Category Archives: Saskatoon

According to Standard & Poors

Very Strong Economy But Exposure to The Oil Sector Could Hamper Growth according to our auditors, Standard & Poors update released today.

Saskatoon is centrally located within Saskatchewan. It is the province’s largest Census metropolitan area, and the city estimates its population to be about 254,000 as of June 2014. It exhibited what we consider to be strong growth in the past three years (4% and 2% in 2013 and 2012, respectively), although more moderate growth preceded this. The population is young: 17% are under the age of 14, and its dependent population is about 30%, based on the 2011 Census. Saskatchewan’s GDP per capita averaged US$70,494 in 2011-2013 and the province had been forecasting growth of 2.2% in 2014 and 2.3% in 2015. However, the recent plunge in oil prices and the weak Canadian dollar will likely result in some downward revisions to these projections because the oil sector, which also contributes a significant proportion of provincial revenues through direct royalties, generates almost 20% of the provinces GDP. We estimate that Saskatoon’s GDP per capita would be in line with the province’s, given its stature as Saskatchewan’s largest Census metropolitan area and the subsequent greater economic diversity than other areas of the province.

The city is the larger of Saskatchewan’s two commercial centers, and the province is the world’s largest producer of potash. In our view, Saskatoon has moderate employment diversity. Agriculture, the public sector, and in particular the resource sector (mining and potash) are all important employers for the city, with the latter fuelling its recent population growth. Saskatoon has experienced a shortage of skilled labor and has had one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada in the past few years; forecasted to be about 4.1% in 2014 which is flat from 2013 and down from 5.6% in 2012. Its highway, air, and rail transportation link it to markets throughout North America, making it one of Canada’s hub cities. Agriculture is another important employer in the province and Saskatoon provides services and products to this sector. Other prominent private sectors of employment are trade and transport, retail, and food processing. Utilities (namely SaskTel, SaskEnergy, and SaskPower), health care, government, and education (including the University of Saskatchewan) are important public sector employers. We believe the city’s economic fundamentals are very strong, although we expect a downturn in the resource sector would affect its economy through higher unemployment, lower population growth, and lower revenue.

There is this as well

We believe Saskatoon’s land development activities expose it to some development risk. The city’s land development business line invests in infrastructure ahead of development and sells land at competitive market values to developers. Saskatoon has developed and follows a plan for growth and its land development activities help ensure it grows according to its plan. Although the city builds out infrastructure in consultation with developers, there is a risk that planned growth will not materialize, likely as a result of an economic slowdown, and the recovery of its land development costs from developers could be delayed.

Klaszus: Calgary’s Council is Broken

Metro Calgary columnist Jeremy Klaszus on the dysfunction of Calgary’s City Council

In 2010, Nenshi ran on a platform of “better ideas.” His No. 1 better idea was secondary-suite reform.

Last December, for the umpteenth time, council blocked this effort — despite consensus among citizens and organizations that reform is long overdue.

Some on council were miffed when, ahead of the vote, Nenshi publicly asked business leaders to pressure five on-the-fence councillors to vote “Yes.”

“If I were to vote for secondary suites now, people would say, ‘Joe knuckled under to the mayor,’” Coun. Joe Magliocca told the Calgary Herald. “That just burns my ass.”

That’s unbelievably puerile on Magliocca’s part — try considering the good of Calgarians, pal, rather than your own image — but Nenshi’s approach of publicly pressuring his colleagues clearly backfired.

While Nenshi revels in adulation, he struggles to build crucial relationships and is notoriously poor at handling his critics on council and off. (Remember when he aggressively berated that AM770 caller last year?)

Yet for all his flaws, Nenshi has a strong vision for Calgary’s future. The same cannot be said of the cadre of councillors that often oppose the mayor — the likes of Magliocca, Ward Sutherland, Sean Chu and Jim Stevenson.

This bunch would eagerly take Calgary back to 1973 if they had their way. They can’t imagine a city where people bike to work and live in secondary suites.

Saskatoon’s Chamber of Commerce feels the same way about cycling

Because Nenshi embraces the future of cities, he’s a magnet for top talent to Calgary.

City chief planner Rollin Stanley and Calgary Public Library CEO Bill Ptacek have both said the mayor was a factor in their decisions to come here.

It benefits Calgary when Nenshi is celebrated nationally and internationally. Now his challenge is to build the right allies locally.

If Nenshi can do that, he might be able to salvage this council before it’s too late.

This is what I want my mayor to do, embrace the future of cities.  It’s what Don Atchison has never seem to be able to do, he has embraced the way Saskatoon used to be and wants us to be that.  In a war to attract top talent, Saskatoon will keep falling behind when we have councillors and a mayor that looks back to the past and not forward.

Into the Darkness

Alleys of Saskatoon

A photo from July of 2014.  

When I took this photo, it was pitch dark.  I thought I was only shooting a photo down an empty alleyway.  Then the women on the right came running out and demanded to see the photo while yelling at Wendy and I.  I showed her and she seemed okay.  As she was walking back down the alley, she yells back and says, “I just didn’t want anyone to see my f*ck show”.  So yeah, apparently this is a photo of a trick.

Exhibition Curling Club

I was driving around Exhibition with the boys on Wednesday before the roundtable on the Saskatoon Afternoon Show and we came across this.

Exbition Curling Club in Saskatoon

It had a large boarded up entrance on the west side of the building so I knew it had to be a rink.  I didn’t think it was a hockey rink as the Exhibition Arena (which used to serve hot Dr. Pepper) was only a couple of block away yet I had never heard of it before.  Neither had Wikimapia or Wikipedia.

It looks like from the fence that it is connected to the Seventh Day Adventist warehouse and school right next to it but I wasn’t sure.  I tweeted about it and Ward 7 Councillor Mairin Loewen offered up that it was indeed a curling rink (I had also found mentioned of the Exhibition Curling Rink in the provincial archives but no exterior photos) and that it had been used by the Adventists for revival services decades ago.  That was consistent with what some thought it was a church.

Of course the other option is that Councillor Loewen was wrong and that it was a remnant of the camp that the Seventh Day Adventists had on the site years ago before the city had grown out there.  That being said, the Exhibition Arena was never a curling club (it was hockey and rodeo which is why the places smelled like sweaty teens and cow manure) and there are references to the Exhibition Curling Rink in provincial and city archives.

I was by the building again today and it isn’t in great condition but not horrible shape either.  The walls are straight and there isn’t any buckling of the roof but it definitely hasn’t seen any signs of life in a long time.  It would be a great location for a lot of things but I never saw any For Sale signs so it’s not on the market.

If you have any info on the building, let me know in the comments.

Nutana Collegiate Institute

Nutana Collegiate Institute

I posted this photo at Bridge City today.  It’s of Nutana Collegiate and has been to research the project.  The mystery is who is the actual architect of Nutana Collegiate.  Sources list multiple architects and after wading through a lot of conflicting archives, here is what I think I know.

The original 1910 building was designed by Storey and Van Egmond.  David Webster was the architect of the 1919-1920 addition.  Edwards, Edwards & McEwan Architects did the 2012 refurbishment and renovations.

As far as some of the other architects that I have read that have been attributed as the architect of the school, I have no idea.  After reading up on the history of quite a few buildings in Saskatoon, it’s not that uncommon that different architects (in particular David Webster) are listed as the designer.  Blame sloppy record keeping or a later owner wanting his or her building to be associated with a more well known architect.  Whatever the case, it makes the histories of some of Saskatoon’s old buildings more interesting.

Let me know in the comments if you have other information, I’d love to hear what you think or know.