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Explore the University of Saskatchewan with this Hidden Gems Itinerary

Arts & Culture
Posted By Danielle Byl , March 06, 2024
You might not know, but the U of S is not just for students and those in the world of academics - there is so much for everyone to see and experience! For years I either visited, worked, and attended the University of Saskatchewan, and even now I love going back to spend time on our beautiful campus. If you're not sure where to start or how to experience campus, you can always just park up and wander. But if you're like me feeling a bit anxious and want a bit more direction, start by checking out these hidden gems the next time you're looking for something unique to do!

Start your day at the: Canadian Light Source

Did you know we have the only Synchrotron in Canada called the Canadian Light Source? Did you know the Canadian Light Source uses a light that is a million times brighter than the sun? Do you know how the Synchrotron even works? Yep, me neither! 

On my radar for a while, but not really being sure what it was, I was so excited to finally visit the Canadian Light Source through one of their free (yes, free!) one hour public tours. 

Open to everyone (even kids), the tours provide a fantastic overview of the facility, how it works, and the impacts it has on health, agriculture, and environmental studies. 

 But wait - what is a Synchrotron? 

According to their website, "The Canadian Light Source (CLS) is one of the largest science projects in Canada’s history. Our facility speeds up electrons to produce intensely bright synchrotron light that allows scientists to study materials at a molecular level. Over 1,000 researchers from around the world use the CLS every year."  

Did you know: Electrons in the booster ring travel fast enough to reach the moon in 1 second! Want to learn more? You can find more information or book yourself on free tour here

Location: 44 Innovation Blvd, Saskatoon, SK S7N 2V3 (map

Next stop: Discover ancient stories at the Museum of Antiquities

It has been a literal age since I checked out this amazing hidden gem - The Museum of Antiquities. Escape the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in stories, histories, and collections as you travel around the world moving from item to item. 

The museum started as a project in 1974, and has been in it's present location in Peter McKinnon Building since 2005. It's true they have many replicas on display but I was delighted to learn that they also have many authentic original pieces, including the Minden Glass Collection - which holds pieces from between the 6th century BC to the 12th century AD. 

It might be easy to dismiss the replicas (admittedly, I have in the past) but they play an important role and I have since gained a great appreciation for them. Some replicas are made by hand and others 3D printing, but they are all made with incredible detail and care, which allow for an accurate record to be kept of the original items which insures its preservation should anything ever happen to the originals (**KNOCKS WOOD**). They also show detail in a way that wouldn't be able through images alone, and allows visitors who might not be able to travel around the world to see them a chance to admire and learn from them in a more accessible way. This is especially true for programming and school groups. It's a wonderful way to experience the history and appreciate these amazing pieces of antiquity, right here in Saskatoon! 

The museum has a healthy calendar of events throughout the year including: Crafternoons on the Last Saturday of each month (which are free to attend!) and a full summer of week-long Ancient & Medieval Adventures Camps for kids age 6-10 (Call me the second you have one for adults!) 

Did you know: Admission is free and you can book a free tour through their website, but donations are greatly appreciated to ensure the longevity and development of the museum and its programming!  

Location: Room 106 - 107 Administration Pl, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A2 (map

Since we're in the neighbourhood, check out the: Museum of Natural Sciences

Walking into the Science Place, I get a wave of nostalgia. I can't even count the amount of times I've been in here and every time I think and feel the same, because at heart I am 6 years old: DINOSAURS! (#HeartEyeEmoji!!) 

According to their website, the Museum of Natural Sciences "showcases the history of Earth and the evolution of life on it through exhibits and displays that include dinosaur skeleton replicas, fossils, live animals and plants, rocks, and minerals."  

With life-sized replicas of three iconic dinosaurs, and two floors of exhibits, no cost to visit, and the ability to simply drop-in, the flexibility is great for those who are looking for last minute quiet time or some quick family fun! Don't forget to look for resources like their scavenger hunt and 'Budding natural scientist' brochures! 

Did you know: The Museum of Natural Sciences is perfect for both kids and kids at heart. (My favourite dinosaur is the Stegosaurus! What's yours??). There is also a Tim Horton's on the 2nd floor - so you can grab your Double Double before you go see some Dino Dinos!   

Location: 114 Science Pl, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E2 (map

Time for a bite to eat at: Filosophi Wise Cuisine

Time to recharge by grabbing a delicious bite to eat at Filosophi Wise Cuisine just across the street from campus on Cumberland Ave (just off the corner on College Drive). "Inspired by the West Coast, Filosophi restaurant draws inspiration from the diversity of fresh ingredients and the tradition of humble family feasts to create an unforgettable wise cuisine experience."  

Try something new like their Arugula Beet Salad with roasted beets, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts or Pythagoras Flatbread with roasted garlic cream sauce, grapes, shallots, arugula, mozza, and brie! Can we say YUM! 

Finish off your day celebrating the arts at: Greystone Theatre

The John Mitchel Building is such a hidden gem and a must visit for any theatre/performing arts fan in Saskatoon. Home to The University of Saskatchewan Drama Department and Greystone Theatre, they produce 3-4 main stage shows, along with many smaller stage shows throughout the year. According to the website "whether classical or cutting-edge and contemporary, every season offers a diverse mix of plays chosen to challenge our students and to entrance our audiences." 

The performances here, while nurtured by the faculty, highlight and promote the students in every way showcasing and developing their skills in performance, directing, design, administration, and so much more. These skills are so incredibly transferable even outside of the world of performing arts. Think: leadership, public speaking, collaboration, technical skills such as carpentry and sewing, not to mention administrative, organisation, and communication skills. Many students go on after convocation to a myriad of professional opportunities, both here in Saskatoon and around the world, such as International actor, Kim Coates, whose credits include: Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, and Sons of Anarchy! All cards on the table, being a graduate of this department in 2008, I might be a bit biased - but I don't care! This is a great place to see and support up and coming talent in the heart of the city! So don't miss out - information on their upcoming and last show of the year "Metamorphosis" can be found here

Did you know: According to their website "Greystone Theatre, one of the oldest theatres in the province, started in 1946 in the first drama department in Canada and the Commonwealth."  

Located: 118 Science Pl, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E2 (map) 

I hope this helps you feel more confident and inspires you to explore campus! Have you visited any of the above - what did you think? Do you have any other U of S Hidden Gem suggestions? Let me know! 

Top Tip: If you're driving to campus, don't forget to download the PayByPhone App before you get there to make parking so much easier!