For many students, attending university means renting a place to live in an unfamiliar neighborhood. It can be confusing trying to decide which area of the city will check off those necessary requirements: affordable rent, accommodating bus routes, proximity to amenities or any combination thereof.
Compared to other major Canadian cities, Saskatoon has among the lowest costs of living, and the current state of the rental market in Saskatoon is leaning in the favor of the renter. Rising vacancy and flatlining rental rates are leaving the renter with many options to choose from, in terms of properties.
Saskatoon has almost any type of rental, and each neighborhood has its own little nooks and crannies just ready for new residents to explore and get to know on a personal level. There are public parks all over the city and plenty of small businesses that fly under the radar, and for those who are new to the city or those looking to move to a new neighborhood, knowing about local amenities can be a nice surprise.
To help in the search for student-friendly properties, the Sheaf conducted an anonymous online survey of students at the University of Saskatchewan about their neighborhoods during September 2016. The following five areas were the most popular among student respondents.
South of 8th Street East
Includes: Buena Vista, Holliston, Brevoort Park, Avalon, Adelaide Churchill, Eastview
Average monthly rent: $400 – $600
The neighborhoods south of 8th Street East are older parts of the city and, much like those closer to the university, are largely residential, with mostly suites and apartments for rent.
Although still in walking distance, Buena Vista, Holliston and Brevoort Park can be a little far from campus in the wintertime. Fortunately, there are a few direct bus routes to the university, like routes 13, 6 and 81, each taking about 20 to 30 minutes. Those living in Avalon, Adelaide or Eastview are further from campus, so routes 6, 17 and 81 are most popular. They usually take about 30 or 40 minutes to reach campus.
Buena Vista is close to downtown and Broadway Avenue, in terms of amenities. Holliston and Brevoort Park sit on 8th Street, near grocery stores, the Thirsty Scholar, a variety of restaurants, several different banks and the Centre Mall.
Avalon, Adelaide Churchill and Eastview are quite close to Stonegate Shopping Centre in Stonebridge, offering almost everything: Walmart, Sobeys, fast food and sit-down restaurants, banks and other shopping amenities. Adelaide and Eastview are also near Market Mall.
Sutherland and the University Heights area
Includes: Sutherland, College Park, Erindale, Arbour Creek, Forest Grove, Silverspring
Average monthly rent: $500 – $700
Sutherland is close to the U of S, while the University Heights area is farther to the northeast of campus. Both are largely residential but are close to commercial areas like Preston Crossing and the University Heights Shopping Centre.
Sutherland is well-known as an affordable student area, and a large number of students report that the bus routes are usually within a five minute walk of their homes. Silverspring, Erindale, Arbour Creek and Forest Grove have routes 4, 40, and 45 as direct lines to the university, each running about 30 minutes, while Sutherland residents can jump on the 18 or the 40 and be on campus in 15 minutes.
University Heights has a large shopping centre that has all the necessities, and also has the Saskatoon Forestry Farm, the Alice Turner Library and the Saskatoon Soccer Centre. Sutherland is most famous for Central Avenue and the Sutherland Bar, or the Scuzz as most people know it.
Most students living in this area report that they live in apartments, condos and in-house suits.
Includes: Briarwood, Wildwood, Rosewood, Lakeview
Average monthly rent: $600 – $900
The southeast corner of Saskatoon is a newer area, with lots of modern properties available to rent, such as apartments, townhouses and condos.
This whole area is far from the university hub, and even further from the downtown core, but the residential streets are quiet and well-lit. The main bus lines to campus are routes 50, 55, 8 and 81, and students say that bus stops are quite frequent throughout the area. Lakewood is the closest neighborhood to campus, with a 25 minute bus ride, while the other neighborhoods take longer: between 40 minutes to an hour.
There is a Shopper’s Drug Mart and other small businesses in Lakewood, but the closest large-scale centre is either Stonebridge or 8th Street. The Lakewood Civic Centre offers swimming and fitness facilities, as well as a gymnasium with sports equipment.
For those looking for a close-by pub to meet a few friends at, Whiskey Jacks is on 8th Street. The Briarwood and Lakewood areas are close to the Centre Mall on 8th Street, which makes it easy to catch a matinee at the Rainbow Theatre or to head over to the Snooker Shack for a game of pool.
Includes: City Park, King George, Meadowgreen, Pleasant Hill
Average monthly rent: $400 – $700
The neighborhoods west of downtown feature all types of rentals: houses, duplexes or semi-detached homes and apartment buildings. As another older part of the city, many of these neighbourhoods are close to both the downtown core and the Confederation Mall shopping centre.
City Park is fairly close to the University Bridge, within walking distance from campus. Residents can also catch routes 4, 40 or 45 directly to Place Riel on those days when a 30 minute walk isn’t in the cards. The other neighbourhoods offer routes that transfer at the City Centre transit hub, like the 2, 9, 10 and the 60, the direct route to Place Riel. Most of these buses take around half an hour to get to campus.
Confederation Mall and the surrounding shopping centre has a Superstore, liquor board store, and a number of other fast food and shopping amenities. King George, Pleasant Hill and Meadowgreen are also close to the Gordie Howe Management area, which includes recreational services for football, hockey, baseball and other sports. There are also a number of public parks on this side of the city, and if you’re looking for some fresh baked goods and a cup of coffee, City Perks is located in the central part of City Park.
The average rent in the City Park area is slightly higher than other neighbourhoods, largely because a number of the apartment buildings are refurbished character buildings. However, more affordable options are available west of downtown, whether you’re looking for apartments or houses.
University area to 8th Street East
Includes: Nutana, Varsity View, Grosvenor Park, Greystone Heights, College Quarter Residence
Average monthly rent: $400 – $600
This area of the city is central to the U of S and is mostly residential, as it is one of the older parts of Saskatoon. College Quarter residences are located here, and while monthly rent ranges from $600 to $900, the residences are just a 10 minute walk from campus and the Place Riel transit hub.
For students who are not interested in university housing but would like a place from which they can comfortably walk to school everyday, this area is the best choice. Campus is in walking distance and a number of bus routes run through these neighborhoods. Routes 13 and 6 go from Nutana to Place Riel, taking about 10 minutes and 20 minutes, respectively.
Routes 8, 81, 82 and 17 run through Varsity View, usually taking about 10 minutes. If you live in Greystone Heights, you can catch the 6 or the 82 to the university, averaging a 30 minute bus ride. The bus stops are fairly close to most parts of the neighborhood, usually no more than a 10 minute walk.
Students reported that they mostly live in either apartments or houses with roommates in this area.
Nutana is centred around Broadway Avenue, which offers an Extra Foods and various restaurants and pubs, as well as the Broadway Bridge leading downtown to the core of the city. Varsity View and Greystone Heights border 8th Street, close to restaurants and various grocery stores.
If you like drinks and live music, this area puts you closest to most of Saskatoon’s venues, like Louis’ on campus, Vangelis, the Broadway Theatre, Buds on Broadway and even the Capitol Music Club downtown.
Larissa Kurz / Copy Editor
Graphics: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor