A History of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

By Tim Lambert

Early Saskatoon

Saskatoon was founded in 1883 by a group of temperance Methodists from Toronto led by John Neilson Lake. It was probably named after a local berry. However, at first, Saskatoon was a tiny settlement. The railway reached Saskatoon in 1890 but it remained very small with a population of only a little over 100.

However, in the early 20th century, Saskatoon boomed. By 1911 its population had soared to 12,000 and by 1931 it was 43,000.

Meanwhile, Stone School House was built in 1887. Saskatoon was incorporated as a city in 1906 and the University of Saskatchewan was founded in 1907. Memorial Art Gallery was founded in 1919.

Modern Saskatoon

Saskatoon suffered severely during the Depression of the 1930s. However, the second half of the 20th century brought prosperity. Saskatoon continued to grow and its boundaries were extended to include neighbouring communities. By 1971 the population of Saskatoon had risen to 126,000.

Amenities in the city improved. The Ukrainian Museum of Canada was founded in 1936. Western Development Museum was founded in 1949.

Mendel Art Gallery opened in 1964 and The Convention Centre opened in 1968. Sturdy Stone Centre opened in 1977. Saskatchewan Railway Museum opened in 1990. Wanuskewin Heritage Park was created in 1992 and City Hospital opened in 1993.

Saskatoon is also an important shopping centre. Midtown Plaza opened in 1968. It was followed by Confederation Centre in 1968 and The Centre opened in 1995.

Remai Modern Museum of Modern Art opened in 2017.

Today Saskatoon is a thriving city. In 2024 the population of Saskatoon was 266,000.