Strengthening our Downtown: the Heart of our City

During a 2018 workshop on the future of the downtown, Peter Nippi, an elder from Kiniston Saulteaux First Nation, shared with the group of community and business leaders that the Saulteax word for heart is ohtayna. He told us the downtown is the heart of the city, and that in order for the whole city to be strong, the heart needs to be strong, just like with our own hearts and bodies. 

Saskatoon has a beautiful downtown. The scale, streets, river, shops, restaurants, historic buildings, and the walkability, all create a great atmosphere.

The downtown flows into neighbouring Nutana and Riversdale, also vibrant entertainment and business districts.

But there are also many gravel parking lots, office vacancy has been increasing, safety concerns have grown, and the vast majority of development in recent decades has occurred on the edges of the city, instead of in the heart.

In my first term as Mayor we took a number of steps to support the revitalization of the downtown core. These included:

As Mayor, I want to show the world what Saskatoon has to offer – our world class facilities, events, and businesses in the heart of our city.

There is no question that COVID-19 has created challenges and uncertainties for the downtown. With fewer people working in offices, staying at hotels, eating at downtown restaurants, hosting festivals and events, so much of what makes the downtown come alive, has been reduced. My priority is to create a downtown where people want to live, work, and gather. Already, our downtown is becoming more vibrant and filled with action as people start gathering and travelling again. This is key for our whole city to flourish, now and into the future.

The key actions I will be focusing on this term will be: