Saskatoon (/ˌsæskəˈtuːn/) is the largest city in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Straddling a bend in the South Saskatchewan River and along the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway, it has served as the region's cultural and economic hub since it was founded in 1882 as a Temperance colony. At its 2016 census population of 246,376, Saskatoon is the largest city in the province, while at a 2016 census population of 295,095, the Saskatoon census metropolitan area (CMA) is the 17th largest CMA in Canada. The City of Saskatoon has estimated its population to be 271,000 as of July 2017, while Statistics Canada has estimated the CMA's population to have to be 315,200 as of 2016.
Saskatoon is home to the University of Saskatchewan, the Meewasin Valley Authority which protects the South Saskatchewan River and provides for the city's popular riverbank park spaces, and Wanuskewin Heritage Park, a National Historic Site of Canada representing 6,000 years of First Nations history. The Rural Municipality of Corman Park No. 344, the most populous rural municipality in Saskatchewan, surrounds the city and contains many of the developments associated with it, including Wanuskewin.
One of Saskatoon's nicknames, "Hub City", refers to its ideal central location within Canada for distribution and logistics. Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport with 105,620 aircraft movements in 2008 was listed as the 19th busiest airport in Canada, 12th busiest in passenger traffic.
Saskatoon is developing the South Central Business District, or block 146, which is called the River Landing Project. Long range planning is underway for an expected city population of 325,000 by 2028 (2011 MXD report).
Saskatoon was expected to see a 4.2 percent growth in gross domestic product for the year 2012. The city saw a 3.4% growth in 2004, 5.1% increase in 2005 and a 2.8% increase in 2006. Saskatoon held Canada's No. 1 economic growth spot for Canada in 2005 according to the Conference Board of Canada. The Conference Board again predicted the city would rate first for economic increase in 2012, showing a growth rate of 4.2%. The Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) has also been ranked amongst Canada's top ten economic development organizations by Site Selection magazine.
The Saskatoon area was inhabited long before any permanent settlement was established, to which the ongoing archaeological work at Wanuskewin Heritage Park and other locations bears witness. Canada's First Nations population has been increasingly urbanized, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Saskatoon, where the First Nations population increased by 382% from 1981 to 2001; however, a portion of this increase, possibly as much as half, is believed to be due to more people identifying themselves as Aboriginal in the census rather than migration or birth rate. Saskatoon has the second highest percentage of First Nations population among major Canadian cities at nearly 9%, behind Winnipeg at 10.2% and Regina close by with 8%; in certain neighbourhoods such as Pleasant Hill, this percentage exceeds 40%. Most First Nations residents are of Cree or Dakota cultural background although to a lesser extent Saulteaux, Assiniboine, and Dene communities also exist.
Saskatoon also has a substantial Métis population and is close to the historically significant Southbranch Settlements to the north, as well as the Prairie Ronde settlement near Dundurn, Saskatchewan.
The Mendel Art Gallery was situated on the bank of the South Saskatchewan River. Its permanent collection exceeded 5,000 works of art. In 2005, it began a major renovation project that was to expand the size of the gallery by seventy percent. In September 2005, however, the City of Saskatoon announced it had entered discussions with the Mendel to the end of having the Mendel abandon its renovation/expansion project in favor of instead relocating the facility to a new arts and culture centre that is planned for the south downtown area.
The Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan constructed at River Landing, South & West of the previously constructed Remai Arts Centre, which houses the Persephone Theatre company. The Art Gallery had been built with matching contributions of $13 million from the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan. The City of Saskatoon and other key partners had also committed funding in support of the project. The total estimated costs for the Gallery, which serves as the destination centre for the River Landing project, was approximately $80.2 million. The Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan is a multistory building, 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2). The decision to drop the Mendel name has been controversial. Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and other 20th-century artists have a home in the Remai Modern museum.
Saskatoon has welcomed members of the Royal Family since 1919. The Queen most recently visited for a gala concert at Credit Union Centre, before a live audience of 12,000 and television viewers nationwide in 2005. The Queen was presented with the key to the city on the same visit, after touring the Canadian Light Source synchrotron and greeting thousands of well-wishers on a walkabout at the University of Saskatchewan. Sovereigns and consorts who have visited include Edward VIII as Prince of Wales in 1919, King George Vl and Queen Elizabeth in 1939, and Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, as Princess Elizabeth in 1951 and afterwards as Queen in 1959, 1978, 1987 and 2005. Other members of the Royal Family who have visited include Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon in 1980, the Prince of Wales (Charles) in 2001, the Princess Anne in 1982 and (as Princess Royal) in 2004, the Duke and Duchess of York (Andrew and Sarah) in 1989, and the Prince Edward in 1978. Governors General and Lieutenant Governors also pay regular visits to Saskatoon. Saskatonian Ray Hnatyshyn is credited with popularising his office as Governor General from 1990 to 1995. Lieutenant Governors Barnhart, Fedoruk, McNab, Monroe, Porteous and Worobetz were all former residents of Saskatoon.
Connections to the crown include the royal namesakes of about one hundred neighbourhoods, parks, streets, schools and other places. These include King George, Queen Elizabeth and Massey Place neighbourhoods, and Victoria, Coronation and Princess Diana parks. It was at one time considered that Saskatoon's Broadway Bridge would be renamed George V Bridge. Landmarks and institutions also have connections and these include the Royal University Hospital, one of four royal designations in Saskatchewan. Grade schools named for royals include Ecole Victoria School, King George School, Queen Elizabeth School, Prince Philip School and Princess Alexandra School. Existing and historic hotels with royal namesakes include the King George Hotel which has been recently converted to ultra-luxury condominiums, the King Edward Hotel, the Queen's Hotel and the Patricia Hotel. The Hotel Bessborough was named for a Canadian Governor General who visited the landmark under construction in the 1930s. The Queen Elizabeth Power Station is within the city and named after Queen Elizabeth. The Prince of Wales Promenade along the South Saskatchewan River is a focal point on the riverfront trails. In 2002, 378 Saskatoon residents were presented with Canada's Golden Jubilee Medal by vice-regals to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne.