Discover Saskatoon

Discover Saskatoon: A Welcoming Heartbeat of Innovation and Kinship

Accommodations, Arts & Culture, Entertainment, Food & Drink, Indigenous Lens, Outdoors & Adventure, Sports, Wellness
Posted By Steph Clovechok , April 15, 2024
It's National Tourism Week! Explore how tourism significantly contributes to Saskatoon's economy.

As we embrace National Tourism Week, an initiative led by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, it’s a momentous opportunity to celebrate the strides we've made and the future we’re building together in Saskatoon’s visitor economy. This year, from April 15-19, 2024, under the banner of "Canada: Powered by Tourism," we join the nation in highlighting the pivotal role of tourism as a cornerstone of Canada’s prosperity.

As the CEO of Discover Saskatoon, I’m immensely proud of how our shared commitment and collaborative spirit have crafted a thriving sector that stands as a pillar of our community’s prosperity and warmth. The theme of this year's National Tourism Week resonates deeply with us here in Saskatoon. Tourism not only fuels the creation of jobs but is also a major contributor to our economic vitality, infusing life into every corner of our community.

Photo Credit: Sik Pics

In Saskatchewan, where tourism supports 70,000 jobs province-wide, we are a living example of the national narrative that tourism powers. Our sector employs twice as many people as the oil and gas and mining sectors combined—and surpasses manufacturing alone. This isn't just a number; it's a narrative of opportunity and economic diversification that speaks volumes about our potential.

 It’s a sector that does more than just add economic value; it enriches our cultural tapestry, weaving together the diverse ideals, people, and communities that form the vibrant heart of this city. Here, we see firsthand how tourism acts not just as an economic engine but as a cultural catalyst, fostering a sense of belonging and community pride.

In Saskatoon, the power of sport tourism has been most recently demonstrated through the electrifying atmosphere of hockey events that not only ignite the spirit of the community but also significantly boost our local economy. The excitement surrounding The Saskatoon Blades during their current playoff games is a testament to this. With Blades City coming alive, thousands gather to support our local team, exemplifying how sports can unite a community and draw visitors from all around. The recent victory in the series opener, the first Game 1 win in years, has sparked an even greater community engagement and influx of visitors, each eager to partake in the thrilling playoff atmosphere.

Photo Credit: Saskatoon Blades- Steve Hiscock

Moreover, the Jim Nielsen Invitational, which recently concluded in Saskatoon, further underscores the impact of sports on our community and its economy. This event goes beyond the game; it's about promoting active, healthy lifestyles, connecting the community, and raising funds for Indigenous youth in Treaty Six territory who are passionate about ice hockey. The vision of the Jim Nielsen Invitational is a vivid illustration of how sports can serve as a catalyst for social change and community development, bringing together diverse groups for a common cause.

This week, we are also set to welcome the Louis Riel Cup, hosted by the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan. Taking place at the Rod Hamm and Harold Latrace Arenas, this event is a celebration of unity, bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous players. The Louis Riel Cup promotes reconciliation through a shared love of the game, demonstrating how sports can bridge cultural divides and foster a deeper understanding and respect among diverse community members.

Photo Credit: Sik Pics 

These events highlight the significant role that sports tourism plays in Saskatoon's economy. Each game and tournament drives local spending, from accommodations to dining and shopping, providing a substantial boost to various sectors of our economy. The partnerships that facilitate these events are crucial, involving collaboration between sports organizations, local businesses, cultural groups, and government entities. These partnerships ensure the continued success and growth of sports tourism in Saskatoon, contributing to our city’s reputation as a vibrant, inclusive, and dynamic destination.

Our success is woven from the fabric of strong partnerships that span across various organizations and sectors. Discover Saskatoon, together with Saskatoon Destination Marketing Hotels, The City of Saskatoon, The Saskatoon Tribal Council, Tourism Saskatchewan, and Destination Canada, have fostered an environment where the whole community benefits from each tourist dollar spent. These alliances are they are the backbone of our thriving community.

Photo Credit: Destination Canada

Our partnerships are enriched by the substantial investment of Saskatoon Destination Marketing Hotels hotel partners, who play a pivotal role in the prosperity of our visitor economy. I urge community members and visitors to choose these hotels during their stay in Saskatoon. By doing so, you are directly contributing to the continued advancement of our visitor economy and the vitality of our community, ensuring that every stay enhances the shared success and growth we are striving to achieve.

The City of Saskatoon demonstrates a profound commitment to bolstering the visitor economy through targeted financial support and strategic investments. Through initiatives like the Special Events Grant, the Profile Saskatoon Grant, and the Civic Hospitality Fund, the city actively fosters an environment where events and tourism can thrive. These grants are pivotal in supporting a wide range of activities, from large-scale events that draw visitors from around the globe to smaller community-focused gatherings that highlight local culture and spirit.

Photo Credit: Aspen Films Inc.

Additionally, the City's direct investment in Discover Saskatoon is a clear testament to their prioritization and understanding of the tourism sector as an industry of industries. This funding not only enhances our ability to promote and develop Saskatoon as a key destination but also reinforces the city’s role as a leader in driving economic and social vitality through tourism. Together, these efforts underscore the City of Saskatoon's strategic vision and unwavering support for advancing the visitor economy, ensuring it remains a vibrant and integral part of our community’s fabric.

It’s the kinship and warmth that truly define the Saskatoon experience. Visitors come to our city for business but leave with a sense of family. This unique hospitality is what makes Saskatoon stand out—it’s not just a place you visit; it’s a place where you belong. We excel in surprising our guests. Often, people arrive for conferences or business events with no expectation of leisure. Yet, it's in the vibrant life of our community—through arts, culture, and spontaneous local encounters—that they discover the true spirit of Saskatoon. Our ability to amaze is a testament to the rich experiences that await every visitor.

Take for example TCU Place, Saskatoon's premier convention center. It is more than just a venue for events; it's a gateway to the cultural pulse of our city. With its modern facilities and dynamic programming, TCU Place hosts a variety of cultural, corporate, and community events, each designed to enrich the experience of every attendee and provide a taste of our local flair.

Photo Credit: Stobbe Photo

The proposed Downtown Event and Entertainment District is set to further enhance this dynamic. With this development, the sensational team at TCU Place will be empowered to host more expansive and diverse events, expanding their offerings to remain competitive on the global stage. 

Just as integral is Prairieland Park, one of Saskatchewan's largest trade and convention facilities. With its expansive spaces and versatile settings, Prairieland Park plays a crucial role in hosting major events and exhibitions. These gatherings not only boost our local economy but also enhance our community's vibrancy, drawing visitors into the heart of our prairie hospitality.

Photo Credit: Concepts Photography & Design

Equally significant to our visitor economy is SaskTel Centre, a hub of excitement for both residents and visitors. Home to the Saskatoon Blades, the Saskatchewan Rush, and the Saskatchewan Rattlers, SaskTel Centre not only hosts sports events but also world-class concerts and performances. The team at SaskTel Centre continually creates incredible opportunities, making it a cornerstone of entertainment in our community.

Photo Credit: Sik Pics

The upcoming development of the Downtown Event and Entertainment District will further elevate the offerings at SaskTel Centre, allowing it to host more significant events and attract an even wider audience. This new district is poised to transform the heart of Saskatoon into a premier destination for entertainment and cultural engagement, ensuring that our facilities, including SaskTel Centre, remain competitive and continue to draw visitors from around the globe.

Photo Credit: Downtown District- Imagine It Here!

Then, there's the Remai Modern, a museum that stands as a beacon of contemporary art on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of Picasso linocuts and offers an array of engaging exhibitions and programs that reflect a global perspective. Remai Modern is not just about viewing art; it's an immersive experience, complete with culinary delights at Hearth, the museum's acclaimed restaurant. Hearth offers a menu that complements the artful surroundings and provides a sensory experience that merges fine dining with fine art.

Photo Credit: Aspen Films

Our collaborative efforts have not only positioned Saskatoon as a key player in the provincial economy but have also enhanced the social fabric of our community. As we continue to grow and diversify, our visitor economy remains a beacon of innovation and connection, driving broader community growth and enriching the lives of all who visit and reside here. Take for example the Healing Harmony experience with Back2Nature Wellness, exemplifying the transformative impact of dedicated investment in destination development. As part of our mission to diversify and enrich the visitor economy, Discover Saskatoon has actively promoted the growth of unique local experiences that go beyond traditional tourism offerings. Healing Harmony is a prime example of this initiative, where visitors and residents alike can immerse themselves in a journey of rejuvenation and tranquility.

Photo Credit: Sik Pics

This bespoke experience begins in a wood-burning barrel sauna, nestled in a serene natural setting, preparing guests for a deeply personalized massage therapy session in our heated Lotus Belle Tent. With options to enhance the experience with Oracle Card Reading, Guided Meditation, or a Wholistic Healing Session, Healing Harmony is tailored to nurture both body and soul, showcasing the kind of innovative, high-quality experiences that have become a hallmark of Saskatoon’s tourism landscape.

The success of experiences like Healing Harmony not only contributes to the economic vitality of Saskatoon but also enriches the cultural fabric of our community. Through such strategic investments, we ensure that Saskatoon remains a vibrant, welcoming, and dynamic place to explore, live, and revisit.

Photo Credit: Sik Pics

Throughout this week, we invite all Canadians, especially our local Saskatoon community, to join in the celebrations. Let’s showcase the very best of what our city has to offer to the world. Whether it's through social media engagement or participation in local events, your involvement helps to highlight the significant role that tourism plays in our collective prosperity and well-being.

This Tourism Week, let’s renew our commitment to growing Saskatoon’s visitor economy as a source of innovation, opportunity, and connection. Together, we will continue to nurture a vibrant, inclusive community that welcomes all visitors not just as guests, but as family. Join us in celebrating "Canada: Powered by Tourism" and discover the enduring impact of our thriving tourism sector.