Mason behind key structure takes on 1907 Saskatoon constructing

A mason who has hand-carved stone details for many key buildings across North America is helping restore a more-than-century-old building in Saskatoon’s downtown.

Ryan Watson, from Saskatoon, is carving a sign out of Indiana limestone to be placed on the front of Taverna restaurant, which occupies the main floor of a building constructed in Saskatoon in 1907.

“I’ve put probably 120 hours into carving,” Watson said, referring to the near-complete sign. “The carving aspect is time consuming, but the finished product is usually pretty special.”

The sign reads, “Agora,” as it is written in the traditional Greek alphabet. The word refers to an Athens’ marketplace, which Watson says parallels the Saskatoon building’s history.

In 1907, the building on 21st Street was a department store with a seamstress above. It was a central part of the city’s downtown. Taverna opened in the building in 1969.

Watson has done carving work for the Chicago Board of Trade Building, the King George in Saskatoon and the University of Regina’s crest.

“A hundred years from now, people might not know that I did it, but they can walk down the street and appreciate the architectural aspect and the amount of work and thought that goes into it,” Watson explained.

The restored sign for Taverna restaurant is set to be put up on Tuesday.

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