Best Of Regina 2015

Best of Regina 2015

ARTS | MUSIC CITIZENSCITY LIFE | REGINA & BEYOND |  HEALTH CARE | HOMES | MEDIA | SHOPPING | CLOTHES & SHOESHAIR & BEAUTY | SPORTS & FITNESSPROFESSIONAL SERVICES | CREDITS

Welcome to another instalment of the Queen City’s favourite annual game show, Best Of Regina! We’re proud of this 2015 edition, which features the results of two prairiedogmag.com polls. Earlier this year, readers submitted their favourite people, places, shops, services, businesses and more in an open nomination round, and the most popular candidates made it to a multiple-choice final round where the top vote-getters became winners. This roughly 28,801-word feature you’re looking at contains the hard work of writers, artists, editors and other Prairie Dog staff and freelancers who care about this city and want nothing more than to see it grow, thrive and, yes, continue to evolve.

Obviously Best Of Regina wouldn’t exist without the thousands of readers who voted in our online polls. Thank you. Best Of Regina might sometimes be a little silly, but it also has genuine appreciation for and insight into this place where we choose to live. With your help, we’re looking forward to continuing this tradition for many years to come.

Just the Big List please.


Chirongratulations

My artisanal salute to all you 2015 Best Of Regina winners| by Chiron Batchlett

chiron-mugHi everybody. Chiron Batchlett here, purveyor of Chiron’s Mustardaise — the greatest blend of sharp and smooth you’ll ever sample on your sandwich. After the tremendous success of my Best Of Food introductions earlier this year, Prairie Dog’s editorial team had no choice but to ask me back to give their annual Best Of Regina my signature blend of insight and opinion.

They only had one request: “Chiron,” they said, “don’t push your Mustardaise. If you want to advertise, buy an ad from us. That’s our source of revenue. That’s how we pay our staff. So please, please refrain from going on about your [delicious blends of tangy and creamy] Mustardaise.”

I told them I’d take it easy on the product placement, but I used a technique beloved of writers everywhere: submit your copy so close to deadline they pretty much have to accept it as is. My endless references to Mustardaise aren’t really advertising anyway; I see them as a public service. Think of all the jar-opening and knife-spreading time saved. Imagine the effort Reginans would have to expend to make their own sub-quality mustardaise. You know what homemade Mustardaise is? It’s a spatter of French’s on a glob of Miracle Whip. Can you say “gross”?

That’s a rhetorical question. I’m pretty sure you know how to say individual words.

On the following pages you’ll find a lot of words — more than 25,000 of them — about this year’s 162 Best Of Regina winners. You’ll see how the Queen City is a great place: a city of awesome weirdos and holistic veterinarians, of best-selling authors, kick-ass derby athletes and even gregarious pet snakes. Like so many of you out there, I’m just trying to make it even better. One jar of artisanal spread at a time.

Chiron Batchlett is a freelance hipster spokesman who’s pushing his luck.


ARTS

chiron-mugA few weeks ago my ex-girlfriend Kayley took me to the MacKenzie Art Gallery and showed me some of her favourite art. They were mostly paintings and sculptures, so I explained to her there was a whole world of art out there that she needed to learn to appreciate. I told her that what she needed to understand before we left the gallery was that great food like Chiron’s Mustardaise could be considered art, and in fact Joe Fafard once walked by my kiosk outside Bazaart and looked at my Mustardaise jars really intently, like he was trying to understand a whole new art form. Kayley said I needed to keep my voice down because I was sort of shouting. Relationships are tough. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Artist: Traditional Media

Wilf Perreault
W: nouveaugallery.com

Runners-up: Joe Fafard (2nd), Zachari Logan (3rd)

Riding the wave of his exhibition In the Alley that ran at the MacKenzie Gallery last fall/winter, 2015, Wilf Perreault snags the title as Best Artist for 2015. Born near Albertville, SK in 1947, he arrived in Regina in the early 1970s and quickly settled on the thing that would define his career. Many people probably wouldn’t regard back alleys as a worthy subject for art, but as depicted by Perreault, they take on a luminous aura that provides plenty of visual pleasure. The images are more than just eye candy, though. They also pose all sorts of questions about what’s traditionally regarded as an underbelly of urban life where trash accumulates and human dramas — sketchy, romantic, even innocent — unfold. Perreault’s influence in Regina isn’t confined to his art. He also spent decades teaching in the public school system. So congrats to him. /Gregory Beatty

Best Author

Gail Bowen
W: gailbowen.com

Runners-up: Cassidy McFadzean (2nd), Jaylene Duckworth (3rd), Dianne Warren (4th), Bruce Rice (5th), Melanie Schnell (6th)

I met Gail Bowen 25 years ago, not long after moving to Regina. That was the year she came out with Deadly Appearances, her first Joanne Kilbourn novel. She seemed warm and friendly, full of jokes and laughter, but she was clearly thinking about how to kill people the entire time. Since then she’s become one of Canada’s best-known mystery writers: 15 novels later, she’s still figuring out innovative methods of murder. We should all be very, very nice to Gail Bowen. /Aidan Morgan

Best Book

12 Rose Street (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery)
by Gail Bowen
W: gailbowen.com

Runner-up: Hacker Packer by Cassidy McFadzean (2nd)

Of all the terrible fates in the world, the worst may be to end up as a character in one of Gail Bowen’s mystery novels. Unless you’re protagonist and murder magnet Joanne Kilbourn, chances are good you’re going to end up stabbed, shot, drowned, poisoned or otherwise dispatched before the book’s done. The joy comes from the particularity of place and the overlap between Kilbourn’s city of intrigue and our more mundane one. 12 Rose Street, the 15th book in the series, is a tale of political intrigue and mayoral politics (and murder) in Regina. The Globe & Mail called it “one of Bowen’s best.” Of course, they also endorsed the Conservatives in the federal election. They’re on much firmer ground here. /Aidan Morgan

Best Burlesque Performer

Arloe Scott “Trixie Applejaxxx”
W: facebook.com/BottomsUpBurlesqueClub

Runners-up: Jasmin Bieber (2nd), Sharon Nowlan, “Prairie Fire” (3rd), Becky Cardinal (4th)

Tassels, titillation and fishnets are burlesque’s tools of the trade, and Arloe Scott — stage name Trixie Applejaxxx — will have to top it all off with a tiara at her next gig, cuz lady is the reigning queen of Queen City! Scott is a part of the retro-burlesque troupe The Prairie Pin-Ups and has been performing for eight years (“and countless corsets later”), and Regina audiences love her sassy style. On what makes for an excellent performance, she suggests “a good flirt — the real essence of any great burlesque routine is the tease, whether there is a ‘strip’ in there or not.”

Last year Scott’s voice was one of many raised in protest over the province’s decision to backtrack on the repeal of conservative entertainment laws which prohibit nudity and even clothing removal in establishments selling booze. “I have a pretty strong love affair going on with the Saskatchewan burlesque community, both in Saskatoon and Regina — awesome women and men of all shapes, sizes, and ages who keep on passionately pushing despite the government making it as difficult as possible to operate under current liquor/adult entertainment laws,” she says. All hail Trixie Applejaxxx! Long may she reign. /Anne Pascas

Best Public Art Gallery

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

Runners-up: Dunlop Art Gallery (2nd), The Fifth Parallel Gallery (3rd), Art Gallery of Regina (4th)

Reginans, rejoice: you have a beautiful public gallery right on Albert St. Freer than the current that hums in your wires and the water that runs from your taps, the MacKenzie Art Gallery offers exhibitions, events, education and outreach, screenings, concerts and possibly a chocolate fountain in the lobby (subsequent fact checking has revealed that no chocolate fountain exists or is planned, but we can dream). Director Anthony Kiendl calls the gallery “a community resource,” and that’s exactly right. Until Jan. 3, you can visit Love at First Sight: The Drs. Morris and Jacqui Shumiatcher Collection to experience some of the most significant works from its private collection. And don’t forget the Holiday Celebration on Dec. 6. /Aidan Morgan

Best Commercial Art Gallery

Assiniboia Gallery
2266 Smith St. 306-522-0997
W: assiniboia.com

Runners-up: Slate Fine Art Gallery (2nd), Mata Gallery (3rd)

Assiniboia Gallery celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2017. Located in a renovated house a few blocks south of downtown, the gallery has been run by Mary and Jeremy Weimer since 1999. Along with six other galleries, the Assiniboia is a member of SaskGalleries (www.saskgalleries.ca), an organization devoted to promoting Saskatchewan art at home and outside the province. Last March, for instance, with funding from Creative Saskatchewan, SaskGalleries organized an exhibition in Scottsdale, Arizona. For neophytes, the commercial art world can perhaps be intimidating. To put newbies at ease, the SaskGalleries website has all sorts of handy information to get you up to speed. Or if you prefer the personal touch, just visit the Assiniboia — Jeremy and Mary will be glad to help you out. /Gregory Beatty

Best Art Show

Wilf Perreault: In The Alley (MacKenzie Art Gallery)
3475 Albert St. 306-584-4250
W: mackenziegallery.ca

Runners-up: Joe Fafard: Mes Amis, Slate Fine Art Gallery (2nd), Seth: Dominion, Dunlop Art Gallery (3rd), Bill Burns: Beatrix Ruf Protect Us: A Project About Longing, Dunlop Art Gallery (4th)

The MacKenzie pulled out all the stops with this retrospective on the 40-plus year career of Wilf Perreault. The highlight (aside from the show itself, which consisted of 60 of Perreault’s trademark back alley paintings, along with a stunning 150-foot wrap-around panorama) was a 225-page coffee table-style catalogue. Published by Coteau Books and edited by Prairie Dog forever-friend Dave Margoshes, it features numerous full colour reproductions of paintings from the exhibition intermixed with snapshots from the Perreault family archive, an essay by curator Timothy Long, and a dozen or so prose and poetry responses by Saskatchewan writers to Perreault’s paintings. Following its run at the MacKenzie, In the Alley toured to the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie. /Gregory Beatty

Best Arts/Craft Market

Cathedral Village Arts Festival
W: cathedralvillage.org T: @CathedralAreaCA

Runners-up: Regina Farmers’ Market (2nd), Bazaart (3rd), Our Best To You Art And Craft Sale (4th), Sunday Art Market (5th)

Summery weather has graced the Cathedral Village Arts Festival for the past couple of years so my memories of the festival are golden this cold autumn morning: quirky lawn ornaments sprouting like sunny dandelions at one booth, handcrafted frocks twirling slowly in the breeze at another, perspiring cans of soda winking in the windows of food trucks, sunburns blooming slowly across the winter-white shoulders of giddy citizens. Yes, the CVAF is the zenith of the arts/craft market landscape in Regina, not only for its springtime spirit firmly booting the rear end of winter into November, but also for its incredible variety of vendors and artists, its lack of an admission fee, and the almighty fresh air experience. /Anne Pascas

Best Champion Of The Arts

Jacqui Shumiatcher

Runners-up: Marian Donnelly (2nd), Roberta McKay (3rd), Sabrina Cataldo (4th), Risa Payant (5th)

Is it even possible to talk about the arts in Regina without mentioning Jacqui Shumiatcher? She’s been a volunteer with dance, theatre, music, visual art, the literary arts, and probably art forms we’ve never even heard of. She and her late husband Morris have been supporting community organizations and the arts longer than you’ve been alive. She’s wickedly intelligent and she knows how integral arts and culture are to your daily life. She has been a teacher, a business owner, and a vocal and brilliant champion of the arts since the 1950s. Marian Donnelly, Roberta McKay, Sabrina Cataldo, and Risa Payant are in excellent company with Mrs. Shumiatcher. They’re all warriors we can’t do without. /Jillian Bell

MUSIC

chiron-mugRegina’s music scene is pretty good, I guess. But it would be even better if the local venues would book my band Lunar Elephants. Can you believe O’Hanlon’s could only fit us in on a Tuesday? We had to open for The Florals. And they wouldn’t let me sell growlers of my home brew (Chiron’s Keggz) at the merchandise table. But what else are we going to sell? We haven’t recorded any of our songs yet. It’s like my bassist said to me: “Chiron, when are you going to get off your ass and buy some blank CDs?” Man, shut up, Doug. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Solo Act

Jeffery Straker
W: jefferystraker.com T: @jefferystraker

Runners-up: Megan Nash (2nd), Colter Wall (3rd), Keiffer McLean (4th), Alexandra Barabe (5th), The Venus Extraction (6th)

Building on the momentum of his 2014 win in this category, Jeffery Straker continued to make waves in the Canadian music industry in 2015. In March, the pop piano cabaret troubadour released an album called North Star Falling. He’s been touring steadily since then, with shows from B.C. to the Maritimes and all points in between — including the Regina Folk Festival in August. That same month Straker visited his hometown of Punnichy where he was inducted into his school’s wall of fame. Then in September, he travelled to Reindeer Lake in northern Saskatchewan to shoot a video for his song “I Want To Go Back There”. It’s in post-production now, so be on the lookout for it soon. And if you’re in town on Nov. 20, Straker is playing a show with the RSO chamber players at Casino Regina. /Gregory Beatty

Best Band

The Dead South
W: thedeadsouth.com T: @TheDeadSouth4 I: @thedeadsouth

Runners-up: Rah Rah (2nd), Slow Motion Walter (3rd), Mother Night (4th), Surf Dads (5th)

My friend Warren and I were at the meat truck (not a euphemism) the first time I heard The Dead South. I mean, yes I’m a sucker for a banjo, but these guys completely blew me away. Then they were everywhere. I saw them play in New York. I bought all their albums. I became a groupie of sorts. Heavy bluegrass downbeats, backwoods harmonies, and that foot-stomping, I-can’t-not-dance energy are only part of what earned The Dead South this Best Of award. Actually, I’d like to see a show that features all six of the bands that got nods in this category. Kindly Editor, can you make that happen? /Jillian Bell

Best New Act

Surf Dads
W: surfdads.bandcamp.com

Runners-up: Queen City Stoop Kids (2nd), Lunar Lander Dance Commander (3rd), Acadence,

Alexandra Barabe (4th, tie)

Pretty perceptive choice, Prairie Dog voters. Next year at this time, I predict the Surf Dads — a surf rock duo consisting of Gage McGuire (guitar, vocals) and Chris Dimas (drums) — will be generating serious buzz in the music industry. According to their CBC Radio 3 bio, they started collaborating via exchanges of iPhone recordings when Dimas was living in L.A. and McGuire was in Regina. They released a debut EP in April, and were quickly signed by Split-Tape Records (Ohio/Washington). A second EP called A Nice Boy came out in July. Surf Dads are currently touring western Canada with Library Voices, and a full-length album is in the works. So stay tuned. /Gregory Beatty

Best Cover Band

Slow Motion Walter
W: facebook.com/SLOW-MOTION-WALTER

Runners-up: Dangerous Cheese (2nd), F.O.G.D.O.G. (3rd)

I don’t know if Slow Motion Walter cover any Deep Purple tunes, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did. That’s because they’re named after a misheard lyric from one of the British hard rock outfit’s most famous songs “Smoke On The Water” which recounts a 1971 fire at a Frank Zappa concert in Montreaux that the band witnessed from across Lake Geneva while recording Machine Head. There’s whole websites devoted to misheard lyrics and many are hilarious. In this case, the song’s opening line “Smoke on the water, fire in the sky” has been mistakenly heard by listeners as “Slow motion Walter, fire engine guy”. If you want to check out your pick for Best Cover Band, SMW play McNally’s Nov. 13-14. /Gregory Beatty

Best Album

Vessels
Rah Rah
W: rahrahband.com T: @rahrahband

Runners-up: Masquerade, Alexandra Barabe  (2nd), Collections, Between Now And Then(3rd),II, Government Town (4th)

Vessels arrived in our office in mid-August in advance of its Sept. 11 release on Hidden Pony Records. I let it sit in the slush pile for a few days to give other people a chance to notice it and maybe grab it, then I bogarted it for myself. I’ve given it dozens of listens since then, and still enjoy slapping it on when I’m writing at the office at night. If you’re a Rah Rah fan, you’ll be pleased to know the band is playing the Exchange on Nov. 17 with Dear Rouge and Rococode. Outside of a couple of acoustic versions of new songs that band members played at an album pre-release party at the Fat Badger on Aug. 30, I believe this will be the first time the quintet’s performed their new material live in Regina. Should be good! /Gregory Beatty

Best DJ

DJ Fresh
T: @djfresh_remix I: @djfresh_remixallstars

Runners-up: DJ Drewski (2nd), Kid Kris (3rd), DJ BOS5 (4th), DJ Glowspin (5th)

The deejay is an evangelist sermonizing in a travelling church, communing with gods and transmitting gospel to the congregation. Liturgical devices are crucial to the service: turntables form a pair of balanced scales, music, both body (vinyl, mp3s) and Holy Ghost (glorious sound), and the deejay embodying the Father/Mother on high. The flock is immersed in the wonder of bass, melody and rhythm, and give themselves up wholly to their new polytheistic religion by dancing All Night Long. Heathens! Pagans! The Chosen? Regina has voted DJ Fresh as their preferred pastor, hashtag #handsallthewayup, #respecttheDJ, #RemixAllStars and #wedontstress. /Anna Pascas.

Best Promoter

Rawk Entertainment Group
1651 11th Ave. 306-779-0070
W: rawkentertainment.com T: @RawkEntGroup

Runners-up: Zandra Productions (2nd), Bradley Kohl (3rd)

Rawk Entertainment is run by Chad Guy, Mike Ash, Carly Gowan and Matt Bevis. Rawk has worked with the likes of AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Kid Rock and Kings of Leon as promo reps on major tours, and also been involved in helping Regina, Saskatoon and other Saskatchewan centres host all sorts of gala events such as Break Out West 2012, the 2013 Grey Cup Festival, JUNOfest 2013, and the 2015 Beer Bacon Bands Festival. So congrats to them on all their hard work.

As for the runners-up: I’m not familiar with the third place finisher, but I know Zandra is a huge force on Regina’s metal scene and brings many international acts to town for shows that always include local bands in support slots, so kudos to her. /Gregory Beatty

Best Music Scene Supporter

Jeff “Redbeard” Corbett

Runners-up: Taron Cochrane (2nd), Danette Williams, “Queen of the Scene” (3rd), Christopher Mercer, MusicReginaLive.ca (4th), Darryl Dorosh (5th)

Horrible choice, Prairie Dog voters. I mean, what has Jeff “Redbeard” Corbett ever done to support the Regina music scene? Sure, he’s programmed music at CJTR since the community radio station started in 2001, and he gets out to see live music by emerging and established acts pretty much constantly, and he lends his talents and name to all sorts of worthwhile musical and charitable endeavours in the city as a host and organizer, and he’s a relentless promoter of Regina concerts and other local music news on social media. But outside of all that, he’s done Sweet F-A to support Regina’s music scene!

So, I reiterate, Prairie Dog voters: HORRIBLE choice. /Gregory Beatty

Best Concert

Ed Sheeran
W: edsheeran.com T: @edsheeran

Runners-up: Joel Plaskett (2nd), Journey, Def Leppard (tie 3rd)

A rising star on the global music scene, English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran played a sold-out show at Brandt Centre on June 13. Considering Sheeran also played SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon a few days later, that was pretty impressive, as not too many artists do arena shows in both cities on the same tour. But then, Sheeran is no ordinary performer. Only 24 years old, and with two albums to his credit (+ released in 2011, and x in 2014) he’s captured the imagination of music fans with his heart-felt songs and boyish personality. He first broke big when Taylor Swift invited him to be the support act on her 2013 Red tour, but he’s since headlined dozens of big shows — including three nights at Wembley Stadium in London in July — and received major Grammy and MTV Music Award love. There’s no word yet on what his next album will be titled, but if I was a betting man I’d say =. /Gregory Beatty

Best Live Music Venue

The Exchange
2431 8thAve. 306-780-9495
W: culturalexchange.ca

Runners-up: Brandt Centre (2nd), The Artful Dodger (3rd), Artesian on 13th (4th), McNally’s Tavern (5th), Darke Hall (6th)

It’s nice to see Darke Hall on this list. It’s a pretty eclectic bunch overall, really. That’s good, because having the right (or wrong) venue can make (or break) a concert. A guy I know still talks about the time he saw Feist at the State. This was pre-Metals, so she wasn’t as big as she later became, but she was on the rise, and he was eager to see her. Unfortunately, the gig coincided with a weekly “Cheap Draft Special”. That actually dissuaded me from attending, and the guy confirmed later the gig had been a disaster, with two-fisted draft hounds running amuck, and Feist actually pleading at one point for the crowd to tone it down so she could be heard. With both a large and small room, the Exchange can accommodate concerts in genres ranging from death metal to folk and everything in between — even on the same night. So congrats to them. And thanks to all the Regina venues that present live music. /Gregory Beatty

CITIZENS

chiron-mugAs Prairie Dog readers know, I deliberately withdrew my name from Best of Regina nominations once I found out that I’d be writing the section intros. But let’s be honest: if my name were in the mix, you know I’d be taking home a few Best Ofs. Best Volunteer? Check. Best Cosplayer? Double check. In fact, I volunteered to be a cosplayer at Fan Expo, so let’s call it triple check. Best Small Business Owner? Whoa, was this section made for me? Everybody go home. I got this. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Comedian

Jayden Pfeifer
T: @jaydenpfeifer

Runners-up: Haris Khan (2nd), Dane Imrie (3rd)

Jayden Pfeifer is a busy guy. He’s a regional director of the Canadian Improv Games, serves on the board of Queen City Hub, is pursuing an MFA, teaches improv, and has two regular gigs that liven up Regina’s entertainment scene. Red Hot Riot is formatted like a late-night talk show, with young improvisers and comedians performing skits, Pfeifer doing interviews with public figures, and sets by local bands. Talkies goes monthly at RPL Film Theatre, and sees him make fun of a cheesy movie with special guests, MST3K-style, while collecting Food Bank donations as admission. Pfeifer’s also a fantastic stand-up comic. Catch his opening monologue at the next Red Hot Riot if you don’t believe me. But get tickets early, because the Dec. 18 Christmas show will definitely sell out. /Amy Couzens

Best Cosplayer

Amy Couzens
W: facebook.com/ChickpeaPlays T: @ChickpeaTweets

Runners-up: Rob Folk (2nd), Brittney Althouse (3rd), Kenneth Sibbald (4th)

Amy Couzens credits cosplay with getting her out of the house (after hours and hours of working on a costume) and becoming a more sociable person — which is probably the only reason she won the title of Best Cosplayer. Her goal is to finally make a costume that isn’t super obscure and that normal people will recognize so that she can join Queen City Cosplay to help out with all of the charity work they do. Amy is currently beginning her biggest costuming project to date: convincing her boyfriend to be the Garrus Vakarian to her Commander Shepard. Rumours that Amy writes about herself in the third person are a filthy lie. /Amy Couzens

Best Gamer

Amy Couzens
W: twitch.tv/ChickpeaPlays T: @ChickpeaPlays

Runners-up: Matt Robertson (2nd), Dana Tillusz (3rd), Kanin Kuntz (4th)

On the streaming site Twitch, Amy plays games under the pseudonym Chickpea. As a theatre grad, she loves combining her two loves of video games and live performance. Not everyone understands the appeal of watching someone else play video games, as talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has brought up time after time. You know what it’s like when you make your friend watch your favourite movie and keep peeking at them to see if they’re reacting appropriately at the good bits? It’s kind of like that… plus, you can yell at the performer in the chat if they don’t! Amy also talks about video games and ethics in video games, and other geek culture topics, on the podcast version of The Nerdcore Cabaret. In early November, she and her friends in the Split The Bill film troupe completed a 24-hour video game livestream to raise money for children’s hospitals with Extra Life.

It cannot be confirmed that Amy is the sort who refers to herself in the third person. /Amy Couzens

Best Ghost (Yes, An Actual Ghost)

Government House Ghost
4607 Dewdney Ave. 306-787-5773
W: governmenthouse.gov.sk.ca T: @Govt_House

Runners-up: Darke Hall Ghost (2nd), Hotel Saskatchewan Ghost (3rd), Fireside Bistro Ghost (4th), Iron Beauty Ghost (5th)

When you’re at Government House’s Christmas decorating party (Nov. 12-14) or at High Tea, don’t be surprised if you feel like there’s someone or some thing watching you, because there is. Judith Silverthorne even wrote a novel called Ghosts of Government House that used real-life stories from GH staff supplemented by six years of research she did into the history of the Edwardian manse that once housed the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan. The ghosts of Darke Hall and the Hotel Saskatchewan might be famous in their own right, but this year’s Best Ghost spins chairs, throws objects, fills the copper bathtub when no pipes run to it, and slams doors behind people touring its home. SPOOOOKY!  /Jillian Bell

Best School Board Trustee

Rob Bresciani
W: rcsd.ca

Runners-up: Carla Beck (2nd), Cindy Anderson (3rd), Kathleen O’Reilly (4th), Aleana Young (5th)

School boards face increasing pressures these days due to often inadequate government funding, shifting enrolments, deteriorating infrastructure and a constantly changing world for kids to navigate. They’re responsible for shaping the education children receive, determining the ways in which parents are involved in that education, and making decisions about how our education tax dollars are spent. It’s a big job, and we should applaud those who stand for election as trustees. Rob Bresciani has served on the Regina Catholic School Division board for 18 years, but that doesn’t make him think he knows it all. In fact, he says one of his ongoing priorities is to ensure everyone has a voice at the table — teachers, parents and students. Those who’ve worked with Bresciani describe him as a busy and involved trustee who listens to your point of view and is respectful even when he disagrees. After almost two decades helping guide the affairs of the school board, six of them as chair, Bresciani says he enjoys the responsibility and plans to seek another term. It looks like Prairie Dog voters would say that’s a good thing. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best City Councillor

Shawn Fraser (Ward 3)
W: shawnfraser.ca T: @shawnfraser

Runners-up: Terry Hincks (2nd), Wade Murray (3rd)

If you’re still jonesing for hot campaign action even after the sweet federal election we just had, I’ve got good news. A provincial election is scheduled for April, and next October we go to the polls in a municipal election. If your pick for Best City Councillor Shawn Fraser decides to run again in Cathedral, the odds of him winning should be pretty good. On many issues related to his ward and the city as a whole, he’s provided a welcome progressive perspective to counter the pro-unsustainable development crowd which has dominated city politics for decades. His arguments don’t always (bordering on rarely) carry the day, but they need to be heard. Pity there aren’t more voices like his on council. But hey, we do have an election coming up! /Gregory Beatty

Best MLA

Trent Wotherspoon
Regina Rosemont – NDP
4400 4th Ave. 306-565-2444
W: trentwotherspoon.com  T: @WotherspoonT

Runners-up: Gene Makowsky (Regina Dewdney: Saskatchewan Party) (2nd), Warren McCall (Regina Elphinstone-Centre: NDP) (3rd), Mark Docherty (Regina Coronation Park: Saskatchewan Party) (4th)

Trent Wotherspooon has proven to be a good team player within the NDP caucus since losing the 2013 leadership race to Cam Broten. What sets him apart from the usual platitudes for an MLA (tireless, hardworking, family person, concerned about his constituents, etc.) is that he’s one of the first NDP members to reach out to constituents and voters through social media: Twitter, Facebook, that sort of thing. Remember, the NDP caucus was still sending out press releases by fax during Lingenfelter’s time. As for Gene Makowsky? I just think voters are nostalgic for a time when the Roughrider offensive line was, you know, good. /Stephen LaRose

Best MP

Ralph Goodale
Regina-Wascana – Liberal
310 University Park Dr. 306-585-2202
W: ralphgoodale.caT: @RalphGoodale

(By Acclamation)

Justin Trudeau has eaten my mom’s perogies. Before you ask if a scandal is going to erupt from the Scott household (and I assure you, you would read it first in Prairie Dog), let me elaborate. When Justin Trudeau was in Regina in 2014, Ralph Goodale took him to Mosaic to enjoy the local cuisine. The ladies of St. Basil’s Ukrainian Catholic Church also see Ralph at their perogy sales. Because that’s the kind of guy he is. That’s why he’s been the Liberal MP for Regina-Wascana since 1993. Simply put, he likes us, and whatever your voting stripe, it’s universally agreed he’s a man of integrity. Goodale’s the only Liberal MP to have served under both Pierre and Justin Trudeau, and in the latter’s cabinet he’s serving as Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Keep coming back for perogies, Ralph. We’ll make more. /Chris Scott

Best Postal Worker

Lynda Frasz

Runners-up: Chris Bailey (2nd), Kent Rogers (3rd), Marty Hubelit (4th)

Being a postal worker is a mostly thankless job. There’s the extreme weather: heat in the summer and cold in winter (not to mention the snow and the ice one has to traverse). Plus the onslaught of dogs, cars, and random death traps disguised as invisible ice-covered steps. Of course, the mail has changed over the years from once-plentiful letters to a never-ending stream of glossy advertising flyers. Lynda Frasz was nominated last year for Best Postal Worker but ended up in not-terrible-but-kind-of-disappointing second place. This year she’s triumphed as the best over strong competition and is finally getting the thanks she and all postal workers deserve. /Shane Hnetka

Best K-8 Teacher

Danielle Hackel
Lakeview Elementary
W: lakeview.rbe.sk.ca

Runners-up: Ashley Scherle, Ecole Connaught Community School (2nd), Carol Moeller, Dr. A.E. Perry Elementary School (3rd)

Every weekday, Danielle Hackel works with a couple of dozen of Regina’s most hilarious and enthusiastic miniature humans — small people who love to learn and want to know everything. Would that we could all be so lucky. Danielle, of course, is a teacher — she plays ringmaster to a grade two/three split class at Lakeview Elementary. Right now her team is working on numbers (up to 100 in second grade, 1,000 in third), learning about communities and finding out all about Remembrance Day. “And as always, learning to be kind and caring to EVERYONE,” Danielle says. “If they don’t remember anything else from what we learn together this year, I want them to remember that.”

Away from the classroom Danielle enjoys spending time with her husband Alex and their two adorable bull mastiffs Monty and Juno. Her favourite books are Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk; she loves The Wizard Of Oz, and her favourite band is the Foo Fighters.

And if someone wants to send her and Alex on an all-expenses-paid vacation? Disneyland, of course.

Congratulations Danielle! When am I bringing my snakes to your classroom? /Stephen Whitworth

Best High School Teacher

Lance Ford
Sheldon Williams Collegiate
W: sheldon.rbe.sk.ca T:  @lanceford63

Runners-up: Dave Hambleton, Miller Comprehensive Catholic High School (2nd), Jason Janssen, F.W. Johnson Collegiate, (3rd)

It’s not that hard to win Prairie Dog’s Best Teacher award. Just design a lesson plan around the contest and assign extra marks for students who can “show their work” in voting for you. Pretty simple, right? Well, maybe not, as that would likely get a teacher in a heap of trouble. In his 21st year as a teacher, Lance Ford teaches science and phys. ed. at Sheldon Williams. He’s also heavily involved in athletics as a coach and member of the Regina and Saskatchewan High School Athletic Associations. Ford says he’s “humbled and actually taken aback” with this victory. “I wouldn’t think of myself as the best teacher even at Sheldon,” he says. Ford is described by some as a real character, and by many others as extremely likeable, so it’s little wonder the votes poured in for him. Brent Blakley, a colleague who’s worked with Ford for four years, knows him as “a caring teacher and coach who puts in countless hours of his own time for Spartan students and athletes.” Sounds like a champ to me. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Small Business Owner

Carlo Giambattista
Italian Star Deli
1611 Victoria Ave. 306-757-6733
W: italianstardeli.com T: @theitalianstar

Runners-up: Dean Renwick (Dean Renwick Design Studio) (2nd), Lisa Wicklund (Seed Sustainable Style) (3rd), Debra Wardle (Kare 4 Kids) (4th)

It’s easy to see why Carlo Giambattista has won this category two years in a row. Not only does Italian Star Deli offer fresh, great-quality specialty food from all over, it’s a really fun place to be. The deli embodies the ideals of small business: the staff are family, whether or not they’re actually related, and it comes across in every interaction. Shopping at Giambattista’s store makes you feel like part of that. You may go to Italian Star for one of their famous sandwiches, but you’ll keep coming back for the sense of community. (And maybe to try and decide if Carlo’s accent is real.) /Sonia Stanger

Best Trade Unionist

Larry Hubich
Saskatchewan Federation Of Labour
W: larryhubich.blogspot.com T: @LHubich

Runner-up: Darin Milo (2nd)

Last January, the Supreme Court ruled that essential services legislation passed by the Sask. Party government in 2008 was UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The court also declared there was a constitutional right to strike, and if a government was going to constrain that right it had to provide the affected public sector union(s) with a say on what constitutes an “essential service,” along with an alternative mechanism to striking to settle labour disputes. The court gave the province one year to pass replacement legislation for Bill 5, and Labour Minister Don Morgan recently unveiled a law that, drafted in consultation with organized labour, appears to satisfy the Supreme Court requirements. As head of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, Larry Hubich was at the fore of this lengthy legal battle, and it earned him your nod as Best Trade Unionist. /Gregory Beatty

Best U of R Professor

Marc Spooner
Education
T: @drmarcspooner

Runners-up: Susan Johnston (English) (2nd), Charity Marsh (Interdisciplinary Studies) (3rd)

Marc Spooner, a University of Regina education professor, has been a Best Of winner before and will likely contend in this category for years to come. Spooner is devoted to raising awareness of poverty in Saskatchewan, and has been actively involved with Carmichael Outreach’s efforts to end homelessness. His enthusiasm is hard to ignore, and his no-nonsense approach to social housing is commendable. His students are lucky to have an educator who understands the complex fabric of the society prospective teachers will one day face. With educators like Spooner, perhaps our youth will have better solutions to the social dilemmas that plague us now. /Meagan Rankin

Best Volunteer

Karen Filleul
Bright Eyes Dog Rescue
W: brighteyesdogrescue.com T: @BEDRegina

Runners-up: Risa Payant (RFF, LBC, Queen City Hub, Planned Parenthood) (2nd), Alanna Whippler (Regina Cat Rescue) (3rd), Jeff “Redbeard” Corbett (CJTR) (4th)

Elsewhere in BOR 2015, voters identify volunteering as the Best Way To Meet New People. That makes sense. You find a cause you believe in, then join together with other people who share your passion — sparks are going to fly, right? For Karen Filleul, caring for abandoned and lost dogs and finding new homes for them is her passion. Unfortunately, it’s a big problem in Saskatchewan. Based in Regina, Bright Eyes Dog Rescue accepts canines from around the province. Filleul is executive director, and in an October CBC report she said the shelter had 60 dogs (twice its optimum 25-30 dog capacity) and vet bills were piling up. So in addition to congratulating Karen on this award if you know/see her, consider making a donation. /Gregory Beatty

Best Pet Dog

Ruby
Owner Kurt Jensen
1637 Victoria Ave. 306-352-9663
3951 Rochdale Blvd. 306-352-9663
W: metropetmarket.ca T: @MetroPetMarket

Runners-up: Captain, Luc Hart and Melissa Burdon (2nd), Gorbachev, Matthew Leier (3rd), Bella, Andy Chung/Kendra Osmaston (4th)

Best Pet Dog Ruby will never be dethroned. She is amazing. I love her.

If you’ve ever visited Metro Pet Market, you’ve likely had the good fortune to meet Ruby, or at least you’ve seen her face on the store’s mural and advertisements. This sweet Staffordshire cross can often be found snoozing in the back of the shop, playing with one of her toys out front, or entertaining her many adoring fans.

But it wasn’t always that way.  As a rescue pet, Ruby’s life started out rough, taking a positive turn when she was surrendered to the humane society after being abused by her previous owners. Her new family offered her kindness, patience and lots of love — which has turned her into the sweet, good-natured ambassador of Metro Pet Market that she is today.

Ruby is living proof that bully breeds are anything but mean, and that every dog is a product of their environment. It’s not hard to understand why this pup makes the “Best Of” year after year. She serves as a model of the difference good nutrition and positive reinforcement training can make for any pet. /Meagan Rankin

Best Pet Reptile

Buddy
Prairie Aquatics And Exotics
942 Park St. 306-757-9443
W: aquaticsandexotics.ca

Runners-up: Kahleesi (Honduran Milk Snake), Chris Larsen (2nd), Buddy Buttercup (Corn Snake), Jakob Snider (3rd)

Disqualified: Leonard, much-loved but obviously ineligible Prairie Dog office pet

Say hello to Buddy, the handsome olive and blue Japanese rat snake resident of Prairie Aquatics and Exotics (942 Park St., by Cowtown). As a store pet, it’s Buddy’s job to show any nervous newcomers to the world of reptiles that snakes can be wonderful companions — not quite like a dog or cat, but still special in their own way. And Buddy is an excellent ambassador: a calm, inquisitive fellow who enjoys draping over shoulders, wrapping around wrists and generally just hanging out with humans for hours on end. He can be a little weird — Buddy once put himself though my belt loop and hung off my hip like a whip. Why? Who knows. He seemed happy, so I left him to it. You can find out for yourself during PAE store hours why hundreds of Prairie Dog readers voted this gregarious guy Best Pet Reptile. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Awesome Weirdo

Neil McDonald
W: facebook.com/huntergathererYQR I: @huntergathereryqr

Runners-up: Aaron Clark (Captain Anarchy) (2nd), Sherena Hastings (3rd), Dane McGuire (4th)

In many Regina social circles, being a weirdo is par for the course. It takes a little more effort to be an Awesome Weirdo, but Neil McDonald is not a lazy person. You may know him as a rogue hula-hooper, photographer of phallic farmers’ market veggies, purveyor of fine and funky vintage clothing, or as your former manager at a doomed coffee shop (hi, Neil!). After years of being a well-known jack of all trades, it looks as if he’s settling down, using his immense profits from his vintage clothing pop-up shop, Hunter Gatherer, to open a vegetarian restaurant under the same name east of Broad on 15th Ave. I can only imagine how much of a bastion it will be for all of Regina’s (less-awesome by comparison) weirdos. /Amy Couzens

CITY LIFE

chiron-mugOh yeah, “city life”. I went to Winnipeg this summer with my ex-girlfriend Kayley and I’m here to tell you what real city life is about. We stayed at a sweet Best Western, hung out at the Polo Park shopping mall and ate “nips” at two different Salisbury House locations. Kayley wanted to stay at a “historic B&B” and visit the Canadian Museum For Human Rights, but I was really busy picking up mason jars at a bulk warehouse at the edge of town. It takes a while to pick out just the right style of jar. Your move, Regina. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Church/Mosque/Synagogue/Temple/Etc.

Knox Metropolitan United Church
2340 Victoria Ave. 306-525-9128
W: knoxmetregina.org

Runners-up: Holy Rosary Parish (2nd), St. Paul’s Cathedral (3rd), Westminster United Church (4th), Resurrection Roman Catholic Church (5th)

I may not believe in God but I definitely believe that churches can be awesome. In fact, I’m a huge fan of Knox Metropolitan United Church. For one, the building is fantastic, and so are the tower bells. But my favourite thing about Knox is the annual fall rummage sale. I’ve purchased my last two winter coats there. They fit perfect, and I paid under $20 for each. I like wandering through the tables, fighting a crush of bargain finders to grab that thing I totally don’t need but must have (lately, it’s old, framed paint-by-numbers) and then working my way upstairs to the gym for a chicken salad sandwich, cup of tea, bowl of borsht and a slice of cake. Borsht is life, people. /Paul Dechene

Best Festival

Cathedral Village Arts Festival
W: cathedralvillage.org T: @CathedralAreaCA

Runners-up: Regina Folk Festival (2nd), Mosaic (3rd), Craven Country Jamboree (4th), Trifecta Music Festival (5th)

This was my fifth year helping out at the festival. Weather couldn’t have been better. I’ve seen Mays where it rained so hard 13th Ave turned into a river and washed the street fair out to sea. I’ve experienced temperatures so cold that the organizers had to set up emergency frostbite treatment stations and arm the street marshals against possible polar bear attacks. May is a fickle month, but this year she graced the festival with sun and balmy breezes — perfect for sampling a world of different street foods or seeing one of the dozens of art or music shows. The CVAF works hard to make sure that every event is 100 per cent free, no doubt one of the reasons it attracts thousands of people each year. And 2016 is the 25th anniversary! Expect it to be especially festive. /Paul Dechene

Best Fundraising Event

Z99 Radiothon
W: z99.com T: @Z99regina

Runners-up: Easter Seals Drop Zone (2nd), The Moustache Bash (3rd), 24 Hours to Play with Your Food (4th), Brighter Futures for Children (5th)

Plenty of worthy candidates here but your choice for #1 was the Z99 Radiothon. Hosted by CC, Lorie and Buzz, it’s held each spring with proceeds going to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care at General Hospital. The Radiothon celebrates 29 years next spring, and has raised over $6.5 million. That’s a lot of money, and it’s doubtlessly helped lots of newborns and their moms overcome health challenges. Held at Cornwall Centre over 36 hours, the Radiothon gives Z99 listeners a chance to hear from patients and staff at the NICU so they truly understand how important the facility is for Saskatchewan families. So congrats to the Z99 crew. /Gregory Beatty

Best Non-Profit Organization

Regina Humane Society
Hwy #6 on Armour Rd. 306-543-6363
W: reginahumanesociety.ca
T: @reginahumane

Runners-up: Carmichael Outreach (2nd), Hope’s Home (3rd), Bright Eyes Dog Rescue (4th), Regina Cat Rescue (5th)

Clearly, Reginans care about the puppies and the kitties. The Regina Humane Society has been a voice for the voiceless since its incorporation in 1964. It does so much — cares for homeless and neglected pets, reunites them with their owners, teaches responsible pet ownership, investigates cases of cruelty, and more. Because it’s a non-profit, it depends on public donations to provide services to people and animals in the community. Why not consider being a foster parent? Or making a donation? The animals of Regina thank you for it. /Chris Scott

Best Preschool

Bloom Learning Centre
5875 Rochdale Blvd. 306-775-3276
W: bloomlearning.ca

Runners-up: Gingerbread Nursery School (2nd), Little Rascals Preschool (3rd), Mes Amis Preschool Cooperative (4th), Orchard Preschool (5th), Petite Scholars (6th)

As a new-ish parent I can confirm with some degree of authority that children are people. I know, I know: they come into the world as unreasonable, wet parasites. One might even mistake them for tiny aliens with innate gifts for mimicry, playing upon our mammalian desire to nurture and comfort. However, over the past year and a half of parenthood I’ve come to recognize and respect the personhood of my tiny blonde overlord and want the absolute best for her. Bloom Learning Centre is the best preschool choice in town due to the winning combination of sensitive and caring educators and the excellent early childhood education programming they provide. /Amber Goodwyn

Best Event On The City Square Plaza

Regina Farmers’ Market
W: reginafarmersmarket.ca T: @MarketRegina

Runners-up: Regina Folk Festival (2nd), Market Under The Stars (3rd), Cinema Under The Stars (4th), Trifecta Music Festival (5th)

How can Prairie Dog produce more Best-Of love to shower upon the Regina Farmers’ Market? Every year, it dominates pretty much every category it’s eligible for. It totally deserves to; don’t get me wrong. Prairie Dog, like the RFM, is a downtown business. And we totally get that the RFM is a big part of what’s revitalizing our city centre. And that’s something we’re big fans of, as it’s making the neighbourhood we work/live in better. But holy crap, it’s getting hard to come up with new ways to say that. So this year, instead of saying “thanks” or “congratulations,” I’m going to say, “You suck, Regina Farmers’ Market, because you’re so awesome you’re making my job as a blurb writer harder.” So there. /Paul Dechene

Best Way To Meet New People

Volunteering

Runners-up: Go To The Bar (2nd), Tinder (3rd), Chewsday Challenge at Boston Pizza (4th)

This one’s a no-brainer. Volunteering for a cause you believe in connects you with people who share similar interests and ideals. Whether those interests and ideals are related to politics, the arts, animal rescue, the environment, poverty, social justice, whatever — shared experiences are the easiest way to break the ice, and volunteering helps expand your social circle and forges new friendships. You’ll feel great when you realize how much you’re contributing to your community too, so it boosts your self-esteem. Yay doing things for other people! /Chris Scott

Best Way To Meet Singles

The Bar

Runners-up: Tinder (2nd), Plenty of Fish (3rd), Grindr (4th)

You know, I’m old and settled down now. It’s been a long time since I could answer the question, “What’s the best way to meet singles?” with “My pants.” Actually, I never said that. It makes no sense. But still, I expected that by now, with digital technology exploding, we’d have moved beyond meeting potential pelvic-affiliates by slurping around at the local pub. I imagined the singles of today would be congregating with random sensation avatars in virtual holorgies, consulting silicon haruspices for companion optimization profiles and deploying laser-augmented psionic affection beams in the pursuit of a love-mate. But no. It’s still: slouch down to a tavern, drink cheap, horrible beer, let guard down, say stupid shit, hope for the best. The old ways still work, I guess. /Paul Dechene

Best Wild Animal You Saw In Regina Last Year

Rabbit

Runners-up: Moose (2nd), Coyote (3rd), Deer (4th)

Regina is home to (or visited by) more wild animals than we probably realize. In addition to the four flagged above, there’s myriad bird and insect species, gophers, squirrels, bats, snakes and even turtles. I learned about turtles when I interviewed masters student Kelsey Marchand for a July 23 Prairie Dog article. Along with her assistant, she was patrolling the Wascana Lake/Creek area this summer cataloguing western painted turtles and even outfitting some with radio transmitters to track their movements. By now, the 60 plus turtles they found are snug in their underwater hibernation sites for the winter. Come spring, though, make sure to keep an eye out for them. Because no offense, voters, but rabbits as Regina’s Best Wild Animal? Really? /Gregory Beatty

Worst Wild Animal You Saw In Regina Last Year

Wasp

Runners-up: Mosquito (2nd), Skunk (3rd), Coyote (4th)

I’ve only been stung by a wasp once. In 2006, I think it was, one got me on the hand when I was holding a napkin from an ice cream treat my elderly aunt was having. It’s not an experience I wish to repeat, obviously, but with the generally dry and hot summer we had, the wasp population soared — with predictable results for the safety and comfort of Reginans. Before this summer, the worst wasp outbreaks I’d ever seen were during family visits to Victoria in early August. Ours was in the same league. Bees sting too, of course, but they’re big-time pollinators, and produce honey to boot. Plus, they don’t sting unless you deserve it. But wasps? They’re evil fuckers that will go out of their way to sting you. They richly deserve the scorn you’ve heaped on them with this award. Good job. /Gregory Beatty

Best Place To Make Whoopee (Besides Home)

Wascana Park
W: wascana.sk.ca

Runners-up: Car (2nd), Douglas Park (3rd), Legislative Building (4th)

Who says “Make Whoopee”? When you text the hottie you met at wherever you met, I’m willing to bet you don’t say, “Hey, you wanna go to Wascana Park and make whoopee?” Semantics aside, you can’t beat a chill summer breeze on your exposed backside in the bandstand when you hook up. Get some. Go down. PD staff is giving me a Stern Look now. So if you can’t whitewash the picket fence in Wascana, there’s always the clunge plunge in the car, or you can daub the brush in Douglas Park. And of course the ol’ reliable locking legs and swapping gravy at the Leg. What a great city. /Jillian Bell

Best Thing That Happened To Regina In The Last 12 Months

Summer

Runners-up: Regina Folk Festival (2nd), New Stadium Construction (3rd), Corey Chamblin Getting Fired (4th)

Not the most imaginative choice, voters. Sure, when you live as far north of the equator as we do, summer is always welcome. But compared to the previous two winters, when we suffered through record snowfall that lingered until early May (2012-13) and months-long stretches of bitter cold (2013-14), last winter wasn’t bad. In fact, the mild conditions inspired me to do an article in March on the challenges hibernating animals face from wild temperature swings. For species such as bats and bees, mild stretches can be deadly as they burn energy coming out of hibernation, then have no food and water sources to replenish their strength. With a super El Nino and the “Blob” working their magic on the Pacific Ocean, the forecast is for an extra mild winter this year. That’s welcome news for most of us, I imagine, but spare a thought for our resident animal population when you’re out and about, okay? /Gregory Beatty

Worst Thing That Happened To Regina In The Last 12 Months

New Stadium Construction

Runners-up: 2015 Roughrider Season (2nd), Water and Sewage Problems (3rd)

The margin of victory in this category was narrow — demonstrating, as if further proof was needed, just how polarizing the stadium has been for Reginans. Many of you obviously care about the Saskatchewan Roughriders — you wouldn’t have singled out their sorry 3W-15L season as the second-worst thing to happen in Regina in the last 12 months if you didn’t. But at the same time, there’s major grumpiness over the facility that’s destined to be the team’s new home in 2017. From all reports, construction has been proceeding smoothly at Evraz Place, with the project on time and on budget. Hopefully the Green & White enjoy similar success as they endeavour to rebuild the storied CFL franchise and put a competitive team on the field. /Gregory Beatty

Best Vacant Lot That Used To Be Something Lovely

Connaught School Lot

Runner-up: Plains Hotel Lot (2nd)

While there’s been some construction activity recently at the old Plains Hotel site at Albert and Victoria on the Capital Pointe condo/hotel project (vacant since 2011, if memory serves), the lot where historic Connaught School stood at Elphinstone & 13th Ave. is quiet. Of course, the Regina Public School Board only lowered the boom on the 102-year-old school in June 2014. The provincial government has provided RPSB with money for preliminary design work on a replacement school but there’s no timeline for construction. It looks like Cathedral neighbourhood children will continue to be bussed to Wascana School in north central Regina for the foreseeable future. Well played, RPSB. Well played. /Gregory Beatty

Best Thing You Wish Would Go Away Forever

Stephen Harper

Runners-up: Mosquitoes (2nd), Winter (3rd), New Football Stadium (4th), Michael Fougere (5th)

We managed to decisively vote this evil dick-for-brains out of office on Oct. 19 but I think it’s premature to say we all got our wish. Harper is far from gone, I fear. Sure, he’s stepping down as party leader in favour of Rona Ambrose as interim leader, and he’s moving back to Calgary with plans, for now anyway, to just be a humble MP. But the CPC is very much his creation, so his influence over the selection of his successor will be enormous. Oh sure, Stephen Harper won’t be running to govern the country again, but we may very well get a Harper-acolyte in his place. So, yay! Harper is gone. But, I hate to be a bummer: his toxic legacy will linger for a very long time. /Paul Dechene

REGINA & BEYOND

chiron-mugAs the sole distributor of Chiron’s Mustardaise, I get out of the city on a regular basis. It’s pretty rare that I run out of gas in some small town and find out my grandmother cancelled her credit card, but when that happens I like to wander around, check out the shops, and take in the local ambience. Until someone sends me enough cash to fill up my van again so I can get the hell out of there. Yeesh. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Couples’ Getaway

Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort
24 Fairford St. E. Moose Jaw 1-306-694-5055 W: templegardens.sk.ca

Runners-up: Twilite Drive-In Theatre, Wolseley (2nd), Hotel Saskatchewan (3rd)

Not to disparage the runners-up, but Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort was the landslide winner. It’s probably no surprise considering it’s just a short drive west on Hwy #1, which allows you to truly feel like you’ve left the city on an adventure with your sweetie, without being cooped up in the car for endless hours. Then you’ve got the added bonus of being able to visit Moose Jaw’s picturesque downtown with its historic architecture, shops, museums and art galleries. As for Temple Gardens, it’s got a range of amenities from spacious rooms to elegant dining facilities, indoor and outdoor pools with therapeutic mineral water heated by a geothermal well, and a full-service spa to both pamper and promote the health and well-being of guests with facials, massages, body wraps and mani- and pedicures. /Gregory Beatty

Best Hotel

Hotel Saskatchewan
2125 Victoria Ave. 306-522-7691
W: hotelsaskatchewan.ca T: @HotelSK I: @hotel_sk

Runners-up: DoubleTree by Hilton (2nd), Delta Regina (3rd), Travelodge Hotel (4th), Ramada Plaza (5th)

The glorious Hotel Saskatchewan is in the midst of a brand reorganization, after its sale was announced last July. It will become a Marriott sometime in late 2015 or early 2016. Then again, whatever flag it goes under won’t change how Reginans see it — as a hallmark of class. It’s the only hotel in Saskatchewan with a four-diamond rating from the Canadian Automobile Association for its service. Its breakfast brunches are legendary. After all, not only has the hotel housed royalty, the literal kind (Queen Elizabeth during her Royal tours) and the other (Drew Barrymore, the Rolling Stones), it’s where Randy Bachman married his first wife in 1968 (okay, they divorced in the late ’70s, but still…). /Stephen LaRose

Best Town For A Day Trip

Moose Jaw
W: tourismmoosejaw.ca

Runners-up: Regina Beach (2nd), Lumsden (3rd), Indian Head (4th), Gravelbourg (5th)

The Moose Jaw of today is definitely not the one of my childhood, what with its new multi-purpose arena which has been drawing big name musical acts such as Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper and The Backstreet Boys, as well as its not-as-new Cultural Centre which hosts smaller shows as well as theatre productions at both the high-school and professional level. You don’t have to wait for a big event to do the measly 45-minute drive to the city though. Depending on the season, you can walk or cross-country ski down in Wakamow, or stroll through Crescent Park and visit the Museum & Art Gallery located in the basement of the library, and there is always lots of shopping to do on main street. See, Moose Jaw is more than just The Tunnels, although they’re worth a go at least once. /Amy Couzens

Best Nearby Camping Spot

Echo Valley Provincial Park
Fort Qu’Appelle 1-800-205-7070
W: saskparks.net

Runners-up: Rowan’s Ravine Provincial Park (2nd), Buffalo Pound Provincial Park (3rd), Moose Mountain Provincial Park (4th)

Your choice for Best Nearby Camping Spot is open year round, so if you’re so inclined after reading this, you can head out to the Qu’Appelle Valley and pitch a tent/set up your camper and have at it. Unless you’ve got the equipment you need to survive the great outdoors in winter, though, you’ll probably want to wait until next summer to visit. When you do go, you’ll find a 634-hectare park nestled between Echo and Pasqua Lakes. Depending on the season, you’ll be able to partake of activities such as hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, miniature golf and beach volleyball. Echo Valley Provincial Park is pet-friendly, and has barrier-free campgrounds and washrooms/showers. Added attractions include the town of Fort Qu’Appelle, the Echo Ridge Golf Course, and the Motherwell Homestead national historic site celebrating Saskatchewan’s pioneer past. /Gregory Beatty

Best South Sask. Tourist Attraction

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park
Box 850 Maple Creek 306-662-5411
W: cypresshills.com T: @CypressHillsPk

Runners-up: Tunnels Of Moose Jaw (2nd), Kenosee Lake (3rd), Big Muddy Badlands (4th), Grasslands National Park (5th)

In true interprovincial park fashion, the Twitter account for Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is in Alberta, and there are three contacts in two provinces (Elkwater in AB, and Maple Creek and Fort Walsh in SK). Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park spans a vast area in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan and southeast corner of Alberta. It’s a wholly unique experience. From biking and hiking to fishing, camping, alpine and cross-country skiing and A FRIGGING LUGE, it’s a place unlike any other on Earth. The Moose Jaw Tunnels (with their brilliant period actors and hosts), Kenosee Lake’s waterslides, Big Muddy Badlands and Grasslands National Park are all great too. But Cypress Hills is something you’ll never forget. /Jillian Bell

Best Place To Go Fishing

Last Mountain Lake
One Hour NW of Regina 306-725-5200
W: tourismsaskatchewan.com

Runners-up: Lake Diefenbaker (2nd), Tobin Lake (3rd), Katepwa Lake (4th)

The biggest problem Saskatchewan anglers face in getting to Last Mountain Lake — at least via Rowan’s Ravine Provincial Park — is that Highway 220, from Bulyea to the park entrance, is in crappy condition. Okay, you can get to Last Mountain, a.k.a. Long Lake, through Regina Beach, but you may have to boat further to find the fish, and getting through town to the lake while towing a boat isn’t much fun either. But in 2012, Outdoor Canada magazine ranked Last Mountain Lake, southern Saskatchewan’s largest natural body of water, 29th in its list of all-time hot spots in Canadian fishing, thanks to its plentiful supply of northern pike and walleye. For campsite bookings call 855-737-7275 (reserve-a-campsite). /Stephen LaRose

HEALTH CARE

chiron-mugHealth care in Regina is second to none — and I should know. When the biggest ingredient in your product is mayonnaise made in an old clawfoot tub in your grandmother’s garage, things can get a little salmonella-ish. Guys, I’ve been to the emergency room so many times I’m on a first-name basis with the triage staff. I was hoping the mustard would take care of the problem, but some kind of hallucinogenic fungus started growing in my bags of mustard seed and now I’ve got a whole batch of product that will make you think you’re puking rainbows. But that’s just a hallucination. It’ll be regular puke. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Alternative/Holistic Health Practitioner

Laura Stark
Thrive Naturopathic
2A – 2146 Robinson St. 306-757-4325
W: laurastarknd.com

Runners-up: Daniel Hoffman, Healthy Roots (2nd), Quinn Straza, Ancient Egyptian Healing Arts (3rd)

As more people in Regina turn to alternative therapies to tackle health issues or simply to improve the way they feel, we’re fortunate to have an ever-expanding array of service providers to choose from. There’s homeopathy, energy medicines such as reiki, naturopathy, First Nations healing practices, reflexology, traditional Chinese medicines, acupuncture, Christian faith healing, Ayurvedic medicines and others. Many of these practices are moving into the mainstream, whether on their own or as a complement to conventional medical treatment. Costs vary and, unfortunately, Saskatchewan Health doesn’t cover many of the services, but some extended benefit plans do. Our inaugural winner in this category is Laura Stark. A doctor of naturopathic medicine, she operates out of the Cathedral Centre For Wellness which includes a team of practitioners trained and skilled in several areas. She’s passionate about her practice and says it’s an honour to work with people on their path toward optimal wellness. Check out Stark’s website to find out more about her services and how alternative therapies could work for you. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Dentist

Dr. Tony Romaniuk
Enhance Dental Centre
1858 Victoria Ave. E 306-757-7645
W:  enhancedental.ca

Runners-up:  Dr. Kristy White (2nd), Dr. Kelly Rusteika (3rd), Dr. Deryl Dangstorp (4th), Dr. Sandi Beug (5th), Dr. Michele Livingstone (6th), Dr. Tara Kelley (7th)

Reginans take their dentistry seriously. That’s obvious from the crazy number of votes cast in this category! Fans of Tony Romaniuk will be pleased to know he “drilled” his way to the top and now wears the “crown” as Best Dentist. Romaniuk and the professional team at Enhance Dental Centre do their best to make patients feel well cared for and respected, using the latest technology and techniques, and priding themselves on a welcoming atmosphere at the clinic. Before and After photos on their website verify the quality of their work. How much do Romaniuk and his team care about the dental health of Reginans? Well, they’re regular participants in Dentistry From The Heart, a national non-profit initiative where, one day each year, dental offices offer free services for individuals and families unable to afford such care. Whether you’re a one-time visitor or regular patient, you’re in good hands with Dr. Tony. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Dental Hygienist

Amanda Friesen
Normanview Dental Clinic
398 McCarthy Blvd. 306-924-8409

Runners-up: Kristen Clark (2nd), Barb, Downtown Dental (3rd), Marcia Crawford (4th)

I’m not sure anyone likes going to the dentist. Many a person has nightmares at the thought of going in for something as simple as a cleaning, essential for a healthy mouth. Sadly, nightmares of pain and the sounds of scraping echo throughout generations of people. The thing is, modern dental care is great — it’s generally mostly painless, you’ve got a nice smile and, most importantly, you can continue eating all your favourite foods no matter how hard or sticky they might be (some exceptions may apply). The dental hygienist has the fun job of cleaning and checking your teeth and mouth for cavities and other potential problems. The Normanview Dental Clinic’s Amanda Friesen won this year, which means a lot of people think she does an awesome job of helping keep your mouth in tip-top shape. /Shane Hnetka

Best Family Doctor

Dr. Winston Lok
Gardens Medical Clinic
1704 Badham Blvd. 306-559-7000

Runners-up: Dr. Kathy Kontsiotis (2nd), Dr. Aurelie Ndeke (3rd), Dr. Hettie Bouwer (4th), Dr. Tomi Mitchell (5th)

If the recent federal election didn’t prove how much every single vote counts, then the results in this category certainly do because the winner received exactly one vote more than the second place finisher. On Nov. 1, Winston Lok relocated to the newly opened Gardens Medical Clinic. He has a legion of loyal patients of all ages, some who have been seeing him their entire lives. A quick look at RateMDs.com shows a range of positive reviews. Dr. Lok is especially known for his compassion and attentiveness, as well as being the kind of doctor who doesn’t rush through his appointments. We all have different criteria when we’re looking for a family doctor, but it looks like Dr. Lok has what it takes because he’s earned the trust and respect of Prairie Dog voters. Unfortunately, if you want to book an appointment, you should know Lok isn’t accepting new patients at this time. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Massage Therapist

Shalla Riemer
Healthy Roots Massage Therapy and Wellness Centre
330 Gardiner Park Court 306-522-5668
W: healthyroots.ca T:  @shallaRMT or @Healthy_Roots

Runners-up: Kyla Will, Kyla Will Massage Therapy (2nd), Corynn Mercier, Just For You (3rd), Shalyn Christianson, Shalyn’s Massage (4th)

Shalla Riemer’s well-trained hands have worked their magic on stars such as Shania Twain, Randy Bachman, and members of The Backstreet Boys and The Tragically Hip. Lucky us, then, that we have this year’s Best Massage Therapist soothing our hard-working and hard-playing bodies on a daily basis. Riemer has 16 years experience as a registered massage therapist and has honed her skills at her eco/family-friendly full-service practice in east Regina since 2010. The new website is filled with helpful advice and tips for those in pain or looking for ways to improve their health and well-being. Even better, the site and its new free mobile apps allow for convenient online appointment booking. Riemer is honoured to be selected as Best Massage Therapist, saying, “I’m so happy my patients recognize my hard work and dedication to them, and I hope they know I appreciate them as much as they appreciate me.” /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Nurse

Bree Cannon

Runners-up: Laurie Swift (2nd), Christine Trenton (3rd), Marlene Hotchen (4th), Dominique McMillan (5th), Linda Thain (6th)

Earlier this year, I gained a first-hand appreciation for the work that nurses do as I spent a month watching them in action on a daily basis while my mom was in the hospital. I’m not sure how nurses handle all the stress and challenges that go along with working in the health care field, but somehow they do, and most do it incredibly well, as proven by the dozens of nominations and hundreds of votes cast each year in this category. Your choice as this year’s Best Nurse is Bree Cannon, a licensed practical nurse with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region. I wasn’t able to connect with Cannon but from her Facebook page it’s clear she’s got a lot of energy and passion for life, and takes her work as a nurse seriously. She does her best to provide experienced, knowledgeable care, while treating patients with respect and dignity. With an attitude like that, I can’t say I’m surprised so many of you recognized her as Best Nurse. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Veterinarian

Marilyn Sthamann
Lakewood Animal Hospital
1151 Lakewood Court N 306-545-6487
W: lakewoodanimalhospital.ca T: @Lakewood_Animal

Runners-up: Lesley Sawa, Animal Clinic of Regina (2nd), Pat Bardutz, Gardiner Park Animal Hospital (3rd)

I’ve had a few pets over the years, mostly cats and dogs, but my last visit to the vet was for a seriously constipated snake. Fortunately, with some delicate medical attention and my careful adherence to the at-home instructions, we were able to resolve the situation and my little Lola has flourished ever since. Marilyn Sthamann has been treating animal patients for over 25 years, and this is her eighth straight win in this category. Sthamann became a partner at Lakewood Animal Hospital in 1989, where she practices conventional and holistic veterinary medicine with a focus on non-chemical, non-invasive treatment methods, natural nutrition and homeopathy. For regular care or when they’re sick, you can’t go wrong with Dr. Sthamann — your furry/feathered/scaly babies will thank you! /Carolyn Rebeyka

HOMES

chiron-mugThey say home is where the heart is. Tony Bennett says his heart is in San Francisco. Therefore, by the transitive property, I know where to look for Tony Bennett. I think he’d be a great spokesperson for Chiron’s Mustardaise. He’s retro but still alive and I bet he’s desperate for a gig. And I really need to sell some of this stuff because I haven’t come up with mortgage payments in three months. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Cabinets

Rick’s Custom Cabinets
3121 Saskatchewan Dr. 306.352.6044
W: rickscustomcabinets.com

Runners-up: Cobb Cabinets (2nd), Cougar Custom Cabinets (3rd), The Wood Works (4th)

Speaking of cabinets, that was quite the media love-in the other day at Rideau Hall when newly minted Liberal PM Justin Trudeau unveiled his… [Editor: “Rosie, stick to the subject at hand please.”] Okaaay, so you want me to write about kitchen, closet and bathroom renovations? And quality work? And how not to break the bank when you’re getting new cabinets installed? And how our voters think Rick’s Custom Cabinets does the best job in Regina? And how they’ve been in business since 1984, which means they’re no bloody fly-by-nighters? And how they even use Saskatchewan-sourced materials in the different product lines they offer? [“Yes, exactly.”] And I suppose if I was to make some smartass quips at the end about the runners-up related to Cobb salad or cougars on the prowl for young men you’d… [“Yes, I would”]. /Stephen LaRose

Best Electrical

Town & Country Plumbing & Heating
1450 S Railway St. 306-352-4328
W: tccomfort.com

Runners-up: Cathedral Electric (2nd), Active Electric (3rd), Shordee Services (4th), Aspen Electrical (5th)

Ever since humanity discovered electricity, we’ve harnessed its awesome and destructive power for things like being able to see in the dark, charge an iPhone and raise the lumbering, bolt-necked dead. And if you need electrical work done on your house or business, Town & Country Plumbing & Heating is the place Prairie Dog voters think is best. Yeah, I know there’s no “Electrical” in their name. But after looking at their website, I can assure you they have mastered the electrical arts on top of the plumbing and heating arts. Besides, Town & Country Plumbing & Heating is already a bit of a mouthful, so adding “Electrical” wouldn’t really be practical. Plus, by using two ampersands in their name T&CP&H is already testing the limits of the United Nation’s Internation Ampersand Treaty. Adding a third would be practically begging for UN intervention. Ampersands aside, the company does employ a massive crew of experts who can handle all your electrical needs. /Shane Hnetka

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), The Floor Show (4th)

We’ve come a long way since the early settler dwellings that sprang up in Saskatchewan in the late 19th century. Back then, pioneers lived in sod houses with dirt floors. Now, we’ve got all sorts of fancy flooring options from hardwood to laminate, tile, luxury vinyl, carpet, area rugs and more. And when Prairie Dog voters want to install new flooring, or maybe replace that crappy looking carpet that looks like it belongs in a crime scene, End of the Roll is the place they go. And they don’t even need to take a shovel and wheelbarrow with them. See, huge step up from pioneer times. /Shane Hnetka

Best Home Builders (Tie)

Harmony Builders Ltd.
2901 Saskatchewan Dr. 306-205-7313
W:  harmonybuilders.ca

Homes By Dream
300-4561 Parliament Ave.  306-347-8100
W:  dream.ca/homes-regina

Runners-up: Fiorante Homes (3rd), Trademark Homes (4th), Ironstone Homes (5th)

It’s a tie for Best Home Builder. Started in 2009 by husband-and-wife team Katrina Stettner and Matt Rogina, Harmony Builders already has a proven track record and solid reputation in the industry. Your other favourite, Homes By Dream (formerly Dundee Developments), has been in business since 1952, and has received many accolades over the decades. Both builders are known for their lovely home designs and quality craftsmanship, and for striving to exceed customers’ expectations. Each has a website that shows off their exceptional homes and satisfied home-owners. If you want to see their handiwork in person, just head to one of their show homes. Just be prepared to drool while you’re there, and then race back to your existing home with a thousand ideas swirling in your head for improvements you could make. Or maybe you’ll be inspired, like many Reginans have been over the years, to purchase a brand new house from either of our voters’ two favourite home builders. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Home Improvement Store

Home Depot
1030 Pasqua St. N 306-564-5700
1867 Victoria Ave. E 306-761-1919
W: homedepot.ca T: @HomeDepotCanada

Runners-up: Lowe’s (2nd), Sherwood Co-op (3rd), Home Hardware (4th), Rona (5th)

Look, I go to Home Depot too when I get in the mood to pick up some stuff for working around the house and garden — along with the other big box stores that made the cut in this category. But there’s a part of me that can’t help but be nostalgic for the old-style hardware stores that used to exist in Regina. Remember Home Hardware just south of the Broad St. underpass near where Wonderland Arcade and Lang’s Cafe are now? It used to have a little bit of everything, and what they didn’t have you could get ordered in a day or two. And it was staffed by people who really knew their tools and products, and how to build stuff from decks and gazebos to sheds and garages. Not saying that the staff at Home Depot and the other big box retailers don’t know the ins and outs of hardware and home improvement too, but sometimes going to those stores can be a little overwhelming for us Red Green wannabes. /Stephen LaRose

Best Landscaping

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

Runners-up: Cherry Lane Landscaping (2nd), Stones Edge Landscaping (3rd), SodFathers (4th)

Landscaping is a tough job. I know; I’ve been doing it myself for several years with fairly mixed results. I know absolutely nothing about plants, grass, trees, shrubbery or proper grading but The Rusty Shovel knows everything and they can help you turn your backyard mud pile into a masterpiece of nature and tranquility. I’m still working on reaching that, but they sell everything from landscaping rocks and stones to water fountains and ponds to fire pits and water sprinkler systems — even lighting, in case you want to see what all your hard work has amounted to one dark and pleasant evening. /Shane Hnetka

Best Mortgage Broker

Skott Enns
TMG The Mortgage Group
206-4303 Albert St. 306-201-6500
W:  skottenns.com T:  @skottenns

Runners-up: Steve Ryan, TMG (2nd), Dave Driver, TMG (3rd), Kent Bittner, Bittner Mortgages (4th), Ian Leverington, The Mortgage Centre (5th)

This is Skott Enns’ third straight win in this category and he’s thrilled and humbled with the recognition from clients and friends. For a time, mortgage brokers were like the Tooth Fairy to me. But I became a believer a few years back when, on a whim, I approached a broker who ended up saving me considerable bucks. I don’t know how they do it, but pros like Skott find rates that often can’t be beat. In addition to his mortgage broker skillz, Skott is an entertaining, gregarious guy who’s a pleasure to deal with and his clients agree he provides excellent customer service and follow-up. I highly recommend getting on Skott’s e-mail newsletter list — it’s worth it just for the occasional photos of his adorable twin boys Moses and Floyd, but it’s also filled with helpful information, fun contests and quirky facts you don’t want to miss. Follow him on Twitter to get more of the same. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Plumber

Town & Country Plumbing & Heating
1450 S Railway St. 306-352-4328
W: tccomfort.com

Runners-up: Litzenberger Plumbing and Heating (2nd), Able Plumbing & Heating (3rd), Reinhardt Plumbing and Heating (4th), Fusion Plumbing and Heating (5th), Klempp Plumbing and Heating (6th)

Wow, the best electrical company in Regina also has the best plumbers. And plumbing isn’t just fixing or installing new taps and sinks; there’s also the unpleasant problems with the sewer that nobody likes to do. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than sewer backup (shudder) and Town & Country Plumbing & Heating can handle that terrible problem along with all your other plumbing and electrical, heating, air conditioning and duct cleaning needs. /Shane Hnetka

Best Real Estate Agent

Katrina Stettner
Harmony Realty
2901 Saskatchewan Dr. 306-591-0631
W: harmonyrealty.ca

Runners-up: Sean Malcolm, Royal LePage (2nd), Jenni Bast, Century 21, (3rd), Karla Piel, Century 21 (4th)

Katrina Stettner doesn’t just act as an agent for Harmony Realty — SHE OWNS THE COMPANY. (h/t to Victor Kiam on that one, obviously). Harmony Realty is an off-shoot of another company called Harmony Builders that Stettner co-owns with husband Matt Rogina. As the name implies, HB actually builds homes — custom-designed ones, to be exact. If you visit the Harmony Realty website you’ll find an inspirational quote from New York business tycoon turned egomaniacal and insane U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump: “The most important thing in life is to love what you’re doing.” It’s true! And helping people with their real estate needs is obviously something Stettner loves doing. The world would be a less-scary place if that was something Trump loved doing, too. Much less worrying than trying to get a job that comes with nuclear launch codes. /Gregory Beatty

Best Real Estate Company

Century 21 Dome Realty
4420 Albert St. 306-789-1222
4535 Rochdale Blvd 306-789-1222
W: century21dome.com

Runners-up: Re/Max Crown Real Estate (2nd), Harmony Realty (3rd), Realty One (4th), Platinum Realty Specialists (5th)

Buying and selling houses is a tough business. Even in a relatively small market like Regina, the art of selling houses needs professional experts to guide buyers and sellers through all the intricate details. The highly trained professionals at Century 21 Dome Realty are the best people in the business to help you through the entire real estate process. From just looking at houses, to listing your home, to actually buying and selling, Century 21 Dome Realty is the preferred company of Prairie Dog voters to help with all their housing needs. /Shane Hnetka

Best Yard & Garden Store

Dutch Growers
3320 Pasqua St. 306-721-4769 (GROW)
W: dutchgrowers.net I: dutchgrowers_regina

Runners-up: WP Garden Centre (2nd), The Rusty Shovel Landscape Shop (3rd), Unique Garden Centre (4th), Rona (5th)

I’m not sure how I got stuck writing this blurb. I mean, I don’t exactly have a green thumb. It’s not that plants die the moment I attempt to tend to them, but when I try to help out with lawn and garden work, the only thing I appear to grow is frustrated. My neighbour Barb, however, could grow a lilac bush in her back pocket. She should be the one writing this. She’s likely got complete dossiers on Dutch Growers and all the runners-up in this category. With “roots” (haha) in Saskatchewan dating back to 1953, Dutch Growers is owned and operated by Tim and Karen Van Duyvendyk. If you visit their website, you’ll find they sell all sorts of indoor and outdoor plants including trees and shrubs, along with home and garden decor, tools and other supplies. They even have their own line of trendy ladies’ wear and fashion accessories. /Stephen LaRose

MEDIA

chiron-mugI was looking for some cash in my grandmother’s books the other day (she stuffs money everywhere around her house) when I discovered in her dictionary that “media” is the plural of “medium” (also 20 bucks! Score!). I don’t get it. “Medium” means “in the middle,” right? How can there be more than one of being average? I think people in the media should know about this, because the word that describes their existence is totally wrong. This is what happens when no one consults me. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Reporter (Print, Web or Broadcast)

Creeson Agecoutay
CTV
W: regina.ctvnews.ca T: @CreesonCTV

Runners-up: Stefani Langenegger, CBC (2nd), Murray Mandryk, Leader-Post (3rd), Murray McCormick, Leader-Post (4th), Emma Graney, Leader-Post (5th), Ashley Martin, Leader-Post/QC (6th)

Creeson Agecoutay, host of CTV’s Indigenous Circle, grew up on Cowessess First Nation and is a graduate of the University of Regina’s School of Journalism. Indigenous Circle’s mission is “to foster, in a holistic way, greater understanding between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people as to traditional values, current issues and future directions of First Nations and Métis communities.”

A little Facebook creeping reveals that Agecoutay deems himself “not worthy” to be nominated alongside such a group of journalism heavyweights. To this I say only: Creeson, revel in the win. You’ve taken the belt and the prize is yours. Please feel free to make it rain Prairie Dog pages, proclaiming your victory up and down CTV’s corridors all week. And send some sassy tweets to Emma Graney. You’ve earned it. /Sonia Stanger

Best Political Reporter

Wayne Mantyka
CTV
W: regina.ctvnews.ca T: @WayneMantykaCTV

Runners-up: Murray Mandryk, Leader-Post (2nd), Stefani Langenegger, CBC (3rd), Emma Graney, Leader-Post (4th), Mike McKinnon, Global (5th)

Wayne Mantyka regularly reports on the goings-on at the Saskatchewan Legislature. His voice (and moustache) are likely familiar to most Reginans. Aside from being a genuinely good journalist with a long and fruitful career (he’s been with CTV News since 1975), he is also a Very Nice Man™, volunteering his time to the Regina school system and the Salvation Army. Mantyka was the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013, which, if you ask me, is close enough to knighthood to merit the title Sir Wayne Mantyka. Long may he serve. /Sonia Stanger

Best Columnist

Rob Vanstone
Leader-Post
W: leaderpost.com T: @robvanstone

Runner-up: Murray Mandryk, Leader-Post (2nd)

Is it the notorious puns that draw voters to Rob Vanstone in this category? Or his regular pleas to the CRTC to allow ESPN to broadcast in Canada (even though, since ESPN has a minority share in TSN and TSN now has five channels of programming, we get most of ESPN’s coverage anyway)? Hey, Rob, if you want ESPN that bad, go tell the boss at your other gig at NewsTalk 980 CJME to dump the news portion and broadcast ESPN Radio instead. You’d get my support.

Then again, maybe it’s Rob’s thorough coverage (depending on the season) of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Regina Pats, high school sports, and myriad other jock/jockette-related items that cross his desk at the Leader-Post that got him our readers’ support. Regardless, he’s become quite a Best Of Regina dynasty, on par with the Boston Celtics who won eight straight NBA titles from 1959-66. /Stephen LaRose

Best Weather Person

J.C. Garden
CTV
W: regina.ctvnews.ca T: @JCGardenCTV

Runners-up: Tiffany Lizee, Global (2nd), Kahla Buchanan, CTV (3rd), Christy Climenhaga, CBC (4th), Liz Pittman, Global (5th)

It’s a good thing voting wasn’t open last week when we were threatened with the first snowfall of the year, or we might not have had a winner here. Or maybe we would have? With his humour, calm demeanor and dulcet tone, J.C. Garden can soften even the most dastardly weather forecast. The same applies when he’s travelling with CTV’s Home Town Tour or appearing on the local morning show and newscasts. You can see J.C. around the city, MCing charitable events and fundraisers. His very active and engaging Twitter account is legendary. J.C. is also a foodie, and appears regularly with CJ Katz on Wheatland Cafe cooking segments, where it’s fun to see him happily take a run at cooking, but really dig in for the tasting. Personable, entertaining, always ready to laugh — our voters just can’t help but like him, even when they’re giving him the finger or throwing their copy of Prairie Dog at the TV when he tells us the snow’s about to fly! /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Radio Host(s)

CC, Lorie & Buzz
Z99
W: Z99.com T: @Z99MorningShow or @Z99Regina

Runners-up: Chad and Ballsy, 104.9 The Wolf (2nd), Sheila Coles, CBC (3rd), Mike McGuire, Big Dog (4th), Stefani Langenegger, CBC (5th), Drew Dalby, 104.9 The Wolf (6th)

It’s a category with a lot of talented competition, always generating lots of votes. This year, CC, Lorie & Buzz from Z99’s morning show take top prize. Buzz left in August to assume a big-boy role with Rawlco Radio, but Cassity joined CC and Lorie on one of Regina’s longest running morning shows. Quirky, cool, energetic, authentic and fun are just some of the responses I got when I asked people about CC, Lorie & Buzz. Whether they’re MCing or cheering on others at charity or entertainment events, attending business grand openings and promotions or helping profile some of Regina’s top events, organizations and people, the trio is known for more than just the on-air hours they log. If you don’t believe me, check out the blurb for Best Fundraising Event. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Radio Station

Z99
W: z99.com

Runners-up: Big Dog (2nd), The Wolf (3rd), CJTR (4th), Jack (5th)

If you were in Regina in the ’90s, Z99 not only rocked FM, it rocked everything! When I was a theatre student at the University of Regina, we would even order cakes that read “Z99 Rocks… [insert name of production]”. Started by Rawlco Communications in 1982, Z99 has been a fixture on our airwaves ever since. C.C., short for “Concerned Citizen”, has been hosting or co-hosting the morning show pretty much since the station launched, along with Lorie and Buzz. The station’s format has evolved over the years, switching from modern rock to adult contemporary. But Z99 still rocks FM! /Chris Scott

Best News Website/Blog

CBC Saskatchewan
W: cbc.ca/sask

Runners-up: Global Regina (2nd), Leader-Post (3rd), CJME (4th)

CBC is a national institution and will forever occupy an important place in the hearts of Canadians. It’s a trusted source of information with an unbiased approach, the importance of which became unavoidably obvious during the recent “every newspaper endorsed Harper” federal election. Canadians have looked to the CBC for generations, and despite budget cuts that have left gaps in television and radio reporting, the organization has found a way to reach out to its audience to remain relevant and accessible. Their website is easy to navigate, updated regularly, and allows them to provide much of the same news services as before the cuts, but on a different medium. Long live the CBC! /Meagan Rankin

Best TV Anchor

Jill Morgan
CBC
W: cbc.ca/sask T: @JillMorganCBC

Runners-up: Heather Anderson, CTV (2nd), Dan McIntosh, CTV (3rd), Sabeen Ahmad, CTV (4th), Whitney Stinson, Global (5th)

Jill Morgan is defending champ here. Last year, she also won Best Hair. We dropped that category this year (partly because confused readers voted for hair salons), although it may return in future Best Ofs — as, I’m sure, will Morgan in Best TV Anchor.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to hold such a high-profile media position in a city the size of Regina. It used to freak me out when strangers would recognize me from a caricature that ran with “Ask Greg” and approach me and say “You’re that writer from Prairie Dog, aren’t you?” For Jill Morgan, being on CBC TV every night, with viewers looking to her to deliver the latest in local, national and international news, it would be a gazillion times worse. And now we’ve gone and boosted her profile even more with this award. Oh well, such is the price of fame for us media superstars, right Ms. Morgan? /Gregory Beatty

Best TV News Coverage

CTV
W: regina.ctvnews.ca

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

The recent death of former CKCK news anchor James Allyn struck a chord that resonated in the community. Back when Regina only had two channels in the 1970s and early ’80s, James and Johnny Sandison dominated the airwaves. Today, Regina still turns to CTV for its local news. Great field reporting from Creeson Agecoutay, Wayne Mantyka, Nelson Bird, Morgan Campbell, Kelsey Chadwick and others, personable news anchors led by Dan McIntosh and Heather Anderson, and solid weather and sports coverage combine to make CTV the number one choice for news in the Regina market. /Chris Scott

Best TV Sports Coverage

CTV
W: regina.ctvnews.ca

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

Sports might get more coverage on local TV than municipal and provincial politics combined. Although lately, the pickings have been pretty slim. Consider football. If you tally up the combined regular season and playoff records of the top three men’s teams this year, the Riders, Rams and Thunder, you get 8W-27L. Yikes!!! The Regina Red Sox had a so-so season too, although they did make some noise in the playoffs before succumbing to the Lethbridge Bulls in the WMBL final. And the Regina Pats are off to a slow start in the Dub. Really, about the only good news story (as far as team sports go, anyway) was the Regina Riot winning their first-ever WWCFL title in July. But win or lose, Lee Jones and the rest of the CTV crew are there to keep sports-minded Reginans informed. /Stephen LaRose

Best News Outlet Overall

CBC
W: cbc.ca/sask

Runners-up: CTV (2nd), Global (3rd), CJME (4th), Leader-Post (5th)

I know everybody loves the CBC, but I think it has a lot to do with loving the notion of a public broadcaster more than what it’s become of late. It’s been a hard year for Mothercorp. Thanks to years of underfunding, upper management is planning to sell off all the buildings. At the same time, there’s been controversy over apparent conflicts-of-interest involving key figures Amanda Lang, Rex Murphy, Evan Solomon and Peter Mansbridge. Then there were all the icky revelations about Jian Ghomeshi <shudder>. But there are bright lights. Despite being gutted by budget cuts, local CBC is still doing amazing work covering Regina and the province as a whole, and has broken some big stories with its investigative reports. And nationally, Rosemary Barton (Power And Politics) provided the best election coverage this country has seen in decades. Her on-air eviscerations of jokers like Chris Alexander and Paul Calandra were glorious. /Paul Dechene

Biggest Regina News Story

Smoke From Northern Forest Fires

Runners-up: Firing of Brendan Taman and Corey Chamblin (2nd), Riders 2015 season (3rd), The New Stadium (4th)

So the runners-up in this category are all Rider related: the firing of Brendan Taman and Corey Chamblin, the disaster that is the Green & White’s 2015 season, and the progress on the New Stadium. Kind of sad that the only way you can eclipse football news in this city is to have half of northern Alberta and Saskatchewan burn down, displacing 15,000 people in the process, and compromising air quality from here to Iowa. /Paul Dechene

Best Regina Viral Video

Kicked In Head By A Train

Runners-up: Experience Regina (2nd), I Found My Old Lady’s Socks (3rd)

Like the title says, a dude (Jared Michael) was filming himself next to a rail line in Peru when a train went by, and a conductor kicked him in the head. YouTube went bizonkers with over 38 million views. It was even included in YouTube’s 10th Anniversary A to Z Compilation. According to a follow-up video, the kick didn’t hurt Michael. So no, he didn’t die from the blow — although that’s one rumour circulating on the internets. He also says if he ever gets to meet the conductor, he’ll buy him a beer. The video was shot on a hiking trail heading to Machu Picchu, and Michael was a self-described “dumb tourist” loitering next to a rail line with head phones on. Maybe the kick was well deserved? Anyway, it’s something many of you have probably seen already. So if you thought, “Man, I can’t believe I wasted 45 seconds of my life watching this,” remember I just spent 20 minutes writing about it. I think it’s safe to say that between Jared Michael, the conductor, and 38 million YouTube viewers, I’m the biggest loser. /Paul Dechene

Best Facebook Friend

Megamunch
W: facebook.com/MegamunchTrex

Runners-up: Neil McDonald (2nd), Taron Cochrane (3rd)

As Lois-Anna observed in last year’s blurb on the Royal Saskatchewan Museum’s resident dino winning Best Facebook Friend, it can’t be easy for Megamunch, with his tiny T-rex arms, to type on a computer. But type he does, posting all sorts of fun and informative stuff on Facebook. One recent highlight was just before Halloween, when he offered up six shots of himself trying out different costume ideas including a dino take on Mr. Potato Head, a scurvy saurian pirate, and one where he sported a Teddy Roosevelt-style moustache. Then he invited his Facebook community to vote on which costume he should wear. That was in preparation, I believe, for the Monster Bash the RSM hosted on Oct. 30. Knowing Megamunch, he was the life of the party. /Gregory Beatty

Best Twitterer

Regina Goose
@ReginaGoose

Runners-up: Taron Cochrane (2nd), Emma Graney (3rd)

Parody twitter accounts for things with no thumbs are pretty much guaranteed to be a hit with the masses, and @ReginaGoose is no exception. This self-proclaimed #CanadianIcon sits in the comedy sweet spot of the absurd, the whimsical, and the bitterly real. Regina is plagued by the winged monstrosities that live lots of places, but for some reason are called Canada Geese, and I’m not just saying that because one bit me when I was five. ReginaGoose knows this and really works the local humour angle, and Prairie Dog voters just can’t get enough. My personal hope is that this win is the first step in improving human-goose relations, but I’m not holding my breath. /Sonia Stanger

Best Prairie Dog Writer

Aidan Morgan
W: prairiedogmag.com T: @palinode

Runners-up: Stephen Whitworth (2nd), Paul Dechene (3rd), Gregory Beatty (4th)

Hi everybody. Chiron Batchlett here. Ugh, this guy again, you’re thinking to yourself. And the guy you’re thinking of is Aidan Morgan, the Regina writer who just won’t go away. Look, I enjoy a good restaurant review as much as the next guy, but when is he going to compose a cover story about me and my Mustardaise? Let him dump out his entire piggy bank’s worth of 10 dollar words on the topic; I don’t care. I’ve left him messages, sent him a jar of my Three Wolf blend, even bought him a beer one night. Where’s the reciprocation? I don’t think he knows a thing about food. Still, he’s been writing for Prairie Dog since 2009, and he seems to have figured out how to put a sentence together. I’ll give him that much. /Chiron Batchlett

SHOPPING

chiron-mugI love shopping in Regina. So many boutiques run by passionate entrepreneurs. Some of them are even thinking about selling Chiron’s Mustardaise, but between you and me, I think they’re a bit intimidated by the custom display cabinets I insist on personally installing in their stores. Don’t they get branding? No they don’t. They should realize that I’m just going to take my Mustardaise elsewhere. Also, I’m going to write down the brands they sell and buy them online with my grandmother’s credit card. Well, I was, before she cancelled it. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Adult Store

Industrial Luv
1933 8th Ave. 306-522-4542
W: industrialuv.com

Runners-up: Love Plus (2nd), G-Spot Boutique (3rd)

As a woman, I’ve often felt like an adult store isn’t a space for me. Whether that’s because the only female presence in the store is a mannequin dressed like mostly-naked Santa, or the topless girls on DVD covers, or the general scariness vibe from other clientele, it’s not exactly conducive to fun and liberated sexploration. Industrial Luv couldn’t be further from that feeling. What I love (ha! Get it?) about Industrial Luv is that it’s a comfortable, safe-feeling space to look at grown-up paraphernalia in a zero-shame environment. The selection of toys, tools and other goodies is good, with something for everyone, and I’ve always found the staff to be super knowledgeable and helpful. /Sonia Stanger

Best Car Dealership

Bennett Dunlop Ford
770 S Broad St. 306-522-6612
W: bennettdumlopford.com

Runners-up: Taylor Toyota (2nd), Capital GMC (3rd), Capitol Ford Lincoln (4th), Regina Honda (5th), Mercedes Benz of Regina (6th)

I haven’t bought a new or even used car in a very long time. My current vehicle is presently rusting on my driveway waiting for something to happen: maybe I’ll fix it, but it’s more likely to eventually disintegrate. I’ve been prompted/hounded by others to please get rid of my car and purchase one that actually functions. I haven’t quite made that decision yet but if I ever do, it’s good to know Bennett Dunlop is the choice of Prairie Dog voters for Best Car Dealership. I’m sure they wouldn’t laugh, at least to my face, if they saw the car I would be trying to trade in. /Shane Hnetka

Best Used Car Dealership

Titan Automotive
755 Broad St. 888-228-4319
W: titanauto.ca

Runners-up: Capital GMC, Taylor Toyota (tie 2nd), Capital Ford Lincoln (4th), Wheat Country Motors (5th), Siman Auto Sales (6th)

Full disclosure: I neither drive nor own a motor vehicle so I have no personal experience with buying one. But it says something when you go to DealerRater.ca and the first review of Titan Automotive that pops up is “BEST experience buying a car EVER! Happy, happy, happy!” with a special shout-out to “Trevor” in particular. If an employee has made your experience that memorable at any business, it speaks volumes. Titan Auto also has a snappy website where you can search their inventory and find the perfect used vehicle for you. /Chris Scott

Best Comic Shop

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

Runners-up: Tramps (2nd), Comic Readers South Albert (3rd)

ComicReaders downtown location takes title of Best Comic Shop for the third year in a row. They’re located just off Scarth Street Mall, so it’s in the perfect “We’re already downtown so why don’t we pop in for a bit and, well, maybe just a few comics, and this figurine would look great next to my computer, and we’re having guests over soon so a new board game wouldn’t be a bad idea…” location. They have a secret game room in the back that can host up to 48 people for Magic, Warmachine and other board games and RPGs (check the website for an event schedule). They’re also right around the corner from runner-up Tramps, so you know which area of the city to go to (or avoid) on payday. /Amy Couzens

Best Eyewear

FYidoctors
Five Regina Locations
W: fyidoctors.com

Runners-up: Factory Optical (2nd), Spex By Ryan (3rd), Spectrum Eye Centre (4th), Viva Optical (5th)

Do you have eyes? Do they suffer from being shitty? You, my friend, should visit FYidoctors, the multi-location eyewear franchise Prairie Dog readers are calling Regina’s best. FYidoctors has specially trained optometrists who can tell you, in detail, why you “viddy” so “baddiwad”. FYidoctors also carries many attractive name-brand frames suitable for the prescription lenses your crap eyeballs need. So when you find yourself walking face-first into street musicians or starting conversations with parked bicycles, visit FYidoctors. They can probably help you. It’s pretty obvious Prairie Dog can’t. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Florist

Wascana Flower Shoppe
333 Victoria Ave. E 306-522-5243
W:  wascanaflowershop.com and rosieflowertruck.com
T:  @WascanaFlorals and @YQRFlowerTruck

Runners-up: Gale’s Florist (2nd), Unique Gardens (3rd), Grower Direct Fresh Cut Flowers (4th)

It’s a baker’s dozen for Wascana Flower Shoppe as they celebrate 13 years as Regina’s Best Florist. I first heard of them when I moved to Regina in the early ’90s and have been both a happy customer and delighted recipient of their gorgeous flower arrangements. Since opening in 1981, owner Petra Janssen has found many innovative ways to expand her business and better serve her customers, including the installation of a drive-through window, year-round flower and plant-related classes, an expanding inventory of flowers and gift and décor items, the introduction of Fab Friday specials and, in July, the launch of a flower truck. If you haven’t seen it yet, keep an eye out for Rosie, Saskatchewan’s first mobile floral boutique, spreading flower power and joy throughout the city. Any time you need a reprieve from winter, head to Wascana Flower Shoppe’s 5,000 sq. ft. of glorious scents and sights. Or stay home and hope one of their yellow PT Cruisers shows up with a delivery just for you! /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Furniture Store (Local)

Urbane EQ3
1325 Broad St. 306-779-0119
W: urbane.ca

Runners-up: Father’s Furniture (2nd), Alford’s (3rd), Pearl Hardware (4th)

I’m a big fan of furniture with clean, modern lines so I’m pleased readers voted Urbane EQ3 Regina’s Best Furniture Store. You guys gave me an excuse to spend a couple of hours drooling over all the lovely things on Urbane’s excellent website. I love this furniture: stuff like the beautiful Replay sofas and loveseats; the fetching, box-y Boom coffee- and end tables; the sleek Bento beds and wow, those reclaimed teak dressers. Oh! And the stupidly gorgeous Super Crush extended chaise! Jesus, it comes in purple? Ooh, and that Margot sofa too! And so much more. So incredibly much more.

Urbane was one of Regina’s coolest shops when I moved here in the ’90s and it’s nice to see it’s still going strong in the second decade of the 21st century. Urbane EQ3 proves that great taste isn’t a luxury — it’s good business. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Furniture Store (Chain)

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

Runners-up: Leon’s Furniture (2nd), Ashley Furniture HomeStore (3rd), The Brick (4th)

Oh, Urban Barn. Why is your name an oxymoron? Barns are not urban and urbanity is the antithesis of barns. Now I’m not criticizing barns — they’re lovely places with friendly animals, sexy haylofts (for secret smooching!) and clever spiders that write things in webs (this is my understanding). I’m just saying barns aren’t urban. But there you go making me a liar, Urban Barn. You point to your sofas and sectionals; your dinnerware and dining room furnishings; your office desks, chairs and bookshelves; your coffee tables, area rugs and cunning storage solutions. You win, Urban Barn. You’re both urban AND a barn.

Just like Pinocchio is both a puppet and a real boy. Or something.

Hey, you know how we store things in real barns? We tie our stuff to the biggest horse and whistle when we need it. I guess it’s not as convenient as an ottoman with drawers. Hey, you’re all right, Urban Barn. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Home Decor & Furnishings (Local)

WP Home & Garden
254 University Park Dr. 306-584-1565
#5 – 4621 Rae St. 306-586-2929
W: @wpinside.com

Runners-up: Casa Decor (2nd), Anex Interiors (3rd), Mabel and Martha’s Vintage Style Decor (4th), Pearl Hardware (5th)

I don’t think I’ve ever confessed to being a fan of holiday decorations in these pages. Well, I confess: a fan I am. So it’s nice to learn WP Home & Garden carries a massive selection of decorations, ornaments and miscellaneous knick-knacks for Christmas, as well as Halloween, Easter and other festive occasions. I had no idea. I’ll have to check that out.

Besides selling a salubrious selection of seasonal shinies, WP has rugs, planters, statuary, artful objects and a lot of other things that will help transform your residence into a cozy home. There are two locations, which have similar but not identical inventories — for example, the University Park Dr. spot has the larger merchandise, and the stores carry different jewellery lines. I guess we all need to check out both shops. Sounds like fun to me. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Home Decor & Furnishings (Chain)

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

Runners-up: Urban Barn (2nd), Bouclair Home (3rd), Bowring (4th)

While linked in this category, “Decor” and “Furnishings” are two different things. Yes, in a home they obviously work together to define the living space. So they need to complement each other in colour, shape, texture and whatnot. But as far as the function they perform, they’re entirely different beasts. Furniture is the core stuff you sit, sleep, eat, drink and work on. It’s generally substantial, built to last, and therefore expensive. Decor, though, is more of an accent thing. You can still spend a fair bit of coin, but you can also spice up a room with fairly modest tweaks — as long as you know what you’re doing. As the people at HomeSense obviously do. /Gregory Beatty

Best Local Home Electronics

Audio Warehouse
1329 Lorne St. 306-525-8128
W: audiowarehouse.com

Runners-up: Krazy Kiley’s (2nd), Radio Centre (3rd)

Audio Warehouse has been in business for 50 years, which is pretty damn good for a local outfit that has to compete with big box stores. How have they managed to not only stay in business, but be the best? The answer is simple: they are masters of customer service. Whether you need a new home stereo, TV or an awesome car stereo system installed in your car, Audio Warehouse is the place to go. /Shane Hnetka

Best Local Hobby Shop

Gale’s Wholesale
1602 Elliott St. 306-757-8545
W: GalesWholesale.com

Runners-up: ComicReaders Downtown (2nd), Redline Hobby (3rd), ComicReaders South Albert (4th), Northgate Sewing (Peachtree Quilt Shop) (5th), Bead Plus (6th)

True story: I once got so involved in all the cool stuff at Gale’s Wholesale they nearly locked me in when they closed up at night. And I’d have been fine with that. I could have survived quite handily on the party snacks and baking chocolate. In fact, if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, y’all can hide out at Cabela’s if you want. I’ll be at Gale’s, because they have an endless supply of googly eyes. You don’t know how important that is to a gal. Truth be told, I’m not supposed to go in to ANY of the shops from this category without a “grown-up” as I already have more than enough balsa-wood models, minis paint, paintbrushes, D&D figs, fabric, and beads to last a lifetime. But googly eyes, you guys. GOOGLY EYES. /Jillian Bell

Best Jewellery Store

Hillberg & Berk
2169 McIntyre St. 306-522-5893
W: hillbergandberk.com T: @hillbergandberk

Runners-up: Victoria Jewellers (2nd), Fire & Ice (3rd), Ben Moss Jewellers (4th), Argento Jewellery (5th)

The defending champ in this category started from humble beginnings in Rachel Mielke’s kitchen in 2007. Committed from the start to using only the best gemstones, metals and other materials in her artisanal jewellery, Mielke has carved out a major niche for her company, Hillberg & Berk. Hyberbole? Not according to Canadian Business. In September, H & B was the only Regina company to make its Profit 500 list of fastest-growing companies. With revenue of over $6 million in 2014 (a jump of 610 per cent in five years), H & B ranked #115 on the list. In addition to its flagship store in Regina, Mielke has a “sparkle bar” at Cornwall Centre and two kiosks in Edmonton, and a second bricks-and-mortar store is planned for Midtown Plaza in Saskatoon. So it looks like the future’s as bright as a big shiny diamond for Rachel Mielke and Hillberg & Berk. /Gregory Beatty

Best Pet Supply Store

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

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

If you ever have the opportunity to speak with the phenomenal staff or the incredibly knowledgeable owner/operators, you’ll know Metro Pet Market will help you make the best choices for your pet so you don’t wander blindly through holistic pet care’s maze-like universe. They have a keen understanding of nutrition, and are always eager to discuss best practices while offering any advice they can. The store also sells unique prints, collars, leashes, toys, treats, bedding, grooming tools, sweaters, booties — you name it. Metro Pet Market is basically your one-stop shopping destination for all things pet. With two locations in Regina, they’re easily accessible to all Regina residents and offer competitive prices on all their top quality products. If you’re a pet parent and haven’t checked out what this store has to offer, your “children” are definitely missing out. /Meagan Rankin

Best Pet Store

PetSmart
2810 E Quance St. 306-347-5400
4835 Gordon Rd. 306-779-0170
W: petsmart.ca T: @PetSmart

Runners-up: Petland (2nd), Pat’s Pets (3rd), Prairie Aquatics and Exotics (4th)

PetSmart is a favourite destination of pet owners in Regina. The friendly and helpful staff (shout out to Mikey!) always do their best to guide you toward the best choice for your pet’s particular needs, and offer a wide variety of quality pet care products in all price ranges. Whether you need a hammock for your ferret, tank for your pine snake, thundershirt for your puppy or a castle for your pet goldfish Harold, this place has everything you will need. For owners of multiple pet species, this place is a serious time saver, and offers all the trusted brands discerning pet parents are looking for. /Meagan Rankin

Best Specialty Shop

Dessart Sweets
3036 13th Ave. 306-522-2663
W: dessartsweets.com T: @DessartSweets I: @dessartsweets

Runners-up: Metro Pet Market (2nd), Elizabeth’s Lingerie and Swimwear (3rd), Madame Yes (4th), Queen City SUP Shop (5th)

“Want to go for a walk?” “No.” “What if we walk to Dessart Sweets?” “Oh… okay.” Dessart’s specialty is getting lazy people like myself out of the house for some reward-oriented exercise. They also specialize in imported and nostalgic candy and sodas, soy milkshakes, and almost any PEZ dispenser you could hope to find. Don’t forget to stop in on your birthday for a free scoop of ice cream and the chance to get your photo on their Facebook page with the infamous, and super stylish, ice cream crown! If you live across the city they’re worth the drive to visit, but if you’re within walking distance it’s always nice to stroll through the Cathedral area… and have another flimsy excuse to buy more treats. /Amy Couzens

Best Store For Secondhand Finds (Not Clothes)

Regina Antique Mall
1175 Rose St. 306-352-7450
W: reginaantiques.com

Runners-up: Value Village (2nd), Cashopolis (3rd), Salvation Army Thrift Store (4th), The Log House Thrift Store (5th)

Regina, you should pat yourself on the back for picking a long-running local business in this category. The Regina Antique Mall has been run by the Agopsowicz Family (A to Z Antiques, founded in 1980) since 1987. Sadly, both Stan and Kevin have passed away but Lorraine and her daughter Susan continue the family tradition. Fun fact: did you know the late Canadian actor John “Dean Wormer” Vernon was an Agopsowicz, born in Zehner in 1932? With 21,000 square feet, the Antique Mall has 28 shops on three floors full of antiques and collectibles! Like all secondhand businesses, “new” items are constantly being added. China, books, jewellery, collectibles, toys — if you’ve been before, you know what I’m talking about. And if you’ve never been, um, well, you should fix that. /Chris Scott

Best Toy Store (Tie)

Zippity Zoom Toys
4601 Albert St. 306-522-8697
W: zippityzoomtoys.ca T: @zippityzoom

Toys R Us
730 Albert St. 306-781-8697
W: toysrus.ca

Runner-up: ComicReaders (3rd)

I was just at Zippity Zoom. We have a Halloween tradition at our house where the kids offer a portion of their candy to the Great Pumpkin and, if the candy sacrifice is large (and sincere) enough, they’ll get an awesome toy in return. And wouldn’t you know it, the Great Pumpkin shops at Zippity Zoom. He came away very pleased with the selection. The Lego section is particularly impressive considering they don’t have the luxury of a boxstore and have to fit everything into a strip mall store front. The Great Pumpkin is pretty sure he’ll be able to pass on some gift suggestions to Santa Claus. He was particularly excited about one idea in particular but I won’t mention it here because my daughter can read now and I don’t want to risk spoiling the surprise. Anyway, Zippity Zoom is great. Shop there. Also, it tied for the W in this category with Toys R Us. Toys R Us has the luxury of being a boxstore. So it’s big. There’s lots of stuff there. Good for them! /Paul Dechene

Best Locally Owned Shop

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

Runners-up: Dessart Sweets (2nd), Metro Pet Market (3rd), ComicReaders South Albert (4th), Madame Yes (5th)

The sandwiches — those divine, good-to-the-last-bite, mild, medium and spicy creations — get me every time! And once I’m inside, there’s no telling what old friends or yet-to-be-discovered tastes of heaven will follow me home from the shelves and display cases. Italian Star Deli is no stranger to our winner’s circle in Best Of Regina and Best of Food & Drink. Established by the Giambattista family in 1966, with the friendly and gregarious Carlo at the helm since 1979, this unique local shop has become a favourite of Reginans and visitors far and wide. It’s a family-run business that treats its customers like one of the family, and it’s always a delight to spend time at the store, chatting with other customers and the hardworking and fun-loving staff. It’s a shame that I don’t have time to tell you more about this Regina gem. You see, I need to rush off because I have an important sandwich, um, I mean, appointment I need to attend to on Victoria Ave. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Big Box Store

Costco
665 University Park Dr. 306-789-8838
W: costco.ca

Runners-up: Winners (2nd), Walmart (3rd)

The movie Idiocracy, while a satire, predicted that in the future there would only be one big box store still standing. And that store was Costco. Clearly, our readers think the same thing. Where else can you buy, in massive bulk, all your grocery needs plus clothes, electronics, seasonal decorations, plants and shit in a pretty damn good garden centre in the summer, and the usual various sundries? Costco is the place, and it has cheap gasoline too. Plus it has an awesome return policy if you’re unhappy with your purchase. /Shane Hnetka

Best Store You Only Discovered In The Past Year

Marshalls
4845 Gordon Rd. 306-525-4553
W: marshallscanada.ca T: @marshalls

Runners-up: Dutch Growers (2nd), Norwood (3rd), Lusso Shoe Lounge (4th)

This is a new category and I hear Prairie Dog staff were very proud of themselves for coming up with something that gives them a different place to write about. When Marshalls opened in spring 2014, the people of Regina went a little bananas. “Have you been to Marshalls yet?” they asked each other shrewdly, feeling smug about the mounds of discounted stuff they’d already crammed into massive beige shopping carts. I will admit I was skeptical of the Marshalls madness at first. I thought it was just a fad, a phase. But I have seen the pleasant blue light of the Marshalls sign and now know the truth: Marshalls is a wonderland where you will find the exact thing you were looking for, plus seven things you didn’t know you needed. You will probably spend more money than you meant to, but you will be so, so happy. Welcome to Regina, Marshalls. /Sonia Stanger

Best Store For Weird & Wonderful Finds

Regina Antique Mall
1175 Rose St. 306-352-7450
W: reginaantiques.com

Runners-up: Value Village (2nd), Anex Interiors (3rd), Madame Yes (4th), Hunter Gatherer’s Pop-Up Vintage Boutique (5th)

Do you know what separates a secondhand store like Regina Antique Mall from Value Village and the Salvation Army? Pretty simple: curation. In other words, all the items for sale are chosen, not simply donated for the organization to sell. It’s what elevates a secondhand store from “Miscellaneous crap, meh” to “Wow! Where did they find that?” And since it’s been part of the community since 1987, it showcases a unique part of Regina’s history. Just think of the decades of local stuff, some of which you never even knew existed. I remember being there a few years ago and seeing wax phonograph cylinders. I knew sound had once been stored on cylinders — I’d just never seen it before, and I’ve never forgotten it. If you’ve never been to Antique Mall, take a day and have a look. And if you love sites like Vintage Regina, well, this is the real thing. /Chris Scott

CLOTHES & SHOES

chiron-mugThe biggest lie the clothing industry ever sold us was the notion we have to buy “new” clothes. Fashion is a wheel: wait long enough and it’ll come round again. Besides, I make my own T-shirts. Ever seen three elephants raising their trunks to a glorious full moon? You will if you purchase a piece of ChironWear clothing. Each shirt is a unique work of art! Please allow six to eight months for your order to be filled. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Store To Buy Accessories

Hillberg & Berk
2169 McIntyre St. 306-522-5893
W: hillbergandberk.com T: @hillbergandberk

Runners-up: Aldo (2nd), Ardene (3rd), Claire’s (4th)

You can read more about Rachel Mielke’s financial success with Hillberg & Berk in the Shopping section. The bottom line is important for any business, but as I’m sure Mielke would agree, it all starts with the products you sell and the service you provide to customers. My jewellery IQ isn’t exactly MENSA-level, so I’m not going to pretend I know what qualities our voters find attractive about H&B. I do know, though, that Mielke recently debuted a jewellery line designed with Canadian ice dance champion Tessa Virtue. Another product line is geared to CFL cheer teams with stud earrings and necklaces in your favourite side’s colours. Business aside, Mielke and her company have been strong supporters of charities and other initiatives that empower women — including an endowment for women attending the University of Regina’s Paul J. Hill School of Business. So congrats to H & B. /Gregory Beatty

Best Kids’ Clothing Store

Carter’s | OshKosh
4610 Gordon Rd 306-585-2455
W: cartersoshkosh.ca

Runners-up: Crocus & Ivy (2nd), The Children’s Place (3rd), Old Navy (4th), Simply Spoiled Boutique (5th)

The thing about kids is that, along with food and shelter, parents are required to clothe them too. If you’re anything like me (a femme, style-loving, ’80s born, omnivorous Capricorn) this is actually a bonus! OshKosh B’Gosh gives me the warm fuzzies with memories of my first pair of corduroy overalls… and now my daughter can rock them too. Located in the Grasslands shopping district, Carter’s | OshKosh is convenient to reach from the Lewvan, and features affordable clothing for babies, toddlers and kids. The clothes combine style with practicality, as well as a booster shot of nostalgia for us breeders. Can’t beat that. /Anne Pascas

Best Women’s Casual Clothes Store

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

Runners-up: Uforia Muse (2nd), Ricki’s (3rd), Cade Style Lounge (4th), Madame Yes (5th), Havik (6th)

The first time you step through the well-lit entrance of a Winners, there’s an overwhelming sense of possibility. The racks and shelves of the vast, meticulously organized sales floor just might hold your ideal pair of jeans or a trendy chapeau that you will only wear once a year, but feel great about owning. You just have to find them. The sheer rush of the hunt is probably what compelled the women of Regina to vote for Winners, but they were right to do so. It is a glimmering palace of consumerly potential, and the only place I have ever found a maxi dress that doesn’t look super weird on me. Winners: not just for well-dressed moms. /Sonia Stanger

Best Men’s Casual Clothes Store

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

Runners-up: Coda (2nd), Colin O’Brian Man’s Shoppe (3rd), Madame Yes (4th)

Who’da thought, a place called Winners won Best Men’s Casual Clothes Store. Not sure what falls under casual clothes. I would’ve thought with the word “casual”, the category would have been restricted to just jeans and t-shirts. But apparently casual seems to classify any clothing short of a full-blown business suit. Shows how fashionable I am. But Prairie Dog voters, unlike me, clearly know their blazers, corduroy trousers, and other casual fashion staples, and Winners is the place they shop. /Shane Hnetka

Best Men’s Business Wear Store

Colin O’Brian Man’s Shoppe
1825 Hamilton St. 306-584-9300
W: colinobrian.com T: @Colin_OBrian

Runners-up: Moores (2nd), Tip Top Tailors (3rd), Trino’s Menswear (4th), Oliver’s Menswear (5th)

Unicorn tee (not ironic) replaced by elbow-patch tweed and a pipe. Touque one week, glitter headband the next. Then you find yourself sitting in a meeting, looking around at your research team and thinking to yourself, “They so don’t get my turquoise-stone bolo tie.” Maybe it’s not them, it’s you? Don’t worry, Colin O’Brian Man’s Shoppe will set you up with something office-savvy that satisfies your trend tooth. /McDuckling

Best Women’s Business Wear Store

Ricki’s
Five Regina locations
W: rickis.com

Runners-up: The Bay (2nd) Le Chateau (3rd) Havik (4th)

Stick with me on this one; it’s gonna get weird. You read any Japanese manga? One of manga’s many odd tropes is the inconvenient sex change — for example, a martial arts hotshot falls into a cursed Chinese spring, and now he turns into a woman every time he’s splashed with cold water.* I bring this up because while I was staring at the blinking cursor trying to think of something to write about Ricki’s, I thought, well, what if that happened to me? What if I fell into a cursed spring and subsequently became female every time I was moistened?

I’ll tell you, at least I’d know where to buy clothes: Ricki’s, Regina’s Best Women’s Business Wear Store.

Thanks, Best Of Regina voters. You guys bailed me out of a potential problem. /Stephen Whitworth

* Also, his sensei father becomes a panda. Don’t look at me. I don’t think up this stuff.

Best Men’s Jeans Store

American Eagle
Cornwall Centre 306-359-3999
W: ae.com

Runners-up: Havik (2nd), Coda (3rd)

Blue jeans were invented in 1871 by Jacob Davis, and they were mainly for cowboys and miners. Over the years they’ve become considerably more fashionable and just popular in general. For example, I have pretty much lived my life wearing blue jeans every day. When possible I’ve even worked wearing (nicer pairs of) jeans. I’ll do pretty much anything to avoid wearing something other than jeans. I can’t say I’ve ever shopped at American Eagle, but they won Best Men’s Jeans Store so they must have a pretty good selection and staff. I might have to check American Eagle out the next time I need a new pair of jeans. /Shane Hnetka

Best Women’s Jeans Store

Bootlegger
Northgate Mall 306-949-6033
Southland Mall 306-584-3933
Victoria Square Mall 306-789-2299
W: bootlegger.com

Runners-up: Warehouse One (2nd), Havik (3rd), American Eagle (4th), Marbella Clothing (5th)

With three locations in Regina, Bootlegger has Regina ladies from all across the map in its denim back pocket (ahem). The stores offer a wide selection of well-fitting, contemporary jean styles as well as complementary tops and stylish accessories, making the chain a convenient and fashionable place to shop for a casual outfit. As screen goddess Marilyn Monroe once said, “I have always felt comfortable in blue jeans. I have found it interesting, however, that people also whistle at blue jeans. I have to admit that I like mine to fit. There’s nothing I hate worse than baggy blue jeans”. Amen, Marilyn. /Anne Pascas

Best Boutique Fashion Store

Uforia Muse
3024 13th Ave. 306-569-2228
W: uforiamuse.com T: @uforiamuse

Runners-up: Madame Yes (2nd), Elizabeth’s Lingerie and Swimwear (3rd), Seed Sustainable Style (4th), Queen V Fashion House (5th)

There’s some hot competition in this category, but it seems that Uforia Muse’s two-sided shop (one for “day” looks and the other for “‘night”) is the kind of boutique fashion experience this city is looking for. The place is a mad house during prom season, filled with giddy gals in platforms and chic mini-dresses, shrugged this mom from behind a rack of cardigans. Located on 13th Ave. in the Cathedral Village, the shop features body conscious clothing and hip-to-the-minute trends with an LA-feel. The city likes. /Anne Pascas

Best Suit Store

Colin O’Brian Man’s Shoppe
1825 Hamilton St. 306-584-9300
W: colinobrian.com T: @Colin_OBrian

Runners-up: Moores (2nd), Trino’s Menswear (3rd), Tip Top Tailors (4th)

Imagine she grabs you by the tie after a night on the town and pulls you in close. And it’s on. Man, you need a tie. Colin O’Brian Man’s Shoppe has a lot of those — along with just the right suit to accessorize it. The staff can put you in a tailored gem or made-to-measure cut of perfection, to make sure that when the time comes, you’re irresistible. /McDuckling

Best Dress Store

NWL Contemporary Dresses
1853 Hamilton St. 306-546-2246
W: nwldresses.com I: @nwldresses

Runners-up: Le Chateau (2nd), Madame Yes (3rd), Bryan’s Fashion (4th)

NWL Contemporary Dresses is a classy joint specializing in contemporary wedding, graduation, special occasion and ready-to-wear dresses. Carrying popular brands like BCBG Max Azria, Waters Brides and Disney Forever Enchanted, NWL has a fancy lady’s back covered (in taffeta, lace, tulle, rhinestones… ). One doesn’t simply waltz into NWL — okay, yes, one probably can — however appointments are preferred to make sure customers are properly attended to. NWL’s gowns are destined to be the centerpiece of a dame’s special day, after all. One doesn’t casually waltz into that kind of situation. /Anne Pascas

Best Men’s Shoe Store

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

Runners-up: Iannone’s (2nd), Call It Spring (3rd), Lusso Shoe Lounge (4th), Zoe’s Boutique (5th), Madame Yes (6th)

Shoes are important. First, they protect your feet from broken glass, snow and centipedes. Second, wearing shoes separates humans from animals. Have you been mistaken for a dolphin? Were you wearing shoes? No? There’s your problem right there.

But let’s get serious. Experts say we can educate the public all we want but that’s only the first step (haha, get it?) to the widespread adoption of healthy shoe behaviour. Humans must not merely accept shoes, they must also be convinced to purchase them. That’s where Aldo can help. Aldo sells functional and attractive footwear representing a wide swath of the shoe spectrum. At Aldo, you will find sneakers, casual shoes, loafers, and oxfords — which are characterized by interior (rather than exterior) eyelet tabs. Do you know where your eyelet tabs are right now? They’re probably at Aldo waiting for you to pick them up.

Also: boots! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Women’s Shoe Store

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

Runners-up: Iannone’s (2nd), Call It Spring (3rd), Lusso Shoe Lounge (4th), Zoe’s Boutique (5th), Madame Yes (6th)

Kicks, pumps, sneaks, boots, booties, flip flops. You’d do anything for that whiff of stiff leather. You’d sell your shit just to lace it up like it’s the first time. Platform or flat — you don’t even care anymore. There are some great places to hit up in Regina. Iannone’s in Cathedral. The Lusso Shoe Lounge. Zoe’s. And one reliable source that always has the good stuff: Aldo. There’s on-trend men’s stuff (see above) but the women’s side of the store never fails to satisfy. Go-to-work heels or sky-high flash for the weekend, you’ll always find what you’re craving. /McDuckling

Best Store For Sportswear

SportChek
Southland 306-522-2200
Victoria Square 306-565-8585
W: sportchek.ca

Runners-up: Lululemon (2nd), Fresh Air Experience (3rd), The Running Room (4th)

I really wanted Lululemon to win this category because I’m a guy and have some questions about their business philosophy. How, for instance, can they cite both yoga and Ayn Rand as influences? I mean, Rand was against any form of religious or spiritual beliefs, more so than even Karl Marx. And another thing: if women can wear yoga pants in public, can I walk around Regina in my long johns? Isn’t it the same principle? I was going to ask somebody about that at SportChek recently, but I chickened out and bought a pair of sneakers instead. They’re nice. And while I was there I couldn’t help but notice they’ve got a great selection of hockey, ski and snowboard equipment. And all sorts of fashionable inner and outer wear for people who live active lifestyles. SportChek even has electronics such as GPS’s, heart rate monitors and activity cameras to help you unleash your inner athlete or extreme sports enthusiast. And no Ayn Rand that I can see. /Stephen LaRose

Best Store For Secondhand Clothes

Rhoda’s Elegance… Again
3839 Albert St. 306-584-5405
2040 Park St. 306-347-0070
W: rhodaselegance.ca

Runners-up: Value Village (2nd), The Salvation Army Thrift Store (3rd), Echo Bella (4th), Extraordinary Woman Plus Size Consignment Boutique (5th)

I love Rhoda’s Elegance… Again, and not just because it has an ellipsis in its name. As its website describes, Rhoda’s Elegance is “geared to the working woman or teen who is looking for a shopping adventure not knowing what treasures might be found at bargain prices.” Eighties movies have long told us that secondhand stores are the ideal place for a delightful shopping/dress-up montage set to an upbeat pop song, and that’s exactly what shopping at Rhoda’s feels like. Molly Ringwald not included. /Sonia Stanger

Best Local Designer

Dean Renwick
Dean Renwick Design Studio
1861 Scarth 306-569-2938
W: deanrenwickdesignstudio.com T: @deanrenwick

Runners-up: Rea Harbus, Amaranth Designs (2nd), Janis Prahsik, Prahsik Designs (3rd)

I live in the same stretch of buildings on the east side of Scarth St. Mall where Dean Renwick has his studio so I run into him occasionally. I also pass by his show window on the breezeway fairly often, so even though I’m not exactly “fashion forward”, I do have some insight into what he’s about. Born and raised in Regina, Renwick spent major time working in the L.A. fashion industry before returning home to open a studio here. Since then, he’s worked hard to build the local industry, mentoring emerging designers, organizing fashion charity galas such as the third annual Moustache Bash for prostate cancer which goes Nov. 21, being active in Saskatchewan Fashion Week, and just generally being a public face of fashion in Regina. So congrats to him. /Gregory Beatty

HAIR & BEAUTY

chiron-mugDon’t get me started on “hair”. Or “beauty”. Or “hair & beauty”. The rest of you can go line up at salons and pay $75 for someone to wash your hair and Febreeze your fingernails (that’s a thing, right?), but I’ve mastered the art of looking good in my own bathroom. Well, my girlfriend’s bathroom. Okaaay, my ex-girlfriend’s. She’s got the clippers and I’ve got a spare set of keys to her place. She has a day job too, so I can come and go whenever I want. If anyone wants an inexpensive but fashionable haircut, hit me up on Twitter. Don’t tell Kayley. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Esthetician

Kari Eberle
Just For You Day Spa
1819 Cornwall St. 306-757-7546
W: justforyoudayspa.com T: JfySPAregina

Runners-up: Kendra Osmaston, En Vogue Day Spa (2nd), Ashley Goodwin, Pure Indulgence (3rd)

First things first: if you can manage it, book an appointment at Just For You Day Spa as soon as possible because it’s a lovely and relaxing place in the middle of downtown, and as an awesome Prairie Dog reader you deserve a break. You can have a nice massage, then pour yourself a cup of tea and relax with a book in this fortress of serenity that even has burbling waterfall panels. BURBLING.

Onward to Kari Eberle, the friendly esthetics ninja you smart folks voted Regina’s best esthetician. Kari is your go-to expert on make-up, facials, eyelash extensions, waxing, pedicures and manicures. “My favorite is anything to do with the face,” says Kari. “That’s what you and everyone else see every day, and if you can make that person feel more confident with a small amount of your time, why wouldn’t you?”

Kari, a graduate of Richards Beauty College who was born and raised in Regina, has been in the beauty and wellness business for six years and at Just For You for three — two as esthetics director. “My boss and owner of Just For You, Jess Tetu, has made my years here so amazing and encouraging all of us to do our best,” says Kari. And the best she is! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Hairstylist: Men’s Styles

Craig Zamonsky
Ragged Ass Barbers
2-1965 Hamilton St. 306-565-2729
W: raggedassbarbers.com T: @RaggedAssBarber

Runners-up: Andy Chung, MillionHairs Salon (2nd), Levi Carleton, IRON Beauty Hair & Ink (3rd), Amy Rees (IRON Beauty Hair & Ink) (4th), Myrna Hastings (MillionHairs Salon) (5th)

According to Craig, he was discovered by hunters in the backwoods of Manitoba in 1996, and then slowly adjusted to life without the covey of sharp-tailed grouse that had been his family and guardians since birth. Just kidding (or is he?). Zamonsky brought the Ragged Ass Barbers concept here from Yellowknife when he returned to the prairies in 2012, and set up shop in the Cathedral area before moving downtown to the current location in the same building as Victoria’s Tavern. Come to Ragged Ass Barbers for the yarns and stay for the Best Of Regina-winning service, which includes traditional styling, hot towels and straight razor shaves. But keep one eye open — you never know if the Tattaglia family has ordered a hit on you. /Chris Scott

Best Hairstylist: Women’s Styles

Jillian Ripplinger
Salon 306
4041 Albert Street 306-347-3306

Runners-up: Myrna Hastings, MillionHairs Salon (2nd), Amy Rees, IRON Beauty Hair & Ink (3rd), Nadine Eberts, Shear Escape Salon and Spa (4th), Orla Farrell, Shear Escape Salon & Spa (5th)

If I didn’t already have a stylist who works wonders with my hair, I’d be begging for a spot in Jillian Ripplinger’s busy schedule. Her professional Facebook page is crammed with photos of beautiful hair creations, including many before-and-after shots, along with glowing comments from clients. Jillian’s been in the trade for seven years and has built a loyal client base. Having known since childhood that she wanted to be a hairstylist, she’s in great demand at Salon 306, and also does styling work for Saskatchewan Fashion Week, various photo shoots and TV news segments. But don’t let that intimidate you, because Ripplinger is great at working her magic on mere mortals like you and me. Even better, she’s down-to-earth and a real pleasure to talk to. Sometimes, she says, she gets hugs from clients when they leave her chair. “It feels so good to know even though I’m fixing their outside, it’s having such a positive impact on their inside. It’s a real blessing to help people feel beautiful.” /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Day Spa

Just For You Day Spa
1819 Cornwall St. 306-757-7546
W: justforyoudayspa.com T: JfySPAregina

Runners-up: EnVogue Day Spa (2nd), Soma (3rd), Jane’s Day Spa (4th), Essence Organic Hair & Day Spa (5th), Coco Nail Lounge (6th)

Just For You Day Spa promises an environment of “unmatched ease, warmth & elegance” for guests enjoying their skin and body therapies, to which I say, book my appointment and take all of my money, please. I mean it: my body has become a dog-eared map charting the last two years of my toddler’s growth from bean to sprout. I wake up each morning with new lines and white hair. I love her to pieces, but I’m falling to pieces, so maybe one of Just For You’s Facial Experiences combined with a Cozy Chai Back Relief would glue me back together. Reginans have voted that this is so. /Anne Pascas

Best Hair Salon

Salon 306
4041 Albert St. 306-347-3306
T: @Salon306

Runners-up: Shear Escape Salon and Spa (2nd), IRON Beauty Hair & Ink (3rd), The Room (4th), MillionHairs Salon (5th)

Salon 306 reclaims the Best Of Regina title it last held in 2013. The South Albert hair studio, which faces north and is tucked in a building behind Crocus & Ivy (a.k.a. the old Book And Brier Patch), is owned by Los Angeles-trained stylist Nicole Dumelie, whose staff of 23 includes massage therapists, eyebrow specialists, certified hair extension experts and, maybe by the time you read this, make-up artists. This is probably Regina’s most bustling 3,000 square foot salon.

Also noteworthy: Salon 306 has our 2015 best hairstylist, women’s styles: Jillian Ripplinger. Nicole’s mighty salon is clearly some kind of crazy Best Of Regina magnet. Congratulations to the team — and to the worthy runners-up, too! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Tattoo Artist

Brock Prentice
Razzamatattzz Tattoo Company
219 Victoria Ave. E 306-525-2660
W: tattzz.ca I: @brockprentice

Runners-up: Terry “Tree” Fenrick, INKognito Tattoos (2nd), Alyssa Tiefenbach, Traditional Tattoo (3rd), Julian Williams, Black Sea Tattoo (4th), Elly Allen, IRON Beauty Hair & Ink (5th)

When not plying his trade at Razzamatattzz Tattoo Company, Brock Prentice fronts a pop rock band called Desert Island Classic and also plays solo guitar. With a tattoo needle in his hand, he’s a master of subtle shading and bold line work, brilliant colours and fresh designs. Actually, all six of these nominees are dedicated, hard-working tattoo artists who can apply ink with the best of them. But with Brock, you’re guaranteed that everything will be note perfect. /Jillian Bell

Best Tattoo Shop

INKognito Tattoos
522A Victoria Ave. E 306-206-3500
W: inkognitotattoos.weebly.com T: @INKognitoTatto1 I: @inkognitotattoos

Runners-up: Black Sea Tattoo (2nd), Traditional Tattoo (3rd), Ace of Swords (4th), IRON Beauty Hair & Ink (5th)

My kid asked me if he could get a tattoo, and of course I said yes, because let’s face it, I’m awesome. But there was a caveat: don’t get anything lame. The great thing about INKognito is that they don’t do lame. They specialize in custom work, they do cosmetic work, and they support some pretty important causes like mental health, suicide prevention, and the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life. Really, though, all of our Best Tattoo Shop nominees have incredible artists, so you’re in good hands wherever you go. /Jillian Bell

SPORTS & FITNESS

chiron-mugRegina is crazy about its sports. From the cricket players in Central Park to the midnight jai alai matches I’m still trying to set up, everyone in the city is getting active and staying fit. The problem is, they’re not staying fit with jai alai. Is it so hard to contribute to my Kickstarter? $500 gets you a personalized “Thank you” on my social media channels. You could at least “Like” my Midnight Jai Alai Jamboree page. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Bicycle Store

Dutch Cycle
1336 Lorne St. 306-522-0484
W: dutchcycle.ca  T: @DutchCycle

Runner-up: Western Cycle (2nd)

Dutch Cycle is a family business, and it shows. The Vandelinden clan is passionate about bikes and cycling, and they make it really easy for you to be, too. Dutch is a cozy store full of two-wheeled wonders and fun accessories, and the guys who work there are knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. I bought my bike, a beautiful purple cruiser named Lady Cordelia, from them almost seven years ago and they make taking good care of her totally painless. Even though Regina lacks the infrastructure to make it a truly bikeable city, we have the potential to have an honest-to-goodness cycling culture here. The crew at Dutch Cycle are doing their part to help. /Sonia Stanger

Best Fitness Class

Spin Class
Wheelhouse Cycle Club
1835 7th Ave. 306-559-0238
W: wheelhousecycleclub.com

Runners-up: SIAM Kickboxing and Muay Thai (2nd), Zumba with Keeley (3rd), Boot Camp, Readiness Fitness (4th), P90X, Readiness Fitness (5th)

Wheelhouse Cycle has a kick-ass website that gives you a virtual tour of the facility. The Wheelhouse Signature Ride promises (and I’m quoting) a “hold-on-for-dear-life cycling experience that harnesses the power of community, music and measurement.” Okay, that’s maybe a little intimidating. How about “The ride is a cardio party that will incite your competitive fire!” That sounds great! Wheelhouse Cycle is new to the Warehouse District — where there’s quite a fitness community springing up — and they’ve already pedaled to the top of your Best Fitness Class list. /Chris Scott

Best Fitness Instructor

Linden Wilcock
Wheelhouse Cycle Club
1835 7th Ave. 306-559-0238
W: wheelhousecycleclub.com

Runners-up: Tracy Read, Readiness Fitness (2nd), Jill Hanson, Fidelity Fitness (3rd), Darci Anderson, Flux School of Human Movement (4th), Craig Moser, SIAM Kickboxing and Muay Thai (5th), Keeley Young, Zumba with Keeley (6th)

I get the impression that the good people at Wheelhouse Cycle Club are friendly, focused and intense, and they want to “Pump [clap] you up!” Their spin class sounds intense, and to quote Linden on their website, “I play music that makes you feel a little more and think a little less — so clip in, let go, and let’s DANCE!” Linden Wilcock, Regina wants to dance with you. Congratulations on your win! /Chris Scott

Best Golf Course

Wascana Country Club
6500 Wascana Dr. 306-586-5666
W: wascanacountryclub.com T: @The_Wascana

Runners-up: Tor Hill (2nd), Royal Regina (3rd), Joanne Goulet (4th)

Wascana Country Club was in the news this summer when some “jackwagons” (if I can borrow Premier Brad Wall’s term) tore up the third hole with a vehicle. The unique thing about the Wascana, though, is that it has 20 playable holes, which allows for a full 18 to always be available to members when select holes are being renovated — or, in this case, repaired. Located south-east of the city, Wascana is Regina’s only private golf club. It was founded in 1912, and typically plays at 6,991 yards from the championship tees. Other tees play from shorter distances, giving all golfers (except true duffers) a shot at par. As part of its family-friendly atmosphere, the club operates a junior golf academy for boys and girls interested in taking up the sport. It also boasts a well-appointed clubhouse that hosts all manner of member functions along with public events such as weddings, dinners and corporate conferences. So shame on those jackwagons for desecrating a scenic, upscale golf course that helps enhance Regina’s lifestyle appeal. /Gregory Beatty

Best Gym

YMCA
Downtown: 2400 13th Ave.
Northwest: 5939 Rochdale Blvd.
East: 1825 Victoria Ave. E
306-757-9622
W: regina.ymca.ca

Runners-up: Gold’s Gym (2nd), Goodlife Fitness (3rd), Flux School of Human Movement (4th) Orangetheory Fitness (5th), Readiness Fitness (6th)

Once again, Best Of Regina voters propelled the reliable and versatile YMCA through our Best Of Regina turnstile to seize the “Best Gym” crown. But wait! That’s not all! With reader-fuelled victories in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 and this year, the Y joins an exclusive 10-time winners club that includes such local institutions as the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Wascana Park and Ralph Goodale — who, rumour has it, has a YMCA membership of his own (and he isn’t afraid to use it!).

Besides having great facilities (now three locations in Regina!), the Y is a community cornerstone providing child care and day camps, employment and education programs, and lots more great stuff. Long story short, it’s always worth a visit so give the Y a try! I promise you won’t die. Would I lie? /Stephen Whitworth

Best Martial Arts School

Spirit Of The Dragon
1210 Lorne St. 306-565-2266
W: spiritofthedragon.ca

Runners-up: SIAM Kickboxing and Muay Thai (2nd), Krav Maga Regina (3rd), Complete MMA (4th)

I used to take martial arts classes many eons ago. I was in much better shape at the time and the classes helped keep me that way. Spirit of the Dragon has a large variety of different classes for both young and old. They have Kempo classes, Kempo being a Japanese modification of Chinese Shaolin Kung Fu, and Israeli Krav Maga, which is used by the Israeli military. Both are awesome martial arts. They also offer private training, weapons training and women’s self defense courses. That list is both pretty damn impressive and way more interesting than the simple course I used to take, many years ago. /Shane Hnetka

Best Outdoor Outfitters

Fresh Air Experience
532 Victoria Ave. 306.522.6665
W: freshairexperience.com

Runners-up: Cabela’s (2nd), Atmosphere (3rd), Prairie Summit Shop (4th), Great Northern Rod and Reel (5th)

I did this blurb last year [Editor: No you didn’t, Rosie. Shane did] and thought about pulling a Robin Thicke/Pharrell Williams and plagiarizing it like they plagiarized Marvin Gaye. Of course, since I originally wrote it, it wouldn’t technically be “plagiarism”— would it? [Yes it would, Rosie, because Shane wrote it]. Still, if I did that it would be a breach of journalistic ethics, so I’ll break some new ground, starting with a nod to Fresh Air Experience’s motto: “Whatever your adventure… we know your gear!” Whether you’re on dry land or in the water, out in the summer or the winter, on foot or on a bike (or on skis, snowshoes or a snowboard, for that matter) FAE can satisfy all your outdoor adventure needs. /Stephen LaRose

Best Skate Shop

Tiki Room
2323 11th Ave. 306-721-8454
W: tikiroomskateboards.com T: @tikiroomskate

Runners-up: Off Axis (2nd), 306 HipHop Sk8 Shop (3rd), West 49 (4th)

The world had some fun last month with Back to the Future Day, tied to flick #2 where Marty and “Doc” travel forward in time to aid McFly’s future son, sparking all sorts of time travel paradox shenanigans. Oct. 21, 2015 was the date they travelled to, and comparisons were inevitably made between the future envisioned in the 1989 movie and life today. The lack of hoverboards (i.e. flying skateboards) was especially lamented. It was good for a chuckle, but the irony is that if it wasn’t for Marty McFly, skateboarding might not even be a thing now, let alone worthy of its own BOR category. When I was a kid in the ’70s NOBODY SKATEBOARDED. Now, it’s a huge part of youth culture. And the argument’s been made that scenes of Marty skateboarding in BTF inspired tons of kids to take it up. And that led to stores like Tiki Room springing up that the kids could shop at, then vote for as Regina’s Best Skate Shop in BOR, and… whoa, I’m startin’ to freak myself out here. /Gregory Beatty

Best Regina Pat

Sam Steel
W: reginapats.com T: @ssteel23

Runners-up: Colby Williams (2nd), Daniel Wapple (3rd)

We’re early in the WHL season, and the Pats are a hair below .500. That puts them in the hunt for an East Division wild card come playoff time, but they’re not regarded as a legit threat. Fans should still be excited though, as with several big trades last season GM/coach John Paddock stockpiled a lot of young talent. Sam Steel wasn’t acquired that way. Rather, the centre was a second round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. But recognizing his star potential, the team decided to sacrifice some wins now to gear up for a serious Memorial Cup run in 2016-17 when Steel is in his prime. Currently, he sits second in team scoring with 5 goals, 10 assists and zero penalty minutes. Late last year, he suffered a high ankle sprain and missed the Pats’ playoff run. Hopefully, he and his teammates will get some playoff experience this spring to set the table for next season. /Gregory Beatty

Best Roughrider

Weston Dressler
W: riderville.com T: @WestonDressler7

Runners-up: John Chick (2nd), Darian Durant (3rd), Brett Smith (4th)

Elsewhere in this issue, our Rider Fan Forum panel conduct a post mortem on the team’s horrendous season. One question we posed was which Rider vets had reached their best before date and should be jettisoned for younger talent as part of a re-build. Your pick for Best Roughrider, Weston Dressler, got one thumbs down from Ron Mexico, but otherwise escaped unscathed. Yes, his numbers were down compared to previous seasons (70 receptions for 941 yards and six TDs, along with 134 rushing and return yards). But considering all the uncertainty at QB that’s hardly suprising. As for what the future holds, star QB Darian Durant is on the mend from his Achilles injury, and I’m sure Rider fans would like nothing better than to see #4 and #7 take the field together again in 2016. So here’s hoping./Gregory Beatty

Best Roller Derby Athlete

Danielle Belliveau
“Bazinga”
W: pileobonesderbyclub.com

Runners-up: Beata Thompson, “Beata Bitchdown” (2nd), Cassie Ozog, “Dolly Hardon” (3rd), Crystal Colvin, “Glamour Slammer” (4th), Michelle Mullie, “Michete” (5th), Ang Wagar, “Nyna Von Vaughn” (6th)

Regina, we don’t give roller derby athletes enough respect. I mean, how many Rider stores are there anyway? Thirteen? Twenty-five? But roller derby doesn’t have a single storefront. That means there are no (as far as I know) roller derby bobbleheads, trading cards, or fully articulated action figures. Somebody needs to get on this. They can start with the winner of this year’s Best Of: Bazinga, and follow up with the runners-up: Beata Bitchdown, Dolly Hardon, Glamour Slammer, Michete and Nyna Von Vaughn. The names alone warrant immortalization in Funko Pop! vinyl figures and other merch. Bazinga, for instance, is a former competitive figure skater. In action figure form that could translate into some kind of cool, spring-loaded twist-into-the-splits kind of thing. I don’t know. I’m just brainstorming here. /Paul Dechene

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

chiron-mugThis is the section I call “stuff my grandmother thinks about”. You think I care about the law? Or taxes? I haven’t filed since 2005! And holy cow, do I owe a lot of money. Time to call an accountant. And maybe a lawyer. Or maybe I should book a flight to Costa Rica. Any way you look at it, I’ll be selling a lot of mustardaise over the next few months. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Accountant

Marcia Herback
Marcia Herback Chartered Accountant
2168 Smith St. 306-522-3311

Runners-up: Stacie Jensen, Pharos Business and Taxation Advisors (2nd), Charles Tooke, Cogent Chartered Professional Accountants LLP (3rd)

The province recently updated The Condominium Property Act. Many of the changes are designed to improve the financial stability of condo corporations. One new requirement is a yearly audit. My condo corp. employs a professional management company, but others do finances in-house. For them, annual audits make sense. For us, not so much. The audit can be waived with the unanimous consent of unit-holders, but we didn’t know that when we had our AGM, so now we’re shelling out $2,500 to audit our property manager’s books. When it came time to pick an auditor, our community manager recommended Marcia Herback, then rattled off a list of her attributes as an accountant. So we went with her. As did Prairie Dog voters. So I guess we’re in good company. /Gregory Beatty

Best Advertising Agency

Phoenix Group
1621 Albert St. 306-585-9500
W: thephoenixgroup.ca T: @TheBurningBird

Runners-up: Brown Communications (2nd), Bravo Tango (3rd), Look Matters (4th)

Walking by Phoenix Group’s offices in Centre Crossing, it’s tough not to notice the foosball table —  it takes up some prime real estate in the reception area. That seems like the kind of thing an advertising agency needs — something fun and mildly active to get creative juices flowing. The staff at Phoenix Group have channeled those creative streams towards clients’ projects for over 30 years, a storied history that includes an SGI campaign about not texting and driving. One of its ads has been running on TV and in front of movies lately. It’s quick, to the point, and impactful, and ends with a rap about not texting and driving that’s had me asking more than a few people, “Hey, have you heard that rap about not texting and driving?” /James Brotheridge

Best Advertising Campaign

“Beers With…”
Great Western Brewery; The Phoenix Group

Runners-up: Metro Pet Market, “Join the Real Food Revolution” (2nd); Brown Communications, “Office Billboard” (3rd); Regina Public Library, “All You Need Is Your Library Card” (4th)

Great Western Brewery’s ongoing “Beers With…” marketing campaign is a series of short videos of people talking about the person they’d most like to have a beer with. The videos, which you can find on Great Western’s Facebook page, include interviews with Premier Brad Wall (he would’ve loved to have a beer with the late, great Johnny Cash), former Regina Riot linebacker Kari Anne (pro surfer Laird Hamilton), The Wolf’s Drew Dalby (the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie) and perennial Best Of Food: Best Server contender Katie Walker (she wants to go on an epic small-town bar-hopping rampage with Jim Carrey).

“Beers With…” was designed by the Phoenix Group and launched last spring, and Great Western vice-president of marketing Mark Watson says the best is yet to come — fans of the series can look forward to an interview with someone who’s “incredibly popular globally” in the near future.

As for me? Stephen Colbert. I mean, come on. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Auto Repair

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

Runners-up: Bennett Dunlop Ford (2nd), Driven Automotive (3rd), Kinetic Auto Service (4th), Progressive Automotive (5th)

Regina Auto Body lays claim to being the first collision repairer in western Canada, a claim staked all the way back in 1924. I can only imagine how much the day-to-day business has changed over those 90-plus years. What hasn’t changed, I’d hazard to guess, is the general mix of clientele, some who feel they know their car better than anyone, others who need reassurance down to the smallest issue. Regina Auto Body obviously appeals to them all, and a very, very central location just a single block off Albert and Saskatchewan Drive doesn’t hurt, either. Neither does the car perpetually hanging through a side window which, from my childhood to today, has always been cool to look at. /James Brotheridge

Best Auto Glass Repair

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

Runners-up: Novus Auto Glass (2nd), Advance Glass & Mirror (3rd), Crystal Glass (4th)

There is nothing worse than travelling down the highway following a trail of large trucks hauling stuff. Then one truck comes from the opposite direction and hurls a massive rock at you that ends up cracking your windshield. Well clearly you can’t keep driving your vehicle like that, so it’s time to visit Speedy Auto Glass. They will replace your windshield, or if it’s just a minor chip, they can repair it. Heck, if you can’t make it to them for repairs, they can actually come to you and fix your window wherever your vehicle is. Now that’s service that rocks. /Shane Hnetka

Best Bank Branch

Scotiabank
Grasslands
4510 Gordon Rd. 306-780-1399
W: scotiabank.com T: @scotiabank

Runners-up: TD Canada Trust, Victoria Square (2nd), TD Canada Trust, Rochdale (3rd)

As I’m calling to set up an appointment to get a new account, a co-worker overhears me and warns me about the service fees at Scotiabank. I’ll tell you: when I went into this Grasslands location –– which has the best bike rack setup I’ve seen in Harbour Landing –– the fees they showed me were lower than where I’m currently at. And the bank is shiny and new, and everyone I talk with is friendly — and straightforward, too. When I quiz the financial advisor I’m meeting with about their SCENE Visa card — the one where I can earn free movies at Cineplex theatres — she firmly tells me that as a person with a full-time job, it probably makes more sense to go with a card that provides money back and go to movies on Tuesdays. Once the session is over, the advisor walks me out to the front after our meeting. She’s surprised to see I’m actually on my bike. I guess the racks are there just in case. /James Brotheridge

Best Credit Union Branch

Conexus
4540 Albert St. 306-780-1865
W: conexus.ca T: @Conexus_CU

Runners-up: Conexus, Sherwood Place (2nd), Affinity, 2101 Scarth St. (3rd), Conexus, 1801 Hamilton St. (4th)

It’s not uncommon to see one of those tri-fold boards set up on a table in this branch, a handmade reflection of the latest promotion. The whole branch is a mix of professionalism and care with a human touch. They probably know how human I can be –– maybe 10 per cent of the time I’ve done business here, I’ve screwed up something on my end, and they’re always gracious as heck about it. Maybe it’s the branch’s location in relatively spacious surroundings on south Albert that makes everyone who works here so receptive and personable? Or it could just be that the branch is full of professionals who know how to put you at ease when they’re working with your money, whether you’ve got a little or a lot. /James Brotheridge

Best Investment Firm/Financial Planner

Ward MacDougall
Investors Group
3705 Quance St. E.  306-757-1222
Toll-Free: 1-888-695-6391
W: investorsgroup.com

Runners-up: Kim Shaheen, Kim Shaheen Financial Inc. (2nd), Claude Kotyk, Investors Group (3rd), Eloise Arlint, Freedom 55 Financial (4th)

When is it too late to see a financial planner? When you’re dead! I’m sure Ward MacDougall would phrase it more tactfully, but seriously, don’t wait until you win the lottery to get advice about your financial situation. Financial planners handle more than just investments — they provide financial planning, risk assessment and motivation to help you meet your goals. They can help navigate stormy waters or cut through financial BS. Even if you think you don’t have any money, they can help get you on the right track and keep you there. Ward MacDougall has been in business at Investors Group for 18-plus years and is known for his thorough process and focus on his client’s goals. Outside of work commitments, MacDougall’s wife (and business partner) says her husband is a wonderful family man who’s very involved in their two daughters’ activities, especially as a hockey coach and manager. Sounds like an all-around good guy! /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Insurance Agents

Knight Archer
512 Victoria Ave. E 306-569-2288
Toll-Free: 1-888-818-5032
4147 Rochdale Blvd. 306-525-8888
W: knightarcher.com T: @KnightArcher

Runners-up: Dusyk & Barlow (2nd), Harvard Western (3rd), The Cooperators (4th), Galon (5th), Campbell & Haliburton (6th)

It’s the fourth year in a row for Knight Archer Insurance as Best Insurance Agents. Established in 1981, this locally owned/operated enterprise has won many business and consumer choice awards. Has that made them complacent? Nosiree! In fact, with over 80 staff in Regina, Pense, Craven, Saskatoon and Winnipeg, Knight Archer remains devoted to its motto “Making Life Easier” for clients of its full-service insurance and mortgage brokerage. When I asked random people about Knight Archer, two themes emerged. First is its unique ability to serve many customers in their mother tongue, since the company employs staff fluent in over 13 languages. Second is the fact Knight Archer is so visible in the community — whether it’s hosting child car seat clinics, operating a castle-themed photo booth at a Cinema Under the Stars screening of Cinderella, or sponsoring charitable events such as Run for the Cure, Habitat for Humanity, MS and Cystic Fibrosis Walks, Camp Circle of Friends and Brighter Futures for Children. It’s little wonder you voted them Best Insurance Agents. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Portrait Photographer

Nicole Gerhardt Photography
306-502-3202
W: ngphoto.ca T: @Gerhardtn I: @nicolegerhardtphotography

Runners-up: Collin Stumpf Photography (2nd), Keith Hershmiller Photography (3rd)

If you go to Nicole Gerhardt’s website you’ll be greeted by a Vimeo video where she discusses her passion for photography as it relates to love. She first got interested in photography as a profession, she explains elsewhere on her website, when she was planning her own wedding. So she comes by her interest in love honestly. Nicole studied photography at SIAST where she learned all the technical skills, and now runs her own studio specializing in engagement and wedding photos, along with family portraits featuring parents with their children. So if you have a special someone in your life and you’re looking to capture memories that will last a lifetime, Gerhardt has the seal of approval from Prairie Dog voters. /Gregory Beatty

Best Wedding Photographer

Nicole Gerhardt Photography
306-502-3202
W: ngphoto.ca T: @Gerhardtn I: @nicolegerhardtphotography

Runners-up: Carey Shaw Photography (2nd), Stick Productions (3rd), Collin Stumpf Photography (4th)

The difference between a good wedding photographer and a GREAT wedding photographer isn’t the standard shots they take to capture the Big Day. A good wedding photographer will get lovely shots that you can look back on and remember. A GREAT wedding photographer captures shots you didn’t know they were taking. The bride, lightly touching her wedding dress as it hangs in a window, her future vast and bright as the light streaming in. The groom with an enormous goofy grin, perfectly framed by his new family’s shoulders in the foreground. These are the moments you didn’t know you needed to remember until you see them again, in perfect clarity. /Jillian Bell

Best Lawyer

Noah Evanchuk
Andrews Benko & Associates
100- 2184 12th Ave. 306-525-8136
W: evanchuklaw.ca

Runners-up: Bernard Duchin, Duchin, Bayda & Kroczynski (2nd), Tony Merchant, Merchant Law Group (3rd), Robert MacKay, MacKay & McLean (4th), Scott Mazinke, Willows Wellsch Orr & Brundige (5th), Jan Katerynych, DK Law (6th)

I believe Noah Evanchuk was robbed (twice!) of his rightful place in Ottawa as an MP from Regina. Imagine: Justin Trudeau and Noah in the House of Commons — now that truly would have brought sexy back. That said, I also believe that when you don’t get a job, it’s always the right outcome. Besides, Noah already has a job as our fave lawyer. Sorry, Noah. You’re stuck with us, for now at least. /Carle Steel

Best Law Firm

Olive Waller Zinkhan & Waller LLP
1000-2002 Victoria Ave. 306-359-1888
W: owzw.com

Runners-up: MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP (2nd), kmp Law (3rd), Merchant Law Group  (4th)

Let’s just say you need to do up a new will. And let’s just say it’s SUPER important to you that certain clauses be put in there word for word (like, f’rinstance, “if you do not insist that guests at my funeral wear kilts and beards or corsets in any combination, I will haunt the shit out of you”). The folks at Olive Waller Zinkhan & Waller will work with you to make that happen — as they will with whatever legal services you might need done, from aboriginal law to the aforementioned wills, estates and trusts. Also, it’s just fun to say “Olive Waller Zinkhan & Waller”. Ten times fast, go! /Jillian Bell

Best Printing Services

FloPrint
1785 Albert St. 306-585-2356
W: floprint.com T: @floprint I: @floprint

Runners-up: Fastprint (2nd), Impact Printers (3rd), Western Litho Printers (4th), Freshly Pressed Printing (5th)

Run down the checklist for a good printer. You need them to be responsive and listen to your needs. You need them to do good work with attention to detail. You need them to be affordable. And on occasion, you need to turn something around really, really quick because you left it to the last minute and Jesus, you’re only one person here. FloPrint is solid across the board, a reputation they’ve built and maintained for years. They’ve got the full range of printing services –– shirts, business cards, all of it –– and the Queen City’s creative types aren’t shy about using them. /James Brotheridge

Best Travel Agents

Marlin Travel
Cornwall Centre 306-525-3500
2597 Quance St. 306-352-6955
2915 Gordon Rd. 306-585-0055
W: marlintravelregina.ca T: @marlintravel_SK

Runners-up: CAA Travel (2nd), UNIGLOBE Action Travel (3rd), Tropical Escapes Destination Weddings and Travel Inc. (4th), TPI Travel (5th)

We all need a vacation sometimes. Usually my vacation is staying in Regina working harder than if I stayed at my job. If I was smart, I’d actually leave the city and travel somewhere to relax. And Marlin Travel could definitely help me with that. They have many packages to choose from: cruises (although I’d be wary of those — you know, sea monsters), flight-bookings, adventure excursions, and a lot more. Yup, one of these days I’m going to have to travel somewhere further than Lumsden. And my first step will be to visit Marlin Travel. /Shane Hnetka


CREDITS: Best Of Regina was written by Gregory Beatty, Jillian Bell, James Brotheridge, Amy Couzens, Paul Dechene, Shane Hnetka, Stephen LaRose, McDuckling, Aidan Morgan, Anne Pascas, Meagan Rankin, Carolyn Rebeyka, Chris Scott, Sonia Stanger, Carle Steel and Stephen Whitworth, only two of which are pen names for writers in witness protection programs. This magazine-within-a-magazine was illustrated by Myron Campbell (www.notsosimpleton.com), as usual. He’s just so good. Best Of Regina is not full of typos thanks to the amaaazing Lois-Anna Kaminski. Greg wrestled the hydra and won. Steve helped. Designer Paul Klassen didn’t die, and for that we thank him. Publisher Terry Morash watched the creation of this feature unfold like a man locked in a room with a ticking bomb.

Finally, please stop calling our office looking for Chiron Batchlett. We’re sorry he owes you money but we don’t know where he is either.