Welcome Guests

This page has been designed to answer questions about the amenities, services, and circumstances surrounding your stay at the University of Saskatchewan.  Specifically, it is meant for participants in events facilitated or sponsored by the Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Unit (SELU).

Before you leave home ...

Please consider the following tips in advance of your trip.  Experienced travelers may have their own well-established planning and travel practices.

  • Please ensure all of your official government and travel documentation is in order.  Please consider bringing photocopies of your original documents in case they are lost and need to be replaced.
  • Please consider bringing personal toiletries and a simple change of clothing in your carry-on baggage in case of delays.
  • Please ensure that your group leader or SELU contact at the University of Saskatchewan has been provided with emergency contact information.
  • Please observe all airline and national guidelines regarding what can and cannot be packed in your suitcase.
    • N.B., some international airlines and national laws (please consider those of countries through which you may be transiting, as well) do not permit the packing of certain kinds of potentially flammable objects like cigarette lighters and lithium batteries for laptops and cameras. In the past, participants not observing these regulations have experienced up to seven days of delay receiving their baggage following arrival in Saskatoon.  Please take special care if you are transiting through China where—for the reasons outlined above—your baggage may be removed from the aircraft at a transit point, without your knowledge.
  • If you are traveling with a group, at the airport check-in counter, please ensure that your own baggage is tagged with your own name. Issues that cause delayed baggage may be further complicated if your name is not on the tags attached to your baggage.
  • If you experience travel delays that prevent you from making connecting flights, please make every effort to inform your SELU contact at the University of Saskatchewan.

Location

Geography

The University of Saskatchewan is located in the city of Saskatoon, in the province of Saskatchewan.  Saskatoon is a medium-sized Canadian city with a population of roughly 300,000 people.  Saskatchewan is a geographically large area (651,036 km2), but has a comparatively small population of about 1.3 million people.  Canada is the second largest country in the world by geographic size, but has a population of only 33 million people.  The north of Canada is very sparsely populated—most of Canada's population lives within 300 km of the border with the United States.

A mountain-glacier-fed river flows from south to north through the centre of Saskatoon.  The river is called the South Saskatchewan River.  The University of Saskatchewan campus is located along the east bank of the river.

Regional Travel

In Canada, we drive on the right side of the road and use the metric system generally, and for all roadway signage in particular.  Most people born before the 1980s will have a working knowledge of imperial measures, as well. 

Automobiles may be rented from private companies with major credit cards and a Canadian or international driver's license. Intercity highways have speed limits that range from 100 km/h (62 mph) to 110 km/h (68 mph).  

Saskatoon is roughly 260 km (160 miles) north of the capital city of Saskatchewan, Regina.  Five hundred and twenty-five kilometres (325 miles) to the west is the capital city of the province of Alberta, Edmonton. Calgary, Alberta, is roughly 620 km (385 miles) to the south west. Winnipeg, the capital city of the province of Manitoba, is roughly 780 km (485 miles) to the south east of Saskatoon.  

There are several national and provincial parks within a day's driving distance from Saskatoon.  Notable among these are Prince Albert National Park (in Saskatchewan), Banff National Park (near Alberta's border with British Columbia), and Midland Provincial Park near Drumheller (in Alberta) where you can visit the Badlands and Royal Tyrell Museum.

If you plan to travel to the United States by air or land transportation, you are strongly advised to consider US customs and immigration requirements for citizens of your country, as well as any customs and immigration consequences for you on return to Canada.

Saskatoon's Diefenbaker International Airport serves major cities in Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Victoria, among others); a collection of major cities in the United States (Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix); and select cities in Mexico (Cancun and Puerto Vallarta), Jamaica (Montego Bay), Dominican Republic (Punta Cana and Puerto Plata), and Cuba (Varadaro and Santa Clara).

Climate

Saskatoon has a semi-arid / humid-continental climate with four distinct seasons.  In the summer, Saskatoon’s temperatures range from an average low of 12°C (54°F) to an average high of 25°C (77°F), with about 330 mm (13 inches) of rainfall over the entire season.  At times, the temperature in summer can rise above 40°C (104°F). To make the heat more comfortable, in summer, most buildings are air-conditioned.  

In the winter, the temperatures range from an average low of –18°C (0°F) to an average high of –1°C (30°F).  At times, the temperature in winter can drop below –40°C (when you consider the wind, this temperature will feel like –60°C [–76°F] and exposed skin will quickly freeze).  Average snowfall over the winter season in Saskatoon is 735 mm (29 inches). To make this winter temperature more comfortable, all buildings are heated and time outside should be limited—even when wearing protective layers of clothing.  

Summer is from May through August; winter is from December through March.

Time Zone

Saskatchewan observes Central Standard Time (UTC –6) year-round; we never observe Daylight Savings Time and therefore never change our clocks throughout the year.

Water

Unless you are notified otherwise—typically on account of emergency measures—it is very safe to assume that water from taps is potable in Canada.

Orientation

Campus Landmarks

Understanding some key landmarks on the University of Saskatchewan campus will help you to navigate.  Some key, visible, landmark locations are noted below:

  1. The Bowl — a central feature of the University campus is a large open space roughly the size of an international football (soccer) pitch.
  2. Marquis Hall — a central dining facility providing buffet meals to special visiting groups and the University public, alike. Meals are provided in accord with the following schedule:
    • Weekdays: Breakfast 7:30 am – 9:30 am; Lunch 11:00 am – 4:00 pm (some food stations close at 2:00pm, the deli remains open until 4:00pm); Supper 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
    • Weekends and Holidays: Brunch 11:00 am – 1:30 pm; Supper 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
  3. Place Riel — a centrally located student centre providing convenience shopping, a pharmacy, fast-food dining options, and computer accessory supplies. All bus traffic on Campus will stop at a bus terminal on the south side of Place Riel.
    • This building is open 24 hours every day, but some shops maintain hours that will differ.
  4. Murray Library — though individual colleges may have their own specialized libraries, the central Murray Library provides access to stacks, University public computer facilities, and a Starbucks coffee shop.
    • Library hours vary throughout the year, based on student need.
  5. Student Wellness Centre — offers urgent and non-urgent physical and mental health care to University of Saskatchewan students, their spouses, and their children.
    • Open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday – Friday.
  6. SELU — the Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Unit (SELU) facilitates your visit to the University of Saskatchewan.  The unit office is located on the third floor of the College of Education.
    • Open 8:30 am – 12:00 and 1:00 pm – 4:30, Monday – Friday.

A map highlighting these landmarks on the University of Saskatchewan campus is available.

Key Terminology

During your visit to the University of Saskatchewan, it is helpful to understand some key pieces of terminology:

  • NSID — a Network Services Identification (sometimes pronounced "N.S.I.D.", and sometimes pronounced "En-Sid").  This is your username and password to access several amenities on Campus, including Wi-Fi and computer facilities in University public labs.  You will receive an NSID in a letter provided by your contact at the University of Saskatchewan, perhaps after you arrive.
  • paws — the student information website from which University of Saskatchewan students may access transcripts, register for courses, and engage other services.  The full website is http://paws.usask.ca

Getting around Saskatoon

Guests with student status may ride public buses in Saskatoon for free.  To take advantage of this opportunity, please visit the University of Saskatchewan Students Union (USSU) main office located on the main floor of Place Riel.

More information about planning traveling around Saskatoon by bus is available.

Currency and Costs

Units

The currency used in Saskatchewan is the Canadian dollar ($). You can acquire Canadian currency at the airport, from automated teller machines (ATMs), or banks.  Credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) are widely accepted.  

Canadian units of cash currency include coin denominations of 5¢ (five cents, or 5/100 of a dollar, known as a “nickel”), 10¢ (ten cents, or 10/100 of a dollar, known as a “dime”), 25¢ (25 cents, or 25/100 of a dollar, known as a “quarter”), $1 (one dollar, known as a “loonie”), $2 (two dollars, known as a “twonie”), and bill denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100. Five years ago, the government removed the 1¢ (1 cent, 1/100 of a dollar, known as a “penny”) from circulation. When you make purchases and pay with cash (the same does not apply for purchases made by credit card), the price will be rounded to the nearest five cents.  

Budgets

In Saskatoon, it has been estimated that $US100 (roughly $CAN130) will buy food (from a grocery store, not from a restaurant) for one person for about nine days.   A large sized cup of coffee from a coffee shop would cost about $2.  

A reasonably priced hotel room will cost roughly $150 per night (including continental-style breakfast).

The price of gasoline for vehicles fluctuates with market demand, but has been hovering above $1/litre ($4/gal) for several years.

Technology

Plugs used in CanadaElectricity

In Canada, the standard electrical capacity is 120V and the frequency is 60 Hz. We use Type A, Type A (non-polarized), and Type B wall plugs, as shown in the image to the right.  The Type B receptacle is most common, but all Type A and Type A (non-polarized) plugs will function with a Type B receptacle. It is recommended to bring an appropriate power converter with you as your technology requires.

Laptops and Cellular Telephones

You are encouraged to bring technological devices with you (i.e., laptops and cell phones).  If you have not arranged an international cellular package prior to your departure, you can purchase a SIM card and package at the Wireless Age shop in lower Place Riel, located on the University of Saskatchewan campus. All packages include unlimited international text messaging.  Prices vary from $20 – $70, depending on the amount of data you require.

Accessories for laptops and cellular telephones may be purchased in the Shop USASK in lower Place Riel.

Computer Use and Printing Services

All guests with status as "students" will be provided $10 of printing services, accessible through computer labs located in the College of Arts and Science and the College of Education. Black and white printing costs 10¢ per "letter" sized page; colour printing on "letter" sized paper costs 25¢ per page.  Students requiring more than $10 of printing may purchase additional credit for their printing account.

There are several computer labs accessible by guests who have been provided NSIDs—including all guests with student status.  Laptops may be signed out for short-term use by those with student status from the Murray Library.  Please ask for more information at the circulation desk on the main floor of the Murray Library.

Accommodations and Meals

Lodgings and Amenities

Guests to the University of Saskatchewan may be offered a variety of accommodation options on- and off-campus.  The options you select, or advised for your organization, may depend on the length of your stay or the preferred costs.  Below, brief information is provided about each of the options commonly recommended.

Cleaning services are provided, but bedding will not be changed if objects are left on beds during cleaning service visits to your room. Please also remember, smoking in any of the lodgings is strictly forbidden and guests may be fined to cover the cost of cleaning.

Voyageur Place

Voyageur Place is a student residence located at the heart of the University campus—adjacent to "the Bowl". Voyageur Place has a collection of buildings with different names.  Among them are: Athabasca, Saskatchewan, Qu'Appelle Hall, and Qu'Appelle Hall Addition. This location offers both single and multiple occupancy rooms, with shared toilet and shower facilities.  This location includes pillows, sheets, blankets, bath towels, and soap, twin extra long beds (96.5 cm x 201.9 cm), desk, chair, study lamp, clothes closet, and chest of drawers. Wi-Fi is free, and coin-operated laundry facilities (in the basement) are available on-site. Some additional amenities (like room fans) are available, but must be signed out through the administrative office.

College Quarter

College Quarter is a student residence, in a one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartment style.  Each multi-room apartment is furnished with a dining table / island and chairs, refrigerator, stove, living room furniture, desks, chairs, beds, and built-in closets. Cooking utensils, dishes, cutlery, and linen will be provided by SELU for your use. Bedroom sizes and dimensions may vary within each apartment due to the differing building layouts. Wi-Fi is free, and coin-operated laundry facilities are available on-site. College Quarter has a collection of buildings with different names.  Among them are: Pine Hall, Birch Hall, Aspen Hall, and Spruce Hall.  College Quarter is located roughly 10 – 15 minute walk from "the Bowl" at the centre of campus.

Homestay Options

Guests over the age of 18 may be accommodated in a family home in Saskatoon.  Homestay guests will be paired with a suitable family, and provided with a room in that family's home.  Meals will be provided by the family, and guests staying in homestays will dine with the family for breakfast, lunch, and supper—lunch may be provided to take with you to the University campus. Travel from homestay locations to the University of Saskatchewan campus is by public transportation, unless other arrangements have been made.  Homestay guests may consider bringing a small gift of thanks for their host family.

Hotel Options

Guests may have accommodations arranged at hotels in close proximity to the University campus.  If this has been arranged for your stay, please engage your SELU contact for more information. Preferred hotels are located between 15 and 30 minute walk from "the Bowl" at the centre of campus.

Dining and Meals

Guests staying in Voyageur Place will be provided with a University meal plan, giving them access to daily buffet breakfast, lunch, and supper free of charge.  Special meal accommodations for groups may be able to be arranged (vegetarian, halal, etc.) on request. Meals are taken in Marquis Hall, a large dining room located adjacent to "the Bowl."  Registered students will access the buffet by presenting their student card at the cashier as they enter.  

Guests not staying in Voyageur Place may access and pay for buffet meals at Marquis Hall by cash or by credit card upon entry.

Additional dining and convenience shopping services are available to all on campus in lower Place Riel.

Health and Wellness

Fitness

Guests with status as "students" will have access to all fitness facilities available on Campus.  Guests who do not have status as a student may be able to access fitness facilities through your program package—please ask your SELU contact—or by paying a daily usage fee.

Health Clinic

The Student Wellness Clinic is accessible to guests of the University of Saskatchewan should illness require a visit. Guests may consult with a nurse in the clinic for no charge. Should a physician's appointment be required, the cost for each visit will be $35; tests ordered by the physician may entail additional costs. Guests may be required to pay for medical services at the time they are engaged—receipts for a guest's health insurance company will be provided on request.

Guests suffering emergency medical needs of a complex nature suffered during the official dates of their visit will be sent by ambulance to a hospital emergency ward for consultation with physicians specializing in emergency medicine.  Costs will be borne by guests until such time as they are able to secure reimbursement through their health insurance provider.

Guests presenting with chronic illness, complications thereof, and those seeking tests for diagnosis of chronic illness will not be seen by emergency ward or Student Well-Being Centre nurse or physician; such ailments need to be treated and diagnosed by qualified health care professionals in advance of travel.

Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking of any kind (including vaping) inside of publicly accessible buildings is strictly prohibited in Saskatoon—even during the winter months.  At the University of Saskatchewan, smoking areas have been designated 10 metres (33 feet) from any building. 

As of October 2018, consumption of cannabis (marijuana) is legal in Canada. In Saskatchewan, the drug may only be consumed by adults over the age of 19 and it may not be consumed in public spaces nor in any location where smoking is generally not permitted.  It is unlawful to smoke within a private vehicle when children under the age of 16 are present—the fine for doing so is $220.

Cigarettes and other tobacco products may not be purchased by anyone under the age of 16 in Saskatchewan.

Alcohol may only be purchased by adults over the age of 19 in Saskatchewan.

Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or cannabis is illegal.

Emergency Services

The University of Saskatchewan is home to the Royal University Hospital, one of three major hospitals in Saskatoon.

The emergency telephone number in Saskatoon is 911.  This number may be dialed from any telephone, free of charge, for all serious issues requiring police, ambulance, and/or firefighting services.

Special Information ...

... for all program participants

Upon arrival, and pursuant to the Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1990-91 (SK) and University of Saskatchewan Policy, guests may be asked to complete and sign an Image/Voice/Name Release Form. This form allows hosts of your visit to engage in documenting your program on a website or other media designed for this purpose. 

... for programs in the College of Education

If your program is being hosted on behalf of the College of Education, please understand that privacy laws in Canada restrict your ability to take photographs of students.  Please understand that if you take photos of children, you are not permitted to share, distribute, or publish these photos in any way or through any means without the consent of each child's parent or guardian.  Neither the College of Education nor partner school boards are responsible for obtaining parental consent for photographs—you as the photographer are. 

Please ask adults before taking their photo.

* Image: Plugs of the World for iPhone/iPad