While in Winnipeg, we went to the Olive Garden. I am not a big fan of the Olive Garden but it’s fare is passable and as I was getting ready to order, another table sat down and started to bad mouth Saskatoon, our weather, our culture, and the fact that there is nothing to do in Saskatoon.
Granted there isn’t an Olive Garden here and there isn’t anything to compare to The Forks but c’mon, the Olive Garden is over rated and I’ll take dinner at Alexander’s any day of the week. Maybe they were just upset with their breadsticks.
Back to hating on Saskatoon. How does anyone in Winnipeg complain about Saskatoon weather. Yes it gets cold here but Winnipeg had to install miles of tunnels and covered skywalks just to avoid the cold during the winter and hide from the mosquitos in the summer. Somehow Winnipeg has managed to make it worse by creating the world’s worst wind tunnel. While entering the Winnipeg Convention Centre, the temperature probably dropped another ten degrees Celsius as the wind was brought downward and forced through their sheltered driveway. Brilliant. Of course the reason why I was so cold is that I had to park in Portage la Prairie because Winnipeg has almost no available downtown parking. This was verified by the Winnipeg Parking Authority website which tried to assure me that Winnipeg has lots of parking. Right, which is why you have a parking authority and a website which says there is lots of parking.
While I don’t mind the fact that someone could love Winnipeg, the hatred on Saskatoon was a little over the top. Sure we don’t have an NHL team or anything but the Winnipeg Jets thought Phoenix would be a better option and look how that has turned out for them. They do have a CFL team in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers but in my seven days in Winnipeg, I never saw a single Blue Bomber shirt, jacket, or even a hat while several times people came up to me an shook my hand for wearing my Rider green (I did get one death threat while walking down Portage from a carload of guys in a rusted out 1991 Chevy Caprice).
Now Winnipeg has built a gorgeous downtown stadium which is both cutting edge but too small for a NHL team at around 14,000 seats. This move seems to be based on the idea of torturing Winnipeg Jets fans forever and it seems to work as they all know that a) they have a cutting edge stadium b) it’s too small for a NHL team. Of course they did avoid the mistake that Saskatoon made in that we built our stadium on the outskirts of North Battleford. Not our best move. We’ll call that one a wash.
The lack of culture gets me a little bit as well. I’d refute that but I am too busy enjoying the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, the SaskTel Jazz Festival, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, the Mendel Art Gallery, the Persephone Theatre, Fringe Festival, or even heading down to the Roxy or Broadway Theatres. Winnipeg has it’s cultural richness as well but Saskatoon is not a barren cultural wasteland either.
Yes our downtown architecture is largely bland and uninteresting but there are signs of even that changing. We have our weaknesses but I’ll take Saskatoon any day. I like walking outside.
Update: While it was mind numbingly cold in Winnipeg, I did get out with my camera(s) and take some photos of Winnipeg, The Forks, and St. Boniface Cathedral. The architecture of Saskatoon just doesn’t compare with the architecture of Winnipeg.