Saskatoon is one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada, with a population growing twice as fast as the rest of Canada. On average, over 20 people move to Saskatoon every day.
Keenly aware of this rapid growth, the City is committed to creating an all ages and abilities bicycle network to help both new and existing Saskatonians get around by bike. As a part of the City’s renewed focus on encouraging bicycle use, we paid a visit to Saskatoon last week with our partners 8 80 Cities, talking with locals about their experiences riding a bike in Saskatoon and hearing about why they love their city. Over the coming months, our role is to help the City of Saskatoon develop a bicycle communications strategy that reflects the uniqueness of this Canadian prairie city.
Ultimately, we came away from the visit with two main conclusions: Firstly, people from all over Saskatoon — whether recent arrivals or longtime residents — really do love their river. Running through the heart of the city, the South Saskatchewan River hosts outdoor recreation activities and cultural events, and acts as a scenic and efficient route to get around town by bike or on foot.
Secondly, Saskatonians ride their bikes and are keen to bike more. People cycle to take their kids to school, to go out on rides with friends and family along the river, or to get to the University of Saskatchewan or to work. No amount of demographic data or statistics really reflect how popular the bicycle is in Saskatoon, as much of this culture isn’t captured in a typical census or survey. Saskatonians may not realize their neighbours and friends are out there on two wheels, both during the summer and -40°C winters, using the City’s growing bicycle network. The protected network can even take you to Costco, which we hear is quite a pleasant ride.
Benefiting from the flat terrain of the prairies, travel in Saskatoon is definitely fun and easy by bike — not to mention jaw-droppingly beautiful at sunset. We’re looking forward to more adventures in Saskatoon and helping this City share it’s bikeable beauty.