Saskatoon’s River History

Trip Overview

Paddling instructions on the South Saskatchewan River

Cliff giving paddling tips before launching the river day trip  (© Dominique Hurley)

This multifaceted adventure on the South Saskatchewan River packs a lot into one day. Started in 2006 to help celebrate Saskatoon’s city centennial, the trip included local historians relating stories of history associated with the river in the vicinity of Saskatoon. One such story reveals the City’s connections with Chief Whitecap and the Dakota First Nation situated just downstream of where we launch the canoe trip. Natural history enters the picture further on as we canoe by massive sand cliffs that show layers of sediments laid down in ancient glacial Lake Saskatoon. Intriguing tales of days gone by continue after our river bank campfire lunch until our pull out point at the Saskatoon Berry Barn.

Trip Details
Duration: 1 day
Scheduled Date: Aug 25, 2024
Custom departure dates for groups can be arranged.
Geographic Area: South Saskatchewan River – Saskatoon area
Nearest Community: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada
Paddling Venue: River flatwater with mild current
Adventure Rating: Novice – a modest degree of fitness and upper body conditioning will help prepare you for paddling and portaging
Minimum Age: 14
Paddling Distance: 23 km (14 mi.)
Hiking Distance: 2.5 km (1.5 mi.)
Price per Person: $180 plus 5% GST

Booking Info


Old-fashioned corn roast on the South Saskatchewan riverbank

Corn in tinfoil and smokies being roasted at a natural riverbank picnic site  (© Dominique Hurley)

The day trip begins with a morning rendezvous at the Victoria Park Boathouse in Saskatoon. There we scour the river maps to get a read on the canoe route for the day and we go over safety precautions and talk about how to counter wind and waves and current. Then we board the van and head SW out of the City toward the Berry Barn, stopping at a Valley Rd. market garden to pick up fresh corn (when in season) for the roast on the riverbank later on.

Our road route takes us onto the Pike Lake highway and south past the park and eventually we wind our way down to the river via scenic country roads. Our access to the river is via a farmer’s pasture, where we unload and prepare for launching the trip. After a few basic tips on paddling technique and safety, we head downstream towards our noon campfire lunch site on the riverbank. Following lunch, we have the option to hike a couple of kilometres on trails that wind through a magnificent cottonwood forest in an old abandoned river channel. Back on the river, we cruise past the sand cliffs and Paradise Beach to eventually pull out at the Berry Barn, where our van is waiting for the pick up. Our return trip gets us back into Saskatoon in early evening.

Package Includes:

  • Canoeing and safety equipment
  • Nutritious noon meal prepared over an open fire
  • Certified instructor/guide
  • Return transportation by passenger van from Saskatoon

Prices shown in Canadian Dollars; applicable taxes extra
Advance booking required, subject to availability

To book your space on this trip, please see Registration

Packing List, Liability Waiver and Detailed Trip Info – contact Cliff Speer 306-653-5693 or

River History & Corn Roast Trip by Dominique Hurley, Sept 16, 2007

This slide presentation of a fall trip on the South Saskatchewan River has a professional touch! On board was Dominique Hurley, taking a second ‘shot’ at the river after working with Courtney Milne on CanoeSki’s David Thompson Voyageur Trek. Her artistic eye and photographic ability have rendered the river an irresistible experience! All the trip highlights – unbelievable weather, easy paddling, striking fall colors, forest hiking, fascinating history vignettes, and fabulous campfire food – have an almost supernatural appeal seen through her camera lens. Hop on board and take a ride down a great prairie river!
All photos © 2007 Dominique Hurley
(mouse over Notes to get descriptions on each slide)

Get the flash player here:

Saskatoon’s River History Trip Tales

Saskatoon’s River History by Canoe
A keen, but diverse group including University students, a young German couple, and several mid-aged friends offer their reminiscences of a perfect fall day on a prairie river – paddling, roasting corn, watching migrating birdlife and viewing the valley colors…>>>

Indian Head Agricultural Students Ply the Scenic South Saskatchewan River by Holly McLean, September 2007
Silence, Nature & History – A German View of Canadian Canoeing by Gunnar Triltzsch, September 2007
Three Good Friends Try a New Adventure! by Doreen, Colleen & Lee, September 2007

Article by Cliff on Saskatoon’s River History:

Saskatoon’s Centennial Has River Tales to Tell by Cliff Speer
Ness Creek Journal Spring 2006
Story Line: In an effort to trumpet its status as a full-blown Canadian city, Saskatoon put on a 100-year-old birthday extravaganza in 2006. In an effort to get with the program, CanoeSki initiated a series of Centennial River Run day trips on the South Saskatchewan River putting well-known historians on board to regale paddlers with intriguing tales of local river history. Read this short story to discover a bit more of Saskatoon’s fascinating past connection with its treasured waterway.