Monday, July 29, 2013

Cruisin' The Saskatchewan River

We're heading back to Saskatchewan for a few last stories so sit back and enjoy! While we had the kids at the splash park on Wednesday (or Tuesday, maybe? Whatever day that was...), The Prairie Lily, which takes people on a cruise of the Saskatchewan River went by. Dad commented that he had never been on it before and would like to do it sometime. So we decided that while Sam, Rachel and I were visiting would be a good time to try it out. I love cruising rivers on boats! (And I may have done it once or twice (or more) before!) So after a few false starts, we finally made it to the one on Saturday afternoon. The Prairie Lily is the provincial flower of Saskatchewan so I thought the boat was aptly named.
One of the things I really enjoyed was that there was commentary and I learned a bunch of neat things. (All the quotes come from the commentary which you can find online here. Sorry if I included too much; I just thought it was really neat.) "The Saskatchewan River basin is the second largest river system in North America (only the Mississippi and Missouri river system is larger)." "[The river] is very shallow in most places (only one or two metres deep (about 3-6 feet)). And yes, the river does freeze over every winter."
Saskatoon is built on both sides of the South Saskatchewan River. There are about eight bridges which cross over the river to allow access from one side to the other. I love the bridges. "We will soon be passing under the Broadway Bridge, which connects the Broadway district on the east bank to the City's downtown. This classic old bridge was built in 1932 as a "make-work" project during the Great Depression. Only men with families were allowed to get a job. They were paid 25 cents per hour and were laid off once they had earned about $35. Only shovels and wheelbarrows were used in the construction, with the goal of getting jobs for as many men as possible. Work proceeded 24 hours every day over 11 months through one of the coldest winters on record in Saskatoon."
Another thing I really like about Saskatoon is all the parks along the river. What I find really cool is that "We are fortunate in Saskatoon that early municipal and community leadership agreed that land along the river should be preserved for public access through the establishment of parks." I didn't know that before. Yay for early leaders.
"We are coming alongside the Bessborough Hotel, truly Saskatoon’s “Castle on the River”. This grand old lady was built by the railroad between 1928 and1932, but was unable to open until 1935 because of financial woes caused by the Great Depression. Design features include 32 unique gargoyle-like statues at front and sides. Of course, grotesques and gargoyles are normally images of mythological creatures but the ones on the hotel are images of Saskatchewan creatures like buffalo, beaver, moose, and deer (and even a giant bumblebee!)"
And now you know more about Saskatoon than you did before! Thanks for joining me on my cruise :)

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