Great places to live: Saskatchewan

Saskatoon also boasts of being one of the sunniest cities in Canada, with an average of 2,381 hours of sun annually. With a population of 226,000, it is also Saskatchewan’s largest city. Situated on the South Saskatchewan River in central Saskatchewan, Saskatoon has seven bridges spanning the river within the city limits. It also has 960 kilometres of streets and freeways — the distance to Winnipeg. The city’s name comes from misaskwatomina, the Cree word for the wild berries found growing on the riverbanks.

Watching the weather
Average Jan. temp (daily mean): -17 C
Average July temp (daily mean): 18.2 C
Annual rainfall: 265.2 mm
Annual snowfall: 97.2 cm

Setting up house
Bungalow: $143,000*
Standard two-storey: $158,000*
Condominium: $92,000 in East Central, $99,000 in North Saskatoon
Monthly rent on a two-bedroom apartment: $576
* Averages take into account the areas of East Central, East End, North and West Saskatoon.
(Source: CMHC Saskatoon; Royal LePage Survey of Canadian House Prices 2003)

>Getting around
Saskatoon provides a city-wide bus system, completed with Special Needs Transit for those who are unable to use regular transit. Those 65-plus can purchase a special pass, which allows unlimited use of all regular transit service: $173 a year; $91 for six months; $48 for three months. Saskatoon International Airport services the city as does Via Rail.

Enjoying your life
Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan brings the Bard to a tent on the banks of the Saskatchewan River, near the city’s renowned Mendel Art Gallery-Civic Conservatory. Wanuskewin Heritage Park, a national historic site, reveals 6,000 years of Northern Plains Indian culture. Settlers’ history is on display at the Western Development Museum. Lifelong learning continues through the University of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon’s Public Library has had a writer-in-residence program since 1981. Centennial Auditorium in Saskatoon often features touring performers and also provides a base for the Saskatoon Symphony. Other theatre companies in the city include Persephone (which celebrates 30 years in 2004), Greystone (at the University of Saskatchewan) and the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company. Saskatchewan Place, home to the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades, can seat 11,300 for its numerous sporting and entertainment events. The Saskatoon Golf and Country Club has 18-hole courses for both public and members only. The Willows is a 36-hole public course. Fresh produce and home baking is popular at the weekly farmers’ market. Saskatoon has seven golf courses open to the public, and there are more within an easy drive of the city. 

Calling the doctor
• Saskatoon City Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital and Royal University Hospital provide specialty diagnostic services.
• Seven clinics, including an osteoporosis and a breast-screening clinic.
• 265 family physicians, 32 of whom are currently accepting patients, 198 dentists.
• Long-term care: Extendicare Special Care Home, Special Care Home Circle Drive, Special Care Home Parkridge Centre, Saskatoon Convalescent Home, St. Ann’s Home, Sherbrooke Community Centre, St. Joseph’s Home Sunnyside Adventist Care Centre and Lutheran Sunset Home.
• To find physicians currently accepting patients in Saskatoon, call 306-655-6751 or visit

What they’re saying
“Saskatoon is Saskatchewan’s largest city and centrally located. The friendliness of its people ensure a superior quality of life. Our first-class University of Saskatchewan anchors Saskatoon as the cultural centre of the prairies. Saskatoon is simply on the right track.”  Andrew Dziadyk

Next page: Estevan

According to Natural Resources Canada, Estevan is our country’s sunshine capital, with 2,540 hours of sunshine a year. The city also has the most hours per year of clear skies. Located about 200 kilometres south east of Regina, Estevan with its population of 10,000 is close to the North Dakota border.

Watching the weather
Average Jan. temp (daily mean): -14.8 C
Average July temp (daily mean): 19.5 C
Annual rainfall: 333.1 mm
Annual snowfall: 111.2 cm

Setting up house
Bungalow: $104,000 (30 to 40 years old); $175,000 (up to 25 years old)
Standard two-storey: $215,000
Condominium: $85,000 to $95,000 (10 to 15 years old); $115,000 to $140,000 (new)
Monthly rent on a two-bedroom apartment: $600
(Source: Lynn Chipley, Century 21 Border Real Estate Service, Estevan)

Getting around
Although Estevan doesn’t have a local transit system, Paratransit provides accessible transportation for seniors and people with wheelchairs or walkers. There is also 24-hour taxi service. Greyhound provides services to and from the city. The Estevan Muncipal Airport is about seven kilometres northeast of town.

Enjoying your life
A fine art collection and artifacts related to the North West Mounted Police form the core of the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum collections; the Souris Valley Museum covers local history from early aboriginal times to the 1940s. More information is coming to light, thanks to archeological digs by the Souris Basin Heritage Study. Souris Valley Theatre mounts two productions adjacent to Woodland Regional Park each summer. The city’s public library is located within the Souris Valley Aquatic and Leisure Centre. Estevan has ball diamonds, soccer fields, a curling club and tennis and squash courts. Swimming and fitness is the focus at the Aquatic and Leisure Centre but at the Civic Auditorium, the spotlight may be on hockey or a concert. Grandkids like the playground at Woodlawn Regional Park, but the park is also an excellent place to hike, cross-country ski or play 18 holes of golf. The annual spring rodeo pits man against nearly a ton of beef, and there’s more excitement when engines roar at the Estevan Motor Speedway.

Calling the doctor
• St. Joseph’s Hospital has 53 beds offering a range of care including ambulatory care, intensive care medicine, palliative care, surgery and full diagnostic services.
• Estevan Medical Clinic, Medical Centre, Dr. Steven Bredenoord Clinic.
• 12 family physicians, five dentists.
• Long-term care: St. Joseph’s Hospital offers 38 long-term care beds and Estevan Regional Nursing home has 80 beds.
• St. Joseph’s Hospital offers a Heart to Heart program, which helps cardiac patients and their partners learn to live with heart disease.

What they’re saying
“Want a few reasons to move to Estevan? Housing prices and property taxes are extremely affordable. The golf course is well-manicured and – surprise! – well-treed; annual family membership runs about $1,000 a year with no restriction on play for women or kids. And the number of sunny days is wonderful. The word grey is hardly ever in our vocabulary.”  Lynn Chipley