Biking Across Canada Day 19: Runnin' Round in Saskatoon

Today was filled with guided tours of Saskatoon. So many I had to delay writing a blog post because the day was so packed.

After a delicious breakfast of over-easy eggs on buttered toast, Theresa drove me over to Sask Polytechnic, where I’d arranged an early-morning tour of their medical simulation centre (as I work at a similar place in Halifax). Kara and Audrey there were very welcoming, and showed me around their facilities. It’s heartening to know they’re struggling with the same interprofessional challenges we are.

View from the control room

Once the tour was done I texted Sanj, and he came to pick me up to go to Wanuskewin Heritage Park, a site of major archeological site that is applying for UNESCO World Heritage status. It has six kilometres of beautiful hiking trails where you can learn how indigenous peoples lived thousands of years ago.

Sanj knew I was interested in bicycle infrastructure, and since he’s the type of person who knows everyone, he suggested we have lunch with his friend Henry Lau, who we met for dim sum. Henry’s an architect and artist who designed a lot of Saskatoon’s street furniture with an eye towards placemaking. He was heavily involved when they replaced the city’s thousands of parking meters with pay-and-display systems, and was able to show them that it was cheaper to adapt the old posts into proper bicycle parking racks than it would be to remove them. Halifax is about to go through a similar process, though I’m unsure whether they will make the same decisions Saskatoon did. Photo: Henry Lau
Henry with one of his creations
These double as a place to eat or to sit. Note the cupholder and place to hang a bag. Henry designed these bike repair stands with foot pumps since many lack the strength to operate traditional floor pumps.

We had such a wonderful conversation that Henry offered to take me around town to see his work. We jumped into his pickup truck, and I was amazed at the thought that went into his work. A lot of effort was put into designing infrastructure that incorporated local history, and would be useful in multiple situations by people of all walks of life. I have more examples of creative bicycle parking than I can fit in this post. Henry had this selfie frame designed and built in a few weeks for Canada 150 Historical local ads formed the basis of this stormwater grate in a commercial district.

After the tour Henry brought me back to the Singhs to collect my bags, then brought me to the house of Greg, my former boss from Dal, who now works at the University of Saskatoon. Saying goodbye to the Singh family

After I collected by bike from the repair shop, Greg gave me a great walking tour of the campus, which included an unexpected visit to Diefenbaker’s grave. I did not expect him to be buried at the university.

We also some some great dinosaur fossils, and a statue of Farley Mowat. I’ve been thinking of Owls in the Family the whole time I’m here, especially when I see the back alleys in the older neighbourhoods and think of Mutt the dog walking on tops of the fences. Carbon dating on the eyes proved inconclusive

After the tour we had dinner at Greg’s place with his wife Jodie, than we three wandered over to their neighbour’s garage where an seven-piece rock band was playing the classics while we all sang along. We got to woo at the Nova Scotia reference in You’re So Vain. It was an amazing end to a wonderful day.

Today’s Distance: 0 km Cumulative Distance: 2052 km

John Kyle @JohnKyle