Saskatoon is a city in central Saskatchewan, Canada, on the South Saskatchewan River. Residents of the city of Saskatoon are called Saskatonians. The city is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Corman Park No. 344. As of 2011, it is the largest city in the province with a population of 488,169 and an estimated metropolitan area population of 649,460.
Saskatoon is home to the University of Saskatchewan, the Meewasin Valley Authority which protects the South Saskatchewan River and provides for the city's popular riverbank park spaces, and Wanuskewin Heritage Park, a National Historic Site of Canada representing 6,000 years of First Nations history. The Rural Municipality of Corman Park No. 344, the most populous rural municipality in Saskatchewan, surrounds the city and contains many of the developments associated with it, including Wanuskewin.
Saskatoon is named after the berry of the same name, which is native to the region, and is itself derived from the Cree misâskwatômina. The city has a significant Indigenous population and several urban Reserves. It is known for its diverse and vibrant culture and its eight (plus two planned) river crossings that give it the nicknames "Paris of the Prairies" and "Bridge City."
Historic neighborhoods of Saskatoon include Nutana and Riversdale, which were separate towns before amalgamating with the town of Saskatoon and incorporating as a city in 1906. Nutana, Riversdale, their historic main streets of Broadway Avenue and 20th Street respectively, the downtown core and other central neighborhoods are seeing significant reinvestment and redevelopment. Sutherland, the rail town the city annexed in 1956 that lies beyond the University lands, is now another historic neighborhood.
Saskatoon lies on a long belt of rich, potassic chernozem in middle-southern Saskatchewan and is found in the aspen parkland biome. The lack of surrounding mountainous topography gives the city a relatively flat grid, though the city does sprawl over a few hills and into a few valleys. The lowest point in the city is the river, while the highest point is disputed between the suburb of Sutherland in the east side and the Silverwood-River Heights areas in the city's north end. Saskatoon, on a cross-section from west to east, has a general decline in elevation above sea level heading towards the river, and on the east bank of the river, the terrain is mostly level until outside the city, where it begins to decrease in elevation again.
Saskatoon is divided into east and west sides by the South Saskatchewan River. It is then divided into Suburban Development Areas (SDA) which are composed of neighborhoods. Street addresses are demarcated into north and south (for avenues aligned in those directions) and similar east and west (for streets aligned in those directions). West of the river the demarcation line for north and south addresses is 22nd Street, while east and west are divided by Idylwyld Drive (north of 20th Street) and Avenue A (south of 20th). On the east side, Lorne Avenue demarcates east and west while Aird Street marks the north/south boundary, except in the Sutherland community where a separate east/west demarcation takes place with Central Avenue as the boundary (there is, however, no separate north/south divide).
Saskatoon experiences a borderline cold semi-arid/humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification BSk/Dfb). Climate data from University of Saskatchewan, in the inner city meets semi-arid criteria. This is due to slightly higher average annual temperature and slightly lower average annual precipitation than the Airport, on the city's northwest periphery.
The city has four distinct seasons and is in plant hardiness zone 3b. Saskatoon has a dry climate and sees 340.4 mm (13.40 in) of precipitation per year on average, with the summer being the wettest season. Saskatoon is sunnier than average in Canada as a result, averaging 2,268 hours of bright sunshine annually. The extreme temperatures are typically accompanied by below average levels of humidity. Thunderstorms are common in the summer months and can be severe with torrential rain, hail, high winds, intense lightning and, on rare occasion, tornadoes. The frost-free growing season lasts from May 21st to September 15st, but due to Saskatoon's northerly location, damaging frosts have occurred as late as June 14th and again as early as August. The average daytime high temperature peaks at 25.8 °C (78.4 °F) from July 31st to August 8th.
The "Blizzard of 2007" was described by many residents as the worst they had seen and paralyzed the city with its low visibility, extreme cold and large volume of snow. Winds rose to over 90 km/h (56 mph) and an estimated 25 cm (9.8 in) of snow fell throughout the day. Many area residents took refuge overnight at area work places, shopping centers, hospitals and the university.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Saskatoon was 41.5 °C (107 °F) on June 6th, 1988. The lowest temperature ever recorded was −50.0 °C (−58 °F) on February 1st, 1893.