- No point in getting a car wash in this weather! Regina, here I come! @bennett_dunlop @CAASaskatchewan http://t.co/A8YBKBJ6fP 01:45:36 PM March 10, 2014 ReplyRetweetFavorite
- @bennett_dunlop Snowball fight! What a great idea! I got some quality time in with my family and enjoyed a bike ride in #saskatoon 09:58:27 AM March 10, 2014 in reply to bennett_dunlop ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Who enjoyed some outdoor fun this weekend? 08:56:19 AM March 10, 2014 ReplyRetweetFavorite
My job keeps getting better and better. The other day I spent the afternoon tasting beer. That’s right. Beer. We’re not talking regular beer either, we’re talking flavourful, one-of-a-kind, craft beer. Grown here, brewed here, served here. Let me tell you about how I found myself cozied up by the fire enjoying a pint of Saskatchewan’s finest brews. In fact, why don’t you grab a cold one yourself and read on…
Saskatchewan’s first microbrewery hit the scene in 2003. Eleven years earlier, in 1992, university professor Stephen Cavan moved to Saskatoon from Ontario with his wife, Kathy. Stephen immediately liked Saskatchewan, but he was shocked to learn that his new province was not home to a single microbrewery. “Craft brewery was really taking off in Ontario and I really liked that kind of beer, but it wasn’t available. So I thought, well, I’ll make it.”
What started out as a hobby soon grew into a thriving business and some of Saskatchewan’s most-loved beer. Within a few years’ time, Stephen became the president and brewmaster of Paddock Wood Brewing Company.
Located in Sutherland, Saskatoon, Paddock Wood Brewing Company brews between 25,000 and 30,000 litres of beer every month. That number has grown substantially since 2007, when they were brewing that amount in an entire year. Brewing a batch can take anywhere from one week to one month, depending on whether Stephen is brewing an ale or a lager. Paddock Wood beer is now sold at more than 36 restaurants around Saskatchewan. You can also find bottled Paddock Wood at every SLGA-licensed liquor store in the province. Outside of Saskatchewan, Paddock Wood is sold in Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.
By far the best place to taste a sample of Paddock Wood’s latest brews is at their very own pub, The Woods Alehouse in Saskatoon. With 16 taps featuring Paddock Wood’s latest creations, seasonal specials and proven favourites, you are bound to find one that you love.
You might come for the beer, but you’ll want to stay for the atmosphere; I know I did! When I visited The Woods alone, I enjoyed cozying up by the fire. Another time I came with a large group of friends and we sat at a big table that had room for all of us. With entertainment like trivia night every other Wednesday, open mic and a shelf of board games that are free to play, there is always something going on!
Paddock Wood’s most popular beer is the 606 pale ale. Like many ales, it has a fruity, sweet taste, but you could drink a whole pint and not be able to put your finger on exactly which fruit it tastes like. I’m not a seasoned beer drinker, but I could definitely taste something fruity, and I liked it! Interestingly enough, it is the yeast that brings out the fruity flavours. The 606 pale ale is not actually made with any fruits!
Another noteworthy brew is the Czech Mate Pilsner. This lager was named one of the top five beers in Canada by The Globe and Mail’s Nicholas Pashley. In his book Cheers! An Intemperate History of Beer in Canada, Pashley called Czech Mate one of the only authentic pilsners made in Canada. True pilsners should have a prominent hoppy taste. I am no expert, but I could certainly taste the hoppy, almost grassy flavour. Using a combination of reverse-osmosis water, hops straight from the Czech Republic and European malt, Stephen has made a top-notch beer.
With the exception of Czech Mate, all of Paddock Wood’s beer is made with a base-malt grown in Saskatchewan. In 2012, Saskatchewan grew nearly 1 million hectares of barley and made $254 million in exports. In that same year, Saskatchewan accounted for 52 per cent of all of Canada’s barley exports.
Saskatchewan’s beer scene is growing! There are now five running microbreweries in Saskatchewan. Supporting microbreweries like Paddock Wood is good for your community. If you haven’t yet, get out and try some of your local brews and see what Saskatchewan has to offer!
Ayden’s Kitchen and Bar. If you live in Saskatoon, you’ve probably heard of it. I know I had. If you haven’t, think: flavourful, locally-sourced, quality food in a classy, laid-back atmosphere. Yummmmm.
They officially opened their doors in November. Celebrity chef Dale McKay, who won Top Chef Canada in 2011 and studied for more than six years under Chef Gordon Ramsay, chose his hometown of Saskatoon as the location for his first restaurant because of his positive experiences growing up in the community and the unprecedented growth Saskatchewan is experiencing.
When McKay first pitched the idea to his soon-to-be general manager, Christopher Cho, the Vancouverite had his doubts.
“I was a bit skeptical at first” Cho said. McKay and Cho flew from big-city Vancouver to Saskatoon to do some market research in November 2012. Despite the bitter cold, Cho said the trip convinced him that Saskatoon would be a great location for McKay’s first restaurant. “We went to different pubs, restaurants, lounges and it opened up my eyes in terms of what we (could) offer to the city.”
McKay felt strongly about what Saskatoon had in store. “With the city and the province growing so much, it’s kind of in a boom right now.” McKay noticed that Saskatoon has lots of new businesses popping up. “It just seemed like the right idea to come back… and be in a city where people are appreciative and excited about new things.”
I couldn’t agree with McKay more, and the evidence is there; Saskatoon residents are flocking to the fresh, new restaurant. Ayden’s Kitchen has been open for four months and hasn’t slowed down for a second. Even though it’s post-Christmas season, the restaurant continues to serve more than 140 people every night. McKay notices regular customers who return three or four times a week.
“We have people who are coming in all the time, and that’s usually a good sign,” he said.
Ayden’s Kitchen sees growth in business on the corporate side as well. Companies are choosing to hold their events, such as Christmas parties and staff dinners, at Ayden’s Kitchen. These events have allowed the restaurant’s business to grow faster than it likely would if they were located in a bigger city with more competition.
McKay says lifestyle also played a big role in his decision to move to Saskatoon. Even though he has lived all over the world, McKay hasn’t forgotten his roots. He says he felt at ease whenever he returned to Saskatoon, even just to visit. Because of McKay’s own positive childhood in Saskatoon, he wanted to share that experience with his 11-year-old son.
I can relate. I lived in Abbotsford, BC for a couple of years. While the warm weather was nice, of course, I really missed the community atmosphere of Saskatoon. I can see why McKay wants the same for his son.
McKay says he is incredibly happy with his decision. He has settled in and plans to stay. He even hopes to open more restaurants in the future.
McKay also noted the different feel that Saskatoon has compared to when he lived here as a teen. Not only has the city grown, “It’s a lot less of a boys’ club, it’s a lot… younger and cooler.”
I like the sounds of that!
Cho and McKay were right: Ayden’s Kitchen has much to offer Saskatoon, and the relationship is mutual. Through Ayden’s Kitchen’s success, Saskatoon has proven that it is a city ready for new ideas and new growth.
For more information on Ayden’s Kitchen and Bar, visit their website at http://www.aydenkitchenandbar.com/
Winters in Saskatchewan can be long. But there is an activity that melts away winter months: Ice Fishing!
I met with fishing experts, Jason and Jeff Matity on a cold day in February Despite the windchill of -35 degrees celsius, I learned a thing or two about fishing and had a great time with these guys in the process. Their passion for fishing is contagious! Check your their website at Matitysgetfishing.com
I had the opportunity to visit Sundogs Sled Excursions last week. What a blast! Those dogs can really run!
If you are looking for a fantastic job that allows you to be outside, meet new people and gives you day-to-day variety, look no further than the tourism industry! There were more than 57,000 tourism-related jobs in the province in August 2012—about 11 per cent of Saskatchewan’s current working population. Jobs in this field can vary from leading large groups on multi-day whitewater canoe voyages in northern Saskatchewan to manning a hot-air balloon floating hundreds of feet above downtown Regina. Sound like fun? That’s tourism for you!
I caught up with Bradley Muir from Sundogs Sled Excursions to hitch a ride on one of his sleds, and to find out what it means to own and operate a tourism business in northern Saskatchewan. Bradley started with his first dog, Crocket, a very handsome Alaskan husky, doing skijoring for fun. (Skijoring is when a person on skis is pulled by dogs). Slowly, he began adding more and more dogs and learning what he could from professional mushers. Sundogs Sled Excursions began in 1997, but business really began to take off roughly five years later.
This winter has been his busiest season yet. With three working guides on the go, and a fourth to call in when there are large groups, there is no slowing down. In addition to the guides, there are also two dog handlers who care for the dogs throughout the day, in addition to many other duties that help keep the business running smoothly—for example, keeping the trails groomed and clear of fallen trees.
Andrea Nelson, a new dog handler to Sundogs Sled Excursions, came to the business from Clearwater Canoeing Outfitters in Meadow Lake Provincial Park. Andrea met Bradley through a marketing cooperative between Clearwater Canoeing Outfitters and Sundogs Sled Excursions and saw a great opportunity to spend the winter in Saskatchewan’s northern forest.
“Brad is known as a really great (nature) interpreter, and he runs a really sustainable organization here… I had heard really great things about the company and about Brad as an owner/operator…so I wanted to learn from him.”
Andrea has been enjoying working at Sundogs for the past few months. When asked what her favourite aspects of the job are, she mentioned the ability to be outside every day, and the chance to ignite a passion for the outdoors in other people. Not to mention, hanging out with 35 happy, healthy Alaskan Huskies!
After 17 years of owning and operating Sundogs, Bradley still maintains a high level of enthusiasm for his job. Although there are many aspects that he loves, Bradley names the day-to-day variety that the dogs bring as being one of his top three favourites. He also loves being in a natural environment every day and seeing the joy on peoples’ faces when they see the dogs.
Let’s be honest, Saskatchewan has some of the best jobs ever – including mine!
Hey Saskatchewan! I, Caitlin Taylor, am back as your 2014 Saskatchewanderer! I had a fantastic summer and when the opportunity arose to apply again, I jumped at the chance. Of course I wanted to keep this awesome job!
I’m not going to lie, I was totally bummed at the end of my term as the 2013 Saskatchewanderer. “How am I ever going to find a job this awesome again?” I asked myself. As it turns out, my dream job was waiting right around the corner, combining more elements and offering a year-long contract.
Same job, bigger message!
In addition to the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, the program now includes Tourism Saskatchewan and the Ministries of Agriculture and Economy. The previous Saskatchewanderers, Jeff, Andrew, and myself, proved that Saskatchewan is an awesome place to visit. This year, I am going to prove that our province is a great place to work and build a life, too!
I can’t wait to hit the road!
I’d like to thank our sponsors for their support. Bennet Dunlop Ford and CAA Saskatchewan make the Saskatchewanderer program possible. I will be supplied with a brand-new 2014 Ford vehicle and the necessary gas cards to get to the far corners of Saskatchewan. Thank you!
Wow! What an amazing experience. It feels like I just packed my bags to begin a summer of adventures exploring Saskatchewan. In reality, that was three and a half months and 12,000 kilometres ago.
I’ve been to the far corners of Saskatchewan, and I’m telling you, there is no place like it! I’ve learnt that Saskatchewan is jam-packed with parks, festivals, activities and places that are just waiting to be discovered. If you don’t believe me, watch this video:
I hope I’ve inspired you to get out and explore this amazing province for yourself.
I want to thank Bennett Dunlop Ford for providing me with not one, but three brand-new Ford vehicles. These vehicles did more than just get me from A to B, they allowed me to ride in comfort and style throughout all 12,000 kilometres of my journey.
I would like to thank CAA’s generous donation of gas cards which allowed me to reach 12,000 kilometres. I had quite a few jealous looks inside the Husky stations when I whipped out gift certificates rather than a visa to fill up.
I would also like to thank the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, including Minister Doherty, Chelsea Coupal and Jennifer Johnson for giving me this amazing opportunity to explore my home province. It’s been a one-of-a-kind experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything!
Lastly I would like to thank all of the incredible people I’ve met along my summer travels. Saskatchewan is beautiful on its own. But it would not be the Saskatchewan it is without the people who promote and share its treasures. Thank you for an amazing summer!
-Caitlin Taylor, 2013 Saskatchewanderer
I can’t believe it! This was my last trip as the Saskatchewanderer The good news is, it was an awesome time and I can’t think of a better way to finish off the summer. Enjoy!
To see some photos of the trip, click here.
I met up with the Regina Flying Club for a flight over Regina. What an amazing way to see the city! We also flew over the Qu’Appelle Valley. Check out my video below and click here to see some photos.