qualities of these windbreakers through an environment of steel rebar. Several hundred steel stalks of varying lengths are anchored vertically to a base, creating a protective screen. Two entrances/exits allow indirect access, but the full interior (including seating) is only truly visible once inside the environment, creating a secret world for its occupants. Wind and the movement and interaction of those inside the installation causes the rebar to oscillate and collide, creating an almost constant metallic rustle; a sound field becomes an audible landmark and a sonic envelop for its inhabitants.



In April 2018, WintercityYXE hosted Sabine De Schutter, a lighting designer from Berlin to give a talk about how we use light. Her presentation gave an overview of the potential and the risks of light through temporary and permanent projects.  For more details, a copy of her presentation is linked here.   


WintercityYXE Photo Gallery

These photos portray just a few ways in which Saskatoon is already a great winter city!  Share your own winter photos at #WintercityYXE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.