I Left My Heart in Saskatoon: River Jaunts & Lunching at the Berry Barn

photo-68The post is long overdue (waaaaay overdue) When the summer came to a close (yes, that’s overdue this is), the MOMENT I touched down back in Vancouver after my jaunt in the prairies, I’ve been itching to write, but life got in the way! So for those who’ve been patiently waiting, you’re the best readers anyone could ever ask for! Please enjoy.

The Cree word for Saskatoon is misâskwatômina. It doesn’t translate directly of course, but instead, means ‘Saskatoon berry’. And while it is most certainly home to the tastefully tart berry, it’s also home to a few other things. Like seven distinct bridge crossings , Canada’s national synchrotron facility, and the most days of sunshine anywhere in the country. Saskatoon has far more than meets the eye, and I was lucky enough to discover some of them during my time there in August.

Being from the city of sea and surf, I always get a little anxious if I’m away from the coast too long. Thankfully, I was in the best company anyone could ever ask for, and of all the amazing adventures I’ve been on (and there have been plenty), my time in Saskatoon was heartwarming, inspiring, eye-opening and filled with genuine happiness. So what did I get up to?


Most of my days were either spent neck deep in intellectual conversation, or tapping at away at my trusty laptop, preparing for my impending fourth year at UBC, catching up on work, all with a darling companion curled up at my feet. I’m sorry to report, I was unable to kidnap my new furry friend, and sadly, had to bid him adieu. Don’t worry, he’s in the most capable hands, and loved more than any puppy could ever dream (well, if puppies dream).

The rest of my trip was spent enjoying the beautiful Saskatoon summer. Temperatures soared somewhere around 32 degrees celsius, and  the continuous dust gusts reminded of my time in spent in parched African riverbeds. The city was a abuzz with laughing children, and inquisitive visitors, and one of my afternoon jaunts included a beautiful boat ride down the Saskatchewan River.


As we set off, an ominous voice recording played over a  crackled speaker, peppering guests with a number of factoids about the river, its significance and the development of Saskatoon. I probably should have been paying more attention, but I was so taken by life along the river itself. From the billowy clouds that looked as if you could pluck them from the sky milled over head, to the lush river banks, streaked with sugared beaches, to the myriad bridges casting their long shadows over the seemingly placid river, it was like being in the midst of a painting. As our modest river boat chugged along, past the statuesque Bessborough Hotel, a lasting reminder of the legacy the great Canadian railroad left behind. It was the perfect way to spend a balmy afternoon. Next stop? The Berry Barn!

berry barn

My favourite pie in the whole wide world is Saskatoon Berry Pie, and I’m also a huge fan of eateries located in the middle nowhere. Lucky for me, the Berry Barn met all criteria and then some. Perched on the banks of the river, the Berry Barn is a seasonal restaurant that happens to specialize in Ukrainian cuisine. Thankfully, my party and I had the foresight to make reservations because the place was buzzing! Sleepily standing guard at the entrance were  two Bernese Mountain Dogs and in side… a gentle mob waited for tables to free up. We had a few moments to spare, so after a meander through the hodge-podge gift shop, our names were read over a loud speaker and we were sailing past the main dining room and onto the screened in verandah overlooking the river.


photo-64Despite the crowds, it was was surprisingly calm. The quiet din, and whirring of an overhead fan made for a relaxing ambiance. The Berry Barn is synonymous with, you guessed it, berries! But not just any berry, my favourite berry in the whole wide world. Want to get on my good side? Bring a slice of Saskatoon Berry pie, and we’re in business. Other than to die for Saskatoon Berry everything, the menu at the Berry Barn is pretty delicious. If you Ukrainian food is your thing, you’ll love the fresh cabbage rolls, homemade farmers sausage and perogies. Pick yourself up some Saskatoon Berry tea before you leave, and be sure to take a stroll around the back because the grounds are meticulous. Bursts of pink, lavender, fiery oranges and mellow yellows contrasted against  the bright red barn and azure skies make for a painting a come to life. Perch yourself on a bench, or set down on the lush lawn. Either way, the views are breathtaking, memorable, and distinctly Saskatoonian.

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Jordana is a Canadian based travel author, travel manager, and anthropology graduate with a passion for all things cultural.


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