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"We have an amazing city. With fantastic culture. 
Let's share it."

- Thread Saskatoon (via YouTube)

eBulletin - February 2012

Top 5 reasons to visit Saskatoon in 2012

  1. The Saskatoon Blues Festival will be celebrating their 10th anniversary, February 23 - 26
  2. Saskatoon hosts the 2012 Tim Hortons Brier, March 3 - 11 
  3. The Saskatoon Pride Festival marks its 20th year of Pride celebrations, June 9 – 16
  4. A new event – Vino Veritas – will showcase fine wine and food in the Delta Bessborough Garden, June 15 - 16 (More information to come)  
  5. Saskatoon hosts Country Music Week, September 6 – 9, and the 2012 Canadian Country Music Awards, September 9

If you would like to request a media visit, please contact Alexandra Stang at astang@tourismsaskatoon.com or Kelly Bertoncini at kbertoncini@tourismsaskatoon.com.

We look forward to seeing you in Saskatoon!

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Saskatoon Blues Festival Marks 10th Anniversary

SASKATOON, SKFebruary 15, 2012 – The Saskatoon Blues Society is gearing up for their biggest annual celebration: the Saskatoon Blues Festival. The festival will be marking their 10th anniversary February 23 – 26.

The festival program includes an impressive line-up of performances shared between two venues: the Electric Blues Room at the newly renovated Odeon Events Centre, and the Acoustic Blues Room at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Saskatoon.

This year’s festival has attracted blues master Tracy Nelson, with 26 albums to her credit and over 40 years in the music business. Florida-based JP Soars and the Red Hots – 2009 International Blues Challenge winners – are making their Saskatoon debut during the blues festival. And travelling from Edmonton, Boogie Patrol is bringing their high energy blues/funk/soul music to Saskatoon. The band has been described as the youthful future of the blues. The full program – with a total of 13 artists and bands – touches on a variety of blues styles, with wide appeal for various audiences.

“The Saskatoon Blues Society is passionate about bringing blues music to Saskatoon, not only for the festival, but all year round,” says Susan Scharf, chair of the 2012 Saskatoon Blues Festival. “We’re very excited to kick off the festivities and know that our line-up offers enough variety for everyone from novice to experienced blues fans to enjoy.”

Run by volunteers on a limited budget, Tourism Saskatoon is again a financial supporter through the organization’s joint marketing fund, which provides eligible applicants with the ability to strengthen their marketing campaigns and reach.

“Part of our mandate is to support tourism industry development in Saskatoon,” says Tourism Saskatoon’s president and chief executive officer Todd Brandt. “A big part of that is by helping our festivals and events grow and attract new visitors.”

Outside of the official festival dates, the Saskatoon Blues Society has a strong program of blues performances and workshops as part of their regular season. This includes Affinity Credit Union Blues Outreach, SaskTel Blues in the Schools, Lounge Series, and Affinity Credit Union Blues Camp.  

A highlight of the pre-festival programming is a special screening of Rita Chiarrelli’s documentary Music from the Big House. An award-winning recording artist, Chiarelli chronicles her pilgrimage to the birthplace of the blues: Louisiana State Maximum Security Penitentiary. The documentary follows Chiarelli on her journey to the prison where she found inspiration in the stories of the inmates and in their love of music.  

The documentary screens at the Roxy Theatre Wednesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. Chiarelli will be available afterwards for a question and answer period with the audience. Tickets cost $5 each and are available at the Roxy Theatre. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to Saskatoon Interval House.

For festival programming, tickets range between $10 and $30 each. They are available at Long & McQuade, McNally Robinson Booksellers, St. John’s Music, and all Cherry Insurance locations. 

For more information about the Saskatoon Blues Festival and the Saskatoon Blues Society, visit www.saskatoonbluessociety.ca.

For more information about visiting Saskatoon, visit www.tourismsaskatoon.com

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For more information:

Susan Scharf
2012 Saskatoon Blues Festival
Tel: 306-249-3696

Kelly Bertoncini
Director of Media

Tourism Saskatoon
Tel: 306-931-7585

Source: Tourism Saskatoon

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The 2012 Tim Hortons Brier: Now That's Entertainment! 

When the 2012 Tim Hortons Brier opens March 3rd in Saskatoon, it marks the start of one of the most anticipated events in the curling world – for an entire week packed with amazing entertainment on and off the ice!

In the Credit Union Centre, the best teams in the country will battle for the right to hoist the Brier Tankard, emblematic of Canadian men’s curling supremacy.  Meanwhile, just down the road at the Saskatoon Training Centre, the most enthusiastic partiers in the country will keep the Original 16 Patch rocking ‘til the late hours of the night.

The Patch is the place everyone goes when the draws are done – and that includes fans, competitors, sponsors and volunteers.  You’ll find a great selection of food and beverages and an exceptional line-up of Canada’s hottest bands including Kim Mitchell, Hey Romeo, Longshot, March Hare, the Boom Chucka Boys, the Chevelles and Mudmen.

For a taste of the championship action, fans can take part in the Cool Shots competition – the small-scale version of the roaring game played on shuffleboard-style tables – with a new round taking place every day.  Sign up for free and take your shot at the cash prizes.

Complimentary shuttle service is available at Credit Union Centre to take you on the five-minute ride to all the fun at the Original 16 Patch.

For the full entertainment schedule, just click here.

“You Gotta Be There” for one of the most entertaining experiences in the sporting world: the Tim Hortons Brier, March 3-11 in Credit Union Place. 

Source: Canadian Curling Association

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The Sheepdogs fetch Juno nods


Saskatchewan has produced a bumper crop of Juno nominated musicians this year.

Three Saskatchewan artists and groups were nominated for Juno Awards Tuesday morning in five different categories, a record number of Juno nominees from the province in a single year.

The Sheepdogs lead the pack with three nominations for the country's top musical prize. The Saskatoon group - which catapulted to fame in 2011 after winning a Rolling Stone cover contest - is up against Canadian heavyweights such as Nickelback, Sloan and The Sam Roberts Band.

The Sheepdogs - comprised of Ryan Gullen, Ewan Currie, Leot Hanson and Sam Corbett - picked up a Single of the Year nomination for their infectious anthem I Don't Know, a Rock Album of the Year nomination for their gold record Learn & Burn and a New Group of the Year nod.

"I think the rock and the single one were a really big surprise," said Gullen, bass player for The Sheepdogs. "I don't think we ever anticipated or dreamt of winning a Juno. Obviously it's a big honour to get that recognition."

Meanwhile, the Deep Dark Woods (another Saskatoon band) received a nomination for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year for their nostalgia-tinged, selfproduced album The Place I Left Behind.

"It's a milestone I guess for a band in Canada, but when it comes down to it it doesn't really mean that much artistically at all," said Lucas Goetz, drummer for The Deep Dark Woods.

The group has spent the past few months touring the United States and are about to embark on their first venture to Europe. They've been taking the ups and downs in stride.

"You learn to do that. There's a lot of talk that goes on in the music industry. It's best to just take it as it comes," Goetz said.

The past year brought big opportunities for both the Deep Dark Woods and The Sheepdogs. Both groups began playing at about the same time, and have remained friends throughout the years. With careers in high gear, they've had little time to hang out in the last year. The Junos will be a reunion of sorts.

"I think the biggest thing is that we started basically around the same time. We used to go to The Cavern on Mondays after we both jammed and have wings and talk about music," Gullen said. "Those guys had such a great year. I think it's great to see that they got recognition for what they're doing . I'm personally just excited to hang out with those guys for a weekend."

Multi-talented musician Donny Parenteau earned his second Juno nomination for Aboriginal Album of the Year Tuesday. His first came in 2007.

Parenteau was busy in the recording studio when his wife called with news of the nomination. He had a great year with five Aboriginal Music Awards, he said, and the Juno nomination is the "icing on the cake."

"It's an absolutely incredible feeling. This is to me, the highest nomination anybody can ever get in Canada for music," Parenteau said.

The number of nomination represents an exiting time for Saskatchewan musicians, said J.P. Ellson, chief operating officer of SaskMusic.

"I'm pretty pumped," Ellson said. "To the best of our knowledge, it's the most Saskatchewan nominations ever received."

Ellson said the nominations show Saskatchewan artists are being heard and recognized for their hard work.

"Talent has never been a problem here. It's getting people to know that we actually have the talent here," Ellson said.

Saskatoon-born, Toronto-based artist Suzie Vinnick also picked up a nomination, in the category of Blues Album of the Year for her most recent record Me 'n' Mabel.

The 2012 Juno Awards will be held April 1 in Toronto. 

Source: The StarPhoenix

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Water polo makes its first splash at Saskatoon's Shaw Centre 

Saskatoon, SK – The Saskatchewan Water Polo Association and Saskatoon Sports Tourism are excited to announce two major water polo events which will be held in Saskatoon. The Shaw Centre has been chosen as the location for the 22U Women’s National Club Championship (May 25 to 27) and Water Polo Canada’s National Development Premier League, a men’s 18-and-under league.  

These are the first major water polo competitions to be hosted in Saskatoon.

“We are looking forward to welcoming these exciting events to our city,” said Randy Fernets, managing director of Saskatoon Sports Tourism. “These events put the Water Polo Canada stamp of quality on the Shaw Centre, certifying it as one of the best aquatic centres in Canada. We know that athletes and fans alike will be pleased with Saskatoon and the Shaw Centre. There is sure to be more competitive water polo in Saskatoon’s future.”

The National Development Premier League, which launched its inaugural season earlier this month, was created to increase the capacity of the Canadian Club System by providing high performance opportunities for water polo athletes, coaches and referees. The league represents six men’s 18-and-under teams from across Canada: Vancouver Pacific Storm, Calgary Torpedoes, Team Saskatchewan, Dollard-des-Ormeaux Water Polo Club, Montreal Water Polo Club and the York Mavericks from Toronto.

Team Saskatchewan faced the Vancouver Pacific Storm in two games on January 21 and 22. The next regular season series in Saskatoon will be played March 3 and 4 against Calgary.

The first National Development Premier League games coincided with a training camp for Team Saskatchewan, as they prepare to host the 22U Women's National Club Championship. This event is one of Water Polo Canada’s most prestigious competitions, and the members of Canada’s junior national water polo team will compete with their respective clubs for the championship. Players participating in this tournament will form future national teams, competing in the 2016 Olympics and beyond.

“This is an exciting time for water polo in Saskatchewan,” said tournament director Evan Andrews. “Together with the help of our local clubs, Water Polo Canada, and external partnerships, these upcoming events will be a chance to show a broader audience the potential and successes of our athletes in this growing sport.”


For more information, contact:

Evan Andrews
Tournament Director
Contact: 22U Women's National Club Championship
Direct: (306) 551-6797

Cyril Dorgigne
Executive Director
Water Polo Saskatchewan
Contact: National Development Premier League
Direct: (306) 780-9260

Source: Tourism Saskatoon

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Saskatoon sees major growth in latest census


Saskatchewan's most populous city is in the third fastest growing metropolitan area of the country, new census data from Statistics Canada revealed Wednesday.

The census metropolitan area of Saskatoon grew by 11.4 per cent between 2006 and 2011, trailing only the growth of Calgary and Edmonton for the same period, according to the data collected in May 2011.

Inter-provincial migration and new immigrants were the major factors for the rise in an area that is the 17th most populated metropolitan region ranked in the census with a total population of 260,600.

Overall, the census revealed the area had added 26,667 more people than in 2006. Saskatchewan welcomed more than 28,000 immigrants over the past five years, compared to just 9,500 in the previous five.

Another 12,000 interprovincial migrants moved to Saskatchewan between 2006 and 2011. The gains reversed a trend that saw the province lose 35,000 residents between 2001 and 2006.

Saskatchewan is now the third fastest growing province behind Alberta and British Columbia and for the second time in census history, the prairie province topped one million people in 2011.

The last time that happened was in 1986.

A burgeoning natural-resources and energy sector helped fuel growth in Saskatchewan over the past five years and the province also enjoyed one of Canada's lowest unemployment rates.

Source: Postmedia News

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Resources, research, riches draw newcomers to hot-spot-Saskatoon


The Ikpes have been around: They’ve moved from Abuja, Nigeria, to the United Kingdom, then to Calgary and Toronto before settling in Saskatoon. And for now, at least, they’re in this booming Prairie province to stay.

Them and another 30,000-odd people in the past five years. The 260,000-person city has experienced 11.4 per cent growth since the previous census – the third-fastest growth of the country’s census metropolitan areas. Saskatchewan is flooded with an unprecedented number of immigrants drawn by its white-hot resource sector and the sizable economic ripple effects attached to it.

It’s an embarrassment of riches for a region more used to the opposite: This is the first census out of the past three in which Saskatchewan’s population has had positive growth.

Elias and Mary Ikpe moved to Saskatoon with their two sons, Godwin and Emanuel, barely two months ago. They’re still finding their way around. But Ms. Ikpe, who just started studying microbiology at the University of Saskatchewan, says she likes what she has seen so far.

“There are friendly people in Ontario, but [here] there’s a kind of closeness,” she says. “They’re ready to offer – they try to give the best possible assistance.”

Mr. Ikpe, who spent years working in civil and structural engineering in Abuja and has a doctorate in health and safety management in that field, may finally be able to work in his métier.

“The prospects are here,” he says. “So many companies are moving down here; this is a really good time for someone to come here to look for a job. They’re always looking for people.”

He is hoping to get a job in the public sector, working on infrastructure projects. He came to the right place: The rapid-fire growth of Saskatchewan’s economy and population has existing resources bursting at the seams.

“Infrastructure and housing are challenges that come with growth,” Premier Brad Wall said in an interview. “But we are investing in unprecedented ways to try to keep up with those challenges.”

Read more

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Alexandra Stang
Media Relations Coordinator | Tourism Saskatoon
Ph: 306.931.7587 | astang@tourismsaskatoon.com

Kelly Bertoncini
Director of Media | Tourism Saskatoon
Ph: 306.931.7585 | kbertoncini@tourismsaskatoon.com

Copyright 2012 Saskatoon Visitor and Convention Bureau. All rights reserved.