Downtown revitalization highlights Saskatoon mayor’s state of the town tackle

In his state of the city address, Sasaktoon Mayor Charlie Clarke highlighted downtown as the future of the city.

“After surviving two years of COVID and the almost emptying-out of downtown, we are now fully focused on how to turn it into an exciting and active destination,” said Clarke.

Within weeks, Clarke said, the city will release site options and a preferred site for the proposed downtown event and entertainment district.

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“An event and entertainment district anchored by an arena, an event centre, a convention centre, a public plaza, and bus rapid transit taking people in and out of the district,” he said.

Clarke compared this new district to what happened in the time period of 1966-1970 when many major parts of Saskatoon were built today:

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  • Idlewyld bridge and Idlewyld Drive replaced the old CN tracks downtown
  • Frances Morrison Central Library opened
  • The Centennial Auditorium opened
  • The downtown YMCA opened
  • Midtown Mall opened

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“Leaders of that time worked together on these crucial investments to shape the life of our city,” he said. “Now we have a chance to do that as well.”

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Saskatoon is the fastest growing city in Saskatchewan and to stay in that position, Clarke said, quality of life and destination opportunities need to be made so the city isn’t flown over.

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Based on looking at other cities’ entertainment districts, Clarke said there are three key factors to making it a success:

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  1. No parking lots in the district
  2. Bus rapid transit
  3. Everyone must see something they like

Clarke said the future of Saskatoon is tied to ensuring everyone in the community has a chance to benefit from these opportunities, as well as finding a way to create a thriving and safe downtown for everyone.

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