Saskatoon Neighbourhood – Nutana
Nutana is a primarily residential neighbourhood located near the centre of Saskatoon. It includes the business district of Broadway Avenue. It comprises a nearly even mixture of low-density, single detached dwellings and apartment-style multiple unit dwellings. As of 2009, the area is home to 6,261 residents. The neighbourhood is considered a middle to upper-income area, with an average family income of $67,657, an average dwelling value of $206,830 and a home ownership rate of 51.3%. According to MLS data, the average sale price of a home as of 2013 was $409,891. First established in 1883, Nutana was the original settlement of what now makes up the city of Saskatoon.
Location – Nutana is located within the Core Neighbourhoods Suburban Development Area. It is bounded by 8th Street to the south, Clarence Avenue to the east, and the South Saskatchewan River to the west. Roads are laid out in a grid fashion; streets run east-west, avenues run north-south. Some roads close to the river are laid out in rough parallel to the riverbank. All three operational road bridges into the downtown core are located in or immediately adjacent to Nutana; a fourth bridge, the historic Traffic Bridge, was closed and decommissioned in the late 2000s. Until a replacement bridge is built, Broadway Avenue and its bridge is carrying additional traffic previously carried by Victoria Avenue and the Traffic Bridge. The original 1883 layout of Saskatoon/Nutana was similar to today’s boundaries, except it extended south of 8th Street to a then-unnamed road allowance (now Taylor Street).
History – The first permanent settlement was established by the Temperance Colonization Society, a group of Toronto Methodists, under John Neilson Lake. The group moved into the area in 1883, a year after Lake and a scouting party had looked for a suitable colony site. The site chosen by Lake was on the suggestion of Chief Whitecap of the Dakota tribe. The settlement, named Saskatoon, was officially settled on August 18, 1883. The name is thought to be derived from the Cree word “missaskwatoomina”, referring to the saskatoon berry shrubs that grew along the riverbank. By 1884, ferry service across the river began, making Saskatoon the crossing point for the busy Regina – Battleford Trail. It brought more commercial traffic and business, as well as more settlers to the region. The first post office was established October 1, 1884, with J. H. C. Willoughby as the first postmaster. By 1886, there were 29 homes constructed, and the community boasted a variety of professionals and tradesmen. Still, the planned temperance colony failed for several reasons: the group was not able to obtain a contiguous block of land; the river was too shallow to ferry supplies and settlers; the nearest railway was 150 miles (240 km) away in Moose Jaw; land routes were small, often unmarked trails; and fears of native hostility from the 1885 North-West Rebellion dampened enthusiasm from potential settlers. Without a rail link and enduring years of drought from 1885 to 1890, the economy consisted of little but subsistence farming. The first agricultural fair, later to become the Saskatoon Exhibition, was held on October 13, 1886, at the “Louise Grounds” (now Nutana Collegiate’s schoolyard). The exhibition was staged there until 1903, when it was moved to the City Park neighbourhood and later the city’s exhibition grounds further south.
The original Victoria School (1888), in its present location on the University of Saskatchewan campus. The original Victoria School was built in 1888 by stonemason Alexander (Sandy) Marr as the first school house of the temperance colony. Located at the Five Corners crossing at Broadway Avenue and 12th Street, the school yard would eventually be home to three school buildings as the population grew, the last of which being the present-day École Victoria School. The first Victoria School was dismantled and reassembled on a site at the University of Saskatchewan campus in 1911. The building is often referred to as the Little Stone Schoolhouse.
When the Qu’Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railway reached Saskatoon in 1890 and crossed the South Saskatchewan River, a settlement on the west bank of the river (Saskatoon’s future downtown) was established, saving the existing settlement from extinction. The area now had railway links to both Regina and Prince Albert; however, the commercial centre shifted across to the west side of the river. Broadway Avenue remained the commercial and social center for the east bank. By 1901, the west bank’s population had reached 113 and it incorporated as the Village of Saskatoon. Stripped of its original name, the east bank settlement renamed itself “Nutana”, a scrambled inversion of “Saskatoon”. It incorporated as a town on October 3, 1903, as Saskatoon had done earlier that year on July 1.
Original Traffic Bridge – A heavy influx of people into the area over the next three years put a strain on the two new towns, as well as the new neighbouring village of Riversdale. Despite the advantages of amalgamating into a single settlement, Nutana’s residents demanded that a traffic bridge be built to link the two sides of the river. Up to then, the only way across the river was an unreliable ferry, or a difficult and sometimes dangerous walk across the railway bridge. In 1906. the provincial government committed to building a bridge, and Nutana ratepayers came onside. A city charter was drawn up, and Nutana merged with the town Saskatoon and the village of Riversdale to become the city of Saskatoon on July 1, 1906. The following year on October 10, 1907, the promised bridge was opened and called the Traffic Bridge. In the following decades, three more traffic bridges would link Nutana to the downtown: University Bridge (1916), Broadway Bridge (1932), and the Idylwyld Bridge (1966), which replaced the original CN railway bridge.
The period between 1910 and 1912 were particularly prosperous for Saskatoon, and many of Nutana’s landmark buildings were built in this time. The economic boom turned to bust by 1913, just prior to World War I, but rebounded during the Roaring Twenties. The Great Depression saw another economic downturn, followed by another period of prosperity after World War II. However, by the end of the 1950s, the advent of newer subdivisions, chain stores and shopping malls drew commercial activity away from the traditional businesses in Nutana. Home construction also slowed during this period. The neighbourhood went into decline for several decades, as exemplified by the Broadway Theatre becoming an “adult” movie theatre. In the mid-1980s, Broadway merchants and community groups began to organize in an effort to turn the area’s fortunes around. In 1984, the Broadway Theatre was turned into repertory movie house and live performance venue. With the establishment of the Broadway Business Improvement District in 1986, a revitalization program was launched to refurbish the streetscape and reintroduce the area’s historic identity. These events spurred a period of gentrification in Nutana; today, Broadway Avenue is again an active commercial district and the Nutana area is again considered desirable.
Parks and Recreation – Poplar Crescent Park – 0.3 acres (0.12 ha)
Albert Rec. Unit – 0.8 acres (0.32 ha)
Idywyld Park – 1.0 acre (0.40 ha)
Massey Park – 1.7 acres (0.69 ha)
Rotary Park – 12.3 acres (5.0 ha)
Cosmopolitan Park – 29.3 acres (11.9 ha)
The Nutana Community Association organizes leisure, social, and recreational programs and works with the municipal government to address a variety of local issues.
Education – Oskāyak High School – separate (Catholic) secondary, associate school of Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools. Opened as Native Survival School in 1980 and renamed Joe Duquette High School in 1989 after the school’s first elder. The school was renamed Oskāyak High School in 2006.
Nutana Collegiate – public secondary, part of the Saskatoon Public School Division. Nutana Collegiate was Saskatoon’s first public secondary school.
École Victoria School – public elementary, part of the Saskatoon Public School Division.
Arts and Culture – The Broadway Theatre is one of Nutana’s cultural cornerstones. A designated municipal heritage property, the Broadway Theatre is Saskatoon’s only community-owned and operated cinema and live performance venue. Originally the parish hall of St. James’ Anglican Church, the Refinery Arts & Spirit Centre is a multi-purpose facility that hosts arts and wellness classes and workshops, meetings and conferences, and live performances.
Annual Events – Bikes on Broadway (May) – the largest road bicycle race in Saskatchewan.
Broadway Art Encounter (June) – a weekend exhibition where local artists display their works inside businesses of the Broadway Avenue business district.
Saskatoon Fringe Theatre Festival (August) – a fringe theatre festival at various venues around Broadway Avenue, as well as free outdoor performance artists and street vendors.
Broadway Street Fair (September) – a festival that includes a sidewalk sale, silent auction, art show, live music, and children’s games.
Flicks International Film Festival for Young People (September) – children’s film festival at the Broadway Theatre.
Commercial – Nutana is anchored around the business district of Broadway Avenue, which was the main street in its early days as a town. Today, Broadway Avenue is home to mainly independently owned local businesses. Some businesses are located on side streets adjacent to Broadway, in particular Main Street, 10th Street and Dufferin Avenue. A few businesses within the 8th Street commercial district lie inside Nutana’s southern boundary. There is also a small mini-mall with a grocery store at the corner of 12th Street and Clarence Avenue, and two small commercial developments at Victoria Avenue and Main Street. 87 home-based businesses exist in Nutana.
#AskSlade about properties currently for sale in this neighbourhood. Slade Real Estate Inc. 306-222-9992. sladerealestate.ca