Watch above: It sits along the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon with a park as its backyard. Meaghan Craig introduces us to the Riverhouse Gallery, its owner and its history.
SASKATOON – Saskatoon is filled with diverse neighbourhoods but Riversdale takes the cake for character homes. One home in particular that may catch your eye as you walk along Spadina Crescent West is the Riverhouse Art Gallery, a house that has evolved over the years along with the city blocks around it.
Nestled along the riverbank, the home’s eye popping exterior creates a picture of this home’s colourful past.
“I feel that I don’t own the house that I’m the current care taker. It has a life of its own, it has a spirit of its own,” said homeowner Cecilia Elizabeth.
In 1995, Elizabeth and her husband bought the home for both its views and ample space for an art studio on the main floor.
“I fell in love with the house, I always wanted a great big old house and so to me it didn’t matter where it was.”
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The vision for this home even before it was built was grand with the soul intention that someone of prominence would call it home.
“The house cost, in 1908, five thousand dollars to build it and that was what was on the land-title.”
While it isn’t designated a heritage property according the Elizabeth, the home’s history runs deep and at times has been known as the “Lawton House” in addition to the “Woman’s House.”
A number of Saskatoon’s rich and famous have lived here as well as some rather infamous people. Elizabeth says according to one landlord, convicted murderer Larry Fisher lived here on the third level in the ’70s.
“All she would say is he was not a good tenant.”
Elizabeth admits the Riversdale neighbourhood has had it’s ups and downs over the years but revitalized it’s come a long way.
“I would have friends that would say I won’t drive through Riversdale unless I lock my doors that’s changed. I have 40 students coming weekly to my classes and they never worry about coming here to do classes.”
Riversdale is in a period of rebirth as new boutiques open, eateries with new builds reshaping one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. Elizabeth says if she has her way she’ll continue to live and eventually die here.
“It’s my kids inheritance, I say ‘Be nice to me because this is your inheritance ’cause they’re not to get any money’,” laughed Elizabeth.