Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Prairie Oasis

To close out my little holiday, I wanted to show you the stop we made on the way home from our trip to Winnipeg.

It was in the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This city is really one of Canada’s hidden gems. Tucked down in prairie valley along the North Saskatchewan River, it is a verdant and luxuriously green oasis of tall trees, funky restaurants and lovely old buildings. I hadn’t been there since 1993 and this time it was even better.

We arrived late evening at the downtown Sheraton Cavalier after having slowed to a crawl on the highway as we drove through a prairie rainstorm, complete with great cracks of lightening.

Dirty, sticky and matted with muffin crumbs, we pried ourselves out of the babymobile. I mumbled to my husband that I couldn’t believe he chose such a nice hotel for such a short stay and that, really, we should have stayed at one of the motor inns out on the highway like the rest of the family travellers whose vehicles were packed with blankets, coolers and toys. As we rolled the luggage trolley into the lobby I continued to mutter something dark about looking like the Beverly Hillbillies (with no Ellie-May to be found!).

First, the sight of the king-sized bed and lovely, fluffy bedding soothed me. Then we had our showers and our little guy splish-splashed in the bath. And then we slept. During the night it rained a steady rain outside onto the elm trees and river.

The next morning the clouds broke a little and slants of morning sun sparkled intermittently everywhere. We had a fabulous breakfast in the hotel restaurant looking out over the river green. The excellent food restored my soul and the gracious service made me feel civilized again. Hubby was right. It was worth it.

He and our little guy soon made for the pool and waterpark in the hotel while I grabbed the camera and a takeout coffee from the lobby Starbucks and made my way down to the river. I needed to walk before getting back on the road.

The city has pots of flowers out everywhere. They even had a cute little van with flowers painted on it that the city workers drive around maintaining the pots.

The local businesses and churches joined in with the flowerpots.

The hotel next door to ours, the Delta Bessborough, was an old Canadian National Railway hotel that has been restored.

Now, I do have a soft spot for nice architectural details.

And artisanal touches.

While I only had about 90 minutes for my stroll, I was again struck by how this pretty and artsy city manages to continue to fly under the radar. Perhaps now that Saskatchewan’s economy is getting some attention, heads may turn in its direction.

I checked its tourism site and the tagline for the city is, “Saskatoon Shines!” However, I think it’s rather charming even on its moodier days.

So, if you are looking for a place to restore your spirit on a long journey across country, Saskatoon may be just the oasis you are seeking.

Don’t you love it when travelling and your expectations are exceeded?


sweet bay said...

A delightful account of your visit to Saskatoon! It sounds like a lovely city.

tlc illustration said...

That does sound delightful. Congrats to hubby for an inspired decision. :-)

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

A lovely holiday. The view is absolutely beautiful.

The Garden Ms. S said...

I'm glad you all enjoyed seeing a little of this charming prairie city. Hubby was definitely right on this one - go for the pampering.