Saskatoon HOME magazine Fall 2023

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Fall 2023 SubScribe at Sa S katoon A Look BAck at nursing Students' Residences BuiLding community through Cohousing + Entryway trAnsformAtion DESIGN • RENovatIoN • laNDScapING • BuIlDING • DÉcoR to Fabulous 1950s
710 51st Street Saskatoon, SK Ph: 306-244-1973 Duette® Duolite® LiteRise® SaSKatoon’S onLy

1950S TO

When Michael Shaw found a rather ordinary home to renovate, he knew there was one interior design professional he had to bring on board. The resulting collaboration with Tamara Bowman took a 1950s house to a fantastic new level.

4 HOME FRONT A Greeting from the Publisher 7 FROM HOUSE TO HOME Entryway Transformation
Jenna Rutherford 13 1950S TO FABULOUS Blending the Outside In and the Inside Out 23 LIVING TOGETHER, SEPARATELY Building Community through Cohousing 31 HOMETOWN REFLECTIONS Nursing Students’ Residences 39 MAUREEN’S KITCHEN Roll it Up, Seventies Style
Photo Lillian Lane
~ Photo
43 PRESERVED MOSS Lush Interiorscapes without the Maintenance
~ Photo Maureen Haddock
~ Photo Shondra Boire


Welcome to our Fall issue of Saskatoon HOME magazine. Fall has always held an interesting allure for me. On one hand, our green urban forest starts to change colours, and the landscape builds up to a fireworks of glorious yellows, oranges and reds, signifying summer’s end. But with a new school year beginning, the season is full of fresh new promise. With this in mind, I am excited to share this issue with you.

Inside you will find some great examples of fresh new ideas, collaboration and inspiration. We begin with a new regular feature with one of Saskatoon’s own social media stars who has created a community around DIY. She’s sure to inspire you. We take you behind the scenes of a cohousing project that showcases prairie community values. Next you will see a jaw-dropping collaboration between two of Saskatoon’s most well known design and construction gurus. And if you are looking for more inspiration, you can learn about the growing trend of moss—yes, I said moss—as an artful and unique design feature in your home.

In the kitchen, our resident foodie Maureen Haddock will take you back in time to the Seventies with her roll-up recipes that made the most of home entertaining on a modest budget. And we also have a fascinating read on life in nursing school dormitories by our local historian Jeff O’Brien; for 60 years, a home away from home for hundreds of young women.

Enjoy the Fall season with all its new beginnings. Take some inspiration from these pages to make your house the HOME you have always wanted.

Happy Reading!

Issue 63, Fall 2023

ISSN 1916-2324


Amanda Soulodre

Rob Soulodre

Editor Karin Melberg Schwier


Jeff O’Brien

Jenna Rutherford

Julie Barnes

Karin Melberg Schwier

Lillian Lane

Maureen Haddock

Shannon Dyck & Michael Nemeth

Shondra Boire

QuickSell Real Estate Photography

The booking deadline for advertising in the Winter 2023 issue is Oct 20, 2023

Contact Amanda for more information.


Phone: 306-373-1833

Text: 306-717-0663

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Saskatoon HOME is published by: Farmhouse Communications

Telephone: 306-373-1833

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OWNER & PUBLISHER Amanda Soulodre
Saskatoon & Region Home Builders’ Association SRH BA Member 511-45th Street East | Saskatoon, SK | S7K 0W3 Phone 306-934-0660 | Email Lexis Homes


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Like a lot of people in 2020, Jenna Rutherford found herself searching for a creative outlet and a way to connect with others. Stuck at home due to the pandemic, she began dreaming up ways to turn her “builder basic” house into a bright, functional and inviting space.

FROM HOUSE TO HOME Entryway Transformation

With an 11-year career in photography under her tool belt, and a willingness to learn how to build everything from furniture to feature walls, she started posting photos and videos of her projects on Instagram, where she found an inspiring community of

creative and collaborative DIYers. A few of her projects went viral, and today, she has built a following of 237K on Instagram (@fromhousetohomediy), and 1.1 million on TikTok (@fromhousetohome).

“Honestly, it’s surreal,” she says.

Social Media Pros and Cons

Much of the feedback she’s received has been positive. Often, people will reach out to share photos of projects that she has inspired them to take on themselves.

Unfortunately, a wider reach also means dealing with trolls from time

BeforeMylo the family dog relaxes in the revitalized front entry space—a three-month project Jenna tackled last fall.

to time. “TikTok was brutal when I first started,” Jenna says. “I’ve gotten my fair share of comments like ‘go back to the kitchen.’” She’s grown a thicker skin in the last three years and has learned to take it all in stride.

“Trust me, you do not want me in the kitchen because I am not the best cook,” she says with a laugh. She adds that when trolls visit her page and comment “it’s engagement,” which helps broaden her reach even further.

Fortunately, Jenna says “it’s very rare that you run into that. Usually it only happens if a video goes viral, and it hits people who aren’t part of your community space—sometimes it hits a sore spot in people.”

She adds, “I absolutely adore the DIY community. We are constantly sharing ideas and playing off each other’s designs and just going for it. We’re trying new things.”

A Functional, Welcoming Front Entry

After tackling a transformative laundry room reno (which went viral on Instagram) a backyard deck and pergola build (also viral), and several other significant projects, Jenna was ready to take on her home’s front entry.

As a mom of three, she wanted a more functional space to organize her family’s outdoor gear. Pre-renovation, the room was a blank slate—a nondescript grey rectangle, sans storage.

“We were piling all our recyclables there. It just became such a mess,” Jenna says. “Walking into our home, guests had nowhere to store their jackets or take a seat to put their shoes on. I wanted to fix the issue

by adding the built-ins as well as creating an inviting environment.”

The project spanned three months, and involved building the cabinetry from scratch, building and installing panel molding, and painting the front door, as well as the double-height walls. As this area opens to the second floor, Jenna continued the fresh white paint into the common area at the top of the stairs. She also built the console table, and a striking vertical woodslat feature wall between the two sage green built-ins. She handled every element herself, aside from having to hire an electrician to help install the new pendant lights. Three elegant, inverted diamond-shaped light fixtures replaced a large, industrial-style semi-flush fixture.

Beyond the Typical

Jenna says this particular project taught her to “explore ideas beyond what is typically seen in home design.” She notes that wood-slat walls are often backed by a contrasting colour to create depth (such as a black wall behind the wood slats). “I really wanted to explore the design style of wood-on-wood and I’m so glad I did.”

She also discovered that creating a home takes time. “In previous projects, I felt the pressure to refinish a space in record time, and ultimately, the quality would suffer. I now enjoy each step more, learning how I can get better and improve my skills.”

The entry renovation has been one of Jenna’s biggest and most challenging projects, but also incredibly rewarding, she says.

The result is a serene,

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After spying a similar console table with a price tag over $2,000, Jenna decided to build her own version. The materials for her project cost only $120.

elegant, earth-toned space, brilliantly balancing form and function.

The response on social media, and from family and friends who visit is “amazement at how I was able to build the whole thing on my own—including the handmade handles on the cabinets,” says Jenna. They also comment on how much larger the entry feels, because “the panel molding draws the eye upward.”

Jenna dedicated the entry project to her grandmother who died of cancer in 2022. “She was an incredible woman who invited everyone into her home and life with open arms,” says Jenna. “I wanted our home to feel that way starting the moment you walk through the door—a safe and inviting space where everyone is welcome.”

Julie Barnes This is the first in a series featuring Jenna’s DIY transformations. Watch for Jenna’s next project in the Winter issue of HOME. The new front entry is light, bright and airy, with elegant panel molding that draws the eye upward.
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Blending the Outside In and the Inside Out 1950S TO FABULOUS

What do you get when you take a talented interior design professional and a leader of operations with a kitchen and bath company, give them a plain, vaguely Mid-century Modern 1950s two-storey, and two years to do something with it? You get an extraordinary labour of love.

The Eyes Have It

It takes a special vision to see the potential in something ordinary. When Michael Shaw of Centennial Kitchen and Bath looked for a pandemic project to fill product shortage gaps in his renovation work schedule, he came across a 1958-built Grosvenor Park

2343 sq. ft. house on a gorgeous 75 x 140-foot lot. He was intrigued, but it was already conditionally sold. When the deal fell through, armed with that good fortune, he knew just the person to call.

“Tamara Bowman owns Metric Design. We have been involved in many charity

events together and our paths have crossed often,” says Michael. “A friendship sparked and we found we had a shared love of design, entertaining and, funny enough, late night karaoke.” Whether those duets were the catalyst to take on a joint project of this magnitude, who can say.

The primary suite includes a lavish ensuite bathoom and adjoining home office. A walk-through closet is hidden behind a floating wall. For Tamara Bowman of Metric Design and Michael Shaw of Centennial Plumbing, Heating and Electrical, this project was “a true partnership.”

The two embarked on a complete re-design and renovation and, she says, they “touched every bit of this house inside and out.” The home on Lake Crescent was soon dubbed the Centric House for all involved in the dramatic renovation.

A Labour of Love

“Although we started with me solely leading the design, and Michael solely the construction, it truly became a collaboration,” says Tamara. “Where one would leave off, the other picked up. One of us would get too busy and the other would step in. One of us would hit a roadblock, the other would contribute.”

Since the project was a side hustle for both, busy regular work weeks meant fitting in evening and weekend consults and meetings.

“We didn’t go into it with

a set budget,” says Michael. “Just a commitment to build an incredible finished product the way we wanted to do it. Design disagreements were welcomed and not only improved our project but strengthened our friendship.”

Doing it Differently

Typically, both Metric and Centennial would have detailed construction plans and budgets before a project starts. Normally, the design would lean toward appealing to potential buyers. In this case, the pair came up with an initial plan they both liked and got to work, altering the plan as obstacles and ideas popped up.

“It isn’t the most efficient way to run a project,” admits Michael. “But it sure did lead to an incredible outcome. With no clients waiting to move in, we were able

A sunroom built in the late 1980s, closed off from the main floor, was opened up. A structural support beam was added and the vaulted ceiling was sheathed in shiplap. Large windows overlook an expansive backyard. In the basement, a custom applewood bar is not only a centrepiece, but acts as camolflauge for the support pillar.

to perfect our initial ideas without having to worry about missing a deadline.”

Tamara agrees. The focus was not on the budget, but even though they were “no strangers to risk or surprises,” there were still a few sleepless nights.

“We were a tiny bit carefree in matching it to the way either of us would normally do a project. But that was what made it so incredible,” she insists. “We made sure we did this project for us, not how we would normally operate. A little bit reckless.” She laughs. “Worst case, one of us might have to move in there in the end, but we were both okay with that!

Prairie Modern the Wright Way

The Prairie Modern Style grew out of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s insistence on a

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structure being “married to the ground,” reflecting the long, low landscape of the mid-western prairies. It blends some of the Arts and Crafts style elements that connect the indoor and outdoor spaces—the connection with nature he insisted upon—and his penchant for strong geometry and massing.

For Tamara and Michael, the challenge was to convert the house into the Prairie Modern style they felt it deserved. That meant a seamless blend of bold and massive, and minimalist pairings. Given pandemic problems, there were product delays and about mid-point, Centennial’s availability of labour was limited. Master craftsman Ryan Sader was hired to take the project to completion.

“With any renovation,

A favourite feature is the expansive glazing in the kitchen.

you make compromises to suit the application, availability and to keep the project within budget,” says Tamara. “But from my design perspective, I designed a home we both wanted to live in. A space that feels good. Surrounded by clean lines, natural materials and outside spilling in through the massive windows overlooking the generous and established yard.”

The Main Event

The original house was about 2039 sq. ft., with a 304 sq. ft. sunroom addition built in 1989. Tamara and Michael added a 160 sq. ft. front addition. The main floor was “a massive transformation.”

“The charm of the house

The design and reno intended that inhabitants would be surrounded by clean lines, natural materials, and experience a connection to the outside.

was on the inside. The exterior was very plain, and tough to describe what style it was,” says Michael. “On the interior, there were some beautiful features. The millwork and the suspended staircase, both of which we worked hard to keep, were the highlights.”

The project capitalized on a Mid-century Modern vibe. What that vibe lacked was flow. The main entrance opened up directly in front of the staircase, but didn’t offer enough room to appreciate the feature. There was little light transfer and the view to the expansive backyard was limited. One of the biggest challenges was opening up the floor plan. Tara Reichart from Levity Engineering was “the key to our success,” says Michael.

“We opened up walls, especially in the sunroom and between the kitchen and dining room,” Tamara explains. “Our goal was to expand views from inside to out, we knew that we had to move the kitchen off of the outside wall. We took over a bit of an office and the dinette, and relocated the garage entrance to the front so we could reshape the kitchen into the central portion of the home. We were able to add massive windows and a large sliding patio door.”

This allowed light to flood into the kitchen, dining and sunroom with a western exposure. With the addition of a second patio door, the deck became wrapped by the two door systems, connecting the spaces.

“One of my favourite features is the large window that overlooks the yard from the kitchen peninsula,” she adds. “Such an incredible

spot for working with a view.”

The mudroom was an important addition. Having it open, spacious and close to the kitchen made it functional.

“And,” says Tamara, “it allows for a gorgeous and proper entrance in the front that doesn’t get jammed up with day-to-day items.”

Stairway to Heaven: The Second Storey

The suspended staircase was a breathtaking original element requiring a bit of attention to bring it up to code. Thicker custom walnut caps reduced space between treads, and glass panels instead of a traditional railing add to the floating illusion. The reconfigured

Original millwork in the living room and on the unique stairway was preserved to match new sleek walnut cabinetry in the kitchen.

second floor included collapsing two bedrooms to create a large primary suite, ensuite, with a walkthrough closet and personal office. Tamara, fond of saying “obstacles become opportunities,” notes the beams in the bedroom were an engineering necessity, but become an intriguing design feature.

They felt a convenient upstairs laundry was a “no brainer.” Instead of a dark workplace, it features a large bank of windows for abundant natural light, and bench seating.

Exterior Wow

The exterior was an important focus. They wanted to pay tribute to the area, the era, the special elements, and the landscape, and spent “a ton of time ensuring we got this right.”

The Prairie Style has a pronounced roof and more finite modern detailing, so changing the siding detail, adjusting materials and window sizes, and adding the porch was important. The front addition created a grander entrance, typical of this style.

“We needed to do a better job of blending the inside out and the outside in,” Tamara explains. “On the inside with the windows and spaces all

opened up, you feel as though you are one with the yard.”

Hitting the Nail

“The previous owners were there for years, and they even had mobility devices in the house to support aging in place,” says Tamara. “The family came back to view the space after it was complete and they couldn’t believe the transformation. They felt so proud to be able to see the home given this new life.”

But even as they nailed the project, it was time to let it go. “This is always a tough one for me. I get very invested in my projects,” says Tamara. “The house sold in just over a month to a wonderful retired couple.”

“In the end, I loved the home and I actually did want to live there, as did the majority of others who came through it,” she adds.

Michael agrees not restricting their vision was their best decision.

“We didn’t let our budget constrain us on this project,” he says. “We were confident that with such an incredible lot on one of Saskatoon’s best streets, we could invest what we needed to as long as the finished product was incredible.”

A new mudroom off the kitchen allowed for the grand front entrance to remain clutter-free.
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Building Community Through Cohousing

“So…do you all live together?”

That’s the most common misconception Wanda Martin encounters when she tells people where she lives.

Wanda and her husband live at Radiance Cohousing, across from Optimist Park in Riversdale.

It’s not a co-op, or a commune. Although they share a strong collective mindset, each resident has their own four walls in this nine-unit townhouse development.

Completed in 2018, the original partners in this project (which incorporates

Passive House design principles) have had nearly five years to settle into their new homes. Has the vision they had for their community been realized?

“The original vision was to live sustainably,” says Shannon Dyck. “That’s what Mike (Nemeth), my now

husband, and I talked about in 2011.” Green building was important to both of them, says Shannon, “but we noticed that sustainability is bigger than just a standalone green home. It’s about knowing your community, and participating in it with your neighbours.”

Neighbours Carmen and Michael play with their kids in the communal courtyard garden. Sheila Ann, Al and Annette install the courtyard fire pit patio. Maury, Megan, Annette and Al team up to build the pergola in 2021.

She explains that Mike grew up on a farm and felt connected to his community growing up, while she grew up in Saskatoon with neighbours “that felt like friends.”

What is Cohousing?

Cohousing is a housing model consisting of individually owned homes and shared spaces. Although Radiance is managed like a typical condo now that it’s complete, all the original owners came together to “design, build and invest” in the development, says Wanda. “That’s the piece that makes cohousing different than a condo. When you are taking on the full risk as a group, and sharing decision making—that’s another layer. We became a development company.”

At Radiance, the townhomes bookend a shared courtyard, which includes a spacious outdoor deck, a communal garden, as well as individual garden plots for each resident. Solar panels on the roof provide power for the Saskatoon CarShare Co-op vehicle that charges at Radiance when not in use. One of the nine townhomes is co-owned, and used for monthly meetings and gatherings.

Creating Community

Wanda and her husband are originally from New Brunswick, but have also lived in Manitoba, and spent 20 years in BC. “We’ve never had family around, and not having kids of our own or any real roots here” was part of the initial draw towards cohousing, she says. “We are getting older, so I felt we could age in place and have people around who know

us, and would be there for emergencies.”

It’s become so much more than that.

Neighbours gather regularly for craft nights, shared meals are organized, and spontaneous gatherings on the deck are common. “There’s a lot of casual gathering that happens between 4:30 and 6 p.m., when people come home from work and the kids return from daycare,” says Shannon. There are Easter egg hunts, pumpkin carving contests for Halloween, and bake exchanges at Christmas.

Shannon sees her community as an extended family. “They end up being incorporated into those parts of the year when you spend time with family.”

There’s also a WhatsApp group everyone participates in. “Someone says they’re going to make a curry and they’ve realized they’re out of coconut milk and the message goes out,” says Wanda. “I started always having extra cans of coconut milk.”

There are no age restrictions at Radiance. Wanda, who is 59, describes her neighbours as “a good mix” of ages. “Half of us are around my age group, which could be parents to the other half,” she says. “You’re in your early 30s or you’re pushing 60 or higher—there’s not much in between here.”

Shared Values

Wanda says Radiance residents share common values including “social justice and environmental sustainability.” The Passive House design was a big draw for her due to its energy efficiency. A 9,000L tank beneath the garden

All the original owners had the opportunity to customize their homes’ interiors. Shannon and Michael opted for a clean, simple aesthetic for their home.

collects rainwater from the downspouts, which is used to water the gardens.

Shannon adds that “living lightly on the earth, but fully, with others,” is another shared value. “We share this desire to work on things together—whether that project is the garden, or building something or having craft nights.”

The Sharing Economy

Residents share a snow blower, shovels, a barbecue, tools and more. There’s even a shared ice cream maker. “Everybody doesn’t need to own an ice cream maker,” says Wanda. What’s not communally owned, residents are happy to lend out and borrow from one another. “If you need anything, you just put it out (on the group WhatsApp) and

Residents gather together for a Christmas potluck in the common house.

if someone has it, they will lend it to you.”

They also share the chores. “I like to shovel snow and use the snow blower,” says Wanda. “If I felt that I should only do one-eighth of the snow removal, it would be chaos. You’d never be happy. We find where our strengths are, and what we like to do, and just take that on.”

Every summer, the courtyard garden brims with flower blooms, veggies and fruit. “I could never have a garden like this on my own. It would be too much work,” says Shannon. The residents have a watering schedule, she says. “It doesn’t feel hard because everyone does it once a month.”

Residents also look after each other’s homes while they’re on vacation, or— sometimes—simply

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Pam and her father make apple cider on the deck.


Interested in living in a less atomized way? Here are some collaborative housing developments currently in the planning stages in and around Saskatoon. Hearthside Commons has purchased land in Varsity View. “Our next steps are to finalize the concept (number of units, type of structure), and then submit for rezoning,” says Nancy Winder, one of a group of six friends who’ve banded together to “create a place that’s socially, environmentally and psychologically sustainable.” Further details can be found at

Although they aren’t using the term “cohousing,” Re:Generation Land Commons will have elements that mirror a cohousing development, such as shared spaces and commonly held infrastructure, says Jesse Davis. “We’re in the very early stages of what we intend to be an ecovillage one day.” For more information, visit

The Canadian Cohousing Network provides a resource directory for cohousing projects in various stages across the country. Visit for more information.

open their homes up to each other when the need arises.

Over the summer, Shannon’s mom was in an accident, and one of Shannon’s neighbours opened up her home so

she could recover there, with Shannon close by. The neighbour temporarily moved in with her partner.

“It made a scary situation a lot easier to manage,” Shannon says.

Barriers to Building More Cohousing

There were challenges in getting Radiance off the ground, says Shannon. “You have to put a lot of time and money into this process, so you are taking on risk. The risk of not knowing how long it will take, and how much money you’re going to need.”

Securing financing was another issue. “You need a construction loan, and if you are a group of people who have never been developers before, financial institutions kind of red flag you.”

Those hurdles make it difficult for cohousing to catch on.

“I wish this was more available to people,” says Shannon. “It’s a privileged thing, and living in community shouldn’t be for some and not others, so we need support for this through different avenues— whether that’s different levels of government or financing organizations.”

Coming Together for the Common Good

Being intentional about building community is a way of addressing what experts have called a loneliness epidemic in Canada. A 2021 Stats Canada survey found that 40 per cent of Canadians felt lonely “some or all of the time,” which poses a threat to public health.

“It’s important for me to have community,” says Wanda. “To have a sense of community, and to not have to participate,” she adds with a laugh. Cohousing has given her the ability to strike a balance between being social and solitary.

She’d like more people to experience the sense of community cohousing can catalyze. “I’d like people to see it in action—this is how you live privately and together,” she says. “And I believe 90 per cent of the world’s problems right now are because we don’t think this way.”

Radiance residents work together to install the front walkway in 2020.
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Ready to “fun-size”?

What is youR joie de vivRe? vivRe

These days mature adults are not only looking to downsize, they are looking to “fun-size” by creating spaces in their homes where they can do the things they truly enjoy. At Crossmount, we can help you create these interior spaces, but our community itself is all about enhancing day-to-day experiences with unique amenities and creative opportunities.

At Crossmount you will find unique amenities in a spectacular setting. Located 5 km south of Saskatoon on Lorne Avenue (Highway 219), Crossmount is located on 400 acres of natural prairies. We are a 55+ pet friendly community. There are five sizes of homes to choose from, all designed for aging-in-place. In-home health services are available so you can stay in the home you love even if health needs change.

Onsite you will find apple and pear orchards, a working cidery with tasting room and outdoor decks, a Little Market Box Boutique and cheese production facility, the Pine & Thistle Kitchen + Bar, an event venue, a doctor for our residents, walking paths, a natural pond, resident-run community gardens, clubs, programming and activities for residents. You will also find residents strolling and biking, conversing and entertaining, playing bocce ball and horseshoes with neighbours, walking dogs and playing with grandchildren, going on Art Walks in the community and puttering in the community gardens, or simply relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the prairies. Final house sites are available so do not miss your opportunity to join this unique community.

For more information about our independent homes or to schedule a personal tour please email, phone us at 306-374-9890 or connect through our website.

HOMEtown Reflections


Over a period of 60 years, from 1909–1969, more than 4,000 young women graduated from the nursing schools at St. Paul’s and City Hospitals in Saskatoon. There they ate, slept, lived and worked. In many ways, the schools became both mother and father to the women in their care.

“We Were Treated Like Children” Students were required to

live in residence. Room and board was supplied, along with uniforms and laundry. Rooms were generally shared, two or three to a room. In the very early days at St. Paul’s, they bunked in an open dormitory with 15–20 other girls.

Much of their training was hands-on. Most of the nurses on the wards in those days were students. Through endless repetition,

they honed the skills they had learned in the classroom and the demonstration rooms. Shifts were long and the pay was barely pocket money. By the 1960s, they were making $8 a month for the first year, $10 in the second, and a whopping $12 per month in their third and final year.

The rules extended into all aspects of their personal lives. Most of their decisions were made for them. When

to get up, when to go to bed. When to study and when to eat. What to wear and how to wear it. Even free time was scheduled. Students’ whereabouts were always known. Students had to sign in and out, with a board at the front entrance to show who was in, who was out, and who was on duty. There were late leaves and overnight passes, but they were carefully vetted.

The original City Hospital Nurses' Residence on King Street and 6th Avenue, 1912. Photo: Local History Room - Saskatoon Public Library - LH 3589

And of course, no guests were allowed upstairs. “Not even our mothers!”

Curfew was strictly enforced. In by 9:30, lights out by 10:00, with the housemothers prowling the halls and doing bed checks. “In second year, you got four late leave cards a month,” one St. Paul’s nurse recalled. “That meant you could stay out until 11:00. In third year, you got one for midnight. You always saved that one up for something special, so if you didn’t get a date that month, it was wasted.”

But late leaves were a privilege, not a right, and blowing curfew could mean having them taken away. Or worse. So could a poorly made bed or a messy room. Or sloppy dress. Or dirty hands. “Sister inspected each of us as we came into the cafeteria for breakfast. Uniforms had to be clean and properly worn, hairnet on, hands clean and fingernails scrubbed. No runs in stockings. That was a serious no-no.”

At St. Paul’s, the dress code extended beyond uniforms. You couldn’t go out in slacks or shorts, regardless of the weather. And definitely

St. Paul’s Hospital in 1913 with the original Nurses Residence in the background. It was replaced in the 1930s. The peg board at City Hospital nurses’ residence, 1952, was the way to keep track of students’ whereabouts at any given time. St. Paul’s Class of 1933. Photos: (top) City of Saskatoon Archives - S-SP-B-1443-008; (middle and bottom) City of Saskatoon Archives

no stretch pants, which were form-fitting and thus, according to the nuns, a leading cause of pregnancy.

Indeed, getting pregnant meant leaving the program. So did getting married, and there are stories of girls who kept their change in marital status a secret. Almost certainly, there were pregnancies that were similarly—and literally— covered up.

“We Made it Fun”

Despite all of this, life in residence was fun.

They were loud, lively places, full of laughter and camaraderie. It was a haven, one graduate called it, and the bonds that were created lasted lifetimes.

“We shared everything,” a St. Paul’s nurse told us. “Except boyfriends,” her friend countered, eliciting a

Total Comfort. Totally Happy.

laugh from the others at the table. But it was true: a culture of sharing pervaded the schools. Food parcels from home were an excuse for a party. A special date meant having the pick of everyone’s wardrobe, to ensure being dressed to best effect. Once,

when a St. Paul’s girl was caught drinking underage, the others conspired to sneak her out of residence under the noses of the nuns, find her a ride out to the town of Allan to attend court, and get her safely home after with none the wiser. Then they

all chipped in to pay her fine. They were also expected to behave like ladies. The regular formal dinners were a way for young girls, most of them from farms and small towns, to learn grace and etiquette. The dances were both gala events and

St. Paul’s nursing students attend a class, 1962. Photo: City of Saskatoon Archives
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A party in St. Paul’s Nurses Residence, ca. 1940s. The Reception Room, St. Paul’s Nurses’ Residence, 1947. Photos: (both) City of Saskatoon Archives

a way to practice the game of courtship under carefully chaperoned conditions. Boys from the U of S Engineering and Agricultural colleges were often invited. “A lot of the girls met their husbands that way.” Occasionally the girls were bussed out to dances at the air force base. And of course, rules are made to be broken. Nurses from St. Paul’s went out with the forbidden shorts under their skirts, which they slipped off in some private spot along the way. After hours reading or studying could be done by flashlight under the covers, or in a closet, the light hidden from the prowling housemothers. And for those willing to risk the consequences, there were always ways to sneak out and back in again.

A Pack Mentality

Despite the busy schedules, there was lots to do. Coffee parties, marshmallow and

wiener roasts by the river were common. Swimming parties. The occasional drinking parties, by all accounts. Nurses at City Hospital in the 1940s wrote about excursions to Devil’s Dip, across the river by the

University, and to a place called “the lone tree,” the location of which is now lost to history. Kinsmen Park was also a favoured spot, despite the reported “Peeping Toms” who lurked there, hoping to get a glimpse into the

windows of the nurses’ residence. At St. Paul’s there were excursions down 20th Street. “We always travelled in herds” to Hewgill’s Drugstore, which was nearby, or to Adilman’s, and then downtown over

Study break at St. Paul’s, 1961. Shenanigans in the St. Paul’s dorm room, 1961. “We travelled in herds”—girls from St. Paul’s on 20th Street, ca. 1942. Photos: (top two) courtesy Marion Carter; (bottom) City of Saskatoon Archives

the railway tracks on the old pedestrian footbridge. The tennis courts at St. Paul’s were busy in the summer, and the auditorium in the Nurses’ Residence there doubled as a gymnasium. There were Drama Nights, concerts, and Glee Clubs. For smokers, there were endless games of bridge in the smoking lounges. “The Smoker” at St. Paul’s, was a room in the basement where the air was so thick you could barely see inside.

Pranks and Shenanigans

Were there shenanigans? Yes, there were.

Engineering students coming to dances at St. Paul’s would sneak beer in through the window in the basement bathroom. A water fight at the City Hospital nurses’ residence once escalated to dueling fire hoses, with water pouring down the halls. Back at St. Paul’s, the first-year girls awoke one morning to find their doors had all been tied shut with nylons. Another time, twenty boys from the College of



Engineering staged a “panty raid” at St. Paul’s, racing past the housemother to the residential floors where the doors had all been left mysteriously unlocked, allowing them to burst in, rifle through dresser drawers, then race back out waving their trophies, with the nuns in hot pursuit. They just don’t make fun like that anymore.

Changing Times

By the 1960s, change was i n the air. Student nurses were becoming increasingly resentful of the strict discipline and the hours of unpaid labour. Late leaves were increased. Girls from Saskatoon were no longer required to live in residence. They could even get married. This meant that pregnancy was no longer the absolute no-no it had once been, since a girl could get married and move off-campus but still continue her training.

Then, in 1968, the province moved nursing education from the Department of Health to the

Please be certain that every article of your clothing is distinctly marked with your full name. The following is a list of the personal articles you will need:

1. A large supply of underclothing, including white slips to be worn under uniforms. These must be within 12 inches from the floor.

2. A large supply of handkerchiefs.

3. Nightgowns with sleeves or pajama suits.

4. Housecoat that has the appearance of a dress—one suitable to appear on main floor to answer telephone.

5. One pair of noiseless slippers.

6. Bath and face towels.

7. Twelve pair white hose.

8. White wool sweater.

Department of Education. The class of 1968–69 was the last one to graduate from the hospital-run nursing programs. After that, the residences closed, the buildings were re-purposed, and the world moved on.

The youngest of the nursing school graduates are all in their 70s now. The oldest, in their 80s, 90s and beyond. There are fewer and fewer of them every year. But they still get

together, to share stories and remember the days when they and the world were young.

(With special thanks to Marlene Davis, Diane Neufeld and Marian Carter, of the St. Paul’s Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association, and to Isobel Afseth, Saskatoon City Hospital Nurses Alumnae, for their kind assistance.)

Moving-in day, ca. 1959. Photos: City of Saskatoon Archives St. Paul’s late leave card, ca. 1940s.
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Roll it Up, Seventies Style

In the 1970s, despite a modest budget, my husband and I enjoyed inviting friends for dinner. We became creative in our approach, using candlelight to blur our humble surroundings and shed soft light on the food

and table décor. Simple, delicious meals shared with friends made fond memories.

I learned to make less expensive cuts of meat into company-worthy offerings. I was particularly fond of rolling meat around seafood,

vegetables, bread stuffing, and even fruit. The recipes I tried were easy, tasty, and visually appealing.

Decades have passed and our tastes have changed, so I decided to revisit some of my early roll-up recipes.

Sadly, some of these recipes are best left in the 70s, but a few have made it into my latest collection of family favourites.

My Flank Steak Roll-Ups recipe has stood the test of time. I am also including


a versatile chicken option. I find that rolling chicken around almost anything provides a creative cooking experience. It also allows me to accommodate the dietary preferences of my family members.

Whichever meat roll you decide to make, try to find some metal poultry lacers to use instead of wooden picks. Very old cookbooks suggest closing each roll with a needle and strong cotton thread and some recipes suggest tying the

rolls using butchers’ twine. Choose the option that works best for you.

If you want to make chefstyle roll-ups, you can trim the edges of the meat to form perfect rectangles and use the trimmings for a stir-fried meal. As a home-cook, I skip this step because I like a less formal roll.

In the 60s and 70s, flank steak was inexpensive. These days it isn’t always available, and it isn’t always a bargain. This could be because flank steak is frequently sold to

prepare yummy treats like fajitas, ginger beef, and beef jerky. However, flank steak

More Recipes Found at:
Poultry Lacers

Flank Steak Roll-Ups


1 flank steak (usually around 2 pounds), scored lightly on each side

1 clove garlic, halved


1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves


1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 to 6 slices bacon

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon snipped parsley

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

Spread the scored flank steak onto a large cutting board. Rub the meat with the garlic halves. Sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Cut the meat crosswise into 4 to 6 serving pieces.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon. Drain bacon on a paper towel and pour off the bacon drippings into a small dish. Return 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings to the skillet.

Place a strip of cooked bacon on a piece of meat and roll together, securing with a metal skewer or wooden pick. As I mentioned, I prefer to use my metal poultry lacers. Roll the remaining pieces in the same manner.

I use my electric skillet to prepare this recipe, but you could cook it on your stovetop in a fry pan with a lid. Once you coat the rolls in the flour of your choice, brown them in the skillet on medium heat.

Stir together the shallots, marjoram leaves, parsley, salt, and tomato sauce. Pour this mixture over the meat. Cover the pan tightly and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes.

When ready to serve, place the rolls on a platter and remove the skewers or wooden picks. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls.

Serve Flank Steak Roll-Ups with creamy mashed potatoes and green vegetables.

Cheese and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken


2 chicken breasts, halved horizontally, making four thin pieces

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


Preheat oven to 400°F

A selection of filling ingredients you enjoy such as cheese and vegetables

1 egg

A few drops of Frank’s RedHot Original hot sauce

Flatten the chicken pieces with a meat mallet. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and mix in 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Spread this mixture over the chicken pieces.

Spread grated cheese of your choice and chopped mushrooms over the chicken. Be creative; add a piece of asparagus or some crab meat. Roll and skewer the chicken.

Coat rolls in the flour of your choice. Let rest a few minutes.

Mix the egg with a few drops of Frank’s RedHot Original hot sauce.

Dip the flour-coated chicken rolls in the egg mixture and place on a baking pan.

Bake in a 400°F oven for 30 minutes. During the last ten minutes, sprinkle grated cheese on each roll.

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PRESERVED MOSS Lush Interiorscapes Without the Maintenance

Many people enjoy air purifying—not to mention pretty—houseplants and cut flowers as a calming element of interior decor. But if neglected, plants and flowers are unforgiving in their abandonment. For people whose green thumb is problematic—or who can’t take the rejection—there’s a simplified solution to having a touch of greenery in the

home. The soft, lush, textured look of moss.

The Green Alternative

A rolling stone may gather no moss, but Shondra Boire of PlantYXE sure seems attracted to the non-vascular rootless stuff. Beyond a mind-boggling set of scientific details about how ancient and ecologically important spore-producing moss is, with its some

12,000 species reproducing with sexual and asexual generations, Shondra loves its potential for maintenancefree home decor.

While many gardeners fight the spread of moss in flower beds and homeowners bemoan its appearance on the roof, Shondra promotes its use in framed wall hangings, bowls and terrariums. It

was in Switzerland where she first saw moss used as a living wall and she was immediately hooked.

“I’ve always been a nature lover and I know I got my green thumb from my grandmothers,” Shondra says. Both were avid gardeners with massive vegetable gardens and enviable roses. “Their gardens were some

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of the nicest on the block” and they clearly made an impression on their granddaughter.

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Shondra went back to school in her early thirties to earn a horticulture degree.

“I wanted to blend my knowledge of horticulture with my experience in commercial sales and leasing. Providing green interiorscapes was something I was always interested in. When I saw the living moss wall in Switzerland—it was about 15 feet tall in a spa—I knew it was a fabulous alternative to living tropical plant walls and the constant maintenance that goes with that.”

Outdoors In

It’s probably not what renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright was thinking with his biophilic “bring the outside in” style of architecture. But he might have been intrigued by the use of the natural textures and colours of moss to add to a home interior.

Shondra did more research and found preserved moss to be an excellent plant medium to work with. She created a piece for her own home, posted a picture on Instagram and “the interest was overwhelming.”

Five years after seeing her first moss wall in Europe, she has nurtured a long list of clients who order pieces for homes and commercial spaces.

Aside from bowls and terrariums, Shondra has created wall art in a wide range of sizes from small eight-inch pieces all the way up to expansive wall displays over 300 square feet.

Moss is “incredibly versatile” and is preserved to maintain vibrant colour and texture.

The art provides a calming sense in the workplace or home without much upkeep expense. Residential placements range from new upscale urban builds to cabins at the lake.

Not Your Old Flora

Cut flowers need trimming and fresh water or they compost in their vases. Plants and flowers require a lot of maintenance to stay healthy and fresh, but in the end, they die without so much as a thank you. The nice thing about moss, Shondra explains, is that it’s already dead. But not dead in the

browned off, dried up way of plants that give up the ghost. This is more like bryophyte taxidermy.

“It’s all natural real moss but has been preserved to maintain its colour and texture,” she says. “There is no watering, no misting, no trimming and no sun required. The moss is incredibly versatile and the preservation process ensures its natural state is maintained so it looks and feels alive.”

Shondra purchases her moss from ethically-sourced and sustainable moss farms in France and Singapore.

“They are similar to


Shondra shares some simple advice to keep moss art looking its best

1. Keep out of direct sunlight.

2. Lightly dust with compressed air as needed.

3. There isn’t even a 3, 4 or 5 because it is literally that easy.

our grass turf farms,” says Shondra. “Natural moss floors are extremely important to our ecosystem and none of that is touched. The farms ensure we have a supply of moss, but not at the expense of what grows naturally.”

Moss as a Medium

Some preserved moss has been colour-enhanced for more vibrant hues. Shondra likes to augment her pieces with other interesting bits of flora.

“I love adding anything natural to the pieces like branches, wheat, preserved plants, even stones, sea shells, and driftwood,” she says. “I like fabulous fungi like tree brackets or shelf mushrooms. They add interesting textures, depth and colour.” She adds that her green grandmothers wouldn’t be surprised to know of her mossy vocation, since from childhood she painted, sewed and baked. “I think they would find it a very neat idea that moss is an art medium.”

Because moss is a natural product, even though it’s preserved, it does have a slight earthy scent. But, as with living houseplants, it’s not noticeable after a couple weeks following installation.

“It’s the perfect alternative to houseplants that require constant maintenance and upkeep,” Shondra says. “There is the forever challenge of keeping them alive. With moss, you can go away on holidays for three weeks. You don’t have to pester a friend to come over to water your plants, and you still come home to a beautiful green piece of art.”

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