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From Joni Mitchell To The Remai Modern, A Walk Along The South Saskatchewan River

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I wish I had a river I could skate away on, I wish I had a river so long I would teach my feet to fly“. Joni Mitchell immortalized those words and the South Saskatchewan River in the song River in 1970 and 48 years later you can walk in her footsteps along the Joni Mitchell Promenade. The South Saskatchewan River has become more than a waterway used to transport goods and people it is a place to play, learn and become inspired. I did all three during my first visit to the Paris of the Prairies. I started out with a morning walk with friends, played in a children’s water park  (never be too old to do that), and ended my journey exploring the Remai Modern art gallery and brunch at Shift. I didn’t skate on the South Saskatchewan River but my feet were itching to fly along the trail.

Easy and wide trail perfect for morning and afternoon hikes along the South Saskatchewan River

Easy and wide trail perfect for morning and afternoon hikes along the South Saskatchewan River

Starting at the Delta Bessborough, where I am staying, all I have to do is walk out the front door and head to the river. The hotel is surrounded by parkland including the Kiwanis Memorial Park which is home to the Vimy Memorial Band Shell honouring those that fought in Battle of Vimy Ridge during WW1.

Vimy Memorial Band Shell in the Meewasin Trail near the Delta Bessborough Saskatoon

Vimy Memorial Band Shell in the Meewasin Trail near the Delta Bessborough Saskatoon



But this is just the start of my journey. Heading west along this portion of the Meewasin Trail will take me along the riverfront and under trees. As you can see it is well paved and perfect to cycle, blade, and walk at your leisure.

Off on a hike along the Meewasin Trail

Off on a hike along the Meewasin Trail

The beautiful Meewasin Trail in front of the Delta Bessborough Saskatoon

The beautiful Meewasin Trail in front of the Delta Bessborough Saskatoon

It doesn’t take long along the trail to find out our first Joni Mitchell plaque. I can just imagine her walking this trail in the 1950’s and 60’s when she was young. Maybe it was on this spot where she was inspired to pen those famous words for her song.

Following in the steps of Joni Mitchell along the South Saskatchewan River

Following in the steps of Joni Mitchell along the South Saskatchewan River on the Joni Mitchell Promenade

If you tire of walking perhaps you’d like to stop for a little play time or a workout? You can do both along this portion of the trail. The first stop is waterpark that teaches while you play. While running under the water sprinklers you are actually running over the entire South Saskatchewan River in scale.

An amazing waterpark along the South Saskatchewan River

An amazing waterpark along the South Saskatchewan River

For a more adult workout, you will find an adult fitness area complete with all-weather equipment along the River Landing portion of the trail. Add a little cardio into your power walk all while enjoying the view of the river.

An outdoor gym in River Landing Saskatoon

An outdoor gym in River Landing Saskatoon

If exercise or play is not for you then a visit to the Reconciliation Circle may be just the thing. A portion of Victoria Park along the Meewasin Trail has been renamed and has been set aside to honour and acknowledge the First Nations people that have lived in this area for thousands of years. One of many steps in our journey towards Truth and Reconciliation this is the site of many community gathering events.

 

You will know you are near the area when you see the  Zhongshan Ting memorial celebrating the Chinese contribution to the community dating back to the 1800’s.

Memorial pagoda on display in River Landing along the Meewasin Trail

Memorial Zhongshan Ting pagoda n River Landing along the Meewasin Trail

All of the above is what you can do outside along the South Saskatchewan River and while the newly minted Joni Mitchell Promenade may have a fresh layer of concrete for you to walk on, it has been a source of activity and inspiration for decades.

Let's go #Saskatooning

If you are looking for an indoor adventure along the trail then take a step inside the Remai Modern. One of the great art galleries in Canada it is located on the banks overlooking the South Saskatchewan River and is an architectural treasure that has helped put Saskatoon on the map.

Remai Morden as seen from the Meewasin Trail in River Landing Saskatoon

Remai Morden as seen from the Meewasin Trail in River Landing Saskatoon

The gallery is anchored by an 8000+ permanent art collection from the Mendel Art Gallery Collection at Remai Modern. It includes works by many famous local, national and internal artists including Candian modernists like Lauren Harris.

Group of Seven Artist Lauren Harris has work on display at the Remai Modern

Group of Seven Artist Lauren Harris on display at the Remai Modern

The Remai Modern also boasts the largest collection of Pablo Picasso linocuts in the entire world.

The Remai Modern has the largest collection of Pablo Picasso linocuts in the entire world

The Remai Modern has the largest collection of Pablo Picasso linocuts in the entire world

The travelling exhibitions along with galleries exhibiting curated shows from the permanent collection mean that no visit to the gallery will ever be the same.

The building itself is a work of art and to wander the halls is be inside and outside art/nature at the same time. Sitting in an alcove overlooking the South Saskatchewan River as light plays on the landscape outside could entertain me for hours.

Foyer of the Remai Modern Saskatoon

Foyer of the Remai Modern Saskatoon

Checking out a nook that brings the outside in at the Remai Modern

Checking out a nook that brings the outside in at the Remai Modern

The Remai Modern is also a place to gather and meet with friends over a glass of wine or a tasty brunch at Shift. A destination restaurant worth visiting even if you are not heading up into the galleries. After our fun walk along the Meewasin Trail and the Joni Mitchell Promenade, it couldn’t have ended better than with an order of Paul’s Pierogi Benedict.

Paul's Pierogi Benedict at Shift at the Remai Modern

Paul’s Pierogi Benedict at Shift at the Remai Modern

All of this is accessible by foot along the Meewasin Trail. One of the many things that make Saskatoon such a pleasure to visit.

Wake up early, grab a coffee, put Joni Mitchell on your playlist and take a walk in her footsteps along the South Saskatchewan River. You never know you may also be inspired to create a masterpiece.

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Disclosure: General

Thanks to Tourism Saskatoon and Saskatchewan for inviting and hosting me during my visit to Saskatoon. All views and opinions are 100% my own.


About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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