Get Creative This Summer

Riversdale is full of interesting artists—emerging and established, mainstream and fringe—which brings a unique character to the neighbourhood and creates endless possibilities for residents and visitors to get creative. Here are some opportunities on your doorstep:


Go to Void Gallery. From August 6th to 28th Void is featuring an exhibition entitled Death and Rebirth by Joanne Bolen and Brianne Chisholm. Take in the closing reception on Saturday, August 27th from 7 to 9pm. 


If you're not content just to take in the art and want to get your hands dirty, visit Void's workspace for artists and makers: Creative Commons YXE. They host regular workshops and events, and the next is a day long workshop on RESIST-BASED RELIEF PRINTING on Aug 21, 2016.


Tucked away in the Mosaic condos off 20th Street is an international fashion designer, whose creativity and spirit is irrepressible. Eva Vas of Opinion Atelier has a studio in her home, and her passion for bringing people together has lead her into event planning. Check out this gala this Saturday at the Farmer's Market--a perfect way to celebrate a sultry summer evening. Info and tickets here!

Walk for Reconciliation

This spring, Riversdale Love was honoured to participate in Saskatoon's Walk for Reconciliation. We were invited to work with 40 other partners who came together to organize the June 22 walk as part of a month of activities aimed at raising awareness around reconciliation. 

Did you miss it? Check out these photos and articles!

Photo by Gord Waldner, Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Photo by Gord Waldner, Saskatoon Star Phoenix

I also wanted to share some of the more personal experiences I’ve had as a result of being involved in this event. As part of my work with Riversdale Love, I’ve had many conversations about what reconciliation is. In fact, during one of our recent meetings of the A Team (our advisory team:), we went around the circle, stumbling to provide our own responses to the question, “what is reconciliation?” We started a conversation around this topic at The Two Twenty during a Lunch ’n Learn lead by the Office of the Treaty Commissioner. 

The conversations above take place between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with very different backgrounds, educations, experiences, and opinions. Despite those differences, we tend to agree that the conversation itself is part of the work of reconciliation. When we come together, talk about it, share our ideas and experiences, learn from each other, and then start visioning a different future where our communities are recognized and valued—that is part of the process of reconciliation.

As part of my work on the Walk for Reconciliation, I learned about Indigenous ways, I learned histories that I never knew, I participated in a pipe ceremony, I smudged. I made new friends and fostered lifelong collaborations.  My worldview expanded and I see new opportunities to bridge the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Riversdale. 

While the month of reconciliation activities has passed, I invite my community to continue the work towards reconciliation by taking advantage of the many opportunities to learn, listen, show up and share. Recently, the Riversdale Love A Team committed to a process of educating ourselves about our local history, the lived experiences of our community, and the effects of colonization. While we're currently doing research to find out what that looks like, I wanted to offer you all the experience to follow us on this path. 

While we work on a program, here are just a few opportunities to get involved in the work of reconciliation and discover your personal call to action. 

These are just the first that come to mind. Comment with your own experiences, books, events or feedback. The point is, there are many opportunities to begin your own call to action when we make the commitment to make change happen.

Building a Team

For the past few months, we've been meeting with people in Riversdale, making friends and sharing our ideas for what Riversdale Love can bring to our community. We're really excited that an incredibly talented group of folks has joined together to form an Advisory Team.

Their role? Keep it real! They all bring unique perspectives to the table--and they represent different networks, communities, friends. So as Riversdale Love moves forward, we've got this community of people who can give us insight, advice, and reach out to the people we want to work with! We'll be meeting monthly, so if you know some of these people, let them know what you want to see in the neighbourhood and keep the conversation flowing. (You can always reach us directly here too.)

Who are they? Here's the list below. Are there gaps? Let us know if you think we're missing someone/a community that needs to have a voice at the table. We'd LOVE your feedback.

Faith Eagle, Str8-Up/Only Moving Up
Bonnie Heilman, Community Development Kinship Consulting
Tarin Hughes, AKA Artist-run Centre
Ryan Meili, Upstream
Curtis Peeteetuce, Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre
Becky Sasakamoose Kuffner, Community Development Branch City of Saskatoon
Jinzhe Cui, Artist
Youth member, Street Force    
Allie Perrin, Green Ark
Kevin Sturgeon/Darryl Dozlaw/Sandra Youngchief, Riversdale Community Association
Sandra Stack, Friendship Inn
Kevin Wesaquate, Artist

Watch for guest blog posts from our team!

Creative Placemaking: Where we're at now

Since our launch back in April, we've been experimenting with events in Riversdale, with the intention of getting to know our community and bringing people from different backgrounds together. This has given us the experience to recognize what special talents Riversdale Love can bring to the community. Namely, our unique skills lie in using the arts and culture as a means of building a healthy community, bringing people together and fostering change and collaboration.

This fall, I started an online course in Creative Placemaking. What is Creative Placemaking? International leaders in this emerging field, Toronto's Artscape defines it best: "Creative Placemaking is an evolving field of practice that intentionally leverages the power of the arts, culture and creativity to serve a community's interest while driving a broader agenda for change, growth and transformation in a way that also builds character and quality of place."

This experience gave me an appreciation of the incredible cultural assets at work in Riversdale: artists, studios, galleries and artist-run centres all exist here, in addition to a number of social agencies who use art/culture programming. We've got a mix of businesses, social agencies, organizations, a thriving creative class, ethnic and economic diversity, proximity to the river, a Farmer's Market--all the ingredients of a natural cultural district and other communities around the world strive for.

I've spent this course asking how we can use our assets to address some of the real issues that our neighbourhood faces: displacement, gentrification, poverty and more. 

Of course, these problems are not unique and communities around the world provide interesting and creative precedents that we can borrow from. Broken City Lab's projects around North America empower artists to be change makers and their Neighborhood Time Exchange could be an interesting model to adopt in Riversdale. Perhaps a project like Stories of Ours could offer Riversdale residents an opportunity to have a voice, cross cultural borders and build relationships. Philadelphia Mural Arts Program has innovative programs using art to engage mental health patients to facilitate healing and community building.

(above) Neighbourhood Time Exchange, Stories of Ours, Dorchester Art Houses, Project Row Houses use art to provide creative solutions to neighbourhood issues and provide interesting precedents for Riversdale.

Of course, our project has to be unique to the specific challenges and opportunities of Riversdale. With that in mind, Riversdale Love is currently creating an ADVISORY PANEL of community members and leaders. Our advisory panel will meet early in 2016, with the intention of creating a strategy for community engagement. We'll develop a series of events that connect people, educate us about Riversdale and reveal opportunities for a project that will respond to the unique needs and desires of the community.

Want to get involved? Let us know if you want to volunteer, sponsor, offer resources or skills to Riversdale Love. Follow us on Facebook, instagram or twitter to stay in touch. Or email us here.

Affordable Housing Survey by SHIP

At our launch back in April 2015, we surveyed our speakers and audience, asking them what their vision is for the future of Riversdale. One of the most important themes that came back to us was  affordable housing. If there is one vision for Riversdale that we seem to all agree on, it's that we want a neighbourhood with housing that meets the needs of our community.

One of the world's most famous urbanists, Jane Jacobs, emphasizes the importance of diversity in urban neighbours. Mixed-income, mixed-use neighbourhoods are healthy, and very relevant to Riversdale, where rising real estate prices threaten the current diversity that makes this neighbourhood unique.

So when the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) told us about a survey they developed around affordable housing, we wanted to help. SHIP's survey is partly geared towards identifying what barriers exist for home builders to do affordable housing projects. And another survey targets people who currently or may need to access affordable housing programs in the city, to try and assess the need. As SHIP says, "your answers will help guide us as we partner on creating new housing options, and talk with government about investing in new affordable housing to make sure everyone has a safe, affordable and appropriate place to live."



The People Project


At the 20th Anniversary of Quint Development, Riversdale Love joined the party with our amazingly talented friends at Studio D to take pictures of the people who make up the community of Riversdale. We had a printer set up so we could give people prints of their beautiful faces, and volunteer listeners asked people about their stories. People could answer a few questions, tell us whatever they wanted, or provide nothing at all. It was certainly enlightening to hear about different experiences of this neighbourhood, and we came to appreciate a cohesive, resilient community of people who look out and care for each other.

Thus began The People Project.

Eager to learn more about our neighbours, Matt Ramage from Studio D and I have been taking to the streets to collect more photos and stories of the people that make up Riversdale. We'll continue to do this around the community and at special events until we collect 100 PHOTOS. Then we'll launch The People Project website and share this experience with all of you. The work won't stop there. We'll continue adding to it as we meet more people and grow this visual celebration of our diversity. If you want your face to be added to the collection, EMAIL US.


A few weeks ago, I met up with those first volunteers who came to Quint's 20th Anniversary and took down people's stories. We were totally disorganized, and learning as we went about how to honour our storytellers, who often dove deep and revealed very sensitive information. Some of our volunteers were shaken by what they heard and felt that if they were going to collect these stories, they were obligated to help change some of the hardships and injustices revealed to them.

This lead to a very profound discussion about class and race in Riversdale. There are obvious tensions at play between cultures, between people who have or have not. There are also beautiful connections between cultures, between people who have or have not. For some time during the conversation, I felt very uncomfortable in this room with Indigenous women who have lived through tragedy and seen hardships I may never know. Because no one said it, but everyone knew that my ancestors were on the side of the oppressors. Finally, I had to admit it out loud: I am the woman of white privilege in the room. I am the person they have felt judged by.

But they didn't judge me. And I didn't judge them. We were simply women in a room, all passionately trying to contribute to the health of our community. During the course of our conversation, we went from being "us" and "them" to being one.

We asked each other, what is the purpose of The People Project? It is to honour and value each individual that makes up this community. It is to be witness to each other's stories--and use that as an experience to bridge, connect and care for each other. 

Our volunteers got animated and excited about what The People Project could become: a book with sales that feed back to supporting people in the community? A large format mural that acknowledges the history and identity of the neighbourhood? I listened to this animated group of women let me in, teach me about Indigenous ways of honouring this project by asking an elder to bless our web launch, or creating ceremony around the project in some way. 

I'm not sure what The People Project will evolve into, but I am very grateful to these volunteers who have helped shape its' beginning. I invite you to become involved too. REACH OUT HERE.

Jinzhe Cui's "66 Physiognomies" at our next event


I would have assumed that one of the most unlikely places for an art gallery is in the storefront of a grocery store. Yet this location is the perfect home for artist Jinzhe Cui's ink drawings. The space, like her art, is all about finding peace, beauty and reflection in the midst of the hustle and bustle of daily life.

At Quint Development's 20th Anniversary party at Station 20 West next week, Jinzhe will bring her latest exhibition "66 Physiognomies" which celebrates the City of Saskatoon's Placemaker Program--a program responsible for many public art installations throughout the city. Sit on one of 66 meditation cushions designed by textile artist Jeff Chief and enjoy a video installation exploring the sculptures that beautify our city. Jinzhe's own ink drawings have been inspired by these works, and we can't wait to see it all come together at Station 20! See our EVENT PAGE for more details.

20th Anniversary Party for Quint Development

On September 24, Quint Development is celebrating their 20th anniversary at Station 20 West with a free BBQ, kids’ activities, giant games, and more! As a non-profit that creates opportunities for stable housing, jobs, and economic development in Saskatoon's west-side core neighbourhoods, Quint is an important part of the fabric of Riversdale.

Riversdale Love is coming to the party to launch our PEOPLE PROJECT--a photography project capturing the faces and stories that make the community of Riversdale unlike any other. Live music will feature Eekwol, offering a sneak peak of her NEW album, along with performances by The Barrelmen and Sask Native Theatre Company's Curtis Peeteetuce.  An art installation by Jinzhe Cui celebrates the City of Saskatoon's Placemaker Program. It's going to be an awesome party connecting some diverse communities in Riversdale. If you want to get involved, we need volunteers to share the love!


SEPT 24 from 1pm - 7pm
Station 20 West, 1120 20th St W
Free snacks and refreshments
Free BBQ 4-6pm
Live music, giant games,
kids' activities and art!


1pm The Hula Hoopster
1:55pm The Wacky Wizard
2:50pm The Longwalker Singers
3:45pm St. Mary's Dance Troupe
4:25pm Paul Runnals
5:00pm Curtis Peeteetuce
5:30pm Eekwol
6:00pm The Barrelmen

Riversdale Deli & STR8 UP Collaborate

Our Riversdale Love launch opened a flood gate of ideas and opportunities to create connections, collaborations and build community around our neighbourhood. From meals and mentorship, housing and health, we are currently working on a handful of initiatives to make our collective vision for the future of Riversdale come to life. Just check out our EVENTS page for a sneak peak of what's coming up.

But today we wanted to share a powerful story about Riversdale Love from the perspective of one of our speakers, Darby Kells--the fiery entrepreneur and food lover behind Riversdale Deli and Capanna Pizzeria


Q: Why did you want to get involved with Riversdale Love?

Kells: "The whole concept around it was cool. A good opportunity for me to meet people in the neighbourhood that I might not have been able to meet. It’s kind of hard to get out and meet people when you are working 16 hours a day. It was a nice ice breaker and an invitation to people who would not normally have talked to each other or even had a reason to talk to each other in a lot of cases."

Q: What were some of the outcomes you experienced as a result of speaking at the launch event?

Kells: "It was well worth the time. I’ve been approached by multiple non-profits since then. I’ve been approached by people I might never would have talked to."

One of those people was fellow speaker, Faith Eagle. Faith approached Darby after the event to discuss a possible partnership with her organization STR8 UP, which assists former gang members in liberating themselves from gangs and criminal street lifestyles.

Darby plans to use his experience and expertise in the restaurant industry to mentor STR8 UP participants, providing them with employment and life skills they can apply to future endeavours. 

Q: What do you hope this collaboration achieves? 

Kells: “I don’t aim small. I’ve never aimed small. If I can take these guys to a provincial, national, international level, and start following the way other cities are doing this kind of stuff… Saskatoon has a lot of catching up to do. If this can escalate to something where it’s recognized, it helps a lot of people get on the right track. I’ll help out with it.”

Darby talks about his community involvement and his partnership with STR UP with the same energy, enthusiasm and desire to be innovative that has helped him launch two highly successful food destinations in Riversdale: “It is something new. It is a risky, new, high-energy kind of thing to be doing, and to be taking on. And anything that’s like that, kind of tests me in the same way, I like doing.”


Sitting on the Riversdale Business Improvement District, Darby is clearly interested in the future of Riversdale. Yet, he never loses sight of his own passion: “I know food. That’s it. I don’t pretend to know about gentrification or politics. I know food. So if you have a question about bread or prosciutto, I got it covered.”

We look forward to seeing how his partnership with STR8 UP evolves! Thanks for being part of Riversdale Love Darby! 

Curtis Olson (Shift) & Charles Olfert (AODBT)

Hope you've enjoyed following our speakers as we release videos from our launch event in April! Finally, today we upload the last 2 videos.  CURTIS OLSON is the CEO of Shift Development, a property development company at the heart of a collaborative, creative community in Riversdale. CHARLES OLFERT is the CEO of aodbt architecture + interior design. Since 1989 he has worked with a wide variety of clients including many educational and health related organizations as well as private developers and many First Nations communities. Click here to read Curtis and Charles' full bios.

Thanks again to Souldatta Productions for capturing the magic for us! REMEMBER TO WATCH, TWEET, SHARE, REPEAT!



Darby Kells (Riversdale Deli) & Ingrid Gomez (artist)

This week, we launch videos from 2 more Riversdale Love speakers. Darby Kells is the fiery entrepreneur behind Riversdale Deli and Capanna Pizzeria. As a member of the Riversdale Business Improvement District, he's very committed to community building in this neighbourhood. And Ingrid Gomez is an interesting young actress who we first met through Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company's Circle of Voices program. Check out the SNTC website to see what they're up to this summer! Click here to read Darby and Ingrid's full bios.

Thanks again to Souldatta Productions for capturing the magic for us! We'll be launching another 2 videos next week, so keep in touch and REMEMBER TO WATCH, TWEET, SHARE, REPEAT!



Lynn Thompson (Essential Voices) & Yvonne Hanson (CHEP Good Food Inc.)

Another 2 videos from our launch! This week you can watch speakers Lynn Thompson and Yvonne Hanson. Lynn is originally from Pine Creek First Nations Manitoba. She has lived and worked in Saskatoon for the last 16 years as an HIV/AIDS & Hep C Consultant as well as an Essential Voices employee for Integrated Community Ministries. Yvonne is the Executive Director of CHEP Good Food Inc., a charitable organization housed at Station 20 West. CHEP works with children, families and communities to improve access to good food and promote food security. Click here to read Lynn and Yvonne's full bios.

Thanks again to Souldatta Productions for capturing the magic for us! We'll be launching another 2 videos next week, so keep in touch and REMEMBER TO WATCH, TWEET, SHARE, REPEAT!



Michael Linklater (White Buffalo) & Sandra Stack (Friendship Inn)

We're launching two more presentations from the Riversdale Love launch at the Roxy Theatre on April 30. Our esteemed speakers are Michael Linklater and Sandra Stack. Michael is a phenomenal athlete who has  helped take Saskatchewan basketball to new heights. He is currently the recreation coordinator at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge, working with inner city youth from the community he grew up. Sandra Stack is the Executive Director of the Friendship Inn, a community center in Riversdale that serves free meals for breakfast and lunch. Click here to read Sandra and Michael's full bios.

Thanks again to Souldatta Productions for capturing the magic for us! We'll be launching another 2 videos next week, so keep in touch and REMEMBER TO WATCH, TWEET, SHARE, REPEAT!




Riversdale Love Launch Presentations: Ryan Meili & Faith Eagle

If you missed our launch event on April 30 at the Roxy Theatre, we have great news. SoulDatta Productions captured the magic on film and now we're sharing those presentations with you! Starting this week, we'll be launching 2 presentations each week.

This week watch Ryan Meili and Faith Eagle. Ryan is a Family Doctor at the Westside Community Clinic in Saskatoon and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan where he serves as head of the Division of Social Accountability. Faith Eagle is a proud mother of eight beautiful children, and a faithful partner to Conrad Slippery.  She is from Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Toka Nuwan District and Ochapowace First Nation. Faith has been employed with Essential Voices for the past six months and has been a member of STR8 UP - a community organization that helps individuals exit gang life for the last four years.  See Ryan and Faith's full bios here.




YOUR Vision for the Future of Riversdale

At the Riversdale Love launch on April 30, 2015, Open Studio Projects presented a site specific, community based art intervention asking, what is your vision for the future of Riversdale? We recorded a time-lapse video of our audience putting their ideas onto sticky notes, responding to the speakers, and building the installation. WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:

This feedback is helping us determine the next steps for Riversdale Love. A round table on affordable housing? An interactive art installation on the street? Mentorship. Collaboration. We're charting a course right now, so stay in touch.

In the meantime, we wanted to share the feedback you gave us. We deciphered hundreds of sticky notes and grouped them into categories. The categories are listed according to which received the MOST feedback.  (So Housing received lots of comments, where History received just a few.) Below each heading, there are some general ideas that capture the audience feedback. In some cases, exact ideas were provided too! THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT!


  • Affordable housing 
  • Tiny home trailer parks 
  • Inclusive development 
  • Equality in housing initiatives
  • End homelessness


  • Affordable food
  • Accessible, affordable grocery stores
  • Food education, cooking classes where health is the focus
  • More restaurants
  • Affordable restaurants
  • There were comments for more cafes, fewer cafes, and less expensive cafes
  • Community gardens where produce/profit goes back into feeding the community
  • More support for CHEP’s backyard matching program 
    • Sliding scale menu prices, or pay it forward pizza or coffee
    • Collaboration between restaurants and Friendship Inn 
    • Urban agriculture program where people buy local affordable food and learn how to grow it/learn about nutrition/take cooking classes

Getting around

  • Separated bike lanes, safe bike lanes
  • Pedestrian paths
  • Trolley up and down 20th Street
  • Better transit
  • Streets built for people, not cars

Public spaces

  • More/better public spaces designed for people to gather, interact and experience community
  • Multicultural spaces
  • Places for kids to play, safe playgrounds
  • Parklettes, pocket parks, benches and green spaces
  • Community spaces (specific comments include parks, skating rinks, Roxy)
    • Use the rooftops
    • Public bathrooms for everyone/public showers with hygiene kits
    • BUSINESSES: Ice cream parlor, Movie theatre, Video arcade, Youth hostel
    • INSTALLATIONS: Steam clock, Fountains, Video booth/Speaker’s corner
    • RECREATION: Soccer park, Zip line
    • COMMUNITY CENTRES: Ecomuseum; Adult wellness centre for life skills, counseling, medical/holistic, etc.; Cooperative woodworking shop/workshop space; Big solar power coop; Art/craft school; Community Art Centre for youth



  • Chinese archway over Riversdale entrance
  • Public art initiatives—music, buskers, installations, projects
  • Emphasis on indigenous culture (art, music); Showcase diversity
  • Space for people to create art together; make community studios out of existing spaces
  • More art residencies, more artistic development
  • Community art projects/ arts hubs
  • Mural projects
  • Permanent public art installations addressing the histories of communities and individuals



  • Buskers festival, more festivals
  • Events that gather diverse people together
  • Park(ing) Day to continue
  • Theatre camp at the Roxy
  • Fringe Festival in Riversdale
  • Open air concerts/Live music
  • Vigil for missing persons
  • Comic convention
  • Free yoga and tai chi
  • Community wide garage sale
  • Pow wow on 20th street
  • Bring back wake ride


  • Honor the history of the neighborhood
  • Treaty 6 land—honor indigenous culture and presence
  • Maintain diversity
  • “We need to tell our stories”


  • Educate youth for employment
  • Safe places for children to play—streets, playgrounds, public art installations
  • Childcare/community daycare


  • Police cooperation
  • People want to feel safe, want safety for their children


  • Multiculturalism
  • In this neighbourhood, people want an environment where they talk to each other, relate, be kind to each other, listen, love
  • Egalitarian society
  • Inclusivity
  • End poverty
  • Invest in sustainability (i.e. solar panels for street signs)
  • “We don’t want less poor people in the neighbourhood, we want the people in the neighbourhood to be less poor” – quoting Ryan Meile
  • Honor Aboriginal identity, collaboration
  • New businesses that serve old residents
  • Multilingual signage in Riversdale—English, Mandarin, Cree, Ukrainian, Russian


Special thanks to Jeff Nachtigall at Open Studio Projects for leading this art intervention. Thanks Brian Hoessler, Strong Roots Consulting  and the entire team at Upstream for helping to translate the sticky notes.


Stay in touch @riversdalelove or

The best thing about Riversdale... the people. An idea is just an idea until someone comes along and does something about it. Riversdale Love's launch was a huge success because we had people come forward who wanted to support it. And we continue to work on next steps because we have friends, supporters, sponsors who care to invest time, talent or money in Riversdale. Today's blog post is an ode to those amazing individuals who care.

The catalyst for Riversdale Love is SHIFT DEVELOPMENT.

The Riversdale BID was a sponsor for our launch. As was the Business Development Bank of Canada! What??? Yes, it's true. A bank actually gave us some money to pull off a launch because they believe in what we're doing. And then they actually CAME and participated. Now, that's what we like to see. (Below, Jay Solvason from BDC contributes to our interactive art project! Photo by Matt Braden)



Open Studio Projects These folks lead the interactive art project that got people from the audience responding to the speakers and contributing their visions for the future of Riversdale. 

Adjile Adjile helped us take a time-lapse video of our art installation. We felt a bit sheepish about not knowing how to do it ourselves, but they totally mastered the GoPro!

Hardpressed Did you see those sweet Riversdale Love volunteer t-shirts? Yes! Hardpressed made those cool threads, with the sweet designs of....

Island Dustin at Island did our t-shirt design. SWEET!

Greer Frances It's tragic that Greer was in Mexico for our launch because she knocked out the amazing logo and design for Riversdale Love! With her partner René Prefontaine from Shift Development Inc. she translated our vision into a logo and a website, and lots of little things along the way.

Jane McWhirter If you noticed those sweet looking billboards scrolling across the movie screen during Riversdale Love's launch, then you were sure to appreciate Jane's design skills. With very little guidance and time, she blew our minds!

Souldatta Productions Thanks to Geordie's team, every speaker's presentation was captured on video and is available on YouTube so that we can share the conversation with those of you who couldn't come out to our launch! Geordie put in many hours to make it all look seamless and sound great. 

Matt Braden Photography Matt was on the scene at the launch capturing the amazing vibe and leaving us with a gorgeous photo album of the event.

Upstream Now these guys were on the ground, running and hustling, taking care of business during the launch. They've been an indispensable resource leading up to the launch and now as we sort through the next steps of the project. Plus, they do amazing work for communities across Canada. Follow these guys!

Ideas Inc. A team of "Ambassadors" helped us carry out the interactive art project and a whole crew of them came from Ideas Inc. Thanks!

Studio D Photography Many of those speaker photos you see on our blog came from Matt Ramage's studio, who is the in house photographer for the Two Twenty and makes us all look fabulous.

Territorial There we were, hunkered down in the back of the office, importing logos, making corrections, changing things at the last minute as Territorial helped us pull together a fabulous looking program. Always accommodating, speedy and inspired, we love this team!

PAVED Arts Even though we didn't have a clue how to work it, PAVED lent us the GoPro equipment to do a time-lapse of our art installation. Thanks to our other friends who know technology, the video turned out great!

Essential Voices This team helped bring in the first hand  lived experiences of Faith Eagle and Lynn Thompson into the conversation. They advised, guided, and supported the process and were an indispensable resource as we worked to make our launch truly accessible to a diverse audience.

More Promo Participating in our art project meant filling out a sticky note with your vision for Riversdale...using a pen provided by More Promo! Hundreds of pens! Thanks MORE :)


So now when we say the best thing about Riversdale is the you know what we mean?

Art Project by Jeff Nachtigall at Riversdale Love LAUNCH

At our launch, we will have the opportunity to hear different speakers talk about their visions for the future of Riversdale. But we are also very eager to here from YOU--the audience and heart of Riversdale Love. So we've invited Jeff Nachtigall to lead an interactive art project that will give our audience the opportunity to tell us what their visions for the future of this community are.

At the Riversdale Love Launch, the audience will be given sticky notes and pens to write down their visions for the future of Riversdale. The sticky notes will be added to an 8 x 12 wall of ideas and opinions. At the end of the night, these multi-colored notes will reveal a pattern or image--a unique composition and community art project!

Not able to join us on April 30? No worries! Contribute your ideas on TWITTER, FACEBOOK, or INSTAGRAM. We'll jot down your tweets and comments on sticky notes and add them to the wall.


JEFF NACHTIGALL--the Founder and Director of Open Studio Projects and the Museum of Temporary Art--is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, speaker, and social entrepreneur. His work has been exhibited throughout North America, Europe and China, and is represented in numerous public and private collections. He is the co-founder of Make Work Projects, a 2000-square foot storefront studio and sometimes art project space, located in Riversdale.

He has led dozens of residencies across Canada, and regularly lectures and facilitates workshops in communities and institutions across Canada and the USA. Through working as a full-time artist-in-residence at an assisted living facility for eight years, he developed the Open Studio, a model that he has successfully replicated throughout Canada and the United States. This inclusive, non-hierarchical, client-centred strategy challenges traditional clinical approaches and pushes the boundaries of the arts in health care. This model has evolved and grown into a community-based practice, engaging marginalized groups across North America in art interventions that act as a catalyst for social change.

He is the founder and director of the Museum of Temporary Art, a roaming multi-city collaborative initiative that engages communities in creative activism, installing large artworks in under-utilized urban spaces, organizing alley walks, and reframing the concept of gentrification in neighbourhoods in transition.


A Year at Sherbrooke: National Film Board of Canada feature length documentary that follows the origins of the Open Studio in long-term care.

CTV: Intergenerational project that focuses on building bridges in the community and the transformational power of art.

TEDx Saskatoon

(IN)Accessible City: Using the Mobile Painting Device as tool to help raise awareness around accessibility issues.

Calgary City Hall Project: Mobile Painting Device at work in the community.

Riversdale Love LAUNCH

We're really excited about the diverse, talented group of presenters coming together on April 30 to share their visions for the future of Riversdale. See our Events page for more details. In the meantime, let us introduce you to some of our speakers. We'll be adding bios and pictures as we near the event, so stay tuned!


RYAN MEILI is a Family Doctor at the Westside Community Clinic in Saskatoon and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan where he serves as head of the Division of Social Accountability. He was involved in the establishment of the SWITCH student-run clinic and the Making the Links Certificate in Global Health, and is the author of A Healthy Society: how a focus on health can revive Canadian democracy. Ryan also serves as vice-chair of the national advocacy organization, Canadian Doctors for Medicare and is the founder of Upstream, a new organization to equip and inspire citizens to demand a healthy society, and to understand the best ways to get there.


SANDRA STACK is the Executive Director of the Friendship Inn, a community center in Riversdale that serves free meals for breakfast and lunch. Sandra moved to Saskatoon 6 years ago to marry a home grown Saskatchewan husband. She was hired at the Friendship Inn as the Family Worker, where she got to know many guests of the Friendship Inn. In 2014 she was promoted to Executive Director, a role which allows her to make changes that creatively create community at the Inn. Sandra has fallen in love with the core neighbourhoods and feels passionate about walking alongside the guests of the Friendship Inn as they look to her for compassion and friendship.

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DARBY KELLS is the Executive Chef and a partner of Riversdale Delicatessen & Market and Capanna Pizzeria. He was born and raised in Saskatoon, and grew up eating fresh garden vegetables and locally sourced products. As a young adult he came to discover that he was passionate about food and decided to pursue a career in cooking. Darby is committed to the growth and revitalization of the Riversdale neighbourhood and is excited to be apart of the local community and a member of the Riversdale BID. He has a strong commitment to quality, communication, and supporting local. 


LYNN THOMPSON is originally from Pine Creek First Nations Manitoba. Lynn has lived and worked in Saskatoon for the last 16 years as an HIV/AIDS & Hep C Consultant as well as an Essential Voices employee for Integrated Community Ministries.

Lynn Thompson is a Two-Spirited female, advocate, activist, educator, mother, grandmother and last but not least a person living with HIV.

Over the years Lynn has been part of developing the STC Health Centre, Station 20 West, Footprints (HIV positive provincial group), Sixty Survivor Group, and Positive Women: Exposing Injustice; an important documentary project on the issue of criminalization of HIV non-disclosure in Canada and its effects on women. This is just to name a few of the projects Lynn has played a vital role in. “My goal is to have all community members involved at all levels. It takes a Community to Heal a Community!”

MARCEL PETIT is an independent producer, filmmaker, writer and photographer from Saskatoon. He runs productions, an independent production company that explores human experience through visual arts. He is an active and engaged member of the community, having served as the Executive Director of the Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op, and program coordinator for the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company. Marcel enjoys traveling, taking photos, making movies, and Star Wars.


YVONNE HANSON is the Executive Director of CHEP Good Food Inc. – a charitable organization housed at Station 20 West. CHEP works with children, families and communities to improve access to good food and promote food security. Yvonne has an extensive background in community development, program management and adult education having worked in the non-government (NGO) sector and at the U of S for many years. Her life’s work has been committed to social and environmental justice.

Yvonne’s interest in community food security has been embellished with direct involvement in food advocacy, community-based health research, community gardens, collective kitchens, and farmer’s markets. Yvonne was one of the founding members of the Saskatoon Regional Food System Assessment team and is currently on the Executive of Saskatoon’s Food Council. Yvonne has an undergrad in Women’s Studies from Mt. St. Vincent University in Halifax and a Master’s degree in Education from the U of S.


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FAITH EAGLE is the proud mother of eight beautiful children, and a faithful partner to Conrad Slippery.  She is from Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Toka Nuwan District and Ochapowace First Nation. Faith has been employed with Essential Voices for the past six months and has been a member of STR8 UP - a community organization that helps male and female individuals exit gang life for the last four years.  Both these organizations have helped Faith re-discover her sense of self- worth and has ignited a passion within her to speak out against all forms of injustice and oppression. In her spare time Faith enjoys writing and spending quality time with her children. 

CHARLES OLFERT has been in private practice as an architect in Saskatchewan since 1980 and currently represents the Saskatchewan Association of Architects on the University Senate. He has been chairman of the Meewasin Valley Authority design review committee as well as serving on the council and fulfilling the role of provincial president of the Saskatchewan Association of Architects. Recently, Charles completed a term as the Representative for Saskatchewan/Manitoba on the National Architectural Board (Royal Architectural Institute of Canada). In 2014, he was appointed to the College of Fellows of the RAIC. His position as CEO of aodbt architecture + interior design since 1989 has provided the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients including many educational and health related organizations as well as private developers and many First Nations communities.  Charles was born and raised in Saskatchewan, but has also lived in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario while attending three different post-secondary institutions. Charles and his wife Leila (a fabric artist) have two grown children and most Monday nights he plays with an amateur blues band.

INGRID GOMEZ, a 21 year old originally from Colombia, has been involved in Media Arts, Visual Arts and Dance Performance since she was a child. In 2013 she became a part of the theatre community through the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company and since then she has been involved in various forms of art and theatre performances and workshops throughout Saskatoon and Saskatchewan. She hopes to inspire youth and her community to explore the beauty and opportunities around their world. Ingrid Gomez can be found working along The Danza Morena Dance Academy, SNTC, The Fringe Festival, and with many independent artists.


CURTIS OLSON is the CEO of Shift Development—a property development company at the heart of a collaborative, creative community in Riversdale. Focused on urban infill projects in Saskatoon’s core neighborhoods, Olson’s buildings are the seeds of vibrant urban lifestyles. From the first warehouse-condo conversion in Saskatoon to The Hayloft—a 1930s grocery store turned live/work space and house concert venue—Olson’s projects are unique and varied. Such as The Two Twenty, a former furniture store he converted into a co-working community of creative entrepreneurs. As the Chair of the Board for the Riversdale Business Improvement District since 2012, Olson puts this passion for fostering a rich, diverse community to work.

MICHAEL LINKLATER has helped take basketball to new heights in Saskatchewan.  As team captain, Michael lead the U of S Huskie Men’s basketball team to its first and only CanWest Conference championship and CIS National Championship in 2010. After that season he played professionally in the International Basketball League.  Michael has recently competed for team Saskatoon in the FIBA 3X3 World Tour, and advanced that team to the World Tour Finals in Sendai, Japan where they represented Canada and placed 2nd in the world respectively.  Michael grew up in the inner city of Saskatoon and understands the importance of giving back.  He has passionately shared his motivational story to thousands of youth and adults across Saskatchewan for the past sixteen years. He is the founder of Prime Basketball Development and is currently the recreation coordinator at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge, working with inner city youth from the community he grew up.  Michael is a proud father who role models a healthy life style to his children and countless youth, by remaining drug and alcohol free.