Winter Wonderland: Explore architecture in Saskatoon this season
Saskatoon is a city that experiences (and celebrates) each distinct season. Spend an afternoon or a few days to spot some of my favourite architecture in Saskatoon that stands out against a blanket of winter snow. If you prefer to stay indoors, explore some of my favourite indoor activities to avoid the cold.
Photo via PCL Construction
There are a few remarkable churches scattered throughout the city, and you’ll find three of my favourites downtown.
The cornerstone for the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist was laid in 1912 and it took approximately five years of construction before the first service was held in the cathedral. Located on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, this church offers an exceptional example of Gothic Revival architecture in Saskatoon.
Gracing the riverside just a few blocks away is Knox United Church which also began construction in 1912 in a Collegiate Gothic style. Notable, this church has a circa 1914 pipe organ containing over 3,500 pipes!
In the downtown core St. Vincent of Lerins Orthodox Church (previously Third Avenue United) was constructed in an English Gothic style in 1913 and is a prominent building in the Central Business District.
Thorvaldson Building Photo Credit: David Stobbe
The University of Saskatchewan was founded in 1907 and many early buildings remain a part of today’s campus. Notably in winter, find the gothic-style Thorvaldson Building completed in 1924 in the center of campus (home to the university’s Chemistry Department). Spot the silver dome of the Observatory that is still used today by students, researchers, and the general public to sight the night sky. Completed in 1930, this was the third building to be built on campus.
Perhaps the most iconic of Saskatoon’s architecture is the Delta Hotels Bessborough. Completed in 1935 for the Canadian Pacific Railway, this château-inspired building is the centerpiece of the city’s Central Business District.
Adjacent to downtown, spot the Canadian Pacific Railway Station which was completed in 1908 and served as a main railway hub for the city for many years. Passenger service operated out of this building until the 1960s and today it houses several private businesses.
The youngest and most modern of Saskatoon’s architecture to check out during the winter season is the Remai Modern. Completed in 2017 this building houses an impressive contemporary art collection (and more) and is a new architectural icon on the South Saskatchewan riverbank.
Off the Beaten Path
Take a trip to the outskirts of the city and explore National Heritage Site Wanuskewin. Opened to the public in 1992, the Interpretive Center’s skyward spires pay homage to the tipi shelter and is an impressive sight set against a snow covered prairie landscape.
Activity Idea: Take advantage of Wanuskewin’s free snowshoe rental program to explore their trail network and take in the beauty of the surrounding river valley.
Insider Tip: Saskatoon Views From One of Our Bridges
Not only are our city’s bridges a necessity for getting around town, but they also offer exceptional views of the riverbank during this frosty season. My favourite views are from the Traffic or Broadway bridges (by vehicle or on foot). Learn more about the history of Saskatoon’s bridges to plan your next viewpoint!