Today I leave for Saskatoon, located in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. I’ll be there all week as part of a project sponsored by the Canadian Tourism Commission and Travel + Leisure magazine: The Canadian Trailblazer Contest and the Explore Like A Local campaign. For the past few weeks people from around the world have been submitting their tips for the best things to do, see and eat in Saskatoon and I can’t wait to try them all out. As I prepared for the trip though I realized how little I really know about the city; the entire province to be honest. I’m also willing to wager that most of you know about as much as I do, so I put together a brief list to help all of us get to know Saskatoon and Saskatchewan a little better.
1. Where is it? Given the fact that most people I told about the trip had never even heard of Saskatoon before, I thought a geography lesson was in order. Saskatchewan is located in the heart of North America. To the east and west are the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Alberta. To the south it borders the American states of Montana and North Dakota. To the north are Canada’s Northwest Territories and Nunavut. About a million people live in the province, 250,000 of them in Saskatoon, which is located roughly in the middle of the province. Farming and ranching have been the traditional industries of the region and it is especially known for its wheat production.
2. Sunshine. Due to an odd combination of geographic and meteorological phenomena, Saskatchewan is known as the sunniest part of Canada. Many places in Saskatchewan have considerably more than 2,000 hours of bright sunshine each year and Estevan, in the southeast, is known as the “sunniest place in Canada,” with an average of 2,435 hours of bright sunshine each year.
3. No Daylight Savings. This probably isn’t a big deal to most people, but I thought it was interesting. As I was researching my trip I noticed that while Saskatoon is in the Central Time Zone, it is currently two hours behind the Eastern Time Zone. As it turns out, the entire province of Saskatchewan split with the rest (well mostly) of Canada and has decided not to change their clocks twice a year. The reason for this is agricultural, it benefits the farmers and ranchers but it can be confusing for visiting tourists.
4. Hoser. A hallmark of Canadian slang, at least according to SCTV, this term has infiltrated modern parlance to mean a loser and got its start in Saskatchewan. The slang word probably began during the Great Depression and referred to people who would siphon gasoline from farming vehicles with a hose. The expression has since been converted to the verb ‘to hose’ as in to trick, deceive, or steal: “You got hosed!”
5. I’ll be exploring it! Ok, this is a little self-serving but follow me this week as I explore both Saskatoon and the wilds of Saskatchewan. I have a lot of great things planned, but I’ll also be checking the tips submitted by the public to help me along the way. Rivers, backwoods, urban cafes and hot air balloons are all on the schedule, including some surprises (hint, it includes a very unique lodging option). So follow me on Twitter, look for the hashtag #ExploreCanada and definitely keep an eye out for the great photos the region will inspire on Instagram (LandLopers).
Have you been to Saskatchewan? What’s your favorite little known fact? If you haven’t been, is there anything you want me to find out while I’m there?