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"Drove through Alberta underneath the moon. I'm going to drive into town pretty soon. Know that you've heard of the city of my dreams. Yeah, I love Saskatoon."

- Lyrics from "Saskatoon" by Real Ones (via YouTube)

eBulletin - May 2012

Saskatoon to host the 2013 Travel Media Association of Canada Conference and AGM

SASKATOON, SK — Tourism Saskatoon is delighted to announce that Saskatoon is the host destination for the 2013 Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) conference and AGM.

Saskatoon was officially presented as the 2013 host destination at the 2012 TMAC conference held in Fredericton, New Brunswick, earlier this month.  

“We are very grateful to be the host destination for the 2013 Travel Media Association of Canada conference and AGM,” said Todd Brandt, President and CEO of Tourism Saskatoon. “Saskatoon is a vibrant city and we are excited to be able to showcase our city to Canada’s top travel media. We look forward to welcoming both the media and our industry counterparts to Saskatoon next June.”

Founded in 1994, TMAC is Canada’s most professional and productive experts in the field of travel. The association is comprised of 450 members including writers, photographers, filmmakers, bloggers and social media mavens, as well as highly respected representatives of the travel industry.

The annual conference is an opportunity for TMAC members to exchange story ideas, explore new destinations and keep up-to-date on skills, trends and techniques. Industry members are able to showcase their destinations at the media marketplace, a scheduled business-to-business networking session.

“The Travel Media Association of Canada holds its annual conference in a different location every year. We look at each destination and assess it carefully in terms of its ability to deliver on everything our members need,” said Michele Sponagle, TMAC President. “That includes everything from suitable accommodations, accessible and affordable transportation, the wealth of story ideas and the expertise and support of the local and provincial tourism partners for putting on a memorable conference.”

“Saskatoon impressed us on all fronts, from the strength of its culinary scene, great June weather, range of outdoor activities and warm hospitality,” Sponagle added. “We are thrilled to be sharing all that Saskatoon offers with our members in 2013.”

The 2013 TMAC conference and AGM will take place June 12 – 15. The host hotels are the Delta Bessborough and the Sheraton Cavalier, located in the heart of downtown Saskatoon.

Source: Tourism Saskatoon

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Spotlight on Saskatoon Hotels

Saskatoon's James Hotel is Prairie Upscale

Who stays at the James Hotel in Saskatoon? “I hate to say that it’s a more upscale clientele, but I would probably say it’s a more discerning traveller,” says Corinne Lund, the hotel’s operations manager. Maybe the reluctance to use the word “upscale” is a Prairie thing, but the James opened last October, billing itself as the city’s only luxury boutique hotel. Despite that, Lund stresses that it’s a comfortable place to stay or have a drink and “not at all pretentious.” That down-to-earth attitude certainly carries over to the lobby bar.

The bar’s custom furniture and onyx fireplace are meant to create a contemporary feel, but the featured refreshments are a comforting throwback. The familiar martini, Manhattan and sidecar are accounted for among the 29 retro cocktails on offer. However, the James also resurrects concoctions that nowadays we tend to encounter only in old books. Think gimlets, brandy Alexanders and planter’s punches.

The cocktail program was imagined as a tribute to the late James Leier, who immigrated to Canada from Odessa and set about building the family’s hotel business during the 1930s. The current generation of Leiers led by Lund decided their latest property ought to revive the sophisticated drinking culture of their patriarch’s day, up to and including the 1960s.

While lobby bar manager Madhu Oliver was destined to fix the drinks, it was Lund who hit the books and trolled the Internet for nostalgic recipes to quietly re-introduce to the Saskatchewan landscape. “That’s as simple as it was. Just going with my heart and my gut.”

Source: Financial Post Magazine

Updating a castle, carefully

Who? Andrew Turnbull, general manager of the Delta Bessborough Hotel for the past 12 years.

What? The new guest room renovations at the Delta Bessborough.

When? Delta spent $6.5 million on the largest renovations of guest rooms in the hotel’s 77-year history. Saskatoon’s “castle on the river” dates back to 1928. The renovations were designed with that history in mind.

Why? “This hotel is very unique and we were able to give the designers a clean palette. We were allowed to really focus on the layout of the rooms to make sure they were functional as well as attractive. We were really allowed to recognize the heritage of the building and lay over that some of the modern conveniences in terms of the clean, uncluttered look that people are wanting today — whereas I think in the past it has been a bit jumbled. I spent 30 years working in heritage hotels, this is the newest hotel I have worked in. I have seen mistakes made in the past where people have taken it too far to whatever was trendy and it seemed incongruent. I’ve had people say, ‘What were they thinking?’ What we are hearing now is that it is clean and bright and has a certain modern feel to it, but at the same time, it has a lot of traditional elements both in design and through the use of traditional blueprints, the traditional crest and other things. It’s a feel that makes sense for a building like this."

How? “I don’t know if it was that difficult to do, but I think it would have been easy to screw up. It would have been easy to make a mistake and say we are going to be driven only by what people want today.

"For example, the elevator lobbies are significantly brighter than they were. I think this is perfect example of how the designers blended some traditional with some things that are more contemporary. They’ve softened the looks of the mouldings by painting over them, the doors have gone to this espresso brown from a blood red, but they still retain original doors. Very traditional patterned carpet, we’ve included some sepia-toned photographs.

“(In the rooms) there are plug-ins for smartphones, the built-in reading lights. All the clock radios are either iPhone or iPad compatible. Tremendous technology at the desk, as well. Connectivity to the television for almost anything you would be carrying, whether it be a smartphone or tablet or a computer. You’ve got HDMI connections so you can stream movies and watch them on the TV. Everywhere you go you got power so you aren’t down on your hands and knees on the floor. At the same time, some the heritage components that give the room that look and feel are still here. We kept the picture rails, the trim that existed before. Even the accent wall in vinyl, the padded headboard – that is very 1930s."

Source: Bridges

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SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival: Introducing the Full Ticketed Lineup

SASKATOON, SK — The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival has released its full ticketed lineup for this year's event, which runs June 22–July 1, 2012.

In addition to previously announced artists such as Feist, The Roots, Wayne Shorter and Michael Franti, this year's schedule includes performances by Janelle Monáe, Dianne Reeves, Robert Randoph & The Family Band, Bill Frisell, Elliott Brood, Ndidi Onukwulu, Mayer Hawthorne, DJ Questlove, Benny Green, Young Empires, and many more.

The full list of artists and the schedule for ticketed events can be browsed at saskjazz.com.

Early bird tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online, by phone at 1.800.638.1211, or from the Festival Box Office in the lobby of Saskatoon’s Delta Bessborough Hotel. We’re open Monday–Friday, 10am–6pm.

Finally, be sure to download our app for your iPhone, iPod Touch or Android device.

Schedules for the Festival's many Free Stages will be released on May 17.

Click here for artist publicity photos. 
Click here for the list of 2012 artists. 
Click here for the 2012 schedule.

Rob Maguire 
Marketing and Sponsorship Director 
Ph: 306.653.8352       

Source: SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival

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Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra launches 2012/2013 lineup

‘Season of Champions’ includes an eclectic offering of concerts

SASKATOON, SK — The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director Victor Sawa unveiled details of the SSO’s 2012–2013 season May 1, 2012, at its 20th Street headquarters.

Dubbed the ‘Season of Champions,’ the line-up includes six classical music concerts in the Masters Series, four POPS Series concerts, and six chamber music events in the Sunday afternoon series which has been re-branded as the ‘Players’ Choice’ Series. The Symphony Holiday Spectacular will return but with a Celtic ‘twist,’ and back again is the annual performance of Messiah at Third Avenue United Church.

The Silence is Golden Silent Movie event at the Roxy Theatre returns for a fourth year. Co-produced by the SSO and the Riversdale Business Improvement District, and presented by New Community Credit Union, next season’s event features the 1920 adventure ‘The Mark of Zorro’ and the return of silent movie pianist Rick Friend.

New to the line-up is ‘The Core’—a two-concert series partnership with 20th Street neighbour PAVED Arts. The Core will present new music performed by the principal players of the orchestra. A curator chosen by PAVED Arts will choose a piece of media art based on the concert’s theme and that will presented as part of the performance. The Core is another of the innovations that the SSO is involved in to create new connections in the community and the Riversdale neighbourhood.

Highlights of the 2012 – 2013 Masters Series include a new version of last season’s Classics for Skeptics concert, with a Halloween theme and a program of spooky classical works, including music from the Alfred Hitchcock classic ‘Psycho.’

‘Inspired by the Bard,’ with music inspired by Shakespeare includes actor Maureen Thomas’s one-woman comedic presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set against by Mendelssohn’s familiar music for the play, with the Saskatoon Children’s Choir, and two soloists.

Other highlights include a guest appearance by Haldan Martinson, principal violinist (II) with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in a concert led by Maestro Kirk Smith, principal conductor of Chicago’s Black Music Repertory Ensemble, plus a performance by Saskatchewan native Blair Lofgren, now principal cello with the Quebec Symphony.

The Saskatoon Symphony is proud to present Italy’s Beatrice Rana, grand prize winner of the 2011 International Music Competition. Rana, a young virtuoso pianist, captivated the international panel of judges and has been the talk of the music world since her win. “It’s exciting to be able to bring Beatrice to next year’s series” says Sawa, “I was fortunate to be present for her Montreal winning performance, and I knew we had to somehow get her to our stage—somehow it happened.”

Charismatic Australian conductor Daniel Smith, makes a return to Canada to conduct the Rana concert, which includes Prokofiev’s powerful Symphony No. 5.

The season finale has an American theme. The program includes Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, Rhapsody in Blue (with award-winning pianist Michael Kim) and An American in Paris, plus Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.

Highlights of the POPS Series include a return of tenor Fernando Varela, who wowed a May 2010 SSO POPS Series audience. Varela has recently come to the attention of star-maker David Foster who is now providing career guidance. Varela is currently making a number of guest appearances with Foster in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Hawaii.

Jeans ‘n Classics is also returning to the POPS Series with One Vision: The Music of Queen. This tribute to iconic rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, features rocker Michael Shotton, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Don Paulton on keyboards, and other first-rate musicians drawn from the Jeans ‘n Classics rock ensemble, along with a massed choir drawn from local high schools.

The SSO’s celebration of the Oscars® returns in February 2013, and the season ends with ‘Simply Sinatra,’ channeled by one of the most sought after interpreters of standards, Steve Lippia. Sawa says, “We’ve been wanting to bring a Sinatra show to the POPS Series for a while, and everyone said ‘do yourself a favour and go for this guy—he’s the best.’ He’s busy, so it’s been a challenge, but he’s coming and it’s going to be great.”

Media Contacts:
Mike McCoy, Marketing Director
Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra
Direct line 306.227.3586
SSO office 306.665.6414

Jill Reid, General Manager
Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra

Source: Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra

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Saskatoon Sports Tourism announces Partnership Program

SASKATOON, SK — Saskatoon Sports Tourism recently announced the launch of their new partnership program. The Saskatoon Sports Tourism Partnership Program is designed to aid local organizations in their pursuit of sport events and in remaining competitive in an increasingly demanding sports tourism market.

“Saskatoon Sports Tourism needs to be at the top of our game to play in the big leagues and win bids to host major events”, said Randy Fernets, Managing Director of Saskatoon Sports Tourism. “We appreciate the support we receive from our investing partners and our participating Destination Marketing Fund (DMF) hotels. We are now approaching the corporate community and private sector to help us generate the required resources to keep us competitive.”

Saskatoon Sports Tourism is delighted to announce the first participants in their partnership program: Dakota Dunes Casino as MVP Partner, the 2013 Memorial Cup Host Committee as Team Builder Partner, and Saskatoon Soccer Centre Inc. as Sports Fan Partner.  

“We want to take this opportunity to thank Dakota Dunes Casino, the 2013 Memorial Cup Host Committee and Saskatoon Soccer Centre Inc. for being the first to contribute to our new program”, said Hugh Vassos, Project Development Consultant for Saskatoon Sports Tourism. “Their generosity will ensure we have the necessary resources to attract top sporting events to Saskatoon.”

Source: Tourism Saskatoon

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Saskatoon Shines at Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance PRESTIGE Awards

Dakota Dunes Casino named Sport Event Sponsor of the Year

SASKATOON, SK — Saskatoon Sports Tourism is delighted to announce that Dakota Dunes Casino has been awarded the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance’s (CSTA) PRESTIGE Award for Sport Event Sponsor of the Year in 2011. The Dakota Dunes Casino was the title partner of the Dakota Dunes Casino Open: Canadian Tour. The event, held at Dakota Dunes Golf Links, featured 150 golfers from 14 countries and was the highlight of Saskatoon’s 2011 summer sports event schedule.

“As title partner of the Dakota Dunes Casino Open, we are proud of our partnership with the Canadian Professional Golf Tour and the Dakota Dunes Golf Links,” said Vance McNab, Vice President of Marketing at the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority. “This award is a tribute to the organizers, volunteers and the participants who make this exciting tournament possible.”

Now in its fourth year, the Dakota Dunes Casino Open continues to be a popular summer sporting event in Saskatoon and area. This year’s tournament will be played from July 2 to 8. For more information about this event and Dakota Dunes Golf Links, visit www.dakotadunes.ca.

Source: Tourism Saskatoon

Mayor Donald J. Atchison Wins Sports Tourism Award

SASKATOON, SK — Saskatoon Sports Tourism is pleased to announce that Mayor Donald J. Atchison is the winner of the 2012 President’s Award for Public Sector Supporter. The President’s Award recognizes outstanding achievements or contributions by individuals or organizations that have helped profile and build sport tourism in Canada.

“It is an honour and a privilege to receive this award from the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance”, said Mayor Donald Atchison.  “A thriving sport tourism industry is a vital component of our community.  I believe our local community organizations and volunteers are truly the backbone of Saskatoon’s highly successful sporting events.”

“The mayor is a consistent advocate of positioning Saskatoon as an exceptional sporting event host destination,” said Todd Brandt, President and CEO of Tourism Saskatoon. “He has been a board member of Saskatoon Sports Tourism since its inception 14 years ago, and has never been hesitant to jump into the fray when we are bidding for major events, or needing to develop competitive sport facilities.  Saskatoon is a better city for it.”

The PRESTIGE Awards celebrate people, places and events that make the Canadian sport tourism industry so dynamic and important to the economic fabric of our communities. All finalists were honoured at the PRESTIGE Awards gala luncheon April 19, 2012, held in conjunction with the 2012 Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) Sport Events Congress at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, British Columbia.

Source: Tourism Saskatoon

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Running back to Saskatoon


SASKATOON, SK — Christie Peters might be too young to remember The Guess Who’s famous prairie tune, but she’s among the many expats who have been running back to Saskatoon.

The recently released 2011 census shows Saskatoon enjoyed the country’s biggest growth spurt – the population surged 11.4 per cent, nearly twice the national numbers. And while this prairie city is still small – just around 235,000 souls – the new blood seems to be the creative kind and much of it is settling in Riversdale.

“I dragged Kyle here from Vancouver,” says Peters, introducing her husband and chef, Kyle Michael, who is trimming pork in the massive kitchen of their new hipster cocktail lounge and eatery, The Hollows.

Set in the former Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant, it’s like a snapshot in time — John Fogarty is wailing on the stereo as Peters fills my vintage water glass, stenciled with a pheasant hunting scene, beneath the glow of boxy rosewood Chinese lanterns.

But it’s just one of the new businesses that’s making the transitional Riversdale district the new “it” spot in Saskatoon — old furniture stores, pawn shops and Chinese restaurants are being transformed into cutting-edge art galleries and cafes where baristas grind Intelligentsia coffee and yoga moms gather.

For Peters and Michael, who met while working at the former Feenie’s in Vancouver, Riversdale has all of the edgy, hipster vibe of Gastown, without the big-city rent.

“It’s got a rough reputation but more and more people are moving in,” says Peters, who cooked at both Boneta and The Diamond, then at Michelin-starred De Kas in Amsterdam, before heading home to Saskatoon. “This place has character. It’s so vintage here — it sets the mood.”

If you haven’t been to Saskatoon in awhile, Riversdale is definitely a spot to explore.

Read the full story at vacay.ca.

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

Angela Moore
Director of Media | Tourism Saskatoon
Ph: 306.931.7585 | amoore@tourismsaskatoon.com

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