Vaughn and Stacey Krywicki moved to Sarilia five years ago this fall. A year after settling in, their family expanded with the birth of their son, Huxley.
Vaughn has a unique perspective on river valley living, given his role as a Realtor, and as a board member of the Sarilia Community Association. We recently chatted with Vaughn to find out what’s new and exciting at Sarilia, the new lot sale ($10,000 off every lot until Sept. 23!), and what kind of lifestyle the river valley offers him and his family.
As both a resident of Sarilia, and a Realtor, what do you see as the main reasons people move to Sarilia?
The people who are have moved to Sarilia recently are a lot of young families that are looking for more space and freedom. A lot of them come from smaller towns or farms and have lived in Saskatoon or even smaller bedroom communities, like Martensville or Warman, and they are looking for something more.
It’s a good opportunity to buy property at Sarilia now to build a new home. Gwen (Sarilia’s developer) and I have put together a plan where every lot has been reduced in price by $10,000 until September 23.
It’s more like pricing from 10 years ago. So, that’s a good opportunity, and builders are also aggressive right now with their pricing.
You’re a member of the Sarilia Community Association. What kind of community improvement projects are underway right now?
I’m on the Parks and Rec committee, and we just cut a new trail system this winter with the approval of the RM—we received some funding through the RM to make it happen.
We’re also in the process of building a new playground and an outdoor recreation area for kids and adults. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the kids. That’s something exciting that I’m proud to be part of. And it’s exciting for the community and the residents. We’re looking at estimates for features like park benches, playground equipment and maybe a basketball net and a horseshoe pit—any sort of outdoor recreation. It’s nice because the area is sheltered in the tree belt.
There will continue to be more improvements and interesting things like that in the future.
What kind of person would appreciate the lifestyle that Sarilia offers?
Someone who appreciates nature. Someone who doesn’t mind a short commute that they can use to wind down. I know for myself, that living at Sarilia with that short commute—it’s nice to have. Initially it was hard to get used to, because I was used to everything being 10 minutes away—but you can’t even get to everything in 10 minutes in Saskatoon anymore. It’s actually been better for me as it’s forced me to be more efficient with my time and planning.
A lot of people want to know how much it would cost to buy a property and build their home at Sarilia. What do you think is the entry-level price, when you combine the cost of a lot and home construction?
Lot prices are coming down, and in my opinion you can have a beautiful home for under $300,000. That’s very affordable for a brand-new house.
I hear you have a family cabin at Candle Lake. Some residents have compared living at Sarilia to spending time at the lake. Do you find any parallels?
It certainly has a lot of attributes that are like the lake. You can do all kinds of outdoor activities just like at the cabin—hiking and fishing and that kind of thing.
What kinds of activities do you do as a family at Sarilia?
We ride our bikes and walk. Our son is four. He’s a madman, so he’s always running around, doing whatever four-year-olds do.
What’s it like to raise a child at Sarilia?
In some ways, it feels a little bit safer. There’s less traffic and you know your neighbours. We know everybody. You look out for each other in that respect. There’s lots of young kids out here too—a lot of young families are moving in.
What are a few of your favourite aspects of living in the river valley?
The air is fresher. Just being outside. I’m a big advocate of getting outside. When we were kids we did a lot of that—camping and spending time outdoors and over the years I’ve expanded on that. Being next the river is certainly an attraction. That’s a mainstay for Sarilia. It comes back to that lake lifestyle.
Would you say you appreciate the outdoors during all four seasons at Sarilia?
Yes. You bundle up and get outside during the winter. Our son goes outside every day in the winter, even when it’s minus 40—briefly of course. He enjoys it too. And it helps you sleep well at night.
What kinds of activities do you do out on the river?
I fish quite frequently. It’s a passion of mine. Once every other week I would like to get down there this summer. And I often meet a lot of my friends from the city out here. They’ll come out to Sarilia to meet me, so they’re making a commute to where I am and the fishing is right in my backyard.
I would really like to get out on a canoe this summer. I went on a paddling trip as a novice canoer last summer up at the Churchill River and I kind of got hooked on that. I’d like to bring a little bit of that home. I know my neighbours are going to be reading this blog post so maybe they’ll invite me to go to Petrofka, or Borden, or something like that.
Vaughn currently has two beautiful listings for sale at Sarilia:
Tessa and Brad moved into their new home at Sarilia this past December. They have a nearly two-year-old son named Lukas, and a baby on the way in the coming weeks. Tessa grew up in a small town, while Brad grew up on a farm. They made the move from Saskatoon to our river valley community because they wanted their kids to grow up like they had—connected with nature in a smaller, close-knit community.
We recently chatted with Tessa to glean what kind of lifestyle they’ve found at Sarilia, and what they’re most looking forward to doing during their first summer here.
What made Sarilia stand out among the other developments and acreages outside Saskatoon?
The river. That’s probably our top reason—being close to water and being able to walk down to the river. Also, many the lots here have a lot more trees than other acreage areas. It’s also close to a town—in some areas you’d still be driving your kids into the city, say for school or for sports or that type of thing, but Sarilia is so close to Langham that it’s not necessary.
How did you originally hear about Sarilia?
We Googled “acreages” and “estate areas” and looked at everything.
My husband grew up on a farm so he didn’t want the huge acreage life. We wanted to be out of the city and to be rural, but our careers are in Saskatoon so it had to be close. We looked all around at different developments and we loved the fact that Sarilia was by the river.
What are you most excited about for your first summer at Sarilia?
Just being outside and enjoying nature and having a view from our deck. To be able to explore the area, plant a garden and have a baby!
What do you hope your children’s lives will be like at Sarilia?
More of that small-town kind of community. You know, knowing your kids’ friends’ parents and a more rural upbringing. Brad and I never grew up in the city so we knew that was something we didn’t really want for our kids. We wanted what we had growing up, and it’s basically the simple life. It’s being more connected to nature and growing up in a smaller community.
Are there any activities you’d like to do out here?
We love canoeing, so we can’t wait to get a canoe. We usually do canoe trips once a year—overnight canoe trips on the river. We can’t wait to eventually take our kids canoeing or maybe kayaking when they’re older. We’re looking forward to having bonfires.
We have snow shoes for the winter and that kind of stuff. Brad just told me they have ski trails out here, which I never knew about either.
How has your lifestyle changed since moving out here?
It’s a way slower pace. Out here you know your neighbours and it’s just more calming, more at ease. When people come to visit they say the exact same thing. They’re like, “Oh my gosh, this place exists? In Saskatchewan?”
Brad had some friends over recently and our windows were open and one of his friends said, “You can just feel the air off the water.” It’s like when you’re in the mountains breathing the fresh mountain air. This is like that. It’s calming and peaceful.
What else to friends and family say when they come visit you?
My friend came out here and said the view was just unreal, even from inside our house. Pretty much everybody says the view is just amazing from our house—from sitting in our living room, in our kitchen, or on our patio. We have a wraparound deck and everybody says the view is just spectacular.
How would you describe the perfect weekend at Sarilia?
It would probably just involve hanging out with my family, having a bonfire and a picnic down by the river, hiking down the nature trails and relaxing in our backyard or on our deck. Pretty much that’s what we will do this summer. We came out here a lot when we owned the lot. We’d pack a picnic and go down to the river.
Al and Annette are two of Sarilia’s longest residents, having moved to the river valley community over seven years ago to experience what Al calls “pre-retirement.” We chatted with them to get a glimpse of what that lifestyle transition looks like.
What made you decide to move from Dalmeny to Sarilia?
Annette: The beauty of the river valley and the new community that was being developed here.
Al: I thought we should try to experience pre-retirement.
How does living at Sarilia contrast with city living?
Annette: We really like the socializing and being able to know our neighbours. People look out for one another: they watch out for your property, and do nice things for each other here.
What would both of you say are your favourite aspects of living at Sarilia?
Al: My favourite aspect is just being near the outdoors without having to go far—compared to the city.
Annette: You don’t have to drive anywhere to go to a park—it’s right outside your door. You’re surrounded by nature and wildlife.
Al: The other aspect I like about Sarilia is, some years ago when we were looking at recreational properties elsewhere, prices were starting to skyrocket. We couldn’t justify spending a lot of money on a property at the lake, maintaining that, and maintaining another house. But here, it’s kind of like being at the lake. It’s the same sort of environment but without the expense and the driving and all the rest that comes along with lake property.
What are your favourite winter activities at Sarilia?
Al: We like to go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. When we have decent snow, our neighbour Dale cuts ski trails down to the river.
Annette: There are nice trails down by the river and we hike them a lot. It’s fun to see all the changes that are happening all the time—the change of the colours with the seasons, the migration of the birds.
What are you favourite summer activities?
Annette: Gardening in the summertime is fun. We always see some of our neighbours at the garden—we chat and play music. There’s a nice social aspect to it that I really enjoy.
We also like watching the skyline at night—we can still see a faint light on the horizon in the evening and the stars shine brighter. Al has a telescope and he likes to gaze at the sky—picking out different clusters and planets.
Al: We also try to get out in the canoe a couple of times in the summer.
Annette: Canoeing from Borden Bridge to Sarilia is a lot of fun. It takes 2-3 hours usually—more if you want to sit and have a picnic on the side of the river.
Al: I try to get out on my bike. Once you get down in the river valley you can bike the trails that are down around the river easily enough.
Annette: Biking down a country road is kind of fun—there’s not a lot of traffic that you have to worry about.
Can you tell me about curling in Langham?
Annette: Al’s been curling in Langham a little bit longer than I have, but the last couple of years we’ve both been curling.
Al: They’ve got a new rink, and a pretty good club there.
Annette: It’s a really nice facility. Al and I curl there in the mixed league, and when we can, we’ll take in a bonspiel. Even for those who don’t curl, if they like watching curling there’s an opportunity for people just to come and have a beer and watch curling because they have a nice little bar. We’ve enjoyed socializing with people from Langham at the rink.
You both take a lot of beautiful photos around Sarilia. What inspires you?
Annette: It’s just the natural greenery and the colours out here that we really enjoy. Especially in the springtime, the leaves are starting to pop out of the trees and the blue birds are coming back.
Al: Because we’re at the river, you get migratory birds. You see them coming and going all the time. Here we might see a few more unusual birds because there are less people than in the city. In our book, we write down every spring and fall what we see, and I can go look in my book and I can say, “yeah, we saw that last year, and the year before.” It’s almost always within plus or minus a week.
Annette: And there’s a lot of deer around here as well, so we know where they are and what time of day to watch out for them.
Our community here at Sarilia is made up of a lot of adventurous and outdoorsy people who were attracted to life in the river valley and all the perks that come with it — from the nature trails, to the beautiful beach and the North Saskatchewan River access. Many of us love to launch our kayaks and canoes here and venture out on the water. It’s a chance to stretch our limbs, breathe the fresh air and appreciate the incredible beauty of mother nature.
It’s this passion for paddling that inspired us to share three of our favourite places in Saskatchewan to row, row, row our boats – or paddle – gently down the stream.
- North Saskatchewan River at Sarilia Country Estates
We’ll start off with tooting our own horn a little, but hear us out! The winding North Saskatchewan River is simply spectacular. When you launch at Sarilia you can paddle downstream as far as you like — all the way to Hudson Bay if you were so inclined! If that sounds a bit too taxing to tackle, a nice two-hour journey from the Borden Bridge to Sarilia is a soothing – yet stunning – 20 kilometre stretch downstream. You may even be greeted by a moose! We’re not kidding — last year we saw a moose swim across the river near Sarilia’s beach.
- Barker Lake
Sarilia developer and resident Ronn Lepage says Barker Lake is his “favourite place in the whole world.” Every summer he organizes an epic trip with friends and family and sets up camp in the beautiful Canadian Shield. “It’s not just great canoeing, it’s great camping too,” says Ronn. There are at least 20-30 sites for camping, but Ronn recommends the beautiful Muchaye Island as a convenient base to take day trips from.
To reach Barker Lake, you drive 80km past La Ronge to Missinipe. You can park your car at the Devil Lake campground and paddle to Barker Lake within one hour (including a short portage). There are a number of rapids to test your mettle, and it’s a great spot to cast a line. Ronn has spotted moose, eagles and pelicans on his trips, not to mention all the lush vegetation, flowers and Saskatoon berry bushes.
Whether you’re a beginner or a highly experienced paddler, Barker Lake has something for everyone — even music lovers. Every year Churchill River Canoe Outfitters hosts the Whitewater Festival on the last weekend in June. They bring in a band by boat and host an outdoor concert on Barker Island. Upwards of 90 passionate paddlers attend this festival each year, making it a great opportunity to meet and break bannock with others who share a love for the great outdoors.
- South Saskatchewan River – The Berry Barn to Downtown Saskatoon
If you don’t have a full weekend to spare, a fun, leisurely half day on the water starts with launching at the Berry Barn and paddling about 20km to Downtown Saskatoon. If you don’t own a kayak or canoe, you can rent one from Eb’s Source for Adventure. Plan to kick off your day early so you can take a break on one of the sandbars just south of downtown by noon. The sandbars are a great place to enjoy a picnic lunch. The dock at the Saskatoon Rowing Club on the river’s left bank is a simple spot to disembark. Keep your eyes peeled for beavers! We’ve seen some well fed ones on the islands you’ll paddle past on this route.
So there you have it – three great options for getting out on the water this spring and summer. Where is your favourite place to paddle?