At the foot of Adilman Drive, overlooking the river in Saskatoon’s Silverwood Heights neighbourhood, stands a strange and lonely artifact: a set of ancient, weathered, concrete steps sitting alone by the roadside, leading nowhere. How did they get here? Who built them, and why? Come along with City of Saskatoon Archivist Jeff O’Brien as we explore the history one of the stranger episodes in Saskatoon’s history, the tale of “Factoria – The Magic City”.
Jeff O’Brien was born in Saskatoon and raised in Regina where despite his best efforts to the contrary, he received an undergraduate degree in Canadian history. He went on to earn a master’s degree in archival studies from the University of British Columbia before returning home to Saskatchewan where he eventually settled down as the City of Saskatoon Archivist in 1997.
As Saskatoon’s City Archivist, Jeff believes in bringing history out of the archives and into the community. He has written extensively about Saskatoon, including the co-authoring the book Saskatoon: A History in Photographs in 2006. He is a regular speaker in city classrooms, at local events and to community groups. As well, he can often be seen and heard on radio and TV here talking about the history of his adopted city.