Best Of Regina 2014

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ARTS | CITY LIFE | CITIZENS | HEALTH CARE | HOMES | MEDIA | MUSIC | CLOTHES & SHOES | SHOPPING | SPORTS & FITNESS | HAIR & BEAUTY | PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

Prairie Dog proudly presents the 2014 Best Of Regina featuring the final results of two open polls — a nomination round and a final round — that ran online at prairiedogmag.com in September and October. Thousands of Prairie Dog readers cast nearly two hundred thousand votes for their favourite Regina people, professionals, places, culture, stores, services and more, and you hold 24,000 words describing the results in your hands. Want to tell us something about this thing, or maybe you have an idea for a category we missed? E-mail us at [email protected], or share it on the Web site.

Congratulations to all the winning people, businesses and organizations. You’re all fantastic and you deserve this attention!

CREDITS: Best Of Food & Drink 2014 was edited by Gregory Beatty and Stephen Whitworth. The feature was written by James Brotheridge, Paul Dechene, Amber Goodwyn, Jess Hampton, Lois-Anna Kaminski, Shane Hnetka, Stephen LaRose, Emmet Matheson, Aidan Morgan, Devin Pacholik, Rick Pollard, Ashley E. Rankin (under duress), Eden Rohatensky, Vanda Schmöckel, Carle Steel, and Greg and Steve. John Cameron sends his regrets. Artwork and that awesome logo by our friend, the always-amazing Myron Campbell (notsosimpleton.com). Design by Paul “Awesome” Klassen. Sponsors secured by the mercurial Chris McCrank. Published as always by our very own heroic Atlas, Terry Morash. You’ve never shrugged on us, Terry.

Notice an error? Let us know at [email protected]


ARTS

Best Public Art Gallery

MacKenzie Art Gallery

3475 Albert St. 306-584-4250
W: mackenzieartgallery.ca

Runners-up
Dunlop Gallery (2nd)
Art Gallery of Regina (3rd)

How can you argue with free? To be able to walk into the T.C. Douglas Building ― and not have to worry about paying ― and get to see some mind-blowing, nostalgia-inducing or perspective-altering art from local, national and international artists is a wonderful privilege (although if you’re feeling generous, they do take donations!). Right now, you can tour an exhibition by Saskatchewan painter Wilf Perreault showcasing the beauty and character of back alleys that most of us are usually oblivious to — and the 150-foot panorama is amazing. Or if you’re looking for a critique of social media and its impact on society, check out the surreal sculptures of Troy Coulterman in Digital Handshake. /BH

Best Commercial Art Gallery

Mysteria (now Mata Gallery)

106-2300 Broad St. 306-522-0080
W: matagallery.ca

Runners-up
Assiniboia Art Gallery (2nd)
Slate Fine Art Gallery (3rd)
Nouveau Gallery (4th)

Regina’s arts and cultural scene really owes a debt to Marlo Gebhardt and Chad Jacklin, the co-owners of Mysteria Gallery. They showcase work by Saskatchewan artists Holly Fay, Heather Cline, David Garneau, Marsha Kennedy and more, and over the years have brought droves of local art lovers to the 13th Ave strip (not to mention all the events they’ve hosted at the Artesian performance space across the street). Mysteria Gallery, however, is no more. They’ve left their former home and are reopening and reinventing themselves as Mata Gallery on Broad St. (at 15th Ave). At press time, Gebhardt thought they should be open near the end of November. Cathedral’s loss is the Heritage neighbourhood’s gain, as this new gallery can only make that already-happening neighbourhood even buzzier. “Change is good,” Gebhardt says. /WS

Best Art Show

7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc

MacKenzie Art Gallery
3475 Albert St. 306-584-4250
W: mackenzieartgallery.ca

Runners-up
Mary Pratt (MacKenzie) (2nd)
Who’s Afraid of Purple, Orange and Green? (Dunlop) (3rd)
Jefferson Little: Sweet Tooth (Slate) (4th)
Amalie Atkins: We Live on the Edge of Disaster and Imagine We Are in a Musical (MacKenzie) (5th)

Curated by Michelle LaVallee, this exhibition celebrated a special period in Canadian history when seven indigenous artists from various cultural backgrounds met in Winnipeg in the late 1960s and formed a professional collective. In an interview, LaVallee said indigenous artists back then were regarded more as craftspeople than artists and were shut out of major public and commercial galleries.

Eddy Cobiness, Joseph Sanchez, Carl Ray, Daphne Odjig, Norval Morrisseau, Jackson Beardy and Alex Janvier were the seven artists. Growing up, said LaVallee, she knew virtually nothing of them. “[In recent years] there’s been some movement to correct that. But it hasn’t gone far enough, and I suspect even today these artists aren’t part of official Canadian art history, and certainly not with the prominence I think they deserve.”

From the MacKenzie, 7 travelled to Winnipeg. It’s currently in Kelowna, and will show in Thunder Bay and at the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, ON in 2015. /GB

Best Public Mural

Italian Star Deli

1611 Victoria Ave. 306-757-6733
W: italianstardeli.com

Runners-up
Metro Pet Market (2nd)
Brandee’s Corner Store (Cathedral) (3rd)
Gale’s Florist (4th)

When I travel to other cities, I often look for public art and then gripe on Facebook about how I wish there was more of it in Regina. But that doesn’t change the fact we have some remarkable stuff here, particularly in North Central (something which was unfortunately not reflected in the PD vote).

The mural at Italian Star Deli is one of the more interesting pieces of public art, evoking the passage of time and nostalgia for a different time and place. I’ve long assumed that the couples depicted are the same couple at the beginning and near the end of their lifelong partnership — probably the Giambattistas. But when I walked by the mural again to check it out, I wondered if maybe it’s just two couples at different stages of life.

Of course, artistic merit is likely only part of the equation here. The mural likely also found favour with voters because they associate it with the most delicious sandwiches Regina has to offer. /RP

Best Public Sculpture

Joe Fafard’s Cow, Bull & Calf

MacKenzie Art Gallery
3475 Albert St. 306-584-4250
W: mackenzieartgallery.ca

Runners-up
Grasshopper on Albert St. (2nd)
Elephant near the RPL (3rd)
Buffalo on Scarth St. (4th)
Tornado on Downtown Parkade (5th)

In the 1990s, this bronze grouping of a bull, cow and calf on the MacKenzie’s front lawn got vandalized. It happened in winter, and involved someone spray-painting anti-meat graffiti on the bovines’ sides. To clean them, the MacKenzie erected a tent to shelter the conservator from the elements, and she worked painstakingly over several days to remove the paint.

I can’t remember if I wrote anything on it, but I do remember thinking how spectacularly ill-aimed the graffiti was. Through his art, Fafard doesn’t glorify agri-business and the exploitation of animals as commodities. In fact, he does the exact opposite, portraying them as creatures with unique personalities deserving of humane treatment.

Situated off busy Albert St., the sculptural group, whose official title is Potter, Valadon and Teevo, is seen by thousands of Reginans daily. So check it out next time you’re by. And keep an eye out for Mary Longman’s sculpture Ancestors Rising too. /GB 

Best Champion of Arts

Jacqueline Shumiatcher

Runners-up
Marian Donnelly (SaskCulture) (2nd)
Sabrina Cataldo (Saskatchewan Arts Board) (3rd)
Risa Payant (Saskatchewan Arts Board) (4th)
Dana Lesiuk (Aristea Artists) (5th)

Is there a greater patron of the arts in Saskatchewan than Jacqui Shumiatcher? At 91, and after decades of support to this city’s arts community (for Juventus Choir, Regina Symphony Orchestra, New Dance Horizons, and Globe Theatre among others) and with generous endowments to Conexus Arts Centre, University of Regina’s Riddell Centre, and the MacKenzie Art Gallery, it would be very hard to make the case that there is. Shumiatcher most recently made headlines with the very generous donation of more than 1000 works from her private collection to the University of Regina. Venture out to any big arts-related opening night, and you’ll find Mrs. Shumiatcher there, offering her support and enthusiasm — and dressed to kill (seriously, she always looks amazing). Jacqui Shumiatcher, we cannot thank you enough, but we thank you just the same. /WS

TOP


CITY LIFE

Best Bus Route

#40 Albert North/Albert South Express

W: regina.ca

Runners-up
#9 Albert Park/Parkridge (2nd)
#2 Argyle Park/Woodland Grove (3rd)
#12 Varsity Park/Mount Royal (4th)

I must admit to misgivings about this category, since it seems to reward the city for providing poor transit service.

For two years now, Ward 3 Councillor Shawn Fraser has undertaken a Transit Challenge. His experience riding Regina Transit has produced some good recommendations and his council colleagues need to take heed. He reported that express routes are popular with riders and that they boost ridership. The vote here is further proof of their popularity. #30 University/Rochdale is an express route too, but what about a Victoria Ave. Express or a Lewvan Express? If Regina is serious about smart growth, we need to make it possible for transit riders to get across town along major traffic corridors without having to change buses.

Fraser also suggested an express route to the airport. No kidding. When you go to cities like Ottawa and Montreal, you can take a bus to the heart of the city. Why not here? So kudos to Regina Transit for Route #40, but don’t let the praise go to your head because, hopefully, it’s just the beginning. /RP

Best Cab Company

Co-op Taxi

306-525-2727
W: cooptaxiregina.com

Runners-up
Regina Cab (2nd)
Capital (3rd)
Premier (4th)

Everyone in Regina knows that getting a cab in a timely fashion, especially at certain times of day, can be trying. A promised five-minute wait stretches to 10, 15 minutes balloons to 30, and a stated time of 20 minutes really means “whenever we can, maybe in an hour, maybe never. Go grab some coffee and catch up on your reading.” It’s frustrating.

Co-op Taxi boasts the largest fleet in the city, with 45 cabs throughout the year and 62 for part of the year. Co-op was also the first cab company in Regina to implement a computerized dispatch system, which will give you that future tech feeling when you ride with them. Best of all, Co-op strives to have cabs arrive at your door within 10 minutes of your call, if possible. /AM

Best City Festival

Cathedral Village Arts Festival

W: cvaf.ca

Runners-up
Mosaic (2nd)
Regina Folk Festival (3rd)
Festiv-Ale (4th)
Dragon Boat Festival (5th)

Celebrating its 24th year next May, the Cathedral Village Arts Festival has only gotten better with age. Or so longtime residents tell me. This past summer marked my first CVAF experience and I loved it! The festival embodies the best of the neighborhood’s creative brio with accessible and free-of-charge programming including parades, diverse artistic presentations and the festival’s penultimate event: a Saturday street fair. Featuring food trucks, local vendors, pop-up shops, indie artisans, buskers and more, the fair was absolutely packed with revelers. It was easily the best people watching experience I’ve had in Regina outside of the Queen City Ex. Real live pedestrians! Talking to each other! Enjoying life out-of-doors! Nothing can beat that. /AG

Best Community Centre

Sandra Schmirler Leisure Centre

3130 East Woodhams Dr. 306-777-7529

Runners-up
Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre (2nd)
Al Ritchie Community Centre (3rd)
Glencairn Rec Centre (4th)
East View Community Centre (5th)

Once upon a time, when our firstborn was but an armful, we lived on Woodhams Drive. This was long before such important amenities as a coffee shop (yay, Brewed Awakening!) were within walking distance. However, the Sandra Schmirler Leisure Centre was a quick jog from our front door, and my kid and I went almost every day, because the place has just about everything: pools for the wee and not-so-wee (plus fancy stuff for weary grownups like a sauna and hot tub); a strength/conditioning gym; a small but modern playground complete with smooshy rubber ground cover to cushion the butts of tumbling kiddos; and a duck pond/walking path around back. Oh, and Regina Public Library’s Sunrise branch is there too, and it’s awesome. /JH

Best Preschool

Bloom Learning Centre

#13-5875 Rochdale Blvd. 306-775-3276
W: bloomlearning.ca

Runners-up
Happy Hearts (2nd)
Mes Amis Co-op (3rd)
Preschool Fine Arts Co-op (4th)
St. Timothy Pre-Kindergarten Program (5th)
Abbey Play School (6th)

Founded by Cameron and Michelle Rorquist, Bloom is a unique early-learning centre that offers preschool, junior preschool, tutoring, summer programs and Kindermusik. The staff is highly trained, and based on the reviews I’ve read from delighted parents, it really does sound like an awesome place. Bloom’s mission statement is to provide “quality, results-orientated educational services that are delivered to children in a fun, caring, and enriched learning environment which will greatly impact the children’s future success and have a positive influence on society as a whole.” Not much I can add to that!  /LAK

Best Night Club

O’Hanlon’s

1947 Scarth St. 306-566-4094
T: @Ohanlons_Pub

Runners-Up
McNally’s Tavern (2nd)
Q Nightclub and Lounge (3rd)
Eldorado’s Country Rock Bar (4th)
Gabbo’s (5th)

Some people think O’Hanlon’s is a pub. They obviously haven’t visited after 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday. If they had, they’d know that every weekend Regina’s most respectable downtown drinking establishment is overrun by thirsty hordes in much the same way Rome was trampled by Visigoths (but with less pillaging). Head to O’Han’s any Saturday night and you’ll see young adults dancing on tables (in socks) or couches (heels), while blitzed bros look for trouble and/or places to puke (please, please, please not the urinal). In the middle of it all, an often-shirtless DJ improvises Saturday night soundtracks that will live in memories forever.

Somehow the exhausted servers and bouncers keep a semblance of order, saving the bar from total anarchy. Oh wait. Litres of Red Bull. That’s how.

As night turns to morning and the revellers leave, smashed glass litters the floor and Jägermeister congeals to syrup on the… ceiling? There’s a puddle in the men’s washroom — hopefully it’s water. Someone brings out the coffee grounds to clean up a partially digested, shooter-marinated mess.

Another awesome Saturday night at Regina’s Best Nightclub. All hail O’Shaturdays — and O’Hanlon’s! /SW

Best Non-Profit

Regina Humane Society

Highway #6 & Armour Road 306-543-6363
W: reginahumanesociety.ca
T: @reginahumane

Runners-Up
Carmichael Outreach Inc. (2nd)
Bright Eyes Dog Rescue (3rd)
Regina Cat Rescue (4th)
Dress for Success (5th)

For 40 years, the Regina Humane Society has looked out for animals. The organization saves homeless cats and abandoned dogs, finds forever homes for guinea pigs and rabbits, and rescues abused and neglected pets. Want to adopt a furry companion? Head over to the facility on Armour Road to meet them in person, or visit the website to look at the most adorable mug shots you’ll ever see. Want to help out? The Humane Society accepts donations of food, toys and cash — with full details and other ways to lend a hand on the website. Finally, if you ever have an animal welfare emergency, call 306-777-7700. The Regina Humane Society can help turn a bad situation around. /SW

Best Regina Road

13th Avenue

Runners-up
College Avenue (2nd)
Albert Street (3rd)
Lewvan Drive (4th)
Ring Road (5th)

When you think of 13th Avenue, you might just think of that super-exciting bit in the Cathedral Village. And well you should! It’s super exciting! But 13th Ave. stretches all the way from Pinkie Road in the west to Park St. in the east where it inexplicably turns into Froom Crescent — with lots of interesting pit stops along the way. It’s got historic Martin School of Dance and Baton Twirling, quaint Connaught Library, beautiful Holy Rosary Cathedral, legendary 13th Ave. Coffee House (legendary for me because I met my spouse there 17 years ago), Dessart Sweets, Pacific Fresh Fish, the world’s most-discussed Safeway, the divine Paper Umbrella, Viet-Thai, the big old YMCA, and way more things than this blurb could hold. It’s also home to the Cathedral Village Arts Festival, which is so awesome it gets its own blurb. /LAK

Second-Best City Park

Candy Cane Park

Runners-up
Victoria Park (2nd)
Kiwanis Park (3rd)
A.E. Wilson (4th)
Central Park (5th)

West of the Science Centre lies a park. Not just any park, but a park woven with nostalgic childhood memories for many young Reginans. I took a walk to Candy Cane Park just as the sun started to set, tinting everything in orange and rose light. Through the elm trees, their leaves lost to fall, I saw a man and his two children playing on playground equipment found nowhere else in the city. The wooden Canada goose slide of my youth, replaced a few years ago by one made of plastic; and mini digging machines, like those at construction sites, with their metal levers and shovels in sand. I remember how our teachers would gather the class and their parents to spend an afternoon at that park. A special place filled with memories, still making memories today. /BH   

Best Public Event

Regina Farmers’ Market

W: reginafarmersmarket.ca

Runners-up
Rider Games (2nd)
Cathedral Village Arts Festival (3rd)
Mosaic (4th)
Regina Folk Festival (5th)

The Regina Farmers’ Market has evolved from something that’s good, with a wide selection of local produce and handmade goods, to something that’s great: a weekly gathering of the Regina community. Every time I’ve attended, it seems like the entire city has flocked to City Square Plaza to stock their fridges, indulge in food-truck treats and take part in the numerous activities happening alongside the market itself. Between yoga in the park, local celebrities overeating corn on the cob and cinnamon buns, and a variety of vegetables, baked goods and crafts, the Regina Farmers’ Market is a must for anyone looking for something to do on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from May to early October. And there’s the odd night market too. /ER

Best Thing To Do On A Week Night

Walk in Wascana Park

Runners-up

Check Out Live Music (2nd)
Go For Drinks (3rd)
Work Out/Get Some Exercise (4th)
Go For Food (5th)
Go For Coffee (6th)
Go to a Movie (7th)

The city has a great selection of restaurants to eat at, local bands to enjoy, and a variety of arts, culture and sports events to experience, but still, the best thing to do on a weeknight is to walk along Wascana Lake and take in the beautiful park that divides the city’s urban areas. It is curious, however, that Regina residents voted a walk along Wascana Lake the best activity for a weeknight and that the lake also happened to be voted as runner-up for the best place to get frisky. Curious, indeed. Just be careful not to get bitten by a goose, and enjoy your “walk”! /ER

Best Wild Critter You Saw In Regina Last Year

Moose

Runners-Up
Rabbit (2nd)
Squirrel (3rd)
Beaver (4th)
Fox (5th)

Regina is without a doubt home to some interesting wild life. All sorts of crazy critters wander our city’s streets: there’s beastly bartenders, wily politicians and ferocious Best Of Regina editors (take that, Greg!), just to name a few. But none of these majestic creatures holds a candle to the rogue moose that was in my front yard on July 10. Although our time together was short, I will never forget the feeling of staring a teenage moose in the eyes at 3 a.m. I don’t think he would have either… we DEFINITELY had a moment.

Unfortunately, it was to be our first and last time together, as his tragic destiny awaited on the Lewvan, where he met his untimely demise in the headlights of a pick-up truck.

R.I.P., Moosey, Regina’s Best Moose. I will always remember you. /AR

Best Place To Get Frisky

Take It Home

Runners-up
Top of the Legislative Building (2nd)
Wascana Park (3rd)
Your Mom’s House (4th)
O’Hanlon’s (5th)

I’m not entirely sure how one would be able to get on top of the legislative building in order to give some attention to their loved one, and quite honestly Wascana Park can get a little bit frigid in the cooler months, so it’s fascinating that many PD voters seem to prefer these two public and outdoor locations as their prime destination for love-making. Thankfully for those of us who are not so intrigued by public displays of affection, voters said the best place to get frisky in our beautifully bewitching city is in the privacy and warmth of one’s home. /ER

Best Thing That Happened To Regina In Last 12 Months

Grey Cup 2013

Runners-up
Summer (2nd)
Victoria’s Tavern Opened (3rd)
New Stadium Construction Begins (4th)

The Saskatchewan Roughriders don’t take home the Grey Cup often, but when they do, it happens in style. And nothing was more stylish than last year’s Grey Cup, a weeklong party that culminated in a 45-23 victory for the Riders over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (why specify that they’re cats anyway? Doesn’t “tiger” imply cathood?). After a couple of early fumbles from Darian Durant and a Hamilton field goal, the Riders landed a TD at the end of the first quarter, opening up a lead that they never relinquished.

The victory party, an explosion of high-fives and green face paint which stretched from the stadium to Albert Street Bridge, was likely the biggest celebration ever seen here. For one evening, the entire population of Regina (and Saskatchewan) took part in the sheer joy that comes from whupping the tar out of an East Division team. Just kidding: Saskatchewan football fans are the most gracious watermelon-wearing lunatics you could ever want to meet, and for one warm night in November, they were able to party. /AM

Worst Thing That Happened To Regina In Last 12 Months

New Stadium

W: reginarevitalization.ca

Runners-up
Winter, 2013-2014 (2nd)
Flooding (3rd)
P3 Referendum (4th)

Let me get this straight. The best thing that happened in Regina in the last 12 months was the Riders’ Grey Cup triumph, and the worst thing (worse even than last winter with its double dose of -55 wind chills) was giving the go-ahead for construction of a new home for the Green & White starting in 2017? That shows just how polarizing this issue is for PD voters.

Does Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field meet the standards of a modern sports stadium? Arguably, no. Would a new state-of-the-art stadium be a sweet asset to showcase Rider games and other events that attract major media attention? Arguably, yes.

But outside of 11 or so Rider games a year, only rarely will the facility be used to full capacity, so it’s hard to argue it’s a wise civic expenditure — not when there are glaring needs in so many other areas such as the arts, education, First Nations, health care and the environment. So let’s remember the value of public investment in those areas too, okay? /GB

TOP


CITIZENS

Best Amateur Sports Coach

Frank McCrystal

University of Regina Rams
W: reginacougars.com

Runners-up

Eric Anderson (Football at Sheldon Williams) (2nd)
Steve Sombach (Regina Minor Football: PeeWee Thunder) (3rd)

Prior to the start of the 2014 season, McCrystal announced this would be his last year with the Rams. With two late-season victories the Rams eked into the playoffs with a 3W-5L record, which earned them a Canada West semi-final date with the Calgary Dinos.

McCrystal joined the Rams as a linebacker out of Campion College in 1972. He played five seasons of junior football under Rams legend Gord Currie, then after a two-year break, took an assistant coaching job. Five years later he became head coach.

During a 15-year run from 1984-98, the Rams won seven Canadian junior titles. The team switched to university ranks in 1999, and in only their second season they made it to the Vanier Cup, losing to the Ottawa Gee-Gees. While a university title eluded McCrystal, many Ram alumni have gone on to pro careers, including Seattle Seahawk punter Jon Ryan, Rider receiver Chris Getzlaf and Calgary Stampeder centre Brett Jones. /GB

Best Bus Driver

Brent Parisien

W: regina.ca

Runners-up
Drew Brown (2nd)
Trevor Poncsak (3rd)
Richard Tanaka (4th)
James Park (5th)
Dwayne Kocoy (6th)

I wonder how many votes this category got? It certainly got a lot of nominations, but given that only four per cent of Reginans use transit, it would’ve been a hard category to vote in. Nonetheless, as a reasonably regular transit user, I and the other 3.9995 per cent of Reginans who ride the bus, have a healthy appreciation for the challenges bus drivers face in carrying out their duties. Some are logistical, like coping with finicky/aging buses and navigating snow-clogged winter streets and construction detours in summer; while others are personal, like the physical and mental toll driving exacts on them, and having to interact with a massively diverse assortment of people every day.

I could never do it, but Brent Parisien obviously can. And he got the nod from voters as Best Bus Driver. /GB

Best City Councillor

Shawn Fraser (Ward 3)

W: shawnfraser.ca

Runners-up
Wade Murray (2nd)
Mike O’Donnell (3rd)
Barbara Young (4th)

For most people, the unicorn of politicians is probably the one who isn’t the lying, corrupt, unethical scum-of-the-earth — cue cliché alert. I say there’s a much more important unicorn out there we need in all levels of politics: the politician who gets on the ground with the public they’ve sworn to serve and strives to understand issues from their perspective. If Regina held a contest for such a politician, Ward 3 Councillor Shawn Fraser would be a serious contender for that title. He is, after all, the only councillor who manages to get out of city hall to use our public transit system, and bring that first-hand experience of its many problems up in council meetings. Years of following politics leaves me skeptical about the motives behind such acts, but I still give Fraser aces for trying. /BH

Best Facebook Friend

Mega Munch

Runners-up
Brad Wall (2nd)
Neil McDonald (3rd)
Taron Cochrane (4th)
Sarah Turnbull (5th)

I’m embarrassed to admit I wasn’t Facebook friends with Mega Munch when the winners were announced, so I thought I should at least send him a friend request. And you know what? He friended me in, like, less than an hour! (Mega Munch is a “he,” right?) And I immediately saw why he’s Regina’s favourite Facebook friend. The guy is hilarious. He posts and shares the best dinosaur-related comics, memes, and miscellanea that you’ll ever come across, and then engages with his fans in the comments section in the most charming way. It can’t be easy for him to do all that typing with those tiny T-Rex arms, or to put up with all those jokes about his tiny T-Rex arms. But he does it daily with panache, making him the most cutting-edge extinct creature you’ll ever meet. Also, he’s single. /LAK

Best Hair

Jill Morgan

W: cbc.ca/regina

Runners-up
Pat Fiacco (2nd)
Evie Ruddy (3rd)
Michael Fougere (4th)

We’ve long had categories for Best Men’s and Women’s Hairstylist. This is the first year, though, that we’ve celebrated the other end of the clipper-follicle continuum. And what a celebration it is, with the current and previous mayor of Regina, and a woman who ended up in brouhaha when she tried to book a traditional men’s cut at a local barbershop, all getting nods. Coming out on top though was CBC TV’s Jill Morgan. Elsewhere in this feature you can read about the qualities that make Morgan a great news anchor. As for her hair, if I had to pick one word to describe it, it would be “mane”. “Blonde” works too. But it doesn’t capture the leonine style of her coif. /GB 

Best Local Hero

Weston Dressler

W: riderville.com

Runners-up
Darian Durant (2nd)
Desiree Rattray (3rd)
Neil McDonald (4th)
Evie Ruddy (5th)

When the diminutive receiver returned to Riderville following an unsuccessful tryout with the Kansas City Chiefs fans were ecstatic. After stumbling out of the gate, the defending Grey Cup champs were starting to hit their stride. They were winning ugly, but with a punishing running attack and dominant defence they were winning, and the return of Darian Durant’s favourite target figured to energize the passing game.

Suddenly, thoughts of an unprecedented two-peat by the Riders were a realistic possibility. To celebrate Dressler’s return, businesses, led by Italian Star Deli, offered Dressler-themed promotions. Unfortunately, Durant suffered a nasty elbow injury in Dressler’s second game back. And while he might be our voters’ best local hero, Dressler’s not a superhero. Playing with largely rookie QBs, he racked up modest receiving stats, but did contribute valuable yards (and two TDs) on punt returns.

And the Riders are playoff-bound, with Durant possibly set to return. So who knows what lies ahead? /GB

Best MLA

Trent Wotherspoon

W: trentwotherspoon.com
T: @wotherspoonT

Runners-up
Gene Makowsky (2nd)
Warren McCall (3rd)
Mark Docherty (4th)
Warren Steinley (5th)

As the NDP member for Regina Rosemont, Trent Wotherspoon has a lot on his plate. Not only is he the party’s Deputy Leader behind Cam Broten, he also holds critic responsibilities for Finance, Education, Municipal Relations, Urban Affairs, Economy and Global Transportation Hub. Recently, the two-term MLA has been prominent in the Legislature in relation to the Smart Meter fiasco. Initially, the government claimed it had been unaware of safety issues with the meters until red flags were raised at SaskPower earlier this year. But in late October Wotherspoon revealed a SaskPower briefing note that indicated the minister in charge, Bill Boyd, may have known of problems with the meters as early as 2012. It’s performance like that that earned Wotherspoon the nod as Regina’s Best MLA. /GB

Best MP

Ralph Goodale

310 University Park Dr. 306-585-2202
W: ralphgoodale.ca

(By Acclamation)

If the Harper Conservatives stick to their time-table we’ll be in the midst of an election when voting in Best of Regina 2015 occurs next fall. Oct. 19 is the actual date, although there is speculation the PM might call a snap election following what’s expected to be a surplus budget in March.

Regardless of when Canadians go to the polls, you can rest assured Goodale, a perennial champ in this category for the Liberals in Wascana, will be ready. And who knows; after the election is over he might actually have some competition in this category.

Currently, the Liberals are riding high in the polls. As well, Regina’s federal electoral boundaries have been revamped, resulting in the creation of two urban ridings. That’s opened up a window for the Liberals/NDP to wrest control of the seats from the Conservatives who thrived in the old blended rural-urban ridings. Wascana remains blended, but as Goodale has demonstrated with seven straight electoral victories dating back to 1993, he’s popular with both rural and urban voters. /GB   

Best School Board Member

Carla Beck

Runners-up
Nicole Sarauer (2nd)
Aleana Young (3rd)
Jane Ekong (4th)

Carla Beck admits being surprised at this honour, noting with a rueful laugh, “[My husband] admitted that he forgot to vote for me!” But she is grateful for the support. “It’s a high point in a pretty tough year on the public school board.”

The low point, of course, was the board’s decision, by a 5-2 vote, to close historic Connaught School. There’s a gaping hole in the Cathedral neighbourhood today where the school once stood, and while Regina Public Schools hopes to receive funding from the province for a replacement school, the wounds will take a long time to heal.

Beck is philosophical when asked how she intends to move ahead with her colleagues. “Last year, I took training in conflict resolution and that helped a lot. It’s all about not assuming motives in others. It’s tempting to do that sometimes, but ultimately, it’s a hole you can fall down into and never escape.”

In the coming year, Beck is keen to work with trustee Cindy Anderson to put a more holistic focus on student health, including mental and sexual health. “Cindy has put a lot of work into this initiative, working collaboratively with other partners in the community.

“Ultimately, we need to keep our eyes focused on a bigger prize, which is the future of public education in Regina and Saskatchewan,” she says. /RP

Best Political Hack

Pat Book (Mayor’s Office)        

Runner-up Carolyn Rebeyka (Sask NDP Caucus)

Even though he works for the enemy now,* I still like Pat Book. He was covering city hall for CJME when I started at PD and we frequently bumped shoulders in press scrums. When I had to miss an important committee meeting or press conference, I always made sure to read Pat’s coverage. In the Fantasy Regina Of The Future I have in my head, Pat would’ve eventually been hired away by CBC and given his own show. And if the pinheads at Mothercorp had read any of Pat’s music writing on his Sound Salvation Army website, they’d have realized he’s a natural fit.

So you can imagine how I felt when Mayor Fougere hired Pat for his team. In case you can’t: I was supremely annoyed. (And also mind-bogglingly drunk, and may have tweeted some disagreeable things on the subject. My apologies.) Why Pat would make the jump from asking questions to crafting answers, I can only guess. But I don’t blame him. And so far, from where I’m standing, he’s been a good point man for the mayor. As for Michael Fougere, I will say this: hiring Pat away from the media was the canniest thing he’s done as mayor. I won’t underestimate him again. /PD

* That is a joke. A JOKE! I do NOT think the mayor’s office is an enemy of PD. 

Best Postal Worker

Kelly Negrych

Runners-up
Lynda Frasz (2nd)
Brent Reis (3rd)

Why does one get voted Best Postal Worker? I put it to Kelly Negrych, this year’s winner, via e-mail. “I really love my job and I think it shows,” she says. “I smile a lot and look pretty cool in my uniform.” Negrych, a postal carrier for a year and a half, says she’s an annual relief carrier, meaning she covers the routes of those who need time off. She actually believes she won because her best friend nominated her, but hey, it still counts. What can you do to make Negrych’s life easier? “Keep the path to the mailbox clean! Shovel or sweep leaves!” /JB

Best K-8 Teacher

TIE

Adrienne Sklar (Grant Road)

Aaron Warner (Douglas Park)

Runners-up
Sharon Meredith (WS Hawrylak) (2nd)
Amy Lawson (Dr. George Ferguson) (3rd)
Yvonne Sirdar (Joan of Arc) (4th)
Danielle Maley (WS Hawrylak) (5th)

I tried to reach Aaron Warner via Facebook, only to realize too late that I was using the wrong social media network. He’s active on Twitter and even uses it in his classes. Going through his feed, it’s obvious he’s interested in new ideas around teaching. An account associated with one of his classes says it focuses on “practicing the positive use of social media” which sounds cool. You can follow him at @MrEhRon and his class at @MYclassroomSK, if you’re so inclined. Adrienne Sklar has been a teacher for 10 years, including time spent teaching high school and ESL. This is her fourth year at Grant Road, and she feels like she’s found the right spot for her. “One thing I am really enjoying this year is sharing Canadian traditions with our many new immigrant families,” she says via email. “They have been so eager to try new things.” /JB

Best High School Teacher

Tim McFadden

Campbell Collegiate

Runners-up
Jessica Moffat (Sheldon Williams) (2nd)
Angie Counios (Sheldon Williams) (3rd)

When I tried giving Tim McFadden a call at Campbell he was out for the day. As luck would have it, though, his substitute was actually taught by McFadden back in the day. Kyle Caron tells me he had McFadden for three years from 2005-07. McFadden’s taught at several high schools around Regina, including Thom, Sheldon and now Campbell. These days, he teaches history and psychology. A former University of Saskatchewan Huskie, McFadden has also coached high school football. McFadden, says Caron, is “probably the reason I’m a social studies teacher. He made history really exciting and relatable.” /JB

Best Gym Teacher

John Bolen

M.A. Riffel High School

Runner-up Traci Cleveland (Scott Collegiate)

I didn’t go to Michael A. Riffel Catholic High School, but my partner did, and she was able to provide me with some inside info on this year’s Best Gym Teacher. Judging by his win in this category, John Bolen is as admired today as he was back when my partner attended school there. From the looks of it, he’s held onto one of his most recognizable features too. Recalling times he was impersonated at a school assembly, my partner said the moustache was the key ingredient. It didn’t take much poking around online to find an interview a student did with him a few years ago that opens on a shot of the school, then cuts to a full-frame view of his choice facial hair. /JB

Best Small Business Owner

Carlo Giambattista

Italian Star Deli
1611 Victoria Ave. 306-757-6733
W: italianstardeli.com

Runners-up
Shelly Patterson (Dessart Sweets) (2nd)
Dean Renwick (Dean Renwick Design Studio) (3rd)
Lisa Wicklund (Seed Sustainable Style) (4th)
Sarah Turnbull (Sarah Turnbull Interior Design) (5th)

Carlo Giambattista says he’s humbled to be selected by PD voters in this category. “Just the nomination alone was humbling,” he says. “There’s so many great business people out there doing good work. We are grateful for the opportunity to participate.”

The secret to Italian Star’s success, he says, is the team he and his family have put together. “Our employees and us, we all work together for one thing. My parents, my daughter Marina, my son Gino, Amy Lawrence, Megan Jenkins, Avery Strong. They all work hard. They give their customer service 100%. We are lucky.”

He’s right about the customer service. Every time I buy one of Italian Star’s fantastic Paninis, I wonder why I don’t go there more often. Interviewing Giambattista for this blurb reminds me of that feeling.  Who wants to grab lunch with me later this week?

When I ask Giambattista about future plans for the business, he laughs and says he doesn’t want to put the cart before the horse. “Planning is easy. Doing something is a lot harder. It’s more work than you think it’s going to be.”

But he’s still enough of a salesman to note Christmas is coming up, and I’m hooked. Friends and fans reading this are hereby invited to go shopping at Italian Star for my Christmas present, or items to bring to my annual Christmas party. Just don’t buy fruitcake. I hate fruitcake. /RP 

Best Trade Unionist

Larry Hubich

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour
W: sfl.sk.ca

Runners-up
Terry Parker (Saskatchewan Building Trades) (2nd)
Dan Grunert (Public Service Alliance of Canada) (3rd)

Larry Hubich was elected to a seventh two-year term as President of the SFL on Nov. 1, so it’s fair to say convention delegates agree with PD voters.

When I first moved to Saskatchewan, Hubich was leading the fight to ensure workers in corporate-owned hog barns were covered by labour standards. It seems incredible now, but there was a time when it was controversial to suggest they should receive the same benefits as other workers. Hubich considers that fight to be a career highlight.

Hubich is also proud of the labour movement for taking the Sask. Party government to the ILO and Supreme Court for Bills 5 and 6, two regressive pieces of labour legislation which hobbled the bargaining rights of public sector workers and legalized employer intimidation of employees (under the guise of communicating with workers).

Unfortunately, Hubich expects attacks on workers’ rights to continue. “We will effectively address these challenges by reaching out to other organizations and groups and forming coalitions in support of each other,” he says. “We also need to educate the general public on all the good things unions and their members have provided to our community and society.”

For more information on a new initiative launched at the SFL convention called Project: Community visit www.projectcommunity.com. /RP

Best U of R Professor

Marc Spooner

Faculty of Education

Runner-up  Susan Johnson (Faculty of Arts: English Dept.)

With an epically massive beard and penchant for public criticism of, and activism to combat, the ills of poverty, homelessness, standardized testing and much more in our society, Dr. Marc Spooner looks like a possible answer to the question: “What might Socrates look and act like if he lived in modern-day Saskatchewan?” I’ll admit, being in philosophy for my first round through the U of R, and journalism the second, I’ve never taken a course from Dr. Spooner. Luckily, the chance to interview him popped up a few times over the years, and (like a good professor should), our encounters always leave me wondering what can I do to help those most in need in our city. /BH

Best Local Character

Gainer the Gopher

W: riderville.com

Runners-up
Neil McDonald (2nd)
Jeff Redbeard (3rd)
Chad Novak (4th)
Captain Anarchy (Aaron Clarke) (5th)
Pablo de Lucas (6th)

What can I say about Gainer that hasn’t been said before? Born in Parkbeg, SK, the giant pant-less rodent assumed his mascot duties in 1977. He followed in the paw prints of Ralph the Dog, whom the Riders imported from Calgary for cheering help when they hosted the hated Eskimos in the 1976 West final, and finally vanquished them after three straight final losses in Edmonton.

Gainer’s early years with the Green & White were a struggle, though. In fact, after playing in 11 straight West Finals from 1966-76, the Riders failed to make the playoffs for 11 seasons from 1977-87. Through thick and thin, though, Gainer has stuck it out with his “D plus picket fence” sign, Gainermobile, stuffed toy tiger-cat, sit on the turf and ogle the cheerleaders, and other popular routines. #13 also donates generous amounts of time to public appearances in Regina. And that makes him our best local character. /GB

Best Volunteer

Desiree Rattray

Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan

Runners-up
Daniel Gauthier Kratz (Northern Animal Rescue, Regina Humane Society, Vets Without Borders) (2nd)
Carol Bashinski (Dress for Success) (3rd)
Alanna Whippler (Regina Cat Rescue) (4th)
Sandra Klarer (Regina Cat Rescue) (5th)
Kim Belhumeur (Regina Cat Rescue) (6th)

There are a lot of wonderful people who volunteer their time and energy to make Regina a better place. Many have overcome great personal loss to do it. Desiree Rattray is one of those people.

Desiree and her husband, Jason, have been tireless advocates for the new children’s hospital in Saskatoon because they know the importance of specialized support for sick children. Their son Will, nicknamed “Iron Will”, “Ninja Will” and “William the Conqueror” for his tenacious struggle to live, is their inspiration. He passed away suddenly on Aug. 28, 2013 after having survived multiple surgeries and many other tests and procedures.

The Rattrays keep their love for Will alive through a memorial Facebook page and by fundraising to ensure the new hospital will have the equipment it needs to aid families with sick children. I defy you to look at photos and videos of Iron Will on the memorial page and not feel a lump in your throat. And I know you’ll marvel at how one family found the strength to turn their loss into so much public good. /RP

TOP


HEALTH CARE

Best Dentist

Dr. Allison Mang

450-2550 15th Ave. 306-359-6661
W: cityviewdental.net

Runners-up
Dr. Kristy White (2nd)
Dr. Kevin Soltys (3rd)
Dr. Deryl Dangstorp
Dr. Michele Livingstone (4th)
Dr. Kelly Rusteika (5th)

I know a few weirdos who are completely comfortable in a dentist’s chair, but the majority of us feel at least a bit of apprehension — and sometimes a lot more than that. So let’s consider the implications of the title “Best Dentist” for a moment. Not only are the majority of voters delighted with the quality of Dr. Allison Mang’s work, they love her manner as well. While nothing can truly make a root canal or the installation of a crown fun, having a thoughtful, gentle practitioner can alleviate the anxiety significantly. As for the anxiety you feel when you lie to your dentist about the last time you flossed — that’s up to you to sort out, buddy. /JH

Best Dental Hygienist

Mary Ellen Murray

Aloha Dental
300-4002 South Pasqua St. 306-586-6077
W: alhohadental.ca

Runner-up  Lois Shoulak (Dangstorp Dental)

The day I phoned her was, coincidentally, not only Mary Ellen Murray’s last day at Aloha Dental, but her last day of work, period. She’s now retired, after a 46-year career as a dental hygienist. She’s settled down on an acreage in Lumsden and is getting married next summer. Not only did she work at the same practice for 36 years, she’s also taught dental hygiene at SIAST for the last 25 years. Her gentle, sweet nature that came through while we had our conversation — during which she also gave me excellent advice about my kids’ teeth — is obviously part of her appeal with PD voters. And now she’s retired! Our loss. /JH

Best Family Doctor

Dr. Sally Mahood

1621 Albert St. 306-766-0444

Runners-up
Dr. Luis Salgado (2nd)
Dr. Stephen Bester (3rd)
Dr. Llewelyn-Williams
Dr. Ndeke (4th)
Dr. Joe Michel (5th)

This isn’t the first time Dr. Mahood has won in this category. Not only is she popular with her patients, she’s an advocate for protecting our public health care system, and a voice for sanity in the delivery of services. Most recently, she tilted at the private MRI windmill, skewering Brad Wall’s musings about allowing patients to pay out of pocket for a private MRI. In a letter to the Leader-Post, she described the idea as “disturbing” and added that “a separate stream for the wealthy to jump the queue will not shorten wait lists in the public system.”

You tell ‘em, Doc!

What I want from a doctor is someone who will advocate for my well-being, and who recognizes that challenges to our health don’t happen in isolation — many are the result of external factors beyond our control. Dr. Mahood gets it. And it’s that ability to see the big picture that makes her a role model for doctors everywhere. /RP

Best Nurse

Katie Hayes

Pasqua Hospital

Runners-up
Bree Cannon (2nd)
Jen Graf (3rd)
Linda Thain (4th)
Falon Hudye (5th)

Over the past 10 years I’ve gone through a stretch where my aunt, mom and dad all declined in health as they aged and ultimately passed away. That experience, which involved extended contact with health care professionals at independent living facilities, private and public care homes and hospitals, gave me an insight into our health care system that I previously lacked.

Part of that insight was a mega-appreciation for the expertise and dedication of those who work in the medical field. I don’t believe I ever met your pick for Best Nurse in Regina, but I know from some sleuthing that Katie Hayes works as a Registered Nurse at Pasqua Hospital and at Hope’s Home, which specializes in respite care for medically fragile children and their families. So congrats to her and all the other nominees in this category for the work they do to care for those with health challenges. /GB

Best Specialist

Dr. Debra Shepherd

216-3806 Albert St. 306-586-3116

Runners-up
Dr. Lenny Pillay (2nd)
Dr. Huse Kamencic (3rd)
Dr. T Chikukwa (4th)
Dr. Jeffery Booker (5th)

For obvious reasons (she’s an ob/gyn) I can’t personally attest to Dr. Shepherd’s professional expertise as Regina’s best medical specialist. But I do occasionally socialize with her. Usually, because of the dynamics of our circle, a televised sporting event of some sort is involved — like a Rider game, or College football on New Year’s day, and I think we saw the 2010 Men’s Gold Medal hockey game together.

Often when I see Dr. Shepherd she’s not in party mode because she’s on call. With the spurt in population Regina’s been having, there’s been a mini-baby boom, so ob/gyns like her are pretty busy. One other professional thing I know about Dr. Shepherd is that she sometimes travels to global conferences where various facets of female reproductive health tied to her speciality are discussed. The guys in our group have a nickname for the gatherings that I can’t share with you here. But Deb’s always a good egg about it. So congrats to her. /GB

Best Veterinarian

Dr. Marilyn Sthamann

Lakewood Animal Hospital
1151 Lakewood Court North 306-545-6487
W: lakewoodanimalhospital.ca

Runners-up
Dr. Tara Hudye (2nd)
Dr. Jennifer Jinks (3rd)
Dr. Patricia Van Parys (4th)
Dr. Jocelyn Soucy (5th)

I write this from bed, utterly satisfied from another delightful toe biting session with my new feline companion, Mr. Luther Steel. This time last year, I would have been lolling around with my last familiar, Bebe. After her death on New Year’s Eve, I thought my heart would be broken forever. But here I am, shamelessly rolling around with a new young man-cat. All veterinarians are heart surgeons. Every time they care for your pet, they care for you, delicately moving your love aside to see what’s going on with your companion. They are the wise attendants to enormous joy and grief and everything in between. Of all the fine veterinarians in Regina, PD voters have trusted Dr. Marilyn Sthamann with their hearts. /CS

TOP


HOMES

Best Cabinets

Rick’s Custom Cabinets

3121 Saskatchewan Dr. 306-352-6044
W: rickscustomcabinets.com

Runners-up
Lifestyle Cabinetry (2nd)
Supreme Kitchens (3rd)
Superior Cabinets (4th)
Cougar Cabinets (5th)
Magnificent Kitchens (6th)

I want inspiring cabinets — the kind that stir souls and hold bowls. But my skill with a saw is both laughable and dangerous. Luckily, Rick’s Custom Cabinets thinks about the details involved in creating refined, functional cabinets in any space. For over 20 years, the artists at Rick’s have been swinging hammers like wood-crafting Michelangelos. They offer top brands and woods for kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and especially book-lined rooms with giant globes and leather furniture. Someone pour me a scotch — it’s about to get mahogany up in here. And, if my old appliances look like crud next to my beautiful new cabinets, Rick’s has got me covered. They carry Blanco European Sinks and Faucets, European Appliances, Dacor Appliances and much more. Rick’s considers factors like room flow and usage during personal consultations for any project. Raise a scotch to Rick’s Custom Cabinets. /DP

Best Electrical

Town & Country Plumbing, Heating & Electrical

1450 S Railway St. 306-352-4328
W: tccomfort.com

Runners-up
Beaver Electric (2nd)
TNC Electric (3rd)
Fossum Electric (4th)
Folk Electric (5th)

Legend says Benjamin Franklin unlocked the secrets of electricity by fixing a key onto the end of a kite string during a lightning storm. Some 250 years later, slobs like me endanger themselves while installing neon beer signs about their bathtubs. I need businesses like Town & Country Plumbing, Heating & Electrical, which works according to the highest safety standards in the electrical industry. I’m busy guy too — you know? I have neon beer signs to admire. Town & Country has a workforce of over 200, so booking projects to fit your schedule is relatively easy. And you know when you need an electrical outlet installed, like, right now because you just bought another neon beer sign? That’s fine, because Town & Country is available 24/7 for services. /DP

Best Flooring

End of the Roll

2410 Victoria Ave E. 306-585-7655
W: endoftheroll.com

Runners-up
Parkland Carpet One (2nd)
Floors By Design (3rd)
Carpet Superstore (4th)

You might not think about it, but right now, as you read this, you’re likely sitting, standing or lying on flooring — unless you can levitate, that is. Flooring adds a finishing touch to any room, and it gives you something to walk on. And according to PD voters the best flooring in Regina is at End of the Roll. It’s a Canadian discount chain store with over 50 locations in five provinces including Saskatoon, Lloydminster and Regina in Saskatchewan. End of the Roll is a repeat winner in this category. So with all the different flooring stores in Regina (around 59 if my quick search in the yellow pages is accurate), they obviously are doing something right. /SH

Best Home Builders

Homes By Dream/Dundee

4561 Parliament Ave., Ste 300 306-347-8100
W: dream.ca/homes-regina

Runners-up
Harmony Builders (2nd)
Usonia Homes (3rd)
Kratz Homes (4th)

Most of the homes I’ve lived in were built by my Dad with the occasional assist by me and his friends. I haven’t really bought or lived in a home built by a corporation. But I have heard the name Dundee a lot. Dundee is now Dream, which was derived from Dundee Real Estate Asset Management. This Toronto-based home builder won the 2013 Home Builder of the Year so I guess they make really good houses and our voters think so too. But what I want to know is: can they build a house with an actual Batcave, complete with a secret bookcase and sliding pole. I guess if I had enough money they could build anything, within reason. /SH

Best Home Improvement Store

Home Depot

1030 North Pasqua St. 306-564-5700
1867 Victoria Ave. E. 306-761-1919
W: homedepot.ca

Runners-up
Habitat for Humanity ReStore (2nd)
Lowe’s (3rd)
Home Hardware (4th)
Rona (5th)

I’ve had to do a lot of home renovations over the past several years, and I’ve used Home Depot a lot to “improve” my abode. From insulation and framing for the basement, to paint (outside and inside), to patio blocks (for a patio of all crazy things), to steps (front and back of the house) and shelving, I’ve frequented the ‘Depot for all the supplies I’ve needed. And while I have fixed basements, built patios, fences and much more over the past few years, I have not built a Batcave, yet. /SH

Best Landscaping

The Rusty Shovel

680 Angus St. 306-757-2227
W: therustyshovel.ca

Runners-up
Cherry Lane Landscaping (2nd)
Stone’s Edge Landscaping (3rd)
Perfect Landscape Solutions (4th)
Outdoor Expressions Landscaping (5th)

Judging by the company’s website, the folks at the Rusty Shovel are pros that anyone wanting to enhance their yard should visit before starting the process — and by “starting the process”, I mean, “committing heinous, irreversible crimes against one’s lawn/sprinkler system/century-old oak tree, etc.” For those who like to get their hands dirty, front and centre on the website is an invitation for DIYers to bring in their yard plans and work with a seasoned landscaper to make sure they do it right the first time. Whether you’re a green-thumb greenhorn or a dyed-in-the-wool dryad, the shop has everything you’ll need to bring your wildest landscaping dreams to life. And here’s a seasonal bonus: the shop sells Christmas lighting, and if you want to avoid shenanigans of Griswold proportions, they provide installation service too. /JH

Best Mortgage Broker

Skott Enns

The Mortgage Group-TMG
206 – 4303 Albert St. 306-201-6500
W: skottenns.com

Runners-up
Laurie Krueger (The Mortgage Group-TMG) (2nd)
Riley Ruhr (Axiom Mii Mortgage Group) (3rd)

Apparently if you voted for Skott in this category it was a vote for freedom. At least, that’s what he says on his Facebook page. Still, buying and owning a house usually comes with some pretty big strings attached — most notably, a mortgage. If you need to get a mortgage, then you want one that best suits your financial and lifestyle needs. And according to PD voters Skott, who’s won Best Mortgage Broker two years in a row now, is the broker to deliver it. /SH

Best Plumber

Ben Litzenberger

Litzenberger Plumbing & Heating
66 Nelles St. 306-596-2565
W: litzenbergerplumbingandheating.com

Runner-up  Mike Andrews (Active Mechanical)

Each morning, Ben Litzenberger wakes up ready to conquer Regina’s plumbing underworld. Didn’t know about the plumbing underworld? It can be pretty intimidating, but Litzenberger is fully qualified to handle it. Heck, he shaves using a pipe wrench and then pours himself a bowl of brass fittings and washers for breakfast. Ben Litzenberger is a plumber, dang it. He lives for accommodating residential and business water flow needs. You got a last-minute service call? Ben Litzenberger is fine with last-minute. He’ll show up, on-time and in a professional manner, to fix your problems or install new projects like some kind of plumber superhero. Drains, sinks, toilets and showers, water softeners, sewer and septic work — it doesn’t matter. Ben Litzenberger will serve you plumber justice (and a one-year labour guarantee). /DP

Best Real Estate Agent

Sean Malcolm

Royal Lepage
3889 Arcola Ave. E. 306-527-0615
W: malcolmhomes.ca

Runners-up
Roberta Peakman (Century 21) (2nd)
Brin Werrett (Rockstar Homes) (3rd)
Penny Milton (Sutton Group) (4th)
Lindsay Haubrich (Royal LePage) (5th)

My co-worker is a real estate agent by profession — working at the comic store is more of a fun hobby for him —  so when I asked him about Sean Malcolm I figured I would get all sorts of dark rivalry out of him. Alas, all I got was, “of course Sean won. He’s really good.” Nice and pleasant and nothing bad. Well, I guess that’s why Sean has won Best Real Estate Agent five years running now. Five years! That’s crazy. Obviously, the man knows how to sell houses. /SH

Best Yard & Garden Store

Dutch Growers

3320 Pasqua St. 306-721-4769
W: dutchgrowers.net

Runners-up
WP Garden Centres (2nd)
Unique Garden Centre (3rd)
Home Depot (4th)
Rona (5th)

The Van Duyvendyk family has been operating Dutch Growers in Saskatchewan for over half a century. They opened their first location in Saskatoon in 1953, and the current generation of Van Duyvendyks took over the Regina location in 2005. It’s a gargantuan place with an eye-popping selection of plants, trees, gardening supplies, yard ornamentation, home decor, clothing, jewelry, giftware, and other unexpected miscellany. Where else can you buy Russian Blue seed potatoes, a charm bracelet, a plum tree, an elegant skirt, a potted ficus, a sassy handbag, seven different kinds of dirt, Oprah’s favourite jeans, and a venus flytrap all in one shopping trip? /LAK 

TOP


MEDIA

Best Print Reporter

Rob Vanstone (Leader-Post)

W: leaderpost.com

Runners-up
Murray Mandryk (Leader-Post) (2nd)
Emma Graney (Leader-Post) (3rd)
Ashley Martin (Leader-Post) (4th)

Total domination by one Mr. Rob Vanstone in this category! Seriously, he’s owned this title for ages now. As the Leader-Post’s lead writer on a subject of great importance to many Reginans, he obviously has a leg up on his colleagues at our local Postmedia outlet.

Last year, there was the glory of the Riders’ thrilling Grey Cup championship on home turf for Vanstone (and the whole Rider juggernaut at the paper) to cover. This year, there’s been the drama of the drive to two-peat, Dressler’s return, Durant’s injury, some perplexing coaching decisions, and a generally weird year in the CFL altogether, to write about.

Did I mention the stadium issue? Oh right, I did — in City Life. /GB

Best Broadcast Reporter

Wayne Mantyka

CTV
W: regina.ctvnews.ca

Runners-up
Geoff Leo (CBC) (2nd)
Kim Smith (Global) (3rd)
Mike McKinnon (Global) (4th)

Tilt head to the right 10 degrees, tilt head to the left 15 degrees, repeat, finish report, smile — that’s how a journalist friend once described Wayne Mantyka’s rhythmic style of doing stand-ups at the end of his reports. Over his 40-plus year career, Mantyka’s set the bar for some of the best straight-up-just-the-facts reporting this city’s ever seen, so when it came time for my journalism school classmates and I to do our own stand-ups for broadcast class, many of us found ourselves making the same movements inadvertently. With reports simple and clear as a full moon on a cloudless night, Mantyka remains a comforting fixture for many Reginans when they tune in to CTV for the nightly news. /BH  

Best Political Reporter

Murray Mandryk

Leader-Post
W: leaderpost.com

Runners-up
Stefani Langenegger (CBC) (2nd)
Mike McKinnon (Global) (3rd)

In addition to his Leader-Post gig, Mandryk is one-half of the Statler and Waldorf combo on the Morning Edition with CBC Radio’s legislature bureau chief Stefani Langenegger — a perennial contender in this category herself. In a newspaper chain that, ummm, “boasts” government apologist gasbags such as Michael Den Tandt, Andrew Coyne and Christie Blatchford, Mandryk’s columns are often insightful and entertaining. Sometimes, though, a false equivalency creeps in that passes for journalistic balance: “The NDP did this too so… ”. Memo: the Saskatchewan Party has been in power for seven years. It’s time they started taking the blame for their own mistakes, right Murray? /SL

Best Weather Person

J.C. Garden

CTV
W: regina.ctvnews.ca

Runners-up
Rustie Dean (Global) (2nd)
Tiffany Lizée (Global) (3rd)
Farah Singh (CBC) (4th)
Carey Smith (CTV) (5th)

The Farmer’s Almanac of Local Television, Regina’s Weather Vane, The Rheumatic Joint of Old Queen City — all would make fitting nicknames for J.C. Garden. However, the defending champ in this category is humble about his victory. “I feel fortunate, because no matter what station you watch, we’ve got a lot of great people who deliver weather in Regina.”

Beyond the weather segments, Garden frequently reports on community and cultural events in Regina, often in a sit-down studio interview format. “We’re part of the community and want to feel like we’re sharing the experience of the community with the viewers, letting them know about the things they should know about.”

When pressed for the secret to winning Regina’s frosty hearts, especially after two harsh winters, Garden suggests it’s a combination of time and familiarity. “The great thing about CTV is that people always come up to me wanting to talk and say ‘I feel like I know you.’”

“The great thing about this job is that it’s not really a job: you get to talk to a lot of great people and get to share their stories, and it’s enriching for me because I get to hear about all these great things that are happening and get to be a part of them.” /AG

Best Radio Host(s)

Sheila Coles

CBC
W: cbc.ca/sask

Runners-up
Chad and Ballsy (104.9 the Wolf) (2nd)
CC, Lori, & Buzz (Z99) (3rd)
Crash and Mars (Z99) (4th)

Sheila Coles is a valued commodity on Queen City airwaves for fans and casual listeners alike. She’s been on the air for over two decades, a reasonable chunk of that time spent with The Morning Edition, a pivotal part of CBC Saskatchewan’s radio programming. Coles, as the host, strikes a tone that’s both journalistic and welcoming, having an easy manner with interviews even when she’s asking tough questions. She’s an on-air professional, through and through, and a welcome sound whenever one’s flipping through the airwaves. /JB

Best Talk Radio Program

John Gormley Live

Newstalk 980 CJME
W: cjme.com

Runners-up
The Morning Edition (CBC) (2nd)
The Sports Cage (620 CKRM) (3rd)
Blue Sky (CBC) (4th)
The Sarah Mills Show (Newstalk 980 CJME) (5th)

Recently Prairie Dog ran a scurrilous piece on John Gormley in the “13 Horrors of Saskatchewan” feature, comparing the radio host to a classic Marvel Comics villain and generally casting aspersions on both his character and his habit of pausing for what seems like an eternity during his monologues, thereby stretching out five minutes of talk into an hour of airtime. For shame, person who wrote that piece. For shame.

Love him or hate him, Gormley is probably the most distinctive voice on Saskatchewan radio today, and John Gormley Live (8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) certainly draws in listeners and galvanizes debate. His monthly interviews with Premier Brad Wall are a highlight — especially when people call in and ask about highway repair. It’s further proof that, in Saskatchewan, ideology ends where the potholes begin. /AM

Best Radio Station

Z99

W: z99.com

Runners-up
104.9 The Wolf (2nd)
CBC Radio One (3rd)
CBC Radio 2 (4th)
91.3 CJTR (5th)

For research I visited Z99’s Facebook page. When I was there, the site had 30,521 Likes. Of that number, two were friends of mine on Facebook. Admittedly, I don’t have many friends (194 to be exact). But the fact that only two were represented (one of whom I don’t even actually know) is a pretty fair indicator of my ability to write an insightful blurb on the appeal Z99 holds for PD voters. This isn’t the first time the station has won this category either. Far from it, in fact. So congrats to the Z-crew. /GB 

Best TV Anchor

Jill Morgan

CBC
W: cbc.ca/sask

Runners-up
Dan McIntosh (CTV) (2nd)
Heather Anderson (CTV) (3rd)
Whitney Stinson (Global) (4th)

I’ve seen both Anchorman movies so I have a solid grasp of what life is like on and off set for Jill Morgan. I’ve seen Network too —where Peter Finch (as Howard Beale) loses it on air and rages at the world’s injustices. And Weekend Update was always a favourite segment when I watched SNL. Hell, I even met Peter Mansbridge at CBC a few years ago when he was promoting his memoir. So yeah, when it comes to the TV anchor gig I got it cased.

Elsewhere in Best of Regina you’ll be able to read about Jill Morgan’s great hair. But there’s more to being an anchor than that. You also have to have a healthy tolerance for scotch, and be able to duke it out in free-for-alls with news teams from rival stations, and dream up a snazzy sign-off phrase to keep viewers coming back for more. And Jill Morgan is tops in our voters’ minds. So congrats to her. /GB

Best TV News

CTV

W: regina.ctvnews.ca

Runners-up
Global (2nd)
CBC (3rd)

I don’t watch a lot of TV news, sadly. Well, I don’t watch a lot of TV — but that’s beside the point. Earlier this year Regina had its first comic con and CTV helped kicked it off by having part of its morning show in the downtown Comic Readers (which I’m somewhat affiliated with). It’s that kind of dedication to local news and events along with the good old standard national news coverage that has made CTV perennial winners in this category. /SH

Best TV Sports

CTV

W: regina.ctvnews.ca

Runners-up
Global (2nd)
CBC (3rd)

Sometimes Best of Regina blurbs are assigned to match a particular writer’s experience and sensibility. And sometimes they’re assigned for the express purpose of hilarity and discomfort. Like this one, for example.

If you like sports and sports coverage, you should follow the lead of PD voters and watch CTV. They do all the sports: sportball, faceball, sportface. Sometimes they descend from helicopters onto the field and start doing sports coverage in the middle of the game! That’s how dedicated they are.

In all seriousness: under the directorship of Lee Jones, CTV Regina is dedicated to sports throughout southern Saskatchewan, with plenty of coverage and solid analysis. Lee Jones also maintains a great Twitter account with lots of sports commentary. /AM

Best Twitterer

Regina Police Service

T: @reginapolice

Runners-up
Taron Cochrane @taroncochrane (2nd)
Elan Morgan @schmutzie (3rd)
Don Jedlic @stoughtonfreak (4th)
Julian Sanders @saskajules (5th)

One of the strangest thrills of being a Twitter user (A tweeter? A tweep?) in Regina is the experience of seeing the notification pop up: “@ReginaPolice is following you!” Once the initial, involuntary twinge of guilt subsides, the Regina Police Twitter account turns out to be unexpectedly engaging. Quizzes, funny comments and impromptu conversations are sprinkled in with alerts and notices to produce a persona that humanizes the police and makes them feel part of the community, albeit a virtual part.

My favourite recent @ReginaPolice tweet: “Glock pistols will function in extreme temperatures such as -40C and up to 200C.” Which raises the obvious question “Who shoots in 200 degree temperatures?” /AM

Best Prairie Dog Writer

Aidan Morgan

W: prairiedogmag.com

Runners-up
Stephen Whitworth (2nd)
Paul Dechene (3rd)
Gregory Beatty (4th)
Jorge Ignacio Castillo (5th)

Not many people know the story of how Aidan Morgan moved out west from the Maritimes to train as a psychic fireman (the technical term is “telehydration,” the ability to moisten objects with one’s mind). Nor do they know about his years of bitterness and wandering when he discovered that he was only able to produce a slight dampness and the occasional puddle.

Now returned to the city, Mr. Morgan writes the restaurant review column for PD, assiduously eating for the paper’s readership and exorcising the mad demons of his vocabulary. He will also review weddings, birthdays, funerals, and mitzvahs (both bar and bat), as long as there’s food. Say, are you eating something right now? Could Mr. Morgan have a bite? Just pop it in the mail and he’ll get it. Your doughnut/burrito/dry-aged tenderloin will be carefully reviewed and graded by experts. /AM

Best News Website Or Blog

CBC Saskatchewan

W: cbc.ca/sask

Runners-Up
Global Regina (2nd)
CBC Saskatchewan (3rd)
RodPedersen.com (4th)

Voters won’t get any argument from me on this one. CBC Saskatchewan’s website has the day’s headlines organized in an attractive, easy-to use format. Popped over there a second ago and found out today (Nov. 5) is the 10-year anniversary of a Saskatchewan judge ruling that same-sex marriage is legal. Glad to know. The page also had stories on the debate over privatized booze, a fire that took out three Regina garages and changes to Regina’s noise bylaws that target barking dogs (woof). There are also links to CBC’s local programs, and you can listen to radio shows from the Morning Edition to Saskatchewan Weekend. On top of that there are photo galleries, event announcements and recent CBC tweets. It’s just a damn good, useful web page. Make sure it’s at the top of your favourites list. /SW

Best News Outlet

CBC

W: cbc.ca/sask

Runners-up
CTV (2nd)
Global (3rd)

Steve does a pretty good job of describing CBC’s value as a news gathering organization in his Best Website/Blog blurb. Despite repeated budget cuts, the Corp. is still the best source of local, provincial, national and international news in Regina. About the only thing it doesn’t have is a correspondent on the International Space Station to cover the space beat. Although if you read our Oct. 16 issue you’ll know that Quirks & Quarks host Bob McDonald has a new book out where he interviews the three Canadian astronauts who have done space walks. So I guess CBC sorta has space covered too. /GB  

Biggest Regina News Story

Riders Win the Grey Cup

Runners-up
Flooding (2nd)
Ragged Ass Barbers Controversy (3rd)
Weston Dressler Returns to Riders (4th)
New Stadium (5th)

A person could learn a lot about a city by what it considers newsworthy. It’s probably not surprising that voters would declare the Rider Grey Cup victory as the biggest thing that happened in the past year, but it sure makes you wonder. As for the other nominees, the stadium was an easy sell (oversold by the city just in case) and, apparently, Weston Dressler returned to the Riders (I didn’t know he’d left). The Ragged Ass debacle certainly got a lot of notice, and the flooding was a huge disaster that got a lot of national attention (what must they think of us?) But are these really the biggest Regina news stories? What about the Waste Water Treatment plant referendum? That was a biggie. The closing of Connaught School really touched a lot of nerves. The mayor’s housing summit was another big one. And those are just a few that I can think of off the top of my head. Now I’m depressed. /WS

TOP


MUSIC

Best Solo Act

Jeffery Straker

W: jeffstraker.com
T: @jefferystraker

Runners-up
Amy Nelson (2nd)
Andy Shauf (3rd)
Megan Nash (4th)

Regina is really feeling the love for Jeffrey Straker. It’s easy to understand why. The affable singer-songwriter who works a folk-meets-cabaret style has proven himself as one of Saskatchewan’s best live acts by hitting the road and winning over fans across North America and beyond (he won an international song competition in Chile in February, and has upcoming tour dates in Peru!). Between his startling vocal range, virtuosity on the piano, and lyrical talent, Straker is a standout on the Saskatchewan music scene. He also made headlines this past summer when he took an unpleasant encounter with a homophobic idiot and turned it into a teachable moment on civility and how to treat one another — proving that his grace, as a musician and man, knows no bounds. /WS

Best Band

The Dead South

W: thedeadsouth.com

Runners-up
Rah Rah (2nd)
Indigo Joseph (3rd)
Black Thunder (4th)
The Fortunate Isles (5th)

These four Regina guys stand out onstage. Bolo ties, suspenders, white shirts and black pants: their style is memorable and fitting. Their musical style is an energetic and forceful bluegrass, as showcased on their album Good Company. The recognition and opportunities are starting to stream in. They went on a big European outing in September with the likes of Close Talker and Jordan Klassen. Before that, they won 104.9 The Wolf’s Queen City Rocks competition that netted a whole whack of prizes. My mom would be most excited about the $1,000 Subway gift card; they likely appreciated gear from Long and McQuade and the like. /JB

Best Cover Band

Wonderland

Runners-up
The Milkman’s Sons (2nd)
F.O.G.D.O.G. (3rd)
Darcy Playground (4th)
Gates of Dawn (5th)
Leland (6th)

When I was in university I hung out with some guys who were in a cover band. They’d play high school dances, bars, the odd festival gig like Canada Day in Wascana Park. They had a few original tunes (of dubious quality) but relied mostly on covers from bands like Van Halen, Ted Nugent, the Kinks and whatnot. Over the three or so years we hung out, we accumulated a fair number of “war stories” about stuff that happened during gigs. One favourite was at a bar in Fort Qu’Appelle. I wasn’t there, but as the band was doing its best to rip through Nazareth’s “Razamanaz”, some drunk dude stumbled up to the sound and light guys and yelled, “that ain’t ‘Razamanaz’. That’s BULLSHIT!” Good times. /GB

Best Album

Good Company (The Dead South)

W: thedeadsouth.com

Runners-up
For John (Library Voices) (2nd)
Collages (Indigo Joseph) (3rd)
McKruski (Snake River) (4th)

The Dead South, which consists of Danny Kenyon (cello), Nate Hilts (guitar/vocals), Scott Pringle (mandolin/guitar/backup vocals) and Colton Crawford (banjo), are known for their raucous live shows. Last April, they launched their debut LP Good Company at Riddell Centre. Prior to the release I did a Dog Blog interview with Kenyon about the album, which the band recorded with Orion Paradis at Soul Sound Studio in Regina.

“We didn’t set out to create an overall theme, although many of the songs are stories we thought up, usually about people who get themselves into trouble,” Kenyon said. “We’re fans of Spaghetti Westerns, Grindhouse films, and shows like Deadwood — so the stories include drinking, gambling, murder, and barren landscape… all the ‘good company’ that might inhabit a hell. However, there are a number of outliers as well.”

And the album struck a chord with PD voters, obviously. /GB

Best DJ

DJ Fresh

Runners-up
DJ Noor (2nd)
DJ Ry Ry (3rd)
DJ 2 Beats (4th)
VJ Robzi (5th)

What makes a great DJ? There are a bunch of traits and skills I could name that go into this particular calling, but one is easy to recognize: longevity. DJ Fresh has been doing sets in Regina, at Cloud 9 and elsewhere, for years now. Sticking around has to take some work, as does staying fresh in this profession. But it also shows a particular love for what you’re doing. /JB

Best Concert

Serena Ryder (Regina Folk Festival)

W: reginafolkfestival.com
W: serenearyder.com
T: @serenaryder

Runners-up
Neil Young (2nd)
Jann Arden (3rd)
Joel Plaskett (Regina Folk Festival) (4th)

Serena Ryder was the Saturday night headliner at the 2014 Regina Folk Festival. The previous night, Blitz the Ambassador and the Sam Roberts Band had been cancelled after an ugly storm hit, dumping even more rain on an already sodden Victoria Park and tearing up the festival site pretty good. With Saidah Baba Talibah, Indigo Girls and Klô Pelag also playing that night, Saturday was like a mini-Lilith Fair. And Ryder capped it off perfectly. Building on the success of her 2012 album Harmony, she’s really upped her game as a performer. She’s got a deeper catalogue of songs to draw on, so that helps, but on stage at the RFF Ryder was pure dynamite — a several-song interlude on conga-style drums that included her hit “Stompa” was especially impressive. So good choice, PD voters. /GB

Best Live Music Venue

Casino Regina Show Lounge

1880 Saskatchewan Dr. 1-800-555-3189
W: casinoregina.com

Runners-up
The Exchange (2nd)
The Artful Dodger (3rd)
Artesian on 13th (4th)
O’Hanlon’s (5th)

The only time I’ve ever been disappointed at Casino Regina Show Lounge was when I showed up to see Destroyer and it turned out to be a KISS tribute act instead of Vancouver pop wizard and occasional New Pornographer Dan Bejar. As it happened, the Show Lounge opened shortly after I started a five-year stint covering live music in 2001 (the first show, as I recall, was a Globe Theatre production of A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline). The gig meant I had to — or got to, depending on how you look at it — cover concerts I wouldn’t necessarily have attended of my own volition. Sometimes I had company when I went to the Show Lounge, other nights I sat alone, hunched over a notebook in a booth. But I never suffered. The comfortable seats, accommodating staff, and wonderful sound always made my time there pleasant, even while enduring a set by Uncle Kracker. /EM

Best Music Festival

Regina Folk Festival

W: reginafolkfestival.com

Runners-up
Craven Country Jamboree (2nd)
Summer Invasion (3rd)
Connect Music Festival (4th)
Trifecta Music Festival (5th)

Craven Country Jamboree finished second in this category. I suppose that’s not surprising, since, unlike the Regina Folk Festival, Craven benefits from positive-to-the-point-of-fawning coverage in Regina’s mainstream media, and the steady airplay that most Craven artists get on the city’s two country-music stations. Then again, country music today is as interchangeable as Lego pieces — there’s a guy in jeans, t-shirt and a cowboy hat, a pick-up truck, some beer/whiskey, a girl in a tank top and cut-offs, and that’s pretty much every country song since Garth Brooks was a thing. To go to the RFF, you must be a real fan of folk music (although typically the artists represent a range of genres) and enjoy soaking up the festival vibe in Victoria Park. For me, the RFF is what Christmas is to my kids: it’s what I set my internal clock to. /SL

TOP


CLOTHES & SHOES

Best Place To Buy Accessories

Winners

2135 Prince of Wales Dr. 306-789-9998
W: winners.ca

Runners-up
Aldo (2nd)
Ardène (3rd)
Madam Yes (4th)
Argento (5th)

Hey, nice accessories — where’d you get them? Winners? Oh. Of course. Why’d I even ask? I can’t ever find the level of awesome stuff my friends and loved ones seem to find at Winners. Those jerks don’t look half as good as me (supporting evidence not confirmed) and yet somehow they’ve unlocked the secret to shopping at Winners. Is there are code word? Is there a Winners Illuminati? One day, when we’ve unlocked the mysteries of the quantum universe, I’m betting within the fabric of space and time, we’ll find Elvis and Bigfoot standing next to a pile of Winners merchandise that actually fits my style and body type. In the meantime, I’ll keep shopping Winners for the other people in my life. /DP

Best Kids’ Clothing

Carter’s/OshKosh

4610 Gordon Rd 306-585-2455
W: cartersoshkosh.ca

Runners-up
The Children’s Place (2nd)
Crocus & Ivy (3rd)
Simply Spoiled (4th)

I must admit that, when it comes to kids’ clothes, Value Village is a handy place for secondhand finds to help me keep up with growing children. But for special occasions and gifts, like a pair of iconic hickory-striped overalls, for example, Carter’s/OshKosh is the place. Their clothes can survive — nay, arise triumphant from, a thrashing (and no one can thrash clothes like small humans). Another plus is that their clothes often fall outside the typical pink/blue BS to which a lot of kids’ clothes are subject. As for the aforementioned dungarees, I think we can all agree that OshKosh’s, with their mithril-reinforced seams and surplus of pockets, reign supreme. /JH

Best Place For Women’s Casual Clothes

Winners

2135 Prince of Wales Dr. 306-789-9998
W: winners.ca

Runners-up
Uforia Muse (2nd)
Seed Sustainable Style (3rd)
Cade Style Lounge (4th)
Madam Yes (5th)

As a blurb-writer, sad to say, I’m not as dedicated as some of our contributors. When editor Steve got the Best Adult Store assignment, for instance, he made a beeline for Industrial Luv to check out all the great vibrators and other products on display. Rather than do the same here, I just visited Winners’ website. With Christmas season in full-swing, there were plenty of promotions for swank party dresses, cozy sweaters, gift cards — there was even a quiz to identify your “hat personality”. Of course, shopping at Winners is always a crapshoot. But the discount chain promises “big finds” with savings of up to 60 per cent. And for PD voters, that’s a winning pitch. /GB

Best Place For Men’s Casual Clothes

Coda Clothing

2326 Albert St. 306-522-2632
W: codaclothing.com

Runners-up
Norwood (2nd)
Madame Yes (3rd)

It’s weird, but just today as I’m writing this, it came up in conversation with someone that we were both impressed with how good Coda’s hours are. The whole scenario might seem like a staging for an ad that might run before the real ads kick in at the movie theatre, but really –– open until 9 p.m.! All the time! That leaves you plenty of time to head over and check out their huge variety of youth-oriented brands. /JB

Best Men’s Business Wear

Colin O’Brian Man’s Shoppe

1825 Hamilton St. 306-584-9300
W: colinobrian.com

Runners-up
Moores (2nd)
Trinos Menswear (3rd)
Tip Top Tailors (4th)

Never mind the discount outlets, the mall-bound chains, the flat-roofed warehouses with racks of suits dissolving into the fluorescent distance. Colin O’Brian is about taste, style and class. Downtown Regina sports a few men’s clothing stores, but none offer such a fantastic selection of business wear and stylish casual clothing from Ted Baker and Strellson to the music-inspired styles of John Varvatos. Moreover, Colin O’Brian has customer service down cold. Buy one sports coat and they’ll remember your name forever.

The best reason to shop at Colin O’Brian, though, is that they won’t steer you wrong and put you into an unsuitable piece of clothing for the sake of a sale. On more than one occasion I’ve been tactfully and tastefully guided away from purple blazers and patterned shirts, which is something we can all be thankful for. /AM

Best Women’s Business Wear

Ricki’s

Southland Mall 306-584-7332
Cornwall Centre 306-522-3316
Northgate Shopping Centre 306-949-1688
W: rickis.com

Runners-up
The Bay (2nd)
RW&CO (3rd)
Seed Sustainable Style (4th)

Back when we still ran Street Wear, I did one with Nicole Sarauer. If you check the Best School Board Member blurb, you’ll find her name in the runners-up. Nicole sits on the Separate Board, and is programs officer for Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan. Often with Street Wear we tended to showcase free-spirited indie hipster types. To shake things up, Nicole and I talked business attire. “Dressing in a professional world can be a bit more work for women, but that’s because we have more freedom in our choices,” she noted. For PD voters, it seems, Ricki’s is a favourite haunt to explore different options. /GB

Best Place To Buy Men’s Jeans

Bootlegger

W: bootlegger.com

Runners-up
Mark’s (2nd)
Coda Clothing (3rd)
Havik (4th)
Norwood (5th)
Cow Town (5th)

Role play: You need dude pants because you’re a dude and you spilled mustard on your jeans while consuming your daily boiled hotdog. Yeah, you’ve been planning on getting back into shape, but your job at the hotdog factory is time-consuming, and you just can’t seem to resist the siren call of all that processed meat. But there’s no time for re-thinking your career path, because you need pants, you hotdog-eating mess! You want cheap, stain-free pants that fit. As far as men’s jeans go, you’ve tried ordering from that sketchy eBay account, but you ended up with a crate full of rejected Eastern Bloc war-time slacks. That’s where Bootlegger comes in. If you need a pair of dude pants that fit for a good price, Bootlegger has you covered. /DP

Best Place To Buy Women’s Jeans

Bootlegger

W: bootlegger.com

Runners-up
Havik (2nd)
American Eagle (3rd)
Cow Town (4th)
Cade Style Lounge (5th)
Marbella Clothing (6th)

Good jeans are tough to find. You have heard tales of form-fitting, flattering jeans. You have journeyed through outlets and shops for the hallowed pair, but alas, they elude you like some cruel specter. And then, when you finally discover an affordable pair, slide into them and they fit, it’s like stepping into leg Valhalla. “Behold!” you shout from your mythical mountaintop of pantaloon ecstasy. “I am wearing jeans that make me look and feel like a mighty warrior pulling a bowstring taut in the heat of battle! See my grandeur, world! My pants fit!” Those legendary jeans are at Bootlegger. They carry all the top brands tailored to goddess levels of perfection at a peasant’s price. Not to mention, their staff give you divine treatment. /DP

Best Suit Store

Colin O’Brian Man’s Shoppe

1825 Hamilton St. 306-584-9300
W: colinobrian.com

Runners-up
Moores (2nd)
Trinos Menswear (3rd)
Tip Top Tailors (4th)

Is this some kind of joke? Not the selection of Colin O’Brian as Regina’s Best Suit Store: the idea of assigning PD’s most ill-dressed freelancer to write this blurb? But if you are the type of guy who’s into looking like a GQ model, and names such as Bugatti, Coppley, Jack Victor, and Eton mean something to you, Colin O’Brian should be on your shopping radar. If the clothes look good on the department store mannequins in the window, imagine how good they’ll look on you. /SL

Best Dress Shop

NWL Fashion

1853 Hamilton St. 306-546-2246
W: nwlfashion.com

Runners-up
Le Château (2nd)
Uforia Muse (3rd)
Seed Sustainable Style (4th)
Madame Yes (5th)

When the ladies of Regina need to get gussied up for a special occasion, they make a bee-line for NWL. Owner Nadia Williams’ airy and well organized shop is right where we like to see wonderful independent businesses: downtown (and on the main floor of the beautiful old Leader building). Williams is singularly skilled at finding just the right frock for whichever high-tone event you might find yourself attending — whether it’s a wedding, award ceremony, charity fundraiser or other formal gathering. You can peruse the racks for designs from La Sposa, Pronovias, Frank Lyman, Justin Alexander, Tony Bowls, and many others. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are preferred. Shnazzy. /WS

Best Men’s Shoes

Aldo

2102 11th Ave. 306-757-2082
2965 Gordon Rd. 306-586-8722
W: aldoshoes.com

Runners-up
Apartment 3B (2nd)
Zoe’s Boutique (3rd)
Madame Yes (4th)

For a while, the Aldo in the Cornwall Center had a huge sign of Matthew Gray Gubler modeling their shoes in their front window. I can’t remember why now, but I really needed my partner to know who that was, even though I don’t think I ever knew his name. I kept telling her, “He’s the young one from Criminal Minds! You know! The skinny guy! Probably works with computers! Not Mandy Patinkin!” It didn’t help. Not like I’m some memory master or anything –– I had to look up Gubler’s name and the show he was on to be sure myself. Bottom line: you can get reasonably priced men’s shoes at Aldo. /JB

Best Women’s Shoes

Aldo

2102 11th Avenue (306) 757-2082
2965 Gordon Road (306) 586-8722
W: aldoshoes.com

Runners-up
Zoe’s Boutique (2nd)
Lusso Shoe Lounge (3rd)
Madame Yes (4th)

This could turn into “women be shopping” quickly. If it does, apologies. But my main experience with women’s shoes at any Aldo location is being in there with my partner. As a mostly schlumpy-looking guy who has one pair of shoes he uses regularly –– that might be unisex and definitely have bright orange accents –– I really don’t think about shoes that often. When you want to shoot above utilitarian, Aldo seems like a good place to have around. The prices won’t lay absolute waste to your budget while the array of styles seems good to this orange-accented trail-runners guy. /JB

Best Swimwear

Under the Sun

2707 Quance St. 306-775-1444
Find On Facebook

Runners-up
The Bay (2nd)
La Vie en Rose Boutique (3rd)
Elizabeth’s (4th)

I know what you’re thinking. What could swimwear and the Bible have in common? Maybe 100 years ago, sure, when swimwear consisted of what we’d describe today as long johns — the Bible being big on modesty and all. But with the skimpy swimwear that’s out there now… I don’t think so. Yet here’s your pick for Best Swimwear store with a name lifted straight from the Bible. Ecclesiastes 1:9 to be exact, which ends with the words “there is no new thing under the sun.” Or not — I don’t know. I mean, it’s a common enough expression. Two films have been made using Under the Sun as a title, in fact, and both Black Sabbath and the Buzzcocks have recorded songs by that name. So who knows what the store’s name is meant to symbolize. The End. /GB

Best Clothing Store Overall

Winners

2135 Prince of Wales Dr. 306-789-9998
W: winners.ca

Runners-up
The Bay (2nd)
Norwood (3rd)

As you glide up and down the aisles, thumbing through the racks of discount clothing and wondering whether $50 for a $150 skirt is really a good deal or a pending clothing catastrophe, ask yourself: who exactly is the winner here?

The answer, obviously, is you. Maybe you’ll find that once-in-a-year deal that buzzes the reward node in your brain. Maybe you’ll just push item after item aside, halfheartedly trying on stylistic outliers for an entire afternoon before you draw the glum conclusion that there’s nothing for you that day. Or maybe you’ll come home with a heap of dresses that sit on your dresser in a reproachful heap and never get worn.

The truth, though, is that designer clothing is absurdly overpriced, and it’s great to find something on deep discount. For example, this snazzy pink linen shirt that I picked up for only $20! For that price I can deal with the weird red piping. And the hole that appeared after one wash. /AM

TOP


SHOPPING

Best Adult Store

Industrial Luv

B1-1933 8th Ave. 866-522-4542
W: industrialuv.com
T: @industrialuv

Runners-Up
Love Plus (2nd)
G-Spot Boutique (3rd)

Industrial Luv started as an online store in 2002. Not surprising, since online businesses are the retail story of the last 15-plus years, and sex toys, games and accessories are items a lot of people are more comfortable buying semi-anonymously on the Internet. The irony is that Industrial Luv’s brick-and-mortar shop, which opened in the basement of the Warehouse Plaza in 2006, is a perfect illustration of online shopping’s limits. When you walk in you’ll meet experts in sexual well-being who can help you choose products to enrich your life. Say you’re buying a vibrator — do you want something for penetration or external use, or both? Big or small? Gentle vibration or intense stimulation? What’s your budget? What’s your favourite colour? Do you want one that looks like a big, veiny cock or something more inconspicuous? The staff can help you work through these important details without shame, and they have sample vibrators you can hold in your hand to get the feel of. Can’t get that kind of service online. /SW

Best Car Dealership

Taylor Toyota

655 Broad St. 1-888-714-2904
W: taylortoyota.ca

Runners-up
Capital Ford Lincoln (2nd)
Bennett Dunlop Ford (3rd)
Wheaton Chevrolet (4th)

Taylor Toyota wins this category because their staff are so friendly you might add them to your silly-puppy-pictures email list after buying your vehicle. When you walk into their showroom, they give you a sense of trust that comes with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Their sales associates are easygoing and knowledgeable, so when the time comes to buy new, you know your puppy photos will be appreciated and your questions answered. Taylor Toyota’s seasonal promotions match or exceed most around town, which means getting all the extra features on your new vehicle is affordable. Hello, adorable puppy decals! Their inventory includes Toyota 4Runner, Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Matrix, Prius and more. All models come with warranty and optional extended warranty to suit your needs. Bow wow! /DP

Best Used Car Dealership

Bennett Dunlop Ford

770 S Broad St. 306-522-6612
W: bennettdunlopford.com

Runners-up
Titan Automotive Group (2nd)
Siman Auto Sales (3rd)

I don’t know much about cars. When buying a used vehicle I note the colour (red being the fastest colour), kick the tires and then sit in the driver’s seat while making car noises. The used car specialists at Bennett Dunlop Ford give customers the confidence and information they need to make the right decisions and ask the right questions. They even have live chat with car experts on their website to help you whenever you need it. Any time! Need someone to talk cars while pretending to work? Bennett Dunlop representatives are standing by! You can try and impress them with the car knowledge you gleaned from 20 minutes of Wikipedia browsing — they’ll politely listen. They’re cool like that. And then, they’ll take you on a knowledge journey ending with your dream vehicle at an affordable price. /DP

Best Comic Shop

ComicReaders (Downtown)

105 – 2125 11th Avenue 306-779-0900
W: comicreaders.com
T: @ComicReaders

Runners-Up
Tramp’s Music & Books (2nd)
ComicReaders (South Albert) (3rd)

At least four PD writers are ComicReaders downtown regulars: Aidan Morgan, Paul Dechene (when he’s not in Malta), Rick Pollard and me (Whitworth). Shane Hnetka, the great big nerd who writes our movie listings, Hnetflix and the Dog Blog column Sunday Afternoon Matinee, is not — but then again, rumour is he manages the south store, so he’s biased. In a town with three friendly comic shops, downtown ComicReaders is, for the second year in a row, our readers’ top destination for comics, manga and graphic novels, as well as board- and card games, collectables and all kinds of awesome shit. They can also connect newbs to the rapidly growing designer games scene in this city. Drop in sometime, unless you hate fun. /SW

Best Computer Store

Best Buy

2125 Prince of Wales Dr. 306-546-0100
W: bestbuy.ca
T: @BestBuyCanada

Runners-Up
OTV Technologies (2nd)
FACT Computers (3rd)
PC Place (4th)

In a top-to-bottom repeat of last year’s results, Best Buy again comes out as PD voters’ favourite place to purchase a computer. Shocking what massive marketing and redonkulous Boxing Day sales do for your name recognition. Beyond the fact that Best Buy spends the dough and delivers the deals to boost their brand, I can see why our readers like the store: it’s a fun place to wander around in. Besides computers, Best Buy has phones, DVDs, video game systems, TVs, stereos and mp3 players (do people use mp3 players anymore?). They’ve also got musical instruments, GPS devices, curling irons, rice cookers, cameras and videocams, blenders, bread makers, waffle irons, pots, pans, knives, food processors, microwaves and CANDY. So there you go: on those days when you need an off-the-shelf computer, binoculars AND a toaster, Best Buy is for you. /SW

Best Eyewear

Factory Optical

926 Victoria Ave. 306-522-6411
5556 Rochdale Blvd. 306-585-1035
2965 Gordon Rd. 306-949-5878
518 University Park Dr. 306-790-7682
W: factoryoptical.ca

Runners-up
FYI Doctors (2nd)
Cornwall Optical (3rd)
Viva Optical (4th)
J & J’s Optical Gallery (5th)

I chatted recently with the proprietor of one of the eyewear shops listed above. During our conversation, the person mentioned they’d just returned from a convention of eye care specialists in Las Vegas.

Now I know what you’re thinking: Vegas + Convention = PARTAY!, right? But some serious stuff got discussed. One issue that got flagged was the growing concern about compact fluorescent light bulbs. CFLs are being made mandatory for energy-saving, but the light they emit is different than incandescent light, and there are indications the UV-rays are causing ocular problems such as macular degeneration.

That’s not to be alarmist or anything. But it’s an example of the type of service and knowledge eye care professionals like those above can provide. And according to PD voters, Factory Optical does it best. /GB

Best Florist

Wascana Flower Shoppe

333 Victoria Ave. E. 306-533-5243
W: wascanaflowershop.com

Runners-up
Gale’s Florist (2nd)
Unique Florists (3rd)
The Flower Hut (4th)
Fresh and Green Flowers (5th)

For three years now, I’ve grown marigolds from seed in three window boxes on my condo overlooking Scarth Street Mall — the first and third years with reasonable success, the second year not so much. And it just occurred to me if I wanted to be sneaky about it I could boogie down to your choice for Best Flower Shop next summer and grab some sweet bouquets and make amazing window box displays that would earn me props from the downtown crowd as a gardening whiz. Yeah, I’d probably have to replace the flowers every two weeks or so. And that would get expensive after awhile. But glory never comes cheap… so what the hell. I just might do it. /GB

Best Furniture Store

Urban Barn

4740 Gordon Rd. 306-545-0673
W: urbanbarn.com

Runners-up
Alford’s (2nd)
Urbane EQ3 (3rd)
Urban Barn (4th)

We all need furniture, otherwise our rooms would be bare. Nowhere to sit, nowhere to sleep — eating, you could probably manage just standing in the kitchen with a plate/bowl and fork/spoon, although an actual dining table is nice to have too. According to voters, the best place to shop for furniture in Regina is Urban Barn — which isn’t really a barn, but a box store in Grasslands. Not only can you buy chairs, beds and tables for sitting, sleeping and eating, you can also get all sorts of household accessories. /SH

Best Hobby Shop

Michaels

2088 Prince Of Wales Dr. 306-585-9892‎
W: michaels.com
T: @MichaelsStores

Runners-Up
Gale’s Florist (2nd)
Redline Hobby (3rd)

Michaels is a giant one-stop shopping kinda box store for all kinds of arts and crafts. They’re pretty good at covering seasonal-crafters — on a recent visit, the front of the store was full of Halloween craft-making supplies. I have no doubt that it’s currently full of Christmas stuff. Michaels also has an all right selection of art supplies: paints, canvas, etc. Occasional PD illustrator Puty picked up a bottle of Higgins Black Magic india ink recently that he’s pretty happy with. Michaels doesn’t have everything — this isn’t where you’d go to for plastic airplane kits or model railroad stuff. But the store does have the basics covered. Plus, it’s located in East-End Box Store Wonderland, an area I’m sure some of you are huge fans of. /SW

Best Home Décor

HomeSense

2135 Prince of Wales Dr. 306-789-9998
W: homesense.ca

Runners-up
Urban Barn (2nd)
Crocus & Ivy (3rd)
Winners (4th)
Annex (5th)

Like its sister store, Winners, HomeSense’s inventory ranges from the practical to the severely-impractical-yet-oh-no-I-accidentally-own-that-thing-now. I’ve found affordable one-zillion-thread-count linens there. I bought a wool cushion all the way from Avoca for $14.99 just last weekend. The place is a rich haven of scented candles, canvas-transfer wall art and organizational caddies of every conceivable size, shape and colour. But for every awesome deal and useful, well-made article of home furnishing the store stocks, there’s always something totally unnecessary that seems to find its way home with me. Ergo: HomeSense is the ideal shopping destination for people who (i) make shopping lists and (ii) stick to them. It’s a dangerous place for everybody else. /JH

Best Home Electronics

Best Buy

2125 Prince of Wales Dr. 306-546-0100
W: bestbuy.ca
T: @BestBuyCanada

Runners-Up
Audio Warehouse (2nd)
Visions (3rd)
Krazy Kiley’s (4th)
Radio Centre (5th)

Like Best Computer Store, this year’s Best Home Electronics results recall 2013’s Best Of Regina. Swap-out last year’s third-place finisher, Harry’s Hi-Fi, for Krazy Kiley’s and the rest is the same. Well, like I said a few blurbs back, Best Buy is a nice place to shop. I like going there. There’s lots of parking, too, and we Reginans sure like our free parking! Too bad I don’t have a car. /SW

Best Jewellery Store

Hillberg & Berk

2169 McIntyre St. 306-522-5893
W: hillbergandberk.com

Runners-up
Victoria Jewellers (2nd)
Fire & Ice (3rd)
Ben Moss (4th)

I don’t get jewellery. Heck, I wasn’t even sure what the correct spelling was: jewelry or jewellery? I guess they’re both correct, except the shorter one is the American spelling and the longer is Canadian (British). But just because I don’t get jewellery doesn’t mean that plenty of other Reginans don’t appreciate it. Founded by Rachel Mielke in 2007, Hillberg & Berk designs its own jewellery, and the company’s enjoyed a lot of success lately highlighted by a commission to design a gift for the Queen of England. But do they make decoder rings? If they did, I’d totally be in. /SH

Best Pet Supply Store

Metro Pet Market

1637 Victoria Ave. 306-352-9663
3951 Rochdale Blvd. 306-352-9663
W: metropetmarket.ca

Runners-up
Cow Town (2nd)
PetSmart (3rd)
Pawsitively Purrfect (4th)
Pat’s Pets (5th)

Metro Pet Market sets a gold standard for the care and maintenance of our fuzzy friends. They go that extra mile to only stock foods, supplements and other pet care products that you can truly feel good about, with trusted brands like Wysong, Canisource, and Red Dog Blue Kat. They also carry a good selection of books about everything from holistic pet care to proper nutrition, and are big advocates for pet adoption and dog rescue efforts. Did we mention all the snug-as-a-bug pet beds and fun toys you can pamper your special friends with? You know there’s no better buddy than your wuvable pooch or kitty, and when you shop for them at Metro, you’re assured that you’re giving that smoochie woochie wuv right back. Yes you are! Yes you are! /WS

Best Exotic Pet Store

Pat’s Pets

1303 Scarth St. 306-569-9070
W: patspetsregina.ca

Runner-Up  Prairie Aquatics & Exotics

We introduced this category last year for two reasons. First, exotic pets — fish, reptiles, birds and rodents — are more popular now than they’ve ever been. You can find them in speciality shops, buy them from private breeders, and even get them on Kijiji and Used Regina. Since so many people keep them and since they’re so widely available, it would be silly not to have a Best Of category for them. Secondly, well, dammit, as regular readers know, I like snakes and keep several as pets (including one, Spooky, who lives in a tank on my desk at work and is about a foot and a half away from me while I’m typing this — hi, Spooks!).

I’m a semi-regular visitor to Pat’s Pets, a nice mid-sized shop in the Warehouse district. The store carries tons of critters, including fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and various small animals. Pat’s Pets also works with the Regina Humane Society to find forever homes for cats. The staff is friendly and helpful, the place is well-stocked and, most importantly, Pat’s Pets has snakes. Did I mention I like snakes? Well, darn it, I sure do. They have big eyes and they’re always smiling. Snakes! /SW

Best Specialty Shop

Dessart Sweets

3036 13th Ave. 306-522-2663
W: dessartsweets.com

Runners-up
Metro Pet Market (2nd)
Paper Umbrella (3rd)
Madame Yes (4th)
Dean Renwick Design Studio (5th)

We live a one-minute run, tops, from Dessart Sweets, which got your nod for Regina’s Best Specialty Store. I know because I’ve timed it, so in my darker and more desperate moments I can remind myself that I’m one minute away from all the Jelly Bellies, British sweets and imported black licorice I could ever stuff in my face. My kid likes the lollypops embedded with scorpions (really!). The ice-cream menu — 30+ flavours each of hard and soft ice cream — is downright intimidating. You can grab a bacon/potato chip chocolate bar, too. And there’s no sinister chocolatier waiting to take you on a terrifying boat ride, just some friendly treat-slingers with excellent taste in music. /JH

Best Store For Secondhand Finds

Value Village

1230 Broad St. 306-522-1228
W: valuevillage.com

Runners-up
Rhoda’s Elegance …Again (2nd)
Salvation Army Thrift Store (3rd)
The Log House Thrift Store (4th)
Echo Bella Boutique (5th)

It was almost 20 years ago when I first stepped into a Value Village. Flash-forward to me at 35, and the euphoria brought on by those humming fluorescent lights beaming down upon the racks of clothing, books, toys and housewares hasn’t worn off. Pawing through the store’s constantly changing inventory on the off chance I’ll unearth a gem is still exhilarating. Over the years, Value Village has filled my kids’ toybox with vintage Fisher-Price, draped my shoulders with the finest Cowichan sweaters, and connected me with enough treasures to adorn my home, my body and my Ebay store. One vital piece of advice I can give as a regular VV shopper: don’t go during the week before Halloween. Actually, just avoid the place for all of October. Plan your Halloween costume earlier in the year, acquire/make the necessary components, and relax at home while desperate folks endure the gauntlet for that last Elsa wig. /JH

Best Retail Clerk

Katy Grunert

Metro Pet Market
1637 Victoria Ave. 306-352-9663
3951 Rochdale Blvd. 306-352-9663
W: metropetmarket.ca

Runners-up
Theresa Kutarna (Paper Umbrella) (2nd)
Lisa Wicklund (Seed Sustainable Style) (3rd)

As a clerk at Metro Pet Market, Katy Grunert faces a challenge that clerks in pretty well every other retail sector (outside of maybe baby care) don’t face. I mean, think about it. Her “customer” in a transactional sense may be a human, but her true client is the pet the person’s purchasing the food and other pet care products for. And those pets, of course, can’t talk. So Katy can’t get the type of feedback clerks typically get when they’re trying to match the client to the right product. At least, that’s what I imagine working in a pet store would be like — unless you were Dr. Doolittle. Then it would be no biggie. /GB

Best Locally Owned Shop

Italian Star Deli

1611 Victoria Ave. 306-757-6733
W: italianstardeli.com

Runners-up
Dessart Sweets (2nd)
Metro Pet Market (3rd)
Madame Yes (4th)
Seed Sustainable Style (5th)
Dean Renwick Design Studio (6th)

Founded in 1966 by Frank and Gina Giambattista, Italian Star Deli is everyone’s favourite place to go for Italian specialty groceries. But it also has an impressive assortment of products from Greece, Poland, South Africa and Eastern Europe. There’s pesto, pasta, specialty breads, spices, sauces, Rider-themed desserts and stuffed hot peppers. And who knew balsamic vinegar could age like fine wine? (I’m sure my foodie friends knew, but I didn’t!)

But the menu centrepiece is the sandwich. I like mine spicy, with banana peppers, prosciutto and feta cheese, and Mama Gina’s marinated vegetable spread, with specially cut Butcher Boy meat. Carnivores can ask for double the meat. And for the lactose tolerant, there’s an all-provolone panini that shouldn’t be missed. Indeed, the mere act of writing this blurb has settled the question of what I’ll be eating for lunch today.

There’s more to Italian Star than just great food though. You can’t walk into the deli without being charmed by the staff. Everyone has an infectious smile and an even easier laugh, and a few minutes in their company can brighten your whole day. /RP

Best New Store

Sephora

Cornwall Centre 306-585-6200
W: sephora.com

Runners-up
Marshalls (2nd)
Cade Style Lounge (3rd)
Apartment 3B Sneaker Shop (4th)

Pretty boys and girls in Regina rejoice: the femme mothership has landed! No more does one need to languish at department store beauty counters, risking bad lighting and unflattering angles whilst seeking out your new favourite liquid eyeliner. Nay, a rose-tinted dawn has arisen over this fair city — and it comes complete with cute black mesh shopping baskets. Now all you pretty things have a one-stop beauty retail shop carrying classic and blazingly hip brands from the realms of make-up, skin care, scent and something called “smilecare”. Sephora’s staff are wonderfully helpful stewards of gorgeousness and are trained to help customers determine their skin type, colours and answer any questions about the sweet-smelling products lining the shelves. Hot tip: ask nicely and they might even send you home with a sample of whatever you’re curious about. /AG

Best Idea For A Store Regina Doesn’t Have

IKEA

W: ikea.com

Runners-up
Olive Garden (2nd)
Victoria’s Secret (3rd)
Forever 21 (4th)
Lush (5th)

Oh my god you guys, if an IKEA were to open in Regina, it would mean we’d reached big-city status for sure. We’ll have surpassed the two-tier furniture system that separates the Sears catalogue from the boutique stores, elevating our consumerism to the lofty heights of affordable Swedish design. One does not simply walk in and out of an IKEA store. Reginans have voted that they would willingly spend hours (and dollars) losing themselves in the pleasantly staged maze, sustaining themselves on the cafeteria meatballs and quirky “hackable” home wares. Maybe we could all sneak in there after hours and live like kings among the white pine tables and paper lanterns. The city might even be moved to re-design its logo in blue and yellow emboldened letters. Let’s try and get one of these before Saskatoon does. /AG   

TOP


SPORTS & FITNESS

Best Bicycle Store

Dutch Cycle

1336 Lorne St. 306-522-0484
W: dutchcycle.ca

Runners-up
Western Cycle (2nd)
Big Sky Cycles (3rd)

In my parents’ shed sit two somewhat dusty, but otherwise still working, Nishiki road bikes. Both are over 30 years-old and have stickers on their frames from Dutch Cycle. It’s a testament to the longevity of the family run cycling shop that’s served Regina for 51 years. How do they do it? To hazard an educated guess as a cyclist myself: it’s the service, silly. The friendly crew at Dutch can fit customers to bikes of all shapes and sizes, from speedy road bikes, to hardy mountain bikes, to all-round hybrids and more. If you need a helmet, bike light, cycling clothing or other accessories to keep your bike running, if Dutch doesn’t have it, they can order it for you. Add in solid maintenance and the recent addition of spin classes for cyclists, and you have the formula for one of the most successful and popular independent businesses in Regina. /BH

Best Fitness Class

Shake Your Hot Bodhi

Bodhi Tree Yoga
3104-B 13th Ave. 306-552-9642
1775 Scarth St. 306-552-9642
W: bodhitreeyoga.com

Runners-up
Hott With Scott (Bodhi Tree Yoga) (2nd)
Flux House Blend (Flux CrossFit) (3rd)
Gymnastics (Flux CrossFit) (4th)

I used to exercise all the time, but have fallen off the wagon over the past few years. When I worked out it was usually with weights combined with bike riding/running or some sort of aerobic program. I remember some of the variations too, such as Jazzercise, step aerobics and Tae Bo. But yoga is something different. Modern hatha yoga is now used not just as exercise but as a lifestyle too. There are different types of classes offered at Bodhi Tree Yoga but the “steamy-hot yoga jam session” done to a mix of funk, pop, hip-hop, and reggae music is the class everyone enjoys. /SH

Best Fitness Instructor

Colin Hall

Bodhi Tree Yoga
3104-B 13th Ave. 306-552-9642
1775 Scarth St. 306-552-9642
W: bodhitreeyoga.com

Runners-up
Scott MacLean (Bodhi Tree Yoga) (2nd)
Andrea McGill (Read~iness Fitness) (3rd)
Tyler Harnett (Adrenaline Personal Training (4th)
Darci Anderson (Flux CrossFit) (5th)

In a town with some fairly stiff competition on the fitness front, Colin Hall is a clear favourite among the city’s stretchy-set. In addition to teaching Shake Your Hot Bodhi, Bodhi Flow, and introductory classes in Bodhi Tree Yoga’s lovely light-filled studios, he also provides yoga teacher training, and instructs in both Kinesiology and Religious Studies at the University of Regina. I was going to try to include an inspirational quote with this blurb, but then I worried it might be tacky to quote Mahatma Gandhi or the Dalai Lama without the proper context. Anyway, apparently Sting once said that “Yoga is almost like music in a way; there’s no end to it.” Well, only if you stick with it. And Colin can certainly help you with that. /WS

Best Golf Course

Deer Valley Golf Club

W: deervalleygolf.ca

Runners-up
Wascana Country Club (2nd)
Sherwood Forest Golf & Country Club (3rd)
Royal Regina Golf Club (4th)
Tor Hill (5th)
Murray (6th)

Not technically in Regina, true, but nestled in the Qu’Appelle Valley as it is, Deer Valley is only a short drive from the city. That’s “drive” in a vehicular sense, by the way, not a golf sense. I don’t even think a heavy hitter like John Daly could reach Deer Valley from Regina — although if he had a strong prairie wind at his back, and got the ball bouncing good on Hwy #11… nah, even then I don’t think he’d make it.

If you’ve played Deer Valley before, you know about its charms. If you haven’t, the course, and a companion residential development, are laid out on 475 acres. The valley terrain tests golfers in ways that a typical “flat as a pancake” Saskatchewan course doesn’t. Each hole has four sets of tees, too, so golfers of all skill levels have a shot at a decent round.

In addition to a scenic layout, Deer Valley has an 8000 sq. ft. clubhouse with a pro shop, dining room, outdoor patio and boardroom capable of hosting private and corporate events. /GB

Best Gym

YMCA

2400 13th Ave. 306-757-9622
5939 Rochdale Blvd.
W: regina.ymca.ca
T: @YMCA_Regina

Runners-Up
Gold’s (2nd)
Flux CrossFit (3rd)
Anytime Fitness (4th)
Read~iness Fitness (5th)
Adrenaline Personal Training (6th)

Regina has two YMCAs and according to our best interpretation of readers’ votes, they are tied as the best gyms in Regina. But which of these two “best gyms” is better? The shiny newer one on Rochdale? The charming ol’ bricker on 13th? We don’t know. Our sophisticated Best Of voting software didn’t track that. Any chance you, our beloved reader, could visit both and let us know which is superior? Because this is just too darn up in the air for us. (I said “darn” instead of “damn”, because you gotta use family friendly language when you’re talking about a YMCA). /SW

Best Outdoor Outfitters

Fresh Air Experience

532 Victoria Ave. 306-522-6665
W: freshairexperience.com

Runners-up
Cabela’s (2nd)
Wholesale Sports (3rd)
Great Northern Rod & Reel (4th)

Some people love the outdoors, even in the winter when we have 30 feet of snow and it’s a million below outside. I’m not one of those people. I like the safety of the indoors. There’s bugs and weather outside. But for those people who do enjoy the great outdoors, there’s Fresh Air Experience. You can buy a wide range of outdoor winter clothing, boots, snowboards, skis and more for the winter ahead. And hey, in the spring/summer they sell summer clothing, shoes, camping equipment and canoes and kayaks — so everything you need for playing outside. /SH

Best Place to Play Pool

The Broken Rack

3806 Albert St. 306-585-276
W: brokenrack.com

(By Acclamation)

Sometimes, when people back home ask what I do with my free time in Regina, I tell them about this and that and, occasionally, they say, “hey, that sounds like fun!” And then I say, “well, it keeps me out of the pool halls.” Then we laugh. But in the back of my head, I’m thinking, “I wish Regina had a pool hall.” Well, it turns out we do! Imagine my delight when I learned about The Broken Rack. It gives pool sharks a place to channel their inner Paul Newman (or Tom Cruise) in The Color of Money within the convenient environs of the Golden Mile shopping centre (you can pick up groceries after the game, and you never have to worry about parking!). In addition to having 18 tables on two levels, the Broken Rack has a full menu of sandwiches and burgers as well as snack-ier items like nachos and chicken wings. There’s also a refreshing selection of beers to enjoy with friends (or adversaries). /WS

Best Skate Shop

The Tiki Room

2323 11th Ave. 306-721-8454
Find On Facebook

Runners-up
OffAxis Boardshop (2nd)
306 Hip Hop Sk8 Shop (3rd)
West 49 (4th)

I’ve bought my last three pairs of street shoes at one of the shops listed above. And a pair of summer shorts one time too. No deck, though. Or wax, replacement wheels, rad hoodies, t-shirts, hats and other skateboarding accessories.

You can get all that, and more, at the Tiki Room. Don’t quote me on it, but it looks like the shop’s expanded a bit lately, taking over the space formerly occupied by World of Trout. With Vintage Vinyl (RIP Pat Baumet) just west of the Tiki Room, we’ve got a nice little stretch of alt culture in the downtown.

Props also to owner Noel Wendt for commissioning the mural on the store’s east wall. It’s by Danny Fernandez (Def 3), and with the corner lot beside it vacant, it’s a welcome visual treat for pedestrians, motorists and transit users on 11th Ave. /GB

Best Sportswear

Lululemon

2114 11th Ave. 306-525-2989
W: lululemon.com

Runners-up
SportChek (2nd)
The Running Room (3rd)
Lolë (4th)
Western Cycle Source For Sports (5th)

I walked by Lululemon the other night while running an errand at Cornwall Centre, but couldn’t muster up the courage to enter. I did peek in the door though, and saw all sorts of colourful yoga and other athletic wear on display. I know from visiting the store’s website that it doesn’t cater exclusively to girls and women, but it does have a pretty strong female vibe, so a solo visit by me to peruse the merchandise wasn’t in the cards.

Lululemon’s main claim to fame is its uniquely designed fabrics that wick sweat away from the body, enabling the wearer to remain comfortable (and stylish) while enjoying a strenuous workout. Founded in Vancouver in 1998, Lululemon operated pop-up stores in Regina for a few years before establishing its first permanent outlet in January 2013. Since then, it’s obviously made its mark on city shoppers. And this nod from PD voters is further proof of that. /GB

Best Regina Pat

Morgan Klimchuk

W: reginapats.com
T: @morganklimchuk

Runner-Up  Sam Steel

Morgan Klimchuk was drafted 28th overall by the Calgary Flames in the 2013 NHL draft. 2013 was one of those powerhouse years where even late first rounders were the calibre of another year’s Top 10. Klimchuk? He scored 36 goals — and 76 points — in 72 games for the Pats that year, and also played for Team Canada at the U18 World championship in Sochi on a line with projected generational player (and shoo-in for 2015’s first overall pick) Conner McDavid.

Last season, Klimchuk boosted his performance to 74 points in only 57 games. While playing with the Flames this pre-season, the winger hurt his wrist. That’s limited him to eight games with the Pats (as of Nov. 6). But he’s tallied nine points, and was named to the WHL squad for the two-game Subway Series (in Saskatoon and Brandon) against Russia. He’s also looking to make Team Canada’s roster for the World Junior Tournament at Christmas. Enjoy this teen scoring machine while you’ve got him, Regina. He’s going places. /SW

Best Roughrider

Weston Dressler

W: riderville.com

Runners-up
John Chick (2nd)
Darian Durant (3rd)

C’mon, really? John Chick and Rickey Foley are having monster years on defense, and any boob blithering about not being sure about QB Darian Durant after last season’s Grey Cup drive, and the team’s implosion following his injury this year, should have a football rammed up their… yeah. And yet you vote for a guy who spent the first half of 2014 as a Kansas City Chief. Sure, Dressler has been a star for the Green and White since he arrived in 2008. We haven’t seen the Dressler of old since his return for the Labour Day Classic, except for some very good special teams play (on a unit that has been anything but special otherwise). So this year let’s just say you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on Best Roughrider. /SL

Best Cougar Athlete

Addison Richards

W: reginacougars.com

Runners-up
Tori Head (2nd)
Brittany Hewilko (3rd)
Abby Hodgins (4th)
Blake Anaka (5th)

The University of Regina Rams went 3W-5L in 2014. But they did sneak into the playoffs with a clutch victory over Alberta on Nov. 1. Another bright spot was the play of receiver Addison Richards. Highly touted as a recruit out of Sheldon Williams, Richards battled injuries a bit during his first three seasons with the Rams, but showed steady progress. And in 2014 he enjoyed a break-out year, racking up big numbers that ranked him near the top statistically for receivers in Canadian university football.

With the caveat that the Rams were a pass-happy team in 2014 who put up big numbers on offence, but had even bigger problems on defence, Richards (who is 6’5”, 205 lbs) recorded some eye-popping stats: 55 receptions for 916 yards and six TDs. His average of 114.5 yards a game was second best in the CIS, and he’s likely to be a high CFL draft pick in 2015.

Will the Riders bite, I wonder? /GB

Best Rider Fan

Gainer the Gopher

W: riderville.com/page/gainer-the-gopher

Runners-up
Chicken Man (2nd)
Chad Bird (3rd)
Kaitlin Stocks (4th)
Steve Lesiuk (5th)

Human beings are psychological centaurs. One part of us strides confidently upright in reality, while un-glimpsed hooves and flanks gallop through the mists of fantasy and imagination. How appropriate it is, then, that the ultimate Rider fan should be an imaginary animal rocking a Riders jersey. Could any human fan, even ones as dedicated as the melon-helmeted and emerald-faced faithful packing the stands for any Rider game, embody the mute, unwavering fan-ness of Gainer? I DON’T THINK SO. Gainer is no centaur.

Designed as a focusing lens to concentrate the lethal beam of fan enthusiasm, Gainer first appeared in 1977 wearing a Rider jersey that bore the number ½. In 2006, he changed to 13 to suggest that he was the “13th player on the field”. His name is an anagram of “Regina,” which gives us another reason to be glad that Saskatoon never landed the Riders. /AM

Best Roller Derby Athlete

Anna Filactic (Bree Cannon)

Runners-up
Maiden Sane (Azure Benesh) (2nd)
Da Dan Da Dah (Chelsey Rudd-McPherson) (3rd)
Bazinga (Danielle Belliveau) (4th)
T-Bomb (Tayla Cyr) (5th)
Michete (Michelle Mullie) (6th)
janeSAW (Hayes Needham) (7th)

“Derby is an amazing sport and I’ve been granted the opportunity to forge some great and inspiring relationships with some amazing people,” says Bree Cannon, a.k.a. Anna Filactic of the Pile O’ Bones Derby Club. For a proper understanding of the brutal skate-clad blur that is Anna Filactic, I reached her at her compound in the Swiss Alps (which is what I call Facebook these days).

How did you get into roller derby?

I got invited to join (and bought my gear without question that night) what would become Pile O’ Bones Derby Club back when there were just three other girls. So I’m going into my eighth season and I’m the oldest member of the league, and I do believe I’ve trained all of our skaters this far.

How did you choose your name?

I’m a nurse so it just seemed to fit. I threw around a few names for a couple weeks then my sister called with my name and as soon as I heard it I knew without question I WAS Anna Filactic.

Any memorable moments you’d like to share with our readers?

This past year our travel team, the Sugar Skulls, headed to Spokane and played against some of the best skaters in the United States. We legitimately held our own and took third place. I’ve had the opportunity to coach both senior and junior players and I’ve had the chance to play for such enthusiastic and supportive fans. I can’t imagine having never had the opportunity to do this! /AM

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HAIR & BEAUTY

Best Esthetician

Krystal Koffler

Xstasy Esthetics
1833 7th Ave. E. 306-586-6156
W: xstasyesthetics.ca

Runners-up
April Lindenbach (Fleur’t) (2nd)
Chia Habte (Quixotic Aesthetics) (3rd)

Somewhere, as I write this, editor Steve is cackling like a hyena. It brings him great amusement to assign me something that not in a million years I would have anything to do with or know anything about. For example, what is an esthetician? According to the interwebs, it’s a person who specializes in beautifying the skin. I still don’t know what that means, but I’m sure that this year’s winner, Krystal Koffler, who has over 10 years of experience, knows exactly what that means. I think it means manicures, pedicures, skin care and more. But you might want to check with her first. /SH

Best Women’s Hairstylist

Tyler Maurice

Iron Beauty
2100 Dewdney Ave. 306-347-9909
Find On Facebook

Runners-up
Myrna Hastings (Million Hairs Salon) (2nd)
Nadine Eberts (Shear Escape Salon) (3rd)
Kristina Hallwas (Boss Hair & Make-Up Boutique) (4th)
Fran Gilboy (Frank’s) (5th)

Tyler Maurice of Iron Beauty knows how to get women’s hair did, real good. Not only are his stylist skills impressive, but he’s charming as heck. He’s on the CTV Regina Morning show sometimes, where he slings hair knowledge out of the goodness of his well-groomed head. This isn’t the first time Maurice has been crowned a Best-Of winner — in 2012 he won for Best Men’s Hairstylist. That’s right, Maurice is obviously some kind of scissor wizard: we’re talking the full-on Merlin of manes. He keeps up to contemporary trends and knows how to create virtually any look. He does all that small talk stuff too. If you get your hair did by Maurice, get ready to be listened to attentively, girl. /DP

Best Men’s Hairstylist

Craig Zamonsky

Ragged Ass Barbers
2124 Robinson St. 306-565-2729
W: raggedassbarbers.com
T: @RaggedAssBarber

Runners-Up
David Lee (Ragged Ass Barbers) (2nd)
Tyler Maurice (Iron Beauty) (3rd)
Amanda MacDougall (Saving Grace) (4th)
Levi Carleton (Iron Beauty) (5th)

In case you somehow missed it, Craig Zamonsky’s excellent Cathedral neighbourhood barber shop landed in the news earlier this fall for refusing to give one of its awesome men’s-style haircuts to a female customer. Because Ragged Ass Barbers doesn’t cut women’s hair. It’s a policy.

That rejected customer went to the media and threatened a human rights complaint for discrimination. She was then targeted for despicable abuse on social media. Ugh.

Ragged Ass Barbers — which I’ve repeatedly been told is a friendly place with great staff — has received massive support from misguided citizens who defend its no-girls policy. Sadly, I have no doubt that this support played a role in Ragged Ass Barber’s and Craig’s Best Of Regina wins this year. This makes me sad. Ragged Ass Barbers and owner Craig Zamonsky should win Best Of Regina titles — and they have in the past — because they’re the best at men’s specialty grooming and great community citizens to boot, not because people rally behind their stubborn refusal to give men’s-style haircuts to women.

No one wants Ragged Ass Barbers to change its services, its decor, its staff or its business model. Cutting the occasional lady’s hair will not wreck its male-specialized business model, or somehow injure current customers. There are lots of people, me included, who want to support the shop — which is active in charitable fund-raising and is doing something unique, cool and valuable in this city.

Hopefully, the policy will change soon, and Craig Zamonsky and Ragged Ass Barbers can go back to being the best in Regina for the right reasons. /SW

Best Massage Therapist

Kyla Will Massage Therapy

2321 Rose Street (306) 596-5962
W: kylawillmassagetherapy.co

Runners-up
Josh Apperley (Josh Apperley Massage Therapy) (2nd)
Christie Langen (Prairie Lotus) (3rd)
Heidi Gruetzner (Flux CrossFit) (4th)
Madison Duncan (Sen Massage Therapy) (5th)

What catches my eye first about Kyla Will’s website is the variety of playlists promised. It runs the gamut from your usual New Age stuff to metal to movie soundtracks. “Often times when I’ve gone for a massage,” she writes via e-mail, “I thought how nice it would be to listen to some of the music I listen to at home, instead of the typical spa music.” Sample playlists include Dämmerfarben and the Tron and Dark Knight soundtracks, which already makes me want to have a massage.

Kyla Will Massage Therapy started in July 2013, making this a quick ascent for her in Best of Regina. She attributes that to a desire to help her customers. “I believe a great massage therapist is someone who got into the field purely from a standpoint of wanting to help people. Obviously, there’s more to it, such as having a good sense of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology. But if you have all the knowledge with none of the genuine desire to help people through their pain, then one probably won’t be very successful as a massage therapist.” /JB

Best Day Spa

Just For You Day Spa

1819 Cornwall St. 306-757-7546
W: justforyoudayspa.com

Runners-up
Soma Spa (2nd)
Essence Organic Hair & Day Spa (3rd)
Spa Cantik & Salon (4th)
CoCo Nail Lounge (5th)

The chances of me stepping into a day spa are slim to none. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t tons of Reginans who love the experience. And if you need to be pampered for that one day with a variety of massages, mud baths, facials and other treatments, then Just For You Day Spa is the place, according to our voters. And if you doubt their word, owner Jessica Tetu just won the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce’s ABEX award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year. /SH

Best Hair Salon

Ragged Ass Barbers

2124 Robinson St. 306-565-2729
W: raggedassbarbers.com

Runners-up
The Room (2nd)
Shear Escape (3rd)
Million Hairs Salon (4th)
The D.A.M. Hair Company (5th)

Born in Yellowknife, NWT in 2010, Ragged Ass Barbers expanded to Regina in 2012 and have clearly made an impression, winning our “Best Hair Salon” category despite the fact they maintain a solely male clientele. They offer a simple, old-fashioned roster of services including hot-towel straight-razor shaves and “clean-up” trims for your ragged-ass beard, genteel goatee, or that awesome ’stache you’re cultivating for Movember. (Working on a swell Handlebar? A chunky Box Car? A suave Regent? A classic Lanny McDonald? The ever-popular Trucker?) If you’re too young to sprout whiskers and you just want a haircut, there’s a special deal for “whipper snappers” aged 12 and under. /LAK

Best Tattoo Artist

Terry Oh

In the Flesh
W: terryoh.com

Runners-up
Sean Treble (Planet Caravan) (2nd)
Tree Fenrick (Inkognito Tattoos) (3rd)
Nathan Donahoe (Ace of Swords) (4th)
Elly Allen (Iron Beauty) (5th)

This will be the last year that Terry will win this award (he also won last year). It’s not that his skills won’t be up to snuff or that he’s changing careers. It’s that Terry no longer lives in Regina. On Oct. 1 he relocated to Victoria where he continues to practice his craft. With over nine years experience, Terry has produced some amazing work, and PD voters feel strongly about his skills. While we all wish him luck in his new ventures, hopefully he won’t forget us poor Reginans suffering through a cold, tattoo-less winter. /SH

Best Tattoo Shop

In The Flesh

1320 St. John St. 306-352-7546
Find on Facebook

Runners-up
Inkognito Tattoo (2nd)
Black Sea Tattoo (3rd)
Traditional Tattoo (4th)
Ace of Swords (5th)

Terry Oh may be gone, but the best tattoo shop In the Flesh carries on with Ben Kelsch. The store has been around since 2008, and while I can’t say that I’ve ever seriously considered getting a tattoo, a couple of my co-workers have gotten inked over the years. The most recent occasion came on an impulse during a vacation in Vegas. It looks fine, but it’s nothing special. I imagine the fellows at In the Flesh would have done a better job. /SH

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PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

Best Accountant

Sandra Jackson

2222 13th Ave. 306-757-3261
W: sandrajacksoncga.com

Runners-up
Nigel Crook (2nd)
Shane Janke (Virtus Group) (3rd)
Stacie Jensen (Pharos) (4th)
Don Schneider (Pharos) (5th)

The work accountants do may seem mundane, but those columns of numbers can mean the difference between solvency and bankruptcy. As an accountant, Sandra Jackson believes in treating clients the way she would like to be treated. “My staff deal with my clients in the same manner and so we are a team providing the best service possible.”

One chunk of the year is especially stressful, Jackson says. “The most stressful time for us is January to April and we don’t have time to think about the stress — we just do it. Knowing that it ends at 5 p.m. on April 30 is an incentive.”

Demand for the services accountants provide is on the rise, says Jackson. “Technology has certainly helped in being able to keep up with these demands. I see the future holding more of the same… interesting people with diverse backgrounds needing individual advice.”

It’s that kind of personalized service that won Jackson the PD vote. /RP

Best Advertising Agency

Brown Communications Group

2275 Albert St. 306-352-6625
W: brown.ca
T: @browncomm

Runners-Up
Phoenix Group (2nd)
Look Matters (3rd)
Bravo Tango (4th)

A great advertising agency might be the second-best friend a business, large or small, can have (the best, of course, is a customer). Do you run a business or organization? Do you use an ad agency? You should! A top ad agency will ask you questions and listen, discover what makes your outfit unique, and find the best media mix to communicate your identity to the audience you need to reach to be successful. Ad agencies will help you discover and refine your brand with top-quality design and high-impact campaigns that will make you unforgettable. And they’ll do it with passion, imagination, a commitment to shared success and the courage to tell you when you’re wrong.

Historically, some Saskatchewan businesses and organizations have fumbled with brand marketing, preferring gimmicks and fads to strong, consistent and memorable messaging. Also historically, some cynical, cowardly and greedy ad buyers have been happy to keep their mouths shut and take the commission from a client they should be challenging rather than coddling. Fortunately, this is changing as we mature as a province and our mistrust of creative professionals fades. And good ad agencies like Brown Communications help this metamorphosis continue. Congratulations for being there for everyone with a message to share. /SW

Best Auto Repair

Regina Auto Body

1800 Angus St. 306-757-6683
W: reginaautobody.ca

Runners-up
Bennett’s Auto Repair (2nd)
Titan Automotive Group (3rd)
Kinetic Auto Service (4th)

Engineering changes to cars and trucks in recent years to save the cab, and its occupants, from damage in a collision make it much more likely you will survive an accident than in the past. But those design changes make it exponentially more expensive to fix your car. Since Regina Auto Body has been around since 1924, they’ve seen all the changes, going back to the days when all you needed to get that front end fixed after wrapping it around a power pole was a logging chain and something that wasn’t going to move. Regina Auto Body’s been working out of the same place — though not with the same equipment, of course – since their founding, and if PD drivers are the type that park by sound, they should keep them on speed dial. /SL

Best Auto Glass Repair

Speedy Glass

1205 Albert St. 306-525-9558
4525 Albert St. 306-337-1021
W: speedyglass.ca

Runners-up
Novus Auto Glass Repair & Replacement (2nd)
Mike’s Auto Glass (3rd)

Before researching this blurb, there was a lot about automobile glass I didn’t know. Back in the horse-and-buggy days, carriage builders would put glass shields in front to deflect what was coming from the horses: be it mud spatters, gravel, or… you know. But the glass was prone to shatter, and was a big a hazard for the driver and passengers. Laminating glass for auto windshields started in the 1920s, but it wasn’t until the late ’70s that safety glass (which crumbles, instead of shattering into jagged shards) was introduced. Speedy Glass is part of a Canada-wide chain of repair shops, and judging by your votes, they know a lot about auto glass — and good service too. /SL

Best Bank Branch

Scotiabank (13th & Robinson)

2907 13th Ave. 306-780-1250

Runners-up
TD (Rochdale Blvd.) (2nd)
TD (South Albert) (3rd)
TD (Downtown) (4th)

Do services get more professional than the ones offered by Scotiabank on 13th and Robinson? No. Not this year. Not on this list. The Scotiabank employees at this branch kick it up a notch. Rumour has it they count the links on the chains connecting the bank pens to the counter to make sure they measure out to the exact distance that’s both comfortable and secure. Sure, they know all about the best interest rates for mortgages and all that number stuff. But there’s just something about the calming atmosphere at this Scotiabank location that puts strangers at ease with each other, whether you’re in the branch itself or using the ATM vestibule. One often leaves with a desire to spread kindness and world peace. /DP

Best Credit Union Branch

Conexus

4540 Albert St. S 306-780-1865
W: conexus.ca

Runners-up
Conexus  (Pasqua St. N) (2nd)
Conexus (265 Albert St. N) (3rd)Affinity (2101 Scarth St.) (4th)

What makes a good bank/credit union branch? Money lying around? Not that I’ve ever seen. And I suppose I can’t make a Mr. Drysdale or Miss Hathaway reference without confusing you young bucks who’ve probably never seen an episode of The Beverley Hillbillies (I envy you). Maybe it’s just my bias showing (disclaimer: I have an account with Conexus), but of all the financial institutions in Regina, the top four in this survey were all credit unions: three from Conexus and one from Affinity so… what’s that? This year we had separate categories for Best Bank and Best Credit Union? Oh, shit. Okay. Scratch that last point. But I do have an account with Conexus. So congrats to the Albert St. S. branch. /SL

Best Insurance Agents

Knight Archer

512 Victoria Ave. 306-569-2288
4147 Rochdale Blvd. 306-525-8888
W: knightarcher.com

Runners-up
Dusyk & Barlow (2nd)
Galon (3rd)
Schultz Gareau (4th)
Hook Lafrance (5th)

This isn’t the first time Knight Archer’s won this award. It’s not even the first time I’ve written the blurb. But Tracy Rogoza, VP Insurance Operations, insists Knight Archer is humbled to again be selected as Best Insurance Agents.

“I think it’s a reflection of our commitment to making life easier for our clients and the community. Our team is committed to providing the best practical and professional advice for our clients when determining their insurance needs. We’re active in the community through sponsorship of charities or community associations, the fundraiser Brighter Futures for Children, and we do that because it’s important to be a responsible corporate citizen.”

Knight Archer sells licenses for motor vehicles and provides insurance of every kind — home, auto, life, disability, agricultural, commercial and sport insurance among them. But Rogoza singled out the agency’s New E-Broker program, launching in 2015, for special mention. “It’s an industry-leading initiative that provides our customers with self-serve options that combine ease of doing business with the professional advice of our insurance brokers.” /RP

Best Portrait Photographer

Carey Shaw

8-2201 Hamilton St. 306.537.4639
W: careyshaw.com
T: @careyshawphoto

Runners-Up
Ali Lauren (2nd)
Keith Hershmiller (3rd)
Chris Graham (4th)
Peter Scoular (5th)
Robin Sanders (6th)

Whaddaya wanna know about Carey Shaw? I’ve worked with her, and she’s faaantastic. Her photos are artful and beautifully honest. She’s photographed some of my favourite Prairie Dog covers and for a couple of years wrote and shot our on-again, off-again fashion profile column, Street Wear. I couldn’t recommend her more. Need portrait work? Give Carey Shaw a call. On the Internet? Check out her Web page RIGHT NOW. Prepare to be dazzled! /SW

Best Wedding Photographer

Collin Stumpf

Collin Stumpf Photography 306-525-6555
W: collinstumpf.ca

Runners-up
Ali Thompson (2nd)
Erika Templeton (3rd)
Peter Scoular (4th)
Robin Sanders (5th)

Collin Stumpf says the first wedding he shot, he did alongside Greg Johnson, Saskatchewan’s famed storm chaser. Though it may not have been as tumultuous as your typical tornado, it was a learning experience. When I played “Choose Your Cliché” with Stumpf about the occasion, he chose “trial by fire”, so there you go.

Stumpf has a degree in media production from the University of Regina (he was at the student paper, the Carillon, when I was there) and has been a professional photographer since 2007. “I offer basically the same services as most wedding photographers, but everyone has a different artistic style and that’s what sets each of us apart,” he says via e-mail. “Also, having done this for seven years, I feel like I might offer a bit more reliability, consistency and experience than some others as well as perhaps a general ability to helpfully guide people through what can be a stressful process.” /JB

Best Lawyer

Noah Evanchuk

100-2184 12th Ave. 306-525-8136
W: evanchuklaw.ca

Runner-up  Bernard Duchin

Noah Evanchuk’s political career is on hiatus after losing the New Democratic Party’s Regina-Lewvan nomination for the 2015 federal election to Erin Weir. But Evanchuk, a partner with the firm Andrews Benko Rondeau Hawkins Brown Pyle & Evanchuk, is still fighting the good fight, taking on pro bono cases and some from the Salvation Army’s Regina Free Legal Clinic. And if that wasn’t enough, he’s a self-professed Big Lebowski enthusiast. So we can totally abide with your choice for Best Regina Lawyer. /SL

Best Law Firm

McDougall Gauley LLP

1500-1881 Scarth St. 306-757-1641
W: mcdougallgauley.com

Runners-up
Olive Waller Zinkhan & Waller (2nd)
McKercher LLP (3rd)

When I was in university I worked two summers as a runner at a law firm with offices on the top floor of a downtown high-rise. Lawyers would prepare documents and I’d file them at the courthouse or serve them on other firms. And I’d go to the Personal Property Registry and Land Titles Office to do title searches on cars and houses.

That was ages ago, and the practice of law has changed since then. If I was a runner now I’d sit at a desk most of the day doing title searches on-line and sending documents via e-mail. That would be okay, I guess. Although I’d miss getting out and walking around the downtown.

With branches in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Estevan, and a staff of over 80 lawyers, McDougall Gauley LLP has all your legal needs covered from A (Administrative Law) to Z — okay, maybe not Z, but W for sure (Wills, Estates & Trusts). So congrats to them. /GB

Best Printing Services

FloPrint

1785 Albert St. 306-585-3256
W: floprint.com
T: @floprint

Runners-Up
PrintWest (2nd)
Fastprint Plus (3rd)

Do you need something printed? How serious are you? Are you serious enough for FloPrint? Because Regina’s Best Printing Service is VERY serious about printing. FloPrint prints T-shirts,

hoodies, shorts, bandanas, sweat pants, tote bags, band merch and team wear. FloPrint also does posters, tickets, business cards, letterhead, brochures, envelopes, notepads, calendars, booklets, stickers and decals, CD and DVD inserts and sleeves, presentation folders, event essentials, flyers and handbills and. So. Much. More. I could spend hours copy and pasting lists of FloPrint’s insanely comprehensive printing services from the company’s extremely informative, easy-to-navigate website. I mean, I wouldn’t. But I could. /SW

Best Travel Agents

Marlin Travel

Three Regina Locations
W: marlintravel.ca
T: @MarlinTravel_SR

Runners-Up
CAA Travel (2nd)
Uniglobe Travel (3rd)
Carlson Wagonlit Travel (4th)

Marlin Travel is Regina’s best travel agency, and just in time. I read this story someone shared on Facebook about this guy who booked his own world tour. He didn’t know what he was doing, and it all went wrong. First, he was chewed by crocodiles at a Cameroon cabana. Then he was robbed by rapacious rapscallions in Rotterdam. He got dangerously desiccated in Djibouti, suffered frostbite in a Finnish fjord and was musked by Miami moccasins before finally being abducted by extraterrestrials in Estonia. No one’s seen him since. If he’d let Marlin Travel plan his vacation he’d be okay. Probably. /SW

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