Hope Point

The Hope Point neighborhood was established after the I-day chaos finally died down. As the first municipal development after the city’s devastation, it bears great historical significance—even though the rest of the city has largely passed it by.

Hope point was originally a government survey headquarters established in the ruins of the Nutana neighborhood, which coordinated the initial appraisal of the city. While their mission was to determine how much of Saskatoon could be salvaged, they quickly uncovered something far more interesting: the city’s notoriously high natural Ink concentration. The Canadian national government, realizing the enormity of the implication, dispatched a specially-formed scientific committee to begin researching the area. After several weeks, plans to salvage Old Saskatoon were abandoned, and a large campaign of state-sponsored construction was launched.

Following the creation of a new city charter and several drafts of urban planning, the bulk of official scientific inquiry was moved to Saskatoon’s western industrial district, while the Nutana district was redrawn and rechristened “Hope Point”. Hope Point was originally intended to be an office park: anticipating an influx of speculative ink-based businesses, the provincial government commissioned the construction of 8 separate state-owned office buildings, and leased the land for the construction of 24 more to a collection of private interests. Many of these were built by Steady Hands Construction Company, which later became a cornerstone of the Morbux Corporation.

Today, Hope Point serves a different purpose. While several warehouse and shipping companies still keep offices there, it fell out of vogue as an office location in the 2200s after the creation of the uptown industrial district; and many of its original buildings were refurbished as apartment complexes. For the last century or so, it has been used as residence for upper-middle-class residents who either cannot afford or do not enjoy the glitzy life of Overside. The European-style townhouses and wide streets have attracted a good number of artists, musicians, and designer augmenteers. In many ways, Hope Point has returned to the role that Nutana held before it: a pleasant, if unexciting, residential district for rich people and hipsters.

Catscrown Lane

If you ask someone to show you the quaintest place in Saskatoon, they’ll probably point you here. Catscrown Lane sits on the Western edge of Hope Point and runs almost perfectly parallel to the riverbank. It stands out like a sore thumb against the city surrounding it: it’s a row of four-story townhouses, sitting on a wide open cobblestone street. The four-paneled windows and simple wooden doors evoke a more primitive time, very much by design: this was where the Saskatoon Urban Planning commission entertained a brief but spirited affair with 21st century neo-urbanism, and sought to create “the village of the future”. This would concentrate business and living arrangements in a single small area—the goal being to create an ecologically friendly and socially sound neighborhood. This idea fell apart almost immediately for several reasons. </p> For one, the sheer scale of the I-day population boom meant that the ‘modern village’ became completely impractical: residences needed more room, which meant either skyscrapers or ghettos. Secondly, the I-day post scarcity environment made efficient design unnecessary. Ultimately it proved to be an outdated idea for a poorer time; and so the city grew up and out around it, into the one we know today. Catscrown Lane likely would have been bulldozed and built over, but for one particular historical note: Number 8 was the residence of Croesus Catsby, of the Croesus Construction Co, during the Saskatoon reconstruction period. Given the considerable status which Catsby would later acquire, the property and those adjacent were preserved by the Hystorical corporation for their own use.

Today, Catscrown Lane exists chiefly for tourism, and does very well by itself. Each of the 10 buildings has 12 apartments spread over 4 floors; and for the most part these have been left undisturbed. The notable exception was the merger of #1 and #2 into a single building, now called the 103 Café. Instead of renting out the apartments as normal, Hystorical boards desirable businesses or persons in exchange for a cut of their proceeds. These include the Steel Flower Augment/art gallery; the Mother Black Southern Barbecue; and the private residence of Wendel Procter, the world’s foremost inkblood researcher.