Allyson Reigh has lived in Saskatoon since 2005. Originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Reigh moved to Saskatoon to attend university and never left. She’s a full-time musician and band member of Rosie & the Riveters (rosieandtheriveters.com). This is how she rocks and rolls in her adopted hometown.
Harrowsmith: So, where is the best place to sit down and have a coffee in your town?
Allyson Reigh: This is a hard question! I really love City Perks for the outdoor patio, or Museo Coffee for the intimate vibe. Both have super-friendly staff and a great atmosphere. When our band was writing our latest record, we would go to Museo for writing and creative exercises and City Perks for band meetings.
HS: When you go to the local farmers’ market, which vendor do you visit first?
AR: I typically go for fresh veggies. There are lots of small organic farms that bring produce to our farmers’ market, so it’s hard to pick just one. If you’re going to be heading to the farmers’ market in Saskatoon, I’d recommend checking out Kristen’s Homemade Preserves. I buy a lot of her products for gifts. I love little pots of raspberry or Saskatoon berry jam, because they’re a simple but thoughtful gift, and who doesn’t love homemade jam?
HS: What’s your favourite independent business?
AR: For clothing, accessories and everything you didn’t know you needed, Better Off Duds, a vintage boutique. Nicola Tabb is the owner, and she’s a great standup bass player. We filmed a music video for our song “Red Dress” in Better Off Duds, and Nicola also makes an appearance in it! For bakery goodies, I’d say the Night Oven Bakery. It’s a hidden gem, and I guarantee you’ll love it.
HS: When company arrives from out of town, where do you take them?
AR: I’d take company for a nice lunch at a local restaurant, either the Griffin Takeaway (gluten-free fare) or Nosh Eatery & Tap (mostly vegetarian). My bandmates and I love Nosh and have become friends with a couple of the servers. When I was single, I used to take my first dates to Nosh for two reasons: first, my friends who worked there could sneakily assess my dates and give me their thoughts; and second, if the date didn’t work out, they’d know this place was “mine” and they likely wouldn’t return. Win-win.
However, if it’s a cold day, the only place to be is Japa Bowl, for the best ramen in the city. After that, a walk along the trails close to the river is always a good idea, and there are always events happening in the parks close by.
HS: Does your town have a mascot? Any unusual roadside attractions or monuments?
AR: Just 5 km outside of Saskatoon is Wanuskewin Heritage Park. Aside from being Canada’s longest-running archaeological dig, it’s an Indigenous Interpretive Site, where visitors can learn about early life in the Opimihaw Creek valley. You can take in the incredible view of the buffalo jump, and if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll find an arrowhead on your walk. It’s also a great place to try bannock.
HS: What’s the strangest annual event or festival or little-known fact about your town?
AR: Little-known fact about Saskatoon: we have a perogy drive-thru, Baba’s Homestyle Perogies. Super-delicious!
HS: What kind of bragging rights does your town have?
AR: Saskatoon is known as the Paris of the Prairies, probably because of our many bridges. In the winter, the temperature drops colder than Mars. Joni Mitchell grew up in Saskatoon and references the city in many of her songs. And our current claim to fame is writer Yann Martel, who wrote Life of Pi.
HS: Where’s the best place to take your dog?
AR: Best place to take your dog would have to be the dog parks along the South Saskatchewan River. Can’t beat that view of the city or the riverbank!
HS: It’s Friday night and you’re not in the mood to cook. Where do you go? Or order in?
AR: If it’s Friday night and we don’t feel like cooking, my partner and I will sometimes splurge on a delicious meal at Taverna. He loves the homemade pasta. Fun fact: There’s a little table at the back where Oprah once had dinner in the ’90s. There’s a sign on the table and everything.
HS: Who’s the most famous person in town?
AR: Sailor Dan, a.k.a. Dan Hicks. He’s a local legend. He stands on corners and sells original drawings of tall ships on bristol board. I’m sure most people have a Sailor Dan original kicking around somewhere.
HS: What’s your favourite road, house or tree?
AR: The Nutana neighbourhood of Saskatoon is one of those beautiful, old neighbourhoods with trees that make a canopy over the streets. Gorgeous character homes, cute little shops (Broadway Avenue) and delicious ice cream nearby (Homestead Ice Cream). I could spend hours walking around here!
HS: Is there a community garden? What’s the most popular item at roadside stands in your area?
AR: There are lots of community gardens in Saskatoon. The most popular roadside stand item is probably corn or potatoes, since we grow so much of them here.
HS: What does your town smell like?
AR: In the summer, it smells like wide open fields or lilacs, since we have them all around us. In the winter, don’t breathe in too fast or the cold air will turn your lungs into icicles.
Jules Torti’s resume reads more like a well-folded treasure map. She has been a canoe outtripper, outdoor educator, colouring book illustrator and freelancer. Jules has volunteered (and eaten all sorts of questionable things) in the soupy jungles of Costa Rica, Uganda and the Congo. Her work has been published in The Harrowsmith Almanac, The Vancouver Sun, The Globe & Mail, travelife, Canadian Running and Coast Mountain Culture. She actively feeds her blog, Alphabet Soup, with posts on books, birds, burgers and beer (in no particular order) across the latitudes from Zanzibar to Iceland. Closer to home, she was grandfathered into the Galt Horticultural Society, was the caretaker of a 155-year-old stone heritage cottage and has chronic fantasies about church conversions, beekeeping and owning llamas. She has been known to slam on the brakes for photo ops of saltbox houses, saddle roof barns, snowy owls and sunflower fields. As editor-in-chief of Harrowsmith she is thrilled to be able to curate, write and read about the very best things in life.