Why is everybody raving about Saskatoon? (And where on earth is Saskatoon?)
This tiny Canadian city made the NYT ’52 places to go in 2018′ list, but why? Kristin Kent heads along to see what’s happening in Saskatoon.
“It’s an embarrassment of riches for a city this size,” says Shawn Moen, co-owner of 9 Mile Legacy, Saskatoon’s first nanobrewery, located in the reviving Riversdale neighborhood. “And there’s very little bullshit, we’re authentically friends with each other,” he says of the multicultural and socioeconomically diverse community.
Riversdale was the center of illicit commerce with a 42 per cent vacancy rate. Drug use, prostitution and violence were the norm. Two seedy hotels sat across the street from each other. “It was like a war zone, you didn’t want to risk driving into that crosswalk and getting stopped at a red light,” adds Randy Pshebylo, the unofficial mayor of the neighborhood, who I meet by chance while parking the car.
Around 2005, fed-up residents started to engage. One of the hotels was bulldozed. Locals lobbied for the same services other parts of town received, such as beautification projects. “We think we’re worth it,” says Pshebylo.
“It’s a haskap, try it,” he says. I do, and I’m soon thinking of ways I can smuggle a caseload of the creamy-sweet berries back home with me.