Being a small Canadian city, Saskatoon's buildings are of a smaller scale.  Even so, the variety of architectural styles should be enough to satisfy any architecture buff.  The city was founded in the late 19th century, so many of Saskatoon's oldest buildings reflect the dominant architectural themes of that time period.

If one architectural style defines Saskatoon's heritage buildings, it would be Gothic Revival.  Because the area was settled in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly by immigrants of British origin, the architecture reflected that heritage.  Many of Saskatoon's major churches were built in this style, such as the red brick and terra cotta St. John's Anglican (1913) and dark red brick and stone Knox United (1914), both located on Spadina Crescent.

An important subset of Gothic Revival architecture is Collegiate Gothic.  The oldest buildings on the University of Saskatchewan campus are a prime example.  The College Building (1912), Saskatchewan (1912) and Qu'Appelle (1916) residence halls, and the Thorvaldson (Chemistry) Building (1924) are among the finest examples of Collegiate Gothic to be found.  After a departure from the style for about 30 years, the newer buildings on the campus have been built in a style dubbed neo-Collegiate Gothic, a modern take on the traditional style.  The most obvious examples of this would be the Administration Building (1987), the Geology Building (1988), and the College of Kinesiology's Physical Activity Centre (2003) and the Spinks Addition to the Thorvaldson Building (2003).  All these structures are noted for the exterior stonework, done with Tyndall stone.

Equally noteworthy are the Collegiate Gothic schools designed by Scottish architect David Webster.  Albert, Buena Vista, King George, Westmount, and Caswell Schools are all kindred but have slight and subtle differences.  All feature red brick exteriors, towers and turrets.  They were built in the period around 1912, when Saskatoon's pre-WWI boom was in full swing.

No discussion of Saskatoon's architecture could exclude its signature building, the Bessborough Hotel.  The building was designed in a combination of Scottish baronial and French chateau styles, as a worthy addition to Canada's list of grand railway hotels. The finest Canadian materials were used; warm brick from Claybank in southern Saskatchewan, Tyndall stone from Manitoba, granite from Ontario, and bronzes from Toronto and Montreal.  The exterior was decorated with grotesques, gargoyles and other emblems to embellish its grandeur.  Finished in 1932 but not opened until 1935 due to the Great Depression, the "castle by the river" is Saskatoon's most recognized and most-loved landmark.

Second Empire architecture is expressed in one very important example - the Marr Residence (1884), the oldest building in Saskatoon on its original site.  Its unique Mansard roof distinguishes it from its neighbours.  The house belonged to stonemason Alexander "Sandy" Marr and his family; he was responsible for the construction of another important building - Saskatoon's first Victoria School (originally on Broadway Avenue & 12th Street, now on the University of Saskatchewan campus).  The house was also commissoned for use as field hospital during the Norwest Rebellion of 1885.  The Marr Residence is open for public viewing and is decorated with period furnishings.

Romanesque Revival appears in several historic buildings, like the Land Titles Building (1909) on 21st Street downtown, St. Paul's Cathedral (1910) on Spadina Crescent, and St. Joseph's Church (1928) on the corner of 8th Street and Broadway Avenue.

Neo-Byzantine
is a style associated with Eastern and Orthodox Christian architecture dating from the 5th through 11th centuries.  Because of Saskatoon's prominent Ukrainian heritage, this type of architecture made its way here.  The Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of St. George (1943) at 214 Avenue M South is one such example. It is a four column cruciform Byzantine domed basilica with north, south and east apses, and seven domes. A smaller example, no less impressive, is the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (1952), on the corner of 20th Street and Avenue J.

A few examples of Streamline Moderne architecture, the late offshoot of Art Deco, can be found in a few places.  The best example is the Adilman Building (1912/1927/1949), a former department store, located in the Riversdale neighbourhood (20th Street and Avenue B).  Its rounded corners, strong horizontal lines and extensive use of glass block art typical of the style.  The Modern Press Building (2nd Ave North between 25th and 26th Streets) is also a very good example of the clean, unadorned style. In the Nutana area, the Broadway Theatre (1947) thrives as the city's only independent cinema, as well as a live performance venue. Small houses built in the Streamline style also dot the residential parts of the Nutana and Varsity View neighbourhoods.  Two good examples are found on Dufferin Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets; and 10th Street between Clarence and McKinnon Avenues.

Fans of 20th-century Brutalist architecture will find a few structures of note.  On the University of Saskatchewan campus, the Health Sciences Building (1971) is a heavy, unadorned structure, with a Tyndall stone exterior.  The stone was done in a "bush hammered" finish to make it appear like exposed concrete.  The nearby Main Library (1976) is also a blockish, almost windowless mass with the same "bush hammered" exterior.  Downtown, the Sturdy Stone Centre (1977) is a unique wedge-shaped building with a smooth-sawn Tyndall stone exterior.

Still many more gems are to be found around Saskatoon: the French Renaissance style of Nutana Collegiate (1909); the Neo-Classical Arrand Block apartments (1912); the classical Georgian style of the Superintendent's Residence (1913) at the Forestry Farm Park; and the Queen Anne Revival style of the Bottomley House (1912).  Bring your camera and discover one surprise after another.