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Complete Moving Guide to Saskatoon

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Saskatoon is one of Canada’s northernmost major cities and is notable for being the world's leading source of potash. This resource (which is basically mined salt) is almost exclusive to the city. An estimated two thirds of the world’s recoverable potash is located in the Saskatoon region. 

If you wish to move to the potash capital of the world, read this guide to find out exactly what it will entail.

Saskatoon’s Climate 

Saskatoon experiences all four seasons each year, but its relatively high latitude causes harsh winters. July is the hottest month, but its average temperature is only 19 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, January in Saskatoon has a frigid average temperature of -16 degrees.

Saskatoon is generally dry, but summer months can be rainy. Thunderstorms are common, and there have even been tornadoes on rare occasions.

Saskatoon has low humidity year-round, so if it gets hotter than normal in the summer, it is usually a tolerable “dry heat.” The lack of moisture also limits clouds, so Saskatoon is one of Canada’s sunniest cities.

Saskatoon Neighbourhoods

Saskatoon is home to a variety of different people in many distinct neighbourhoods.

The Nutana neighbourhood is considered the quintessential Saskatoon residential area. This upper middle class neighbourhood is located in the centre of the city by the Broadway Street business district. Not only is it close to most of the city’s businesses, it also contains several historic buildings. If you can afford the housing, it is one of the best places to live in the city.

If you choose to move to Saskatoon, be sure to research any neighbourhood you are considering. Saskatoon is notorious for its high crime rate. According to 2006 census data, Saskatoon had the most violent crime in the nation. Since then, there have been conflicting reports of decreasing and increasing crime statistics.

Saskatoon’s most common minority group is First Nations residents, who comprise roughly 9 percent of Saskatoon’s population. Saskatoon has the second highest share of this Aboriginal group in a major Canadian city (Winnipeg is first). These natives are increasingly urbanized, but they still tend to stick their own communities. A neighbourhood like Pleasant Hill, for example, has a high concentration of First Nations people.

Registering Your Car in Saskatoon

Saskatoon is located in Saskatchewan, so you need to register your car with the province’s government to legally drive in the area. Head to Saskatchewan Government Insurance’s website to get all the information you need on what’s required for registration. Typically, you will need your licence, proof of ownership and acceptable insurance.

Saskatoon Transportation

Saskatoon earns its “Hub City” nickname based on its central location in Canada. Many country-spanning services pass-through Saskatoon, making it a transportation capital.
  • The Canadian Pacific Railway has a stop in Saskatoon.
  • The Canadian National Railway has a connection in the city.
  • Saskatoon is right on Yellowhead Highway, which is the local spur of the Trans-Canada Highway.
  • Several highways meet at Saskatoon, including Highways 5, 7, 11, 12, 14, 41, 219, 684 and 762.
  • Via Rail’s transcontinental route has a stop in Saskatoon.
  • The Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport not only provides international travel to passengers, but also serves as an important hub for commercial cargo.
Saskatoon has another transportation nickname: The City of Bridges, due to the eight bridges that cross over the South Saskatchewan River, which bisects the city.

For commuters, Saskatoon Transit serves the city with a fleet of buses. Since a 2006 revamp, nearly the entire city is accessible via bus routes. There are currently no commuter rail services in Saskatoon. There are some bike paths in the city, but there is an ongoing effort to make cycling a more convenient and safer commuter option in Saskatoon. Cycling may or may not be a viable option, depending on where you are and where you’re going.

Saskatoon Schools 

Saskatoon has three major school districts that administer its 78 elementary schools and 14 high schools.
  • Saskatoon Public School Division: The main secular public education district.
  • Saskatoon Catholic School Division: The city’s public Catholic district.
  • Conseil des Ecoles Fransaskoises: Saskatoon’s francophone district.
Saskatoon is also home to several post-secondary education institutions. The University of Saskatchewan is the largest, with over 21,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students enrolled.
The First Nations University of Canada (formerly the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College) was founded to provide First Nations students access to a full education that caters to their unique priorities. Despite this goal, the university is open to all students, regardless of race or ethnicity. 

Saskatoon's Economy

A clue to what drives Saskatoon’s economy lies in another one of its nicknames: The POW City. “P” stands for potash, a salt resource that the city famously mines and distributes; “O” stands for oil, another resource heavily used in Saskatoon’s economy; and “W” stands for wheat and the city’s strong agricultural industry.

Notable Saskatoon employers include:
  • Cameco: The largest publicly traded uranium company in the world.
  • PotashCorp: The world’s largest potash company.
  • Innovation Place: A research park that serves all forms of agricultural and scientific pursuits.
Overall, Saskatoon’s economy is healthy. In addition to all the previously mentioned industries, Saskatoon's role as a hub city creates jobs in public transportation and tourism. For all these reasons, the city has had documented gains in GDP for several years.

Saskatoon’s Cost of Living

Saskatoon has an average cost of living when compared to similarly sized cities. Typical Saskatoon living expenses are comparable or less than cities like Edmonton, but the average wages are a bit lower. Many residents complain about making ends meet. There are a plethora of jobs available in Saskatoon, but only a few of them pay very well.

To make things worse for blue-collar workers, a housing bubble has driven Saskatoon’s real estate prices up in recent years. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is $1,045 per month, which is a low price for a major city, but too high for many hourly workers.

Saskatoon Culture and Contemporary Life

Saskatoon is a multicultural city with a lot of interesting places and diversions to explore.

The Delta Bessborough Hotel is arguably the most impressive landmark in the city. This ten-storey hotel was built by the Canadian National railway right before the Great Depression. It’s still an active hotel, today.

If you want to visit a more natural part of the city, Meewasin Valley Trail flows along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River and offers joggers, cyclists and walkers a scenic view of the more rural parts of the city.

Saskatoon’s downtown area bustles with vibrant nightlife, including many bars, restaurants, music venues and theatres in its urban core. Saskatoon is known for its live drama performances--head to Downtown Saskatoon’s River Landing to the Persephone Theatre for a live show.

Saskatoon’s most notable art gallery is the Mendel Gallery, but its fate is currently up in the air. This gallery has been located on the bank of the South Saskatchewan River for many years, but city council proposed to replace it by building up the Remai Art Centre in the downtown area. This has caused a great deal of controversy and locals even signed online petitions to get the council to reconsider. The plan was to have the gallery moved by 2014, but that deadline has come and gone, and the Mendel remains on the river. The new Art Gallery of Saskatoon is now scheduled to open in 2016, but the Mendel still remains--for now.

The following are some of Saskatoon’s unique annual festivals:
  • Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan is Saskatoon’s version of “Shakespeare in the Park.”
  • The Saskatoon Exhibition is a general summer festival based in Prairieland Park.
  • The PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival is one of Canada’s most popular fringe theatre exhibitions. Saskatoon has a reputation for embracing the performing arts and it is on full display in this offbeat performance festival.

Saskatoon Moving Resources

Have you decided that Saskatoon is right for you? The moving companies in the network can help you move to Saskatoon as quickly and safely as possible. For each service you use, get at least three quotes from different companies so you can be sure that you are getting a good deal.

Saskatoon Relocation Tips

  • Pack warm clothing. Saskatoon gets very cold in the winter.
  • Be wary of rough neighbourhoods, especially in the west side of the city. Saskatoon’s crime rates are high.
  • Don’t bring impressionable children to the Fringe Theatre Festival. Its acts are uncensored, even if they’re outdoors.
  • Don’t believe every online commenter who claims to come from Saskatoon. There are many negative opinions of the city that are exaggerated. Visit Saskatoon yourself before committing to a move there--your opinion is the only one that matters.

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on March 23, 2015 - Moving Expert
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