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Saskatoon’s Broadway Avenue re-imagined in Nutana virtual tour

A digital tour of in Saskatoon’s Nutana area gives one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods a new feel.

Users physically walk through the popular area with guidance from automated text messages, revealing parts of Saskatoon’s history in the form of a scavenger hunt.

Developer and founder Adam Bissonnette came up with the idea after doing a text message-based tour in London, England.

“I thought to myself ‘jeeze I could make one of these things myself,’” said Bissonnette, who also works with Saskatoon’s Vendasta marketing firm.

He likens the phone to a tour guide, taking adventurers from place to place, seeing “all those unique gems.”

“You can experience it in that very personal way, so that’s what we’re sort of trying to replicate with having our John Smith character guiding you through,” Bissonnette said.

The game’s website describes John Smith as “a local hero, fashion model and karaoke star.”

The Five Corners digital tour is now available for five dollars.

Broadway Avenue is full of stories waiting to be unearthed, according to Saskatoon Heritage Society president Peggy Sarjeant.

She said the street served as a meeting point for people travelling from what is now Whitecap Dakota First Nation to Batoche, Sask.

Broadway was also home to streetcars known as “puddle-jumpers,” which schoolchildren would occasionally topple off the tracks, Sarjeant said.

“They were very bad people,” she said with a laugh.

Another one of Bissonnette’s digital tours is available at the Western Development Museum (WDM), known as the Boomtown Pursuit.

Users investigate a horse heist in a process museum manager Jason B. Wall called “edutainment.”

“You do have to put your thinking cap on and you do have to pay attention when you’re going through the whole program to catch the notorious horse thief,” Wall said.

Fiver corners is available and Boomtown Pursuit can be purchased at the front desk of the WDM.

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