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My Saskatoon Blog

The Big Red Bus

posted by David    |   May 26, 2014 15:21

I want to experience the unique and exciting. When going on vacation, I'm more interested in finding the unique local hotspots than in going to the same old chain restaurants where my experience will not change. When I visited California, I had to hit up In-N-Out Burger, since it is a local phenomenon and a great burger joint. On our honeymoon, my wife and I found Caffe Fantastico in our Parkside Victoria Hotel. It was local, unique, and fantastico. Its a wonder that while traveling, our eyes are often drawn to the unique and fascinating, yet when we return home we don't realize that Saskatoon has some unique gems of its own. 

In 1949 a green bus rolled off the assembly line in England. It was designed to be used as a rural bus throughout the countryside. However, World Ward II had just ended, and London was short on buses. So, the green bus was painted red and put to work in the capital city. It gave London 17 good years before retiring to North America to be used as a tour bus at Niagara Falls. Eventually this run came to an end as well, and the bus was purchased by a restaurant in Regina. In 1985, Laurel Beaumont purchased the bus and used it as a mobile fish and chips bus throughout Saskatchewan.

Travel became quite difficult with the old bus, so she looked for a permanent location for her mobile restaurant. In 1989, Bus Stop Refreshments parked across from the Delta Bessborough and opened for business. It has been here ever since. The unique double decker bus now serves hotdogs, ice cream, and cold drinks in downtown Saskatoon from April through October. It has become a favourite among young and old alike for the past 25 years. 


Photo Credit: urbanspoon

I had my most memorable experience at the Bus Stop when my whole family got together to spend the afternoon entertaining my sister's kids at the Forestry Farm. Afterwards, we decided to go for ice cream. The Bus Stop was a little farther out of our way, and we passed several ice cream chains on the way. We could have just as easily gone to McDonalds or Dairy Queen, but we wanted something more unique. In my opinion, the uniqueness of a local gem like the Bus Stop has a substantial impact on making an experience memorable.

On this particular trip, I remember debating between getting an ice cream cone or a milkshake. Ice cream seemed like the obvious choice, but I was thirsty so I chose a raspberry milkshake. I was not disappointed. I now get milkshakes every time I go. Although the Bus Stop is known for its ice cream, in my mind, milkshakes are its best kept secret. As we walked by the river enjoying our treats, I remember feeling like I was enjoying a taste of heaven. 

The grass is green where you water it (cue Justin Bieber song). We often feel as though we need to travel away from our city in order to experience the unique and interesting, forgetting to look at the beauty and excitement that can be found in our own backyard. Sometimes it is right under our noses, a historical treasure on the banks of the Saskatchewan River.

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