But residents and property investors alike know better. In fact, take a closer look into the Saskatchewan gem and you'll actually find a city that's booming in science, mining, education and hot real estate investment opportunities.
What's growing in Saskatoon
Saskatchewan grows half of the entire quantity of Canada's major export crops: wheat, oats, barley, rye, flaxseed and canola.
Saskatoon is at the heart of this market, providing a variety of services and products to the farm sector. Mining is also an important part of the economy.
The Saskatoon region is the world's largest exporter of uranium, and nearly two-thirds of the world's recoverable potash reserves are located in the Saskatoon region.
Saskatoon is also home to the only Synchrotron in Canada, the Canadian Light Source. It is one of the most advanced synchrotron research facilities in the world, and is used to analyze a host of physical, chemical, geological and biological processes on a molecular level.
Information obtained by researchers can be used to develop ways to help reduce greenhouse gases and clean up mining wastes, examine the structure of surfaces to develop more effective paints and motor oils, design new drugs, develop new materials for products ranging from solar panels to safer medical implants and build more powerful computer chips.
Saskatoon's largest employer is the Saskatoon Health Region, one of the most complex and integrated health delivery agencies in Canada, responsible for providing services ranging from hospital and long-term care to home care, public health and other community-based programs.
The city's world famous University of Saskatchewan comes in second.
The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) is a 13-college university with an annual enrolment of over 19,000 students.
The U of S is the only university in Canada to house six life science colleges: Agriculture, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy & Nutrition, and Veterinary Medicine, as well as a major teaching hospital on the same campus.
Despite the fact its neighbour gets all the oil glory, in actuality, Saskatchewan is the second largest oil producer in Canada behind Alberta, and the province produces approximately 20 per cent of total Canadian oil production.
This could be why, today, young and older people, alike, are seeing that the grass, in fact, is not greener on the other side of the provincial border and are packing up and heading home to the Toon.
"If someone wants to be in oil, there's all sorts of opportunities in Saskatoon," says Harry H. Janzen, the executive officer of the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors. "But now there are all sorts of other opportunities such as mining potash and diamonds. In addition, for professionals, either medical or scientific, people can actually come to Saskatoon and write the number they want because there's so much demand for professionals."
And lately, the magical number is 5,000 - as in the number of migrants expected to make Saskatoon home this year alone.
For even more Saskatoon analysis, pick up a copy of our February issue, on newsstands now.
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Investment Hot Spots:
McKellar, Saint-Hugues, Newbrook, French River, Conrod Settlement
For those not familiar with the Saskatoon, mention of the Prairie city may conjure images of rolling fields, big blue skies, wheat crops and the one of the best berries every introduced to a pie.