Best of Regina 2017

Best of Regina 2017Hola Bestinistas!

Welcome to the 2017 edition of Prairie Dog’s world-renowned Best Of Regina, our reader-fueled guide to the best people, places, shops and services in this terrific town! Thousands of you guys cast, I dunno, probably 100,000 votes to determine the winners in like 100 categories (I’ll let you count ’em if you’re that interested). You hold the result in your hands, unless you’re reading this on a desktop computer. Then probably not.

As always, the purpose of this annual exercise is to have a laugh and celebrate everyone and everything that makes The City That Rhymes With Fun such a terrific place. All the winners and runner-ups you’re about to read about have, in some way, made this town a better place to be in. That part should be taken seriously. The silly “blurbs” we spent weeks writing, well, better bring your sense of humour along when you’re reading those. We haz nonsense.

Thanks to everyone who nominated and voted in our contest, and thanks to the hard-working Prairie Dog staffers and freelancers who melted their brains over this fire (in a happy, marshmallow kinda way). Greg, Paul, Chris, Shane, Carolyn and everyone else — we couldn’t have done it without you.

On with the show! /Stephen Whitworth

ARTS & MUSIC | CITY & CITIZENS | HAIR, BEAUTY & STYLE | HOMES & SERVICES | MEDIA | SHOPPING

Just the list of winners

Arts & Music

Best Album

Jeffery Straker Dirt Road Confessional
jeffstraker.com

Runners-up The Extroverts, Supple (2nd), The Steves, Weak Man (3rd), Snake River, Sun Will Rise (4th), Wolf Willow, Darston Waltz (5th), Natural Sympathies, Strange Heavens (6th), The Strange Valentines, Folkin’ Rock for Rockin’ Folk (7th)

When Jeffery Straker released Dirt Road Confessional in June, he noted that the lyrics spoke to “the tug between life on the road pursuing a dream of music and the longing for love.” That’s a struggle he knows well, as he’s a true road warrior. Regina fans shouldn’t despair, though, as they’ll have three chances in the next while to hear his music. Nov. 17-18, Youth Ballet and Contemporary Dance of Saskatchewan is presenting an original 45-minute ballet Heart’s Calling set to music performed live by Straker with a band. Then on Dec. 16 he’s playing a show (with friends) at Casino Regina. Keep an eye out, too, for a musical co-written with Kelly Jo Burke called Us that Globe Theatre is presenting in March. /GB

Best Art Show

Joe Fafard: “Til The Cows Come Home” at Slate Fine Art Gallery
2078 Halifax St. 306-775-0300 slategallery.ca

Runners-up Alex Janvier at MacKenzie Art Gallery (2nd), Transmundane at Dunlop Art Gallery (3rd), Elvira Finnigan “Reception” at Dunlop Art Gallery: Sherwood (4th), Wafaa Bilal “168:01” at Dunlop Art Gallery (5th)

Some pretty good art exhibitions made the cut in this category. Hopefully you were able to see most, if not all, of them. The list is topped by a much anticipated solo exhibition by veteran Saskatchewan sculptor Joe Fafard that recently closed at Slate Fine Art Gallery. If, by chance, you happened to have missed the show (or you’d like to revisit it) there’s a virtual reality tour available on the gallery website. Cows are in the exhibition title, but as you’ll see, there are plenty of other exquisitely rendered species of domestic and wild animals. So congrats to Joe Fafard on his win here. /GB

Best Artist

Wilf Perreault
nouveaugallery.com

Runners-up Joe Fafard (2nd), Amber Phelps-Bondaroff (3rd), Zachari Logan (4th), Greg Allen (5th)

There are painters who capture a subject so memorably you’ll forever see it through their eyes. The first time this happened for me was on a 1999 road trip. Passing through the Qu’Appelle valley, I saw slopes covered in bare trees and brown, snow-dusted grass and recognized the Prairie woodland of Ivan Eyre’s famous landscapes. It was a powerful and meaningful moment.

Thanks to Wilf Perreault I have similar moments whenever I walk around Regina neighbourhoods at dusk.

Perreault’s 70th birthday show, Over The Hill, Through The Alleys and Beyond is at the Nouveau Gallery until Dec. 1. It’s worth a visit, or five. His beautiful paintings capture the darkening, purple Regina sky sharpened by a lattice of black tree branches. Underneath, blue Regina snow glows while orange lights crackle from warm Regina interiors. Our city is unmistakeable in these paintings.

Perreault draws our attention home. He reminds us that even though it’s winter and it’s warm inside, it’s beautiful out there. Let’s go for a walk. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Band

The Dead South
thedeadsouth.com

Runners-up Rah Rah (2nd), Slow Motion Walter (3rd), The New Montagues (4th), Snake River (5th), The Lincoln Loggers (6th), Lunar Lander Dance Commander (7th)

The Dead South experienced some upheaval when founding member Colton Crawford left the band for personal reasons. That left the high-energy bluegrass/country quartet down a banjo player. Fortunately, they found a solid replacement in Eliza Doyle, and were soon touring North America and Europe in support of their latest album Illusion & Doubt. The band is currently overseas, in fact. After returning home in late November, they’ll play a few pre-holiday dates in Alberta before winding up 2017 with a New Year’s Eve show at Casino Regina with Belle Plaine and Blake Berglund. /GB

Best Commercial Art Gallery

Slate Fine Art Gallery
2078 Halifax St. 306-775-0300 slategallery.ca

Runners-up Assiniboia Gallery (2nd), Nouveau Gallery (3rd)

If you’ve been reading these blurbs in order, you’ll know that Slate Fine Art Gallery co-snagged Best Art Show honours with sculptor Joe Fafard. ’Til the Cows Come Home ran Sept. 1 to Oct. 14, and they’ve followed that up with an exhibition of sensuous drawings by a rising star in the art world Zachari Logan. A Strange Cultivation is the show’s title, and it’s on until Nov. 25. Check it out if you get a chance. And congratulations to gallery owners Gina Fafard and Kimberley Fyfe for all the hard work they’ve done since they opened Slate in 2013 to help build Regina’s commercial art scene. /GB

Best Concert

Guns N’ Roses
Mosaic Stadium gunsnroses.com

Runners-up k.d. lang, Conexus Arts Centre (2nd), Girls Rock Camp Showcase, The Exchange (3rd), Buffy Sainte Marie, Regina Folk Festival (4th), July Talk, Queen City Ex (5th), The Shiverettes, Power Buddies, The Garrys and Homo Monstrous, T+A Vinyl and Fashion (6th), Band Swap 6, The Exchange (7th)

The back-up band was a bit of an odd choice, I thought, Our Lady Peace having played the stadium three months earlier in the inaugural concert with Bryan Adams and Johnny Reid. You’d think they maybe could have found another support act. But that quibble aside, when Axl, Slash, Duff, Dizzy and the rest of the band hit the stage at Mosaic as part of their worldwide Not in this Lifetime Tour they delivered the goods for their frenzied fans. So good for them, and with gross earnings from the tour in the $230 million plus range, good for their bank accounts too. /GB

Best DJ

DJ Ageless

Runners-up DJ Bigg Dogg (2nd), DJ BOS5 (3rd)

I don’t think DJ Ageless should be taken at his word (as expressed in his handle) that he’s succeeded where many others, including Juan Ponce de León and Tithonus of ancient Greek myth, have failed — mainly, that he’s discovered the secret to eternal youth. Rather, I think it’s just a way for him to express the sentiment that through playing music he injects a youthful vitality into his life (and the lives of those who dance up a storm when he’s spinning tunes). That’s my interpretation of his handle anyway. So congrats for the win. /GB

Best Karaoke Night

O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub
1947 Scarth St. 306-566-4094 ohanlons.ca

Runners-up Sparky’s, Saturday (2nd), The Crown & Hand, Thursday-Saturday (3rd), Q Nightclub & Lounge,  Thursday (4th), Broadway’s Lounge & Western Pizza,  Saturday (5th), Shannon’s, Tuesday (6th)

Last year around this time we had the genius idea to start a Karaoke Kalendar. With a major assist from local karaoke enthusiast Tara, who provided an updated list of venues after a few issues of me fumbling around in the dark, we put a decent kalendar together. If we’re missing someone, shoot us an e-mail with the details to [email protected], and we’ll add them. As for what makes a good karaoke night, my guess would be talented and personable performers, a solid sound system, an expansive song catalogue, a responsive crowd, and booze — lots of booze. And for our voters, O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub on Mondays is the place to be. /GB

Best Live Music Venue

The Exchange
2431 8th Ave. 306-780-9494 culturalexchange.ca

Runners-up Casino Regina Show Lounge (2nd), Conexus Arts Centre (3rd), Artesian (4th), The Artful Dodger (5th), Revival Music Room (6th), German Club (7th)

We actually had The Exchange on our Oct. 12-25 cover. Voting was still on in Best of Regina, and upon further reflection, we realize that could leave us open to accusations of electoral favouritism. Yeah, we know it’s not on par with PostMedia’s nation-wide front page endorsement of the Harper Conservatives before the October 2015 federal election. But we pride ourselves on our integrity, and wouldn’t want to be perceived as acting inappropriately. In our defence, The Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange Society was celebrating its 40th anniversary. Considering the major role it plays in Regina’s cultural life, it was a milestone we simply couldn’t ignore. So congrats again Exchange! /GB

Best Professional Photographer

Nicole Gerhardt
Nicole Gerhardt Photography 306-535-5538 ngphoto.ca

Runners-up Collin Stumpf, Collin Stumpf Photography (2nd), Chris Graham, Chris Graham Photo (3rd), Christina Bourne, My Boots Photography (4th), Erika Gayle, Erika Gayle Photography (5th)

A lot of people think powerful cellphone cameras and affordable SLRs mean professional photographers are obsolete. Of course, a lot of people also think machine guns shouldn’t be regulated, climate change is a hoax, the earth is 6000 years old and Donald Trump really is making America great again. My subtle-as-a-sledgehammer point is this: training, experience and professional expertise MATTER. Good photographers understand composition, lighting and how to make those of us who aren’t models look fantastic. Visit Nicole Gerhardt Photography’s website, and you’ll see what I mean. Nicole specializes in weddings, business portraits and family photography with her team, and has a range of session options. Life’s too short for crappy photography. So check out Nicole’s work. And remember: the pros know. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Public Art Gallery

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

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

Long considered Saskatchewan’s flagship gallery, the MacKenzie has a contender for the crown now that Saskatoon’s Remai Modern has opened. It will be interesting to see what artistic dynamic develops between the galleries. It will also be interesting to see who the MacKenzie hires to replace curator Michelle LaVallee who took a job as director of the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada Art Centre in Gatineau after 10 years at the gallery. Yet another bit of intrigue is which of three finalists (Mary Anne Barkhouse, Wally Dion, Duane Linklater) the gallery will select in its Canada 150 project to install a new public art work in Wascana Centre. Maquettes of the proposals are currently on display, and a decision is expected by December. /GB

Best Solo Act

Megan Nash
megannash.ca

Runners-up Blake Berglund (2nd), Pimpton (3rd), Keiffer Mclean (4th), XANA (5th), Marshall Burns (6th), Natural Sympathies (7th)

Megan Nash has had a lot of musical irons in the fire over the last few years. She’s best known as a solo folk/country artist, but she also played in the Moose Jaw pop rock band Panda Core with Brody Moniker. And recently, she’s been teaming up with the Regina alt rock band Bears in Hazenmore. Her new album Seeker, in fact, is a collaborative effort with the group — which marks a first for her. The first single, “Bad Poetry”, has a prom theme, and consistent with Nash’s rural roots, it was shot in Indian Head. Megan is on the tail end of a Canadian/European tour that began in August and will wind up with a show at The Bassment in Saskatoon on Nov. 24. /GB

City & Citizens

Best Alternative/Holistic Health Practitioner

Sarah Garden
Bodhi Tree Yoga Therapy 3104-B 13th Ave. 306-552-9642

Runner-up Shalyn Christianson, Shalyn’s Massage (2nd)

Congratulations to Sarah Garden, Prairie Dog voter’s choice for Best Alternative/Holistic Health Practitioner in 2017! According to her bio on Bodhi Tree Yoga’s website, Sarah is a yoga therapist whose classes help Reginans with neck and back pain. She also offers free classes for cancer patients, and those who are recovering. To me, her win is a clear invitation to anyone looking to expand their health and wellness options. Why not take Sarah and Bodhi Tree up on the invite? /Stephen Whitworth

Best City Councillor

Andrew Stevens
Ward 3 andrewstevensward3.ca

Runners-up Joel Murray, Ward 6 (2nd), Barbara Young, Ward 1 (3rd), Bob Hawkins, Ward 2 (4th)

Not to cast any shade on Andrew Stevens… but, seriously, Ward 3 wins again? Now, Stevens is definitely deserving of consideration. He’s been a hard-working, pro-active councillor who’s advanced a bunch of challenging motions such as making Regina a sanctuary city, declaring opposition to the sale of provincial crown corporations, and providing free busing for school trips. They all failed, mind you. But at least the guy is trying. Here’s the thing, we have a pretty fresh-faced and eager council right now. There’s lots of hard questions for admin. Lots of split votes. I’d argue this is the best batch of councillors since I started covering city hall in 2008. All the runners up in this category — Joel Murray, Barbara Young and, yes, even Bob Hawkins — would’ve been great picks. /Paul Dechene

Best Dentist

Tony Romaniuk
Enhance Dental Centre 1858 Victoria Ave. 306-757-7645 enhancedental.ca

Runners-up Kevin Soltys, Victoria East Dental Clinic (2nd), Kristy White, Gallery Dental (3rd), Meena Dufour, Prairie Dental (4th), Mel Gattinger, South View Dental (5th), Mike Penkala, West Landing Dental (6th)

For the third year in a row, Tony Romaniuk is our voters’ choice for Best Dentist. I thought I’d start by getting the name of Tony’s clinic right — it’s Enhance Dental Centre, not “Enhanced” like I wrote in 2016. That’s right folks, I’m a professional, don’t try this at home. Anyway: dental care is a critical to overall health. But unless we’ve had an accident or are in a lot of pain, it’s easy to neglect. And that’s not good, because an unhealthy gob can lead to serious problems. Then there’s the fact that if your teeth get messed up, eating becomes difficult and eating is important and FUN. So book those regular check-ups with Regina’s Best Dentist and get your little problems fixed before they become big ones. Your teeth will thank you. Well, not really, they’re just teeth. But you’ll feel great! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Doula

Sara Beckel
Family First Doula Services familyfirstdoulas.com

Runners-up Kim Smith, Queen City Doulas & Co. (2nd), Angie Evans, Birth Ways International (3rd), Karen Herriot (4th), Jaclyn Ross, Better Beginnings Birth (5th), Johanna Goetz, Little Bundlz (6th)

If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time we’ve had this category. Of course, doulas are a relatively recent addition to Regina’s health and wellness landscape. They don’t have professional medical standing, but they do have special training. The doula most people are probably familiar with is the birth doula. They work with pregnant women before, during and after child-birth to provide emotional and physical support where needed. At the opposite end of the lifespan spectrum are death doulas who have training to help people when they are critically ill and facing death. So congrats to Sara Beckel and all the finalists here for the important work they do. /GB

Best Family Doctor

Sally Mahood
1621 Albert St. 306-766-0444 rqhealth.ca

Runners-up Jacobus Van Heerden (2nd), Sharon Leibel (3rd), W. Llewelyn-Williams (4th), Susanne Arndt, Regina Medical Centre (5th), Carol Geddes (6th), Cheryl Zagozeski (7th), A. Kavulu (8th)

Dr. Mahood’s areas of interest include women’s reproductive health, obstetrics and the pharmaceutical industry and doctor interactions. Not only that, she’s affiliated with Physicians for Social Responsibility Medical Reform. She comes by her commitment honestly. Her mother, Margaret, was a psychiatrist who stood up for Medicare, opening what she called her “commie” clinic in Saskatoon at the height tensions when Medicare was implemented in the early 1960s. Margaret also participated in the Abortion Caravan, a national group that protested criminal code amendments in 1970 that legalized abortion only in cases where a woman’s health was threatened. Clearly, Saskatchewanians are fortunate to have two generations of Mahoods looking out for their medical needs! /Chris Scott

Best Festival

Cathedral Village Arts Festival
cathedralvillage.org

Runners-up Mosaic (2nd), Regina Folk Festival (3rd), Queen City Pride (4th), Do Good Festival, Metro Pet Foundation (5th), SwampFest (6th)

Each June, we put out a Summer Fun Guide that covers festivals in Regina, Saskatoon and “The Hinterland”. The last category is a gentle dig at rural Saskatchewan, admittedly, but it’s also a shout-out to the classic CBC Hinterland Who’s Who wilderness shorts. I’m the one who compiles the guide, and I assure you I do take the job seriously. Sure, I have a bit of fun with some of the events — cough, Macklin’s annual World Bunnock Championship, cough — but there truly are a lot of great summer festivals out there. Just look at the six finalists in this category and you’ll see what I mean. So here’s to 2018. /GB

Best Lawyer

Brian Lunde
Miller Thomson LLP #600 2103 11th Ave. 306-347-8300 millerthomson.com

Runners-up Larry Kowalchuk (2nd), Mervin C Phillips, Phillips & Co. (3rd)

Know what I learned writing this blurb? That Miller Thomson LLP, where Brian Lunde works, is a big law firm. My first clue came when I visited their website and saw the header Miller Thomson Avocats | Lawyers. Okay, I thought, they have a Quebec office. To find out more about Lunde, I clicked on the Your Team tab. That took me to an alphabetized list of lawyers running A to Z. Well, that’s handy, I thought. But when I clicked on “L” I got 34 results spread out over four pages! So yeah, Miller Thomson is HUGE. I found Brian on page three, and learned that he practices in the firm’s Health Industry and Litigation group. He also volunteers at Pro Bono Saskatchewan which provides legal services to underprivileged people. So congrats to him for his win here. /GB

Best Massage Therapist

Dani Bateman
En Vogue Day Spa 2340 Cornwall St. 306-584-7272 envoguedayspa.com

Runners-up Josh Apperley, Josh Apperley Massage (2nd), Christie Langen, Prairie Lotus (3rd), Shalyn Christianson, Shalyn’s Massage (4th), Corynn Mercier, Just For You Day Spa (5th)

The Massage Therapist Association of Saskatchewan has advocated for several years that the province pass legislation regulating the profession to keep shady operators out. Massage therapy requires special training in a postsecondary diploma/degree program with 500 to 1000 hours of instruction and hands-on learning. Therapists also need a license. And with the skills and knowledge they possess, massage therapists can help people find relief from everything ranging from minor aches and pains to debilitating injuries and conditions. So congrats to Dani Bateman and the other finalists for the great work they do. /GB

Best MLA

Trent Wotherspoon
Regina Rosemont (NDP) trentwotherspoon.com

Runners-up Nicole Sarauer, Regina Douglas Park (NDP) (2nd), Carla Beck, Regina Lakeview (NDP) (3rd), Warren McCall, Regina Elphinstone-Centre (NDP) (4th)

Re-elected to a third term representing Regina Rosemont in 2016, Trent was appointed interim NDP leader by his caucus-mates following Cam Broten’s resignation. Currently vying with fellow MLA Ryan Meili to become the party’s permanent leader, Trent garnered considerable social media attention under the hashtag #istandwithTrent when he accused the Saskatchewan government and premier Brad Wall of presenting a deceitful budget last March for springing the STC closure and PST increase on the province. When asked to apologize by the speaker of the legislative assembly, he refused, taking the punishment of being banned for the rest of the day. Trent still isn’t apologizing, and earned your support in this category. /Chris Scott

Best MP

Ralph Goodale
Regina-Wascana (Liberal) ralphgoodale.ca

Runner-up Erin Weir, Regina-Lewvan (NDP) (2nd)

Ralph Goodale was not only a member of Scouts Canada as a lad, he earned the rank of Queen’s Scout, which is the highest Youth Award available in the Commonwealth. Now Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he continues to embody the good-citizen qualities he learned as a young’un. Ralph is deputy leader of the Liberal Party, and a November 2015 order-in-council places him first in line to become acting prime minister should Trudeau become incapacitated. Prairie Dog voters may heart the NDP in the broader political arena, but you have consistently shown Ralph love in this category. /Chris Scott

Best Museum Exhibit

Snakes Alive!
Royal Saskatchewan Museum 2445 Albert St. 306-787-2815 royalsaskmuseum.ca

Runners-up RCMP Musical Ride In Virtual Reality, RCMP Heritage Centre (2nd), We Are All Treaty People, Royal Saskatchewan Museum (3rd), Traveling Exhibit, Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

Steve is Prairie Dog’s resident snake expert. He had a week to grab this category, but didn’t, so I took it. You snooze, you lose, right? Steve’s long had snakes as pets, and with an assist from a fellow snakeist, has reached double digits in ownership. Those reptiles are all imports. Snakes Alive! at the RSM, in contrast, showcased nine species native to Saskatchewan including garter, bull and rattle snakes. There was also a legless creature that looked like a snake but was actually a lizard. It was badass with a capital B-A-D-A-S-S.  Snakes Alive! ran from May 2016 to May 2017, allowing the snakes to experience different aspects of their lifecycle, including giving birth. The show broke attendance records, and was a huge success. So congrats to the RSM! /GB

Best Nickname For Regina

The Queen City

Runners-up The City That Rhymes With Fun (2nd), The Vag (3rd), Pile O’Bones (4th), The Gine (5th), Re-Slime-A (6th)

You didn’t work too blue here. Instead, you went with our classic designation that arose from the switch in 1882 from Wascana (with its roots in the Cree term “Oskana-ka-asateki” meaning “the place where bones are piled”) to Regina (Latin for “Queen”). The name was proposed by Princess Louise, wife of the Governor-General of Canada, to honour her mother Queen Victoria. In fact, our motto is “Floreat Regina” (Let Regina/The Queen Flourish). But hey, some of you did go the Deadpool route by touting more salacious nicknames. Even John Waters, when he was in town last June, allowed himself a teensy “vag” joke. /Chris Scott

Best Pet Cat

Toothless

Runners-up Mr Nevilles (2nd), Pants Wilson (3rd), Jekyll (4th), Lady Midnight Blues (5th), Midnight (6th), Riley Wilson (7th), Merlin Summers (8th)

Toothless was a tough cat to track down but we’re journalists, sort of, and we’re not going to let a little social-media-isn’t-being-helpful adversity hold us back. Turns out this three-year-old feline’s companions Alena and Patrick didn’t notice our frantic Facebook/Twitter search for their fuzzy friend because they’ve been a little busy getting married. Alena took time out from wedding preparations to answer a stranger’s questions about her cat.

How long have you had Toothless? Where did you get her?

We’ve had her two years in January. We got her from Regina Cat Rescue.

Why “Toothless”?

Because she’s a black cat and How To Train Your Dragon is my favourite movie.

What’s Toothless like?

She’s full of attitude and loves people. She is very active. She loves playing with feather toys, and cuddles with mom and dad. Her favourite activity is playing with her sisters Whinrey (a cat) and Ember (dog). She’s a loving and caring cat [who] had a rough start to life but she is such an amazing little soul with a big personality and a big meow.

Sounds fantastic. Can I have her?

No you can’t. She is my beautiful kitty.

/Stephen Whitworth

Best Pet Dog

The Captain

Runners-up Trevor (2nd), Le Petit Chien (3rd), Pebbles (4th), Leela (5th), Bodhi (6th). Muffin (7th), Alice (8th), Ember (9th), Holly Lou (10th)

Captain is a handsome, shaggy, three- or four-year-old black-and-white sweetheart. This benevolent, waist-high 120-pound behemoth of uncertain heritage — possibly a Bernese mountain mix, or maybe a great Pyrenese/border collie cross — is reserved but friendly and, when he’s in a goofy mood, a bit puppy-brained. Captain loves imposing mighty “big dog leans” on his humans Mel and Luc. Captain’s favourite activities? “Chasing bugs, going to the dog park, car rides and hanging out with his Grandpa Frank,” says co-keeper Mel, adding Captain also loves cuddling and holding hands. As befits a dog of immense personality, Captain has several nicknames including: “Cap”, “Tatin”, “Stupid”, “Dumb-dumb” and “Pizza Monster.” He’s adorable and we love him. Three cheers for Captain! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Small Business Owner

Colin Hall
Bodhi Tree Yoga 3104-B 13th Ave. 306-552-9642 bodhitreeyoga.com

Runners-up Leslie Charlton, Groovy Mama (2nd), Tim and Amy Weisgarber, T+A Vinyl and Fashion (3rd), Brendon Kozack, Villains Strength and Conditioning (4th), Alex Wanner, Wanner Construction (5th), Sara Robertson, Naked Kitty Naturals (6th)

Wow! Look at all the nominees in this category! Thank you, Prairie Dog voters for showing small business owners the love. I’ve never done yoga myself, but I can attest to knowing Colin and supporting his yoga research in our bookstore. His friendliness and great personality (plus that wealth of knowledge) have made him and his studio a winner. They not only offer yoga classes AND teacher training, they make their own bolsters (mats) from start to finish. Do yourself a favour, visit their website and read Colin’s blog post “Faking Yogasms”. The pic is the icing on the cake! /Chris Scott

Best Store/Shop Pet

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

Runners-up Duke, Off The Leash Pet Grooming (2nd), Miguel, Seed Sustainable Style (3rd), Pop Tart, Naked Kitty Naturals (4th), Molly, T+A Vinyl and Fashion (5th), Lincoln, Therapy Dog (6th), Bronx, Saffyre Salon And Spa (7th), Julius, Prairie Aquatics And Exotics (8th), Bolt, Smoke, Inc. (9th)

Ruby is a perennial favourite of Prairie Dog voters, receiving the kind of love that’s usually reserved for Ralph Goodale as Best MP and whoever the Ward 3 City Councillor happens to be. I’m not sure if Ruby will be out on Nov. 18, but her business partners at Metro Pet Market are hosting a lecture at the DoubleTree Hilton at 7 p.m. Guest speaker is veterinarian Karen Becker who has toured internationally and written books on the health and wellness of companion animals. She’s also a passionate defender of wildlife and their habitat. Dr. Becker will be speaking on issues related to animal welfare, and there will be a Q&A as well. /GB

Best Street for an Evening Stroll

13th Avenue

Runners-up Leopold Crescent (2nd), Scarth Street (3rd), College Avenue (4th), Lakewood Drive (5th), Old Broad Street off Lakeshore Dr. (6th), Victoria Avenue (7th)

By 13th Avenue I assume you mean the chunk of nine blocks between Elphinstone and Albert St., as when you head west and east of there attractions, outside of the new Connaught School, the fire hall and YMCA, are few and far between. But between Albert and Elphinstone, boy, does 13th Avenue deliver with heritage architecture, coffeeshops and restaurants, boutique clothing stores, an art gallery, performance space, and a host of other small businesses. There are even some character homes, and plenty of street art to delight the eye and inspire the imagination. So good choice voters! /GB

Best Summer Event

Market Under the Stars
reginadowntown.ca

Runners-up Regina Folk Festival (2nd), Country Thunder (3rd), Canada 150 Wascana Park Celebration (4th), Do Good Festival, Metro Pet Foundation (5th), SwampFest (6th)

Market Under Stars is a collaborative effort involving Regina Downtown, Regina Farmers’ Market and other community partners. It’s been held on select Thursday evenings for a few years now, and has definitely developed a following. In addition to all the attractions of the regular Saturday and Wednesday morning markets, there are three sets of live music on a stage with a beer garden and other fun activities. In 2017, Markets Under the Stars were held on July 20, Aug. 17 and Aug. 31. On all three occasions, the weather cooperated, and the downtown plaza was packed with people enjoying the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of summer in Regina. Once again voters, good choice! /GB

Best Thing About Living In Regina

Short Commute Times

Runners-up It’s Just The Right Size (2nd), The Cathedral Area (3rd), The People (4th), Waterfall Park (5th), The Airport (6th)

According to the Saskatchewan government website, the average one-way commute in Regina is 20 minutes. In 2011, Stats Canada determined that the average one-way commute nationwide was about 25 minutes. Edmonton’s average is 25.6 minutes, Calgary 27 minutes, Vancouver and Montreal both average 30 minutes, and Toronto 32.4 minutes. But remember, in larger cities, this is an estimate due to gridlock. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities figures that sitting in big city traffic costs Canadians up to 32 DAYS worth of productive time annually (which translates into an economic hit of about $10 billion). So yay Regina! /Chris Scott

Best U of R Professor

Fidji Gendron
Biology uregina.ca/science/biology

Runners-up Gerald Saul, Film (2nd), Michelle Stewart, Justice Studies (3rd), Claire Carter, Women’s & Gender Studies (4th), Barbara Reul, Music (5th), Robert Truszkowski, Visual Arts

Brenda Rossow-Kimball, Kinesiology & Health Studies (7th), Gloria DeSantis, Justice Studies (8th), Medrie Purdham, English (9th)

If you visit the above URL, you’ll learn that Fidji Gendron is an associate professor at First Nations University of Canada. Her research interests are listed as “Plant Ecology, Traditional Plant Uses”, and she works extensively with Elders and other community members knowledgeable in the traditional use of Saskatchewan plants for medical purposes. With some native prairie right beside FNUniv, Gendron has access to a great teaching tool for her students to recognize different grasses and flowers and their medicinal properties. And it obviously made an impression on our voters who picked her the university’s top professor. /GB

Best Vacant Building

STC Bus Depot
1717 Saskatchewan Dr.

Runners-up Sears Warehouse Building (2nd), The Travellers Building (3rd)

Rumours are circulating that Regina Police Service will move some of its operations from across the street on Osler to the depot — so the building, which opened with much fanfare in 2005, may not be empty much longer. But it will still stand as a symbol of the Wall government’s decision to kill the province’s 70+ year bus company. Declining to recognize STC’s value as a public resource that many people, businesses and other organizations relied on for passenger and freight service, the government took a hard-line austerity approach. Now we have a huge vacant building at a major entry point to the downtown. Oh well, I guess it’s better than the gaping wound at the corner of Albert and Victoria. /GB

Best Vet Clinic

Lakewood Animal Hospital
1151 Lakewood Court N. 306-545-6487 lakewoodanimalhospital.ca

Runners-up Animal Clinic Of Regina (2nd), Victoria Veterinary Clinic Inc (3rd), Albert North Vet Clinic (4th)

Lakewood Animal Hospital’s motto is “Special Friends Deserve Special Care”. As part of the kitty and puppy care they provide, they offer Homeopathy, Spinal Manipulation, Acupuncture, Hospice, Massages and Physical Rehabilitation. They will also microchip your fur babies, and in line with current societal trends they’ve announced they will no longer declaw cats. Want to book an appointment or fill a prescription online? Check their website. You can even post a memorial to your pet. Seriously, they do it all, which is why you voted them #1! /Chris Scott

Best Veterinarian

Marilyn Sthamann
Lakewood Animal Hospital

1151 Lakewood Court N. 306-545-6487 lakewoodanimalhospital.ca

Runners-up Tara Hudye, Lakewood Animal Hospital (2nd), Jennifer Jinks, Animal Clinic of Regina (3rd), Diana Durling, Animal Clinic of Regina (4th)

It seems to me I wrote about the lovely and talented Dr. Sthamann last year too. In fact, she’s scooped this award 10 straight years, so you obviously like her. Dr. Sthamann graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1985, and soon turned her attention to alternative and complementary medicine for pets. Always learning, she took a special homeopathy course to offer that option to her clients and share her interest in nutrition as well. She likes to focus on non-chemical and non-invasive treatment options where possible. So congrats Dr. Sthamann! /Chris Scott

Best Wascana Centre Attraction

Bike/Walking Paths

Runners-up Saskatchewan Science Centre (2nd), Wascana Lake (3rd), Willow Island (4th), Wascana Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary (5th), Trafalgar Overlook (6th)

From early spring to late fall, I cycle almost daily in Wascana Centre. I also walk there a fair bit in the winter. When I cycle, I like to go at a good pace, so I stick to the roads, as otherwise with all the children, elderly people, parents with strollers, dog-walkers, etc., there’s too much traffic on the path. In fact, I think cyclists should be discouraged from using the path between Albert and Broad St. as it’s simply too crowded. I don’t know if a parallel path should be built, or if cyclists should stick to the roads with some accommodation when crossing the lake. As the vote in this category shows, the bike/walking paths are a valued attraction. But safety in the core area, I think, is sometimes a concern. /GB

Best Wild Animal

Beaver

Runners-up Rabbit/Hare (2nd), Western Painted Turtle (3rd)

I write for Prairie Dog’s sister magazine Planet S too. Like us, its Best of Saskatoon has a category devoted to wild animals. This year, its finalists included bears, wolves and Komodo dragons. Pretty cool, eh? Of course, the category isn’t quite the same as ours. Here, the focus is on animals you can spot roaming wild in our parks and lake area. At Planet S it’s Best Animal at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo. So yeah, those animals, including this year’s winner, Red Pandas, are all in enclosures. Still, it’s an interesting contrast. /GB

Best Wild Bird

Pelican

Runners-up Peregrine Falcon (2nd), Hawk (3rd), Goose (4th), Goldfinch (5th), Red-Breasted Nuthatch (6th)

One factor in Pelicans favour, I imagine, is that some of them reside at Wascana Centre’s Waterfowl Park. So unlike other finalists in this category such as the Peregrine Falcon and Red-Breasted Nuthatch, people can see them close up and interact with them. You can do that with Canada geese too, of course, but as numerous as they are in the park, they have zero exotic cachet. They can be chippy too, whereas Pelicans are described as “gregarious”, which perhaps contributed to their popularity here. Plus, they’re just so darn goofy looking. /GB

Best Winter Event

Waskimo
waskimo.com

Runners-up Winterruption (2nd), Mid Winter Blues Fest (3rd),

For Reginans of a certain age, such as myself, Waskimo was a staple of winter. It was held in mid February, so if the weather cooperated, you had a decent chance at a pleasant day that would allow Reginans to cut loose after a few months of hibernation. If the weather didn’t cooperate, of course, and conditions were frigid and wind-swept, it was a different story. But people who attended still had fun. Waskimo ran from 1975-2003, then was disrupted by the Big Dig and never got going again. Thanks to a determined group of volunteers led by Jim Aho, it was resurrected last February, and with some help from mother nature, was a big hit. Waskimo 2018 goes Feb. 19, so mark it on your calendars everyone! /GB

Hair, Beauty & Style

Best Bargain Shoes

DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
4882 Gordon Rd. 639-739-0292 dsw.townshoes.ca

Runners-up Loom & Magpie (2nd), Value Village (3rd)

I’ve actually taken to posting photos of shoes on-line, so decrepit have they become after five summers of wear. Part of my hesitancy in buying a new pair to replace them is that, for me, they are shoe nirvana. If I could clone them, I would, and when I’ve gone looking I haven’t found anything I like. Plus, it was insanely dry this year, so with a bit of support from cardboard insoles, I just kept wearing them. Sadly, as the proverb says, “all good things must come to an end.” So thanks voters for providing me with some solid leads as I embark on a quest to find something new to slap on my feet. /GB

Best Boutique Fashion Store

Uforia Muse
3024 13th Ave. 306-569-2228 3247 E. Quance St. 306-779-2228 uforiamuse.com

Runners-up Madame Yes (2nd), Loom & Magpie (3rd), Seed Sustainable Style (4th), T+A Vinyl and Fashion (5th), Le Voila Boutique (6th)

If autumn and winter inspires your muse or gives you a feeling of euphoria, perhaps you should consider shopping at Uforia Muse. Besides the appeal of patronizing a playfully named place, Uforia Muse has a curated selection of seasonal styles. The shop, which has two locations, has classy coats, swank scarves and fetching toques, as well as jackets, shawls, cardigans and other nifty cool-weather wear. You can espy some of UM’s stuff on their Instagram account as well as their website, which lets you shop online. Neat stores, check’em out! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Day Spa

Just For You Day Spa
1819 Cornwall St. 306-757-7546 justforyoudayspa.com

Runners-up En Vogue Day Spa & Gift Studio (2nd), Slayed Esthetics Lounge (3rd), Spa Cantik & Salon (4th), Avicii Day Spa & Boutique (5th)

Just For You Day Spa has won in this category since 2014! Not only that, owner Jessica Tetu is a force of nature. Relocating to Saskatoon from Craik with literally just a backpack at age 15, she now owns FOUR Just For You Day Spas in Regina, Saskatoon and Lloydminster. She also founded the beauty brand Lia Reese Canada, co-founded Entrepreneur306 Business Clothing, and is the founder and CEO of 4seventyone Recovery Resources, a not-for-profit charity she created with her brother to assist families with addiction. In 2017, she won the YWCA Women of Distinction Entrepreneurship Award and Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce’s Volunteer of the Year Award. This province is lucky to have you, Jessica! /Chris Scott

Best Esthetician

Aly Blair
Spa Cantik And Salon 1035 Devonshire Dr. 306-522-6845

Runners-up Amanda Kenny, Slayed Esthetics Lounge (2nd), Kari Eberle, Just For You Day Spa (3rd), Vida Chapple, Nu Image Medical Esthetics (4th), Tania Rice, Certified Esthetics (5th), Mariska Fouche,  Soma Salon and Spa (6th), Rylee Carter, The Room (7th)

Aly Blair is an eyebrow ninja at Spa Cantik and Salon in northwest Regina (Cantik is pronounced “shan-tihk”, according to an online Indonesian-English dictionary, and it means “beautiful, lovely, comely and goodly”). Aly’s potent face-follicle proficiency inspired swarms of Best of Regina voters to select her as this city’s Best Esthetician. Internet democracy has spoken, and all that’s left for you to do is book your appointment with Aly. You must do this. Your brow-fur deserves the best care and attention, and that’s what she provides. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Hair Salon

Salon 306
4041 Albert St. 306-347-3306

Runners-up Iron Beauty (2nd), The Room (3rd), Beauty House (4th), Spa Cantik & Salon (5th), Driving With Scissors (6th), Saffyre Salon and Spa (7th)

You ready for a hair trifecta? Cause that’s what you’re going to get, courtesy of me. First out of the gate is Best Hair Salon. By popular vote, that title goes to Salon 306 and owner Nicole Dumelie. Salon 306 is at least a five-time winner in this category, so Nicole and her talented staff obviously know what they’re going. In addition hair styling, the salon also offers  Makeup, Massage, Threading/Waxing, Lashes and Eyebrow Micro Blading services. Through in quality brand name beauty products and comfortable surroundings, it’s no surprise why Salon 306 keeps topping the polls. So congrats everyone at Salon 306.  /GB

Best Hairstylist (Men’s Styles)

Lucinda Leontowich
Ragged Ass Barbers 1965 Hamilton St. 306-565-2729 raggedassbarbers.com

Runners-up Seth Jasper Llupar (2nd), Fran Gilboy, Frank’s Barber Shop (3rd), Amanda Rae, Meraki Salon (4th)

I haven’t had a haircut in a salon for over 15 years. Instead, for that entire time, I’ve done my own hair. Pretty impressive, eh? But I recognize that not everyone has the same mad scissor and razor skillz as me and has to rely on a professional to tame the keratin-based protein filaments (in science-speak) that sprout relentlessly from follicles in the dermis of our scalps. With all the symbolism that hair carries in our society related to status, health, style and whatnot, the stakes can be high. I’m perhaps being a little melodramatic there. Still, a good haircut on a guy can’t help but be a plus. And for Prairie Dog voters, Lucinda Leontowich tops the list of stylists guys trust to handle their protein filaments — I mean, hair. /GB

Best Hairstylist (Women’s Styles)

Savannah Finkeldey
Salon 306 4041 Albert St. 306-347-3306

Runners-up Jill Ripplinger, Beauty House (2nd), Teagan Morrison, Beauty House (3rd), Alena Thompson, The Room (4th), Amanda Rae, Meraki Salon (5th), Kaesha Lockert, Saffyre Salon (6th)

Everything I said in my Best Hairstylist (Men’s Styles) blurb probably goes double here. Back in the day, a woman’s protein filaments — damn, science again!, I meant hair — was regarded as her “crowning glory”. Gender attitudes have evolved since then, and many women now opt for low-maintenance cuts that they can manage as part of a busy lifestyle, while some men are getting more adventuresome in how they style their locks. But overall, I think women still embrace the idea of their hair being an important part of their overall look. So finding the right stylist is no small matter. And for Prairie Dog voters, Savannah Finkeldey is their top choice. /GB

Best Makeup Artist

Meagan Taylor
Face By Meagan facebymeagan.com

Runners-up Aspen Orsted, Aspen Artistry (2nd), Ginette Hall, Ginette Hall Makeup Artist (3rd), Danielle Morris, Sephora (4th), Jenna Kress, Naked Face Nutrition (5th), Jill Demaer, The Lopht (6th), Clara Edvi-Antunes, Make-Up Lounge & Style Bar (7th)

I’m familiar with the term “makeup artist” from the film industry. But now, it’s common for women to get their make-up done professionally before a big occasion. To learn more about our voters’ choice for Best Makeup Artist, I visited Face By Megan’s website where I was greeted by a smiling photo of Meagan with the tools of her trade in a three-tiered belt strapped at her waist. From there, I clicked on various tabs that told me a bit about Megan’s background, training and make-up philosophy and the services she provides for her clients. It was an interesting read that clearly illustrates why she’s a voter favourite in this category. So congrats to Meagan and all the other finalists here. /GB

Best Manicurist

Stephanie Love
The QC Nail Bar 3rd Floor 2204 McIntyre St. 306-527-6365

Runner-up Rylee Carter, The Room (2nd)

Fingernails and toenails are made of a protein called alpha-keratin, which is also found in the hooves and horns of non-clawed animals. We’re not unique in having nails, either, as most primates such as gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans have them too. Nails have an obvious utilitarian function, but depending on what shape they’re in, they can also serve as an indicator of health and hygiene. In modern society, nails can even serve an aesthetic purpose as part of a person’s overall look. That’s part of Stephanie Love’s job at The QC Nail Bar, certainly. But as a manicurist, she also helps her clients maintain the health of their fingernails. So congrats to her and runner-up Rylee Carter. /GB

Best Men’s Business Attire Store

Colin O’Brian Man’s Shoppe
1825 Hamilton St. 306-584-9300 colinobrian.com

Runners-up Trinos Menswear (2nd), Dean Renwick Design Studio & Boutique (3rd), Oliver’s Men’s Wear (4th), VIP Men’s Wear (5th)

Far as I can tell, the last time Colin O’Brian DIDN’T win a Best Of Regina clothing award was in 2008 — and they’d won Best Clothing* the year before, so I’m not sure we should read too much into that. Anyway, since its first win in 2004 (which was BOR’s second year), Colin O’Brian keeps getting better — like an ever-rising tide lifting Regina’s style-ship. If you’re looking for high-end men’s styles, either for professional or personal use, this is a must-visit.

*“Best Men’s Clothes”, “Best Clothing Store (Guys)”, “Best Suit Shop”, “Best Men’s Business Wear”… we’re always changing the category’s name so tracking Colin O’Brian’s year-to-year dominance is a little tricky. But you get the idea. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Men’s Casual Clothes Store

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

Runners-up Norwood (2nd), Hudson’s Bay (3rd), T+A Vinyl and Fashion (4th), Value Village (5th)

I’m all about casual in the way I dress. In fact, I don’t even own a suit. And in all honesty, I don’t even know how to tie a tie. It’s not like I’ve never worn a suit before, I have. But those days are loooong behind me. And while I’ve never shopped at Winners, I do know the store offers an ever-changing selection of popular clothing brands at discounted prices. You go there one time, you might come away disappointed. The next time, though, you might make a major score. The thrill is in the hunt, isn’t it? And for our voters Winners is #1 for Men’s Casual Clothes. /GB

Best Men’s Shoes

DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
4882 Gordon Rd. 639-739-0292 dsw.townshoes.ca

Runners-up Iannone’s Footwear & Shoe Clinic (2nd), Foster’s Shoes (3rd), Tiki Room (4th), Soles of Whitmore (5th)

Sweet, more leads for when I finally bite the proverbial bullet and go in search of some new shoes! I’ve yet to visit DSW out in Harbour Landing, but judging by the store’s website, the “Warehouse” part of DSW’s name is no exaggeration. They have shoes for pretty well everyone, from men and women to boys and girls. About the only demographic group that isn’t covered is the under five pre-school crowd. The inventory isn’t limited to basic shoes, either. Take the men’s category, where you’ll find everything from sandals and sneakers to slippers, oxfords and casual and winter boots. So yeah, when it comes to footwear, DSW has you (and your feet) covered. /GB

Best Pedicurist

Stephanie Love
The QC Nail Bar 3rd Floor 2204 McIntyre St. 306-527-6365

Runners-up Rylee Carter, The Room (2nd), Tania Rice, Certified Esthetics (3rd)

When I wrote the Best Manicurist blurb a few column inches ago, I lumped fingernails and toenails together. Yes, when it comes to their biological origin, they’re similar. But there’s a big difference between them. Whereas we use our hands for relatively refined tasks such as eating, typing, tying shoelaces, gripping bicycle handle bars and whatnot — okay, that’s what I use my hands for. Other peoples’ experiences may vary. Still, even strenuous hand usage pales in comparison to what our toenails go through, attached as they are to our feet, which bear a heavy load as we move about in our daily lives. That means toenails need to be cared for. And if they just happen to end up looking great in open-toed sandals, well, that’s an added bonus. For our voters, Stephanie Love of The QC Nail Bar is Regina’s Best Pedicurist. /GB

Best Store for Secondhand Clothes

Loom & Magpie
4305 Rochdale Blvd. 306-581-5667 loomandmagpie.ca

Runners-up Rhoda’s Elegance Again (2nd), Value Village (3rd), T+A Vinyl and Fashion (4th)

Loom and Magpie is unique among secondhand stores in Regina. Got high end/attractive clothing you want to dispose of to free up space in your closet? They promise to sell it for the “best possible price without an appointment”. If the item is under $1000, they do a 50/50 split. If it’s over $1000, you get a better split. You can check your sales in an online account, and they’ll notify you when you can drop by to pick up your cash. If you prefer, they can also send it out via an e-transfer for a small fee. Have some clothing you want to donate? Loom and Magpie partners with Transition House and Regina Immigrant Women’s Centre. That way, everyone wins! /Chris Scott

Best Tattoo Artist

Nathan Donahoe
Ace of Swords Tattoo 1304 Broad St. 306-525-2557 aceofswordstattoo.com

Runners-up Tyler Whitten, New Noise Tattoos (2nd), Ben Kelsch, Lucky Panther Tattoo (3rd)

When we think of artists in general, the criteria we evaluate them on is the strength of their aesthetic vision. That’s certainly true of tattoo artists too. There’s one crucial difference, though. Whereas visual artists work in media such as painting, drawing, sculpture and pixels, the tattoo artist’s “canvas” is the human body. And human bodies, as we all know, come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. There’s also pain and hygiene factors to consider. If an artist makes a boo-boo while working, they maybe end up with a splotch of paint on the floor or a corrupted file. If a tattoo artist messes up, they could cause major grief for their client. For safety, security and quality tattoo artistry, Prairie Dog voters recommend Nathan Donahoe at Ace of Swords Tattoo. /GB

Best Women’s Business Attire Store

Ricki’s
Five Locations rickis.com

Runners-up Hudson’s Bay (2nd), Reitmans (3rd), Cleo (4th)

Back when we ran a column called Street Wear, I did one with interim NDP leader Nicole Sarauer. This was before she entered politics, when she was a staff lawyer at Pro Bono Saskatchewan. For a change of pace from casual and evening wear, I asked Nicole to talk about business wear. During the day, she said, she might meet with everyone from judges and lawyers to clients who, through Pro Bono Sask, were typically low income. So she needed to be flexible in how she dressed. Women had more choices open to them than men in the professional world, she noted, so that meant they had to put more thought into how they dressed. When in doubt, she advised, “it’s always best to overdress and err on the side of caution.” When Prairie Dog voters are looking to walk that business fashion tightrope, their store of choice is Ricki’s. /GB

Best Women’s Casual Clothes Store

Uforia Muse
3024 13th Ave. 306-569-2228 3247 E. Quance St. 306-779-2228 uforiamuse.com

Runners-up Madame Yes (2nd), Seed Sustainable Style (3rd), Norwood (4th), T+A Vinyl and Fashion (5th)

As I note in my Best Men’s Casual Clothes blurb above, I am all about casual. Late spring through early fall, it’s t-shirts and shorts. Come the cooler weather, I switch to jeans, t-shirts and hoodies. So yeah, I am as casual as it gets. That’s not what we’re talking about here, though. Yes, principles of comfort, reasonable cost and style are still in play. But casual clothes, as a segment of the women’s fashion spectrum, covers a lot of ground. And at Uforia Muse, as our voters well know, you really can follow your muse in search of chic casual wear. /GB

Best Women’s Shoes

DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
4882 Gordon Rd. 639-739-0292 dsw.townshoes.ca

Runners-up Iannone’s Footwear & Shoe Clinic (2nd), Soles Of Whitmore (3rd), Lusso Shoe Lounge (4th)

UGH it’s tough to find women’s shoes in Regina, amirite ladies? TBH, I have no idea because I am a male-type dude who thinks Converse runners are formal wear. And that level of ignorance means that when I need to know something about shopping for women’s shoes, I turn to my own magazine’s Best of Regina 2017 results! This is how I learned that the Queen City’s best women’s shoe-shop stop (say it 10 times fast!) is DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse. That place is packed with pumps, heaped with heels, jammed with Mary Janes and bustling with boots. If you need any of those things, you better go — our voters say it’s the BEST. Wait, they have men’s shoes, too? Even Vans? Holy mackerel, DSW is amazeballs. /Stephen Whitworth

Homes & Services

Best Auto Glass Repair

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

Runners-up Novus Auto Glass Repair & Replacement (2nd), A Touch of Glass (3rd)

I get a lot of rocks and stuff thrown up at me as I commute every day on the Ring Road. Usually, I manage to escape unscathed. But on more than one occasion, I’ve ended up with a chip in the windshield. And if you don’t get it fixed fast, it can quickly become a big-ass crack, and that sucks. Not only can Speedy Auto Glass fix chips and replace windshields, they can also recalibrate your car’s camera, change your wipers and even help with residential and commercial windows. They know what they’re doing, and their win here is proof of that. /Shane Hnetka

Best Auto Rental

Enterprise Rent-A-Car
178 Albert St. 306-352-4222  1631 Victoria Ave. 306-352-3222 5201 Regina Ave. (Airport) 306-359-3535 enterprise.ca

Runners-up Budget Rent-A-Car (2nd), Thrifty Car Rental (3rd)

I’ve taken three road trips in Enterprise cars this year. The company was great to deal with, and very flexible on one trip when we weren’t sure how long we’d need the vehicle. I’ve rented from Enterprise before, too — back in my student press days I rented a truck every week to deliver the paper. Thirty-plus years of renting from Enterprise, and I’ve never had a bad experience. Good company! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Auto Repair

A & B Autobody
1650 Winnipeg St. 306-525-8304 abautobody.com

Runners-up Regina Motor Products (2nd), Wheaton Kia (3rd), Kinetic Auto Service (4th), Stettner Auto (5th)

Accidents can happen at any time of the year. But when winter hits, roads get icy, ruts form, and visibility can often be bad. And as much as you try to drive with due care and attention, as the saying goes, accidents will happen. For Prairie Dog voters, the place they rely on to get their vehicle’s boo-boos fixed is A & B Autobody. They don’t do actual maintenance work like some of the other finalists, but they do handle a full range of collision repairs covering the vehicle frame, body and safety features such as air bags to get you back on the road again, trying not to have another accident. Curse you winter driving conditions!  /Shane Hnetka

Best Bank Branch

RBC Royal Bank
3816 Albert St. 306-780-2691 rbcroyalbank.com

Runners-up TD Canada Trust, Victoria Square Mall (2nd), Scotiabank, Harbour Landing (3rd), CIBC, McCarthy Blvd. (4th), BMO, Scarth St. (5th)

If you’re like me, you probably don’t find banking fun. It is important and essential to everyday life, though, and for Prairie Dog voters, their pick for Best Bank Branch is RBC Royal Bank at Golden Mile Mall. At least, I think that’s what the mall’s still called. Yes, there’s been a ton of construction there over the last few years. But one section that wasn’t touched was the north end where the branch is located. Not only is it an awesome looking branch, the staff is super friendly and can help you with all your banking needs. /Shane Hnetka

Best Cabinets

Rick’s Custom Cabinets & Renovations
3121 Saskatchewan Dr. 306-352-6044 rickscustomcabinets.com

Runners-up Cougar Custom Cabinets (2nd), Chris Murray Custom Cabinets (3rd)

Rick’s doesn’t just do cabinets, they do custom bathrooms, kitchens, closets AND basements! Not only has the business been around for over 30 years, Rick married my friend Maryanne from high school. How cool is that? Rick’s is also the authorized dealer for snazzy appliances and fixtures like Blanco European Sinks and Faucets, Cavavin Wine and Beverage Centers, Sub Zero Refrigeration, and Grohe Faucet and Shower Systems, among others. Don’t just believe me, look at the photos on their website and you’ll be saying SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! /Chris Scott

Best Credit Union Branch

Conexus
1960 Albert St. 306-780-1751 conexus.ca

Runners-up Conexus, University Park Dr. (2nd), Conexus, South Albert St. (3rd), Affinity, Scarth St. (4th), Conexus, Fifth Ave. (5th)

Credit unions are similar to banks, but are tied much closer to the community. In fact, they’re owned cooperatively by people in the community. That doesn’t mean they’re a soft touch, as they still abide by strict financial regulations that ensure members’ funds aren’t put at risk. Not like the greedy banks south of the border that destroyed lives and businesses in the sub-prime mortgage scandal in 2008. Now, there are a lot of Conexus Credit Unions in Regina, and they are all really good. But voters chose the Conexus location at 1960 Albert St. as Best Credit Union Branch. So even if you, like me, don’t enjoy banking, they make it almost painless. /Shane Hnetka

Best Dry Cleaner

Bregg Cleaners & Tailors
1947 Albert St. 306-522-8523 breggcleaners.com

Runners-up Busy Bee Cleaners (2nd), Natural Cleaners (3rd), Regina Dry Cleaners (4th)

Like Best Doula, Best Dry Cleaner is a new category. And it’s fallen to me to write the inaugural blurb. I’ve taken stuff to be dry cleaned before, and have a general grasp of the concept. But when I dug into it a bit, I discovered it’s a pretty complex process. It’s used for clothing and other textiles that either deteriorate in water or else are too delicate to machine wash. Instead of soap and water, dry cleaners use solvents that remove stains and other grime. The solvents are a little gnarly environmentally, but modern dry cleaners have fine-tuned their practices to limit the environmental impact. Plus, when you dry clean something you prolong its life, which is a plus for the environment. For our voters, Bregg Cleaners & Tailors are the city’s top dry cleaners. /GB

Best Electrical

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

Runners-up Croft Electric (2nd), Cathedral Electric (3rd), 3 Way Electrical Services (4th), Fossum Electric (5th), Beevers Electric (6th)

Having done a ton of home renovations I can safely say you do not want to do the electrical yourself. Electricity is our friend, it brings light into our lives at night, powers the devices that keep us informed and entertained, and even makes popcorn for us. But it’s also dangerous. When our voters are looking to get their electrical needs taken care of, whether it’s installing new lights, changing out their electrical panel, or wiring up that new garage, Town & Country Plumbing & Heating is their best bet. They are so awesome at electrical that’s it’s almost shocking. Sorry. /Shane Hnetka

Best Flooring

Floors By Design
206 4th Ave E. 306-359-6300 floorsbydesign.ca

Runners-up Parkland Carpet One Floor & Home (2nd), End Of The Roll (3rd), Alford’s Floors & Interiors (4th)

The history of flooring in human society dates back many thousands of years. For most of that time, the inventory of materials we relied, such as dirt, sand and grass, were pretty uninspired. The last few centuries, though, has seen a revolution in flooring. It’s a good thing too, because if you didn’t have flooring to walk on, where would you be? Well, you’d probably end up tumbling into your basement, and that would suck. For Prairie Dog voters, their top choice for flooring is Floors by Design. They offer an awesome variety of flooring from carpet and tile to hardwood and laminate. Yes walking on floors has never been better — or safer. /Shane Hnetka

Best Home Builders

Trademark Homes
1455 Elliott St. 306-205-2502 trademarkhomes.ca

Runners-up Harmony Builders (2nd), Homes By Dream (3rd), Ironstone Custom Homes (4th)

Trademark Homes have been around since 2008, and in the decade they’ve been in business they’ve established themselves as one of Regina’s top home builders. In 2015 and 2016, they won the Regina & Region Home Builders’ Association Master Award for Best Production of a Home Under 1499 sq. ft. Whether you’re looking for a simple bungalow, or an impressive two-story home, they can build it. I bet if I wanted a home with a cool secret passage, or even a Batcave, they could help me out. So congrats to Trademark Homes. /Shane Hnetka

Best Insurance Agent

Jenna Dusyk
Dusyk & Barlow 302 University Park Dr. 306-791-3474 saskinsurance.com

Runners-up Kayla Brown, Harvard Western Insurance (2nd), Blaine Petrie, Campbell & Haliburton (3rd), Daryl Arendt, Campbell & Haliburton (4th)

It’s crazy but believe it or not, sometimes plans go awry. Life’s nasty surprises include car accidents, injuries, fires and theft, not to mention appendix attacks in the middle of international vacations. When the universe’s reckless and cruel whims show up on your doorstep carrying dynamite and inexplicably wearing a bunny suit, you want to be covered — and for that you need a good insurance agent. Our readers suggest Canadian accredited insurance broker Jenna Dusyk. Dusyk, who’s also a commissioner for oaths, is also, according to a bit of light Internet stalking, a Ukrainian dancer, wallyball player and Red Hot Chili Peppers fan. But this blurb is about how Jenna rocks as an insurance broker, so let’s just focus on that. And remember: never trust strangers in bunny suits. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Insurance Company/Broker*

Knight Archer Insurance
4930 Gordon Rd. 306-522-8188 512 Victoria Ave. E. 306-569-2288 4147 Rochdale Blvd. 306-525-8888 knightarcher.com

Runners-up Dusyk & Barlow Insurance Brokers Ltd (2nd), Harvard Western Insurance (3rd), Campbell & Haliburton Insurance Ltd (4th), The Co-operators (5th), Smiths’ Insurance (6th)

The insurance industry took a hit when the Saskatchewan government extended the PST to life, home, auto and other insurance. It was a big hit for people too, as insurance is pretty much indispensible in the modern world. In many instances, it’s even legally mandated. Yes, it’s an inherently socialist undertaking where people pool their resources to provide a contingency fund that a global population can draw on should a setback such as an auto accident, home catastrophe or natural disaster occur. Still, no matter how you cut it, insurance is serious business. And for Prairie Dog voters, Knight Archer Insurance is the go-to choice to safeguard their families, homes and other property from harm.

*We’re not in the insurance business, and after consulting with industry experts we learned there’s a difference between a broker and a company. Knight Archer, for instance, is a broker. They work with different insurance companies, and offer policy options to clients through them. Insurance companies, though, have their own policy portfolio, which is tailored to fit the needs of their clients. /GB

Best Mortgage Broker

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

Runners-up Natasha Mohr, TMG (2nd), Kate Miller, Centum (3rd), Ryean Campbell, TMG (4th), Pat Dell, Verico (5th), Craig McCrystal, Centum (6th)

Skott Enns is a mortgage-brokering machine and regular Best of Regina champ. This is the fifth straight year he’s captured this title, in fact. So congrats, Skott, on your successful “drive for five”! That said, his popularity in this poll won’t surprise anyone who’s worked with him. Judging by reviews on his social media page Skott is a hard-working, customer-focussed mortgage-wrangling superstar. “He always had our best interests at heart and was very professional! Would definitely work with him again!” says one client. “Skott was absolutely fantastic. He went way above and beyond his expected duties,” says another. “I would recommend him and will definitely see him again when buying my next house,” says a third. There you go, Regina. Now YOU know who to go to! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Plumber

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

Runners-up Litzenberger Plumbing & Heating (2nd), Platinum Plumbing & Heating (3rd), Anvil Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning (4th), THS Plumbing, Heating & Cooling (5th), Aabco Plumbing & Heating Ltd (6th)

I’m probably not the only home owner who has a plumbing horror story. Mine involved trying to solder a water line. I did some research on-line, even watched a demonstration video or two on YouTube, but the job proved to be tougher than I initially imagined, and I ended up standing ankle deep in water. A spark from the soldering gun may have even caused a small fire in a wooden support beam — although my masculine pride prevents me from confirming that. Yes, when it comes to plumbing, your best bet is to leave it to the professionals. And for Prairie Dog voters, Town & Country Plumbing & Heating are #1 in Regina. /Shane Hnetka

Best Printing Services

Flo Print
1785 Albert St. 306-585-3256 floprint.com

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

Even if you’ve never used their services you’ve probably seen FloPrint at its prominent shop on the corner of Albert and 11th. I mention this because guess what: FloPrint is Regina’s Best Printing Services for the fourth year in a row! I assume that means the hundreds of you who voted in this category have had good experiences with Floprint. We have too — back in the day they did a great job on a limited edition t-shirt for us, (which no one but out-of-town hipsters bought, but that’s another story). Besides shirts, FloPrint custom prints posters, booklets, lanyards, stickers, business cards, team jerseys, banners, promotional stuff and more. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Real Estate Agent

Katrina Rogina
Harmony Realty 2901 Saskatchewan Dr. 306-205-7313 harmonyrealty.ca

Runners-up Peter Fourlas, Royal LePage Regina Realty (2nd), Jenni Bast, Century 21 Dome Realty (3rd), Darlene King, Platinum Realty Specialists (4th), Mariel Harvey, Authentic Realty (5th), Rick Miron, RE/MAX Crown Real Estate (6th), Kevin Peter, Realty Executives Diversified Realty (7th)

You might have read about real estate agent and Harmony Builders co-founder Katrina Rogina in a Regina magazine or newspaper before. She’s well-known in the community. On top of that, Katrina is the winner (obviously, because you’re reading this) of this year’s Best Real Estate Agent title, which she takes for the third consecutive year. That’s pretty cool, but what’s cooler, award-wise, is that last May Rogina won the YWCA Woman of Distinction award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Between that and leading a Mike Holmes-endorsed homebuilding company, it’s an accomplished life. Congratulations, Katrina! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Real Estate Company

RE/MAX Crown Real Estate
2350 2nd Ave. 306-791-7666 234 University Park Dr. 306-789-7666 remaxregina.ca

Runners-up Century 21 Dome Realty Inc (2nd), Platinum Realty (3rd), Realty Executives Diversified (4th)

Probably the first thing that comes to mind when people think of RE/MAX Crown Real Estate is the hot air balloon you often see floating in the skies above Regina. But as the vote in this category shows, it’s also associated with high-quality service. Through market highs and lows, real estate companies are there to help you with the often stressful, confusing and time-consuming process of buying and selling property. RE/MAX strives to hire the best and equips their staff with the tools and ongoing training and support necessary to provide top-quality service to their residential and commercial clients. Staff are also encouraged to support the community by getting involved in charitable organizations. So yeah, RE/MAX, which has served Regina’s residential and commercial markets since 1975, is a deserving winner. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Travel Agent

Gloria Olson
Gloria Olson TPI  83 Minot Drive 1-877-949-8458 gloriaolsontpi.com

Runners-up Nicole Peter, Uniglobe Action Travel (2nd), Michelle Shaw, Uniglobe Action Travel (3rd), Audra Langton, Marlin Travel (4th), Emily Chambers, SellOffVacations.com (5th), Tammy Prost, Tropical Escapes (6th), Hansini Sooben, Marlin Travel (7th)

Sure, you can research and book your own holiday, especially with the bounty of resources available online. But sometimes vacations and travel can be complicated. Do you really want to rely on DIY-planning, or would you rather get assistance from a travel expert? Professional travel advisors can save you time, worry and money by offering you the benefit of their knowledge, expertise and connections — which is especially helpful should something unexpected happen. For Prairie Dog voters, Gloria Olson TPI is their go-to travel professional. To help her clients achieve their dream vacations and adventures, Gloria tries to fit as much travel into her busy life as she can, both to see the world herself, and to further her education and knowledge by attending conferences and seminars where she networks with others in the industry. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Media

Best News Outlet Overall

CTV Regina
regina.ctvnews.ca

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

Not since printed newspapers began to replace the town crier in the 17th century has the field of news journalism experienced such upheaval. Okay, I have no idea if that lede is true. But I like the mental picture it painted, so I decided to go with it. And there can be no doubt that big changes are afoot as legacy media struggle to adapt in a fast-paced technological revolution that has opened up tremendous opportunities, but is also proving to be dangerous too as “fake” news and outright propaganda become part of mainstream society. Now, more than ever, people need a news source they can trust. And for our voters CTV Regina is the top dog. /GB

Best Political Reporter

Wayne Mantyka
CTV Regina regina.ctvnews.ca

Runners-up Stefani Langenegger, CBC Saskatchewan (2nd), Sarah Mills, CJME (3rd)

He’s the guy you trust to tell it like it is. Sometimes, you see him zipping by in the work van, most often with a donut in one hand and directions to the latest news conference on the seat beside him. On weekends, you might run into him at the local mall, or grabbing a muffin and coffee at the corner coffee shop. In summer, you’ll spot him strolling along at the outdoor farmers’ market or enjoying the sun and music at the Regina Folk Festival. Although he’s a little nervous about it, he’s glad to have his photo taken while holding your scaly pal Rusty the snake. Yes, that’s Wayne Mantyka. A frequent winner in past Best of Reginas, Wayne gets the nod as Best Political Reporter. Congrats buddy! /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Prairie Dog Writer

Aidan Morgan

Runners-up Stephen Whitworth (2nd), Paul Dechene (3rd), Jorge Castillo (4th)

Aidan started writing general nonsense for Prairie Dog in 2007 and more specific, restaurant review nonsense in 2010. He’s 5’5 and has brown hair and, with his wife, Elan, four cats (the best one is Augie). But besides that, who is he? To find out, I asked an unlikely source: Aidan. Sorry, that’s a typo. I meant I asked a LIKELY source. Here’s what I learned.

Where were you born, exactly?

Like most people, I was born in a room. Unlike most rooms, this one was in a hospital. Unlike every other hospital, it was the Halifax Infirmary. I was one of the last children born there before they shut down the maternity unit altogether. Make of that what you will.

When did you move here?

I moved to Saskatchewan on July 20, 1989. It was 33 degrees and dry as a bone that’s been outside of a body for some time and left in a dry place — like a semi-arid Prairie city.

What writers have influenced your style?

Evelyn Waugh taught me that the best way to insult deserving people was to describe them simply and accurately. Douglas Adams taught me never to end a sentence predictably if you could curve the sentence back around on itself or, failing that, end with something absurd like the word “Babadook”.

What’s the single best meal you’ve had at a Regina restaurant?

I have a few great memories of food in Regina. The Cajun shrimp at Mieka’s Restaurant from the early ’90s is still one of the best dishes I’ve ever had. They also had a really good peanut butter sandwich, if I recall correctly. The cream of winter vegetable soup I had one evening at Sage Cafe (now Leopold’s Tavern) was one of the first really great restaurant dishes I’d ever ordered. Then there was a Chateaubriand I shared one evening at Memories, followed by some kind of flaming cocktail that the staff almost never made, so they retreated behind a curtain and had a loudly whispered discussion about how to set my drink on fire. Best flaming drink ever.

What’s the secret to your success?

The secret to my success is locked in my spare bedroom. I’ve never seen it, because the condition of my success rests on its form never being subjected to sight. It may be an imp with a felt hat, or a softly glowing orb. It might be Jeff Goldblum. You know what? I bet it’s Goldblum, the scamp. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Radio Host(s)

Sheila Coles
CBC Morning Edition 102.5 FM cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan

Runners-up Chad & Ballsy, The Wolf 104.9 FM (2nd), Mark Johnston, Big Dog 92.7 FM (3rd), Mike & Lindsay, Big Dog 92.7 FM (4th), Rustie & Greg, MY92.1 FM (5th)

The queen of Queen City’s morning airwaves returns to Best Of Regina’s championship podium after a two-year absence (yes, it DID make our hearts grow fonder). Sheila’s up every day before sunrise to ingest what I can only assume are the eight or nine litres of coffee any normal human would need to get ready for a 6 a.m. show. In my opinion, getting up that early five days a week to share Saskatchewan stories is nothing short of heroic. So if Regina ever needs someone to toss an evil magic ring into a volcano or rescue a freighter from the Klingon Neutral Zone, Sheila Coles is the person to call. She’ll save the day AND get a great interview out of it! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Radio Station

Big Dog 92.7 FM
bigdog927.com

Runners-up CBC 102.5 FM (2nd), Z99 98.9 FM (3rd), Jack FM 94.5 FM (4th), CJTR 91.3 FM (5th)

If you live for the Craven Country Jamboree, oops, I mean Craven Country Thunder, then this is your radio station. Their tagline is “#1 For The Most Country”, and if you join their “Country Club” you get access to the latest news, contests, concert announcements and pre-sales. Wanna see Corb Lund at Casino Regina on Nov. 23? Can’t wait for info on the upcoming Brent Kissel concert in January? It’s all on their website, so get ta steppin’, people! And click on the Country Thunder Tab too to see who’s coming next year and get your tickets! (in Homer Simpson whisper: LUKE BRYAN & CHRIS YOUNG). /Chris Scott

Best Reporter (Print, Web Or Broadcast)

Wayne Mantyka
CTV Regina regina.ctvnews.ca

Runners-up Creeson Agecoutay, CTV Regina, Geoff Leo, CBC Saskatchewan (3rd), Dale Hunter, CTV Regina (4th), David Fraser, Leader-Post (5th)

Wayne Mantyka is more than a reporter: he’s a Regina news icon. Those who have seen him working outside the courthouse or in the Legislature’s rotunda surely experienced a thrill not unlike catching a glimpse of a sasquatch or UFO. Media insiders whisper of Mantyka’s uncanny ability to sniff out the most well-hidden of snack tables, but the thing you really need to know about Wayne is that he’s friendly and deservedly beloved by this city’s journalism community. Also, I’ve seen a cake with his face on it. Winning this award is only a fraction of the recognition he deserves. We suggest sending him cupcakes. Don’t worry about where to send them. Wayne will find them. /Stephen Whitworth

Best TV Anchor

Jill Morgan
News At 6:00, CBC Saskatchewan cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan

Runners-up Heather Anderson, News At 6:00, CTV Regina (2nd), Dan McIntosh, News At 6:00, CTV Regina (3rd), Whitney Stinson, News At 6:00, Global News (4th), Darrell Romuld, CTV Morning Live, CTV Regina (5th)

As I noted in my Best News Outlet Overall blurb, the news business is experiencing a fair bit of upheaval these day. Digital technology and related platforms is one factor driving that, obviously. With the influence of legacy media waning, many other voices have rushed in to take their place. Some do legitimate journalism, but many others serve more as propaganda organs. Of course, propaganda, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. And this has led to a fractured political landscape that is sowing deep divisions in society. Now, more than ever, people need news voices they can trust. And for Prairie Dog voters, their TV anchor of choice is CBC’s Jill Morgan. /Gregory Beatty

Best TV News Coverage

CTV Regina
regina.ctvnews.ca

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

I’m not sure about the reasoning behind this category. We’ve already got Best News Outlet Overall, Best Political Reporter, Best Reporter (Print, Broadcast Or Web) and Best TV anchor. So it seems to me that we’ve got this area pretty well covered — outside of the restriction that you have to be a TV station to qualify. Maybe it’s a subtle dig against TV as a medium, and how it can’t compete with print for in-depth news and sports coverage, so it needed its own category? Although with four wins in total, CTV Regina didn’t have any trouble competing with other types of media in more general categories. So congrats to the station for its win here. /GB

Best TV Sports Coverage

CTV Regina
regina.ctvnews.ca

Runner-up Global News (2nd)

The CTV Regina sports crew, along with other Regina media outlets that cover sports, are busy people these days, I’ll wager. Regina’s sports scene is almost always hopping, but when it comes to high profile sports, the fall calendar is especially crowded. The Riders, Rams and Thunder are typically immersed in late season and playoff action, and the Pats season is in full swing. Then you’ve got all the Major League Baseball, CFL and early NHL and NBA activity to keep tabs on — plus curling, and other U of R sports. As if that wasn’t enough, Regina recently hosted a Skate Canada International competition at Brandt Centre.  So work hard everyone. /GB

Best Weatherperson

Tiffany Lizée
Global News globalnews.ca

Runners-up Kahla Buchanan, CTV Regina (2nd), Christy Climenhaga, CBC Saskatchewan (3rd)

If there’s a tougher job in Saskatchewan media than forecasting our fickle weather, I’m not aware of it (unless it’s working on this annual Prairie Dog feature). To begin with, our province is located far from the moderating influence of coastal waters, which leaves us open to insane temperature fluctuations where the thermometer can literally rise (or fall) 20 degrees in a day. Often, those changes are accompanied by wicked winds that put peoples’ lives and property at risk. Not to mention the crazy storms and other extreme weather events that seem to be occurring with greater frequency these days. So thanks to Tiffany Lizée and the other finalists for the hard work they do to keep us up to speed on the weather. /GB

Biggest Regina News Story

GTH Scandal

Runners-up Brad Wall’s Retirement Announcement (2nd), Provincial Budget (3rd), Dry Summer (4th)

Kudos to CBC reporter Geoff Leo for all the digging he’s done on the GTH scandal. Threatened with legal action by now-retired Sask. Party MLA Bill Boyd when the story first broke, and confronted at every turn by evasion and obstruction by government MLAs and officials — including an outrageous six-figure fee estimate for CBC to access government documents related to the land flip — Leo persevered. We still don’t know the whole story, but the RCMP, who apparently even interviewed premier Brad Wall on the matter, is close to winding up its investigation. The file will then be sent to prosecutors in Manitoba to decide if charges should be laid. Should that happen, we might as well print up the 2018 Best of Regina certificate in this category now because the GTH scandal will surely top the polls again. /GB

Shopping

Best Adult/Sexual Wellness Store

Industrial Luv
1933 8th Ave. 866-522-4542 industrialuv.com

Runner-up Love Plus Regina (2nd)

Thanks for showing my Warehouse District neighbour the “love” again in this category (see what I did there?). Industrial Luv isn’t just for “couples” fun. Did you know they have a listing on saskweddings.com? Quote: “We offer Home Parties, Lingerie, Lotions, Stags and Stagettes presented in a classy professional way.” You can either shop in-store, or order on-line for fast home delivery. If you have a bachelorette party in your future and want to get the bride-to-be in some silly trouble (wink), they offer the Bachelorettes Bar Challenge game. There’s also a 50 Shades of Grey party game. Who knew? /Chris Scott

Best Car Dealership

Capital Ford Lincoln
1201 Pasqua St. N. 1-877-829-0698 capitalfordlincoln.com

Runners-up Regina Motor Products (2nd), Wheaton Chevrolet (3rd), Wheaton Kia (4th), Crestview Chrysler Dodge Jeep (5th)

When we assign blurbs in this feature we sometimes luck out and have a writer who has first-hand experience with the winner. That allows them to provide an anecdote or two about how they came to chose the company in question, and what their consumer experience was like. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those times. As I’ve confessed in past Best of Reginas, my car is a rust bucket. And whenever I drive past Capital Ford Lincoln’s awesome lot of cars, trucks, SUVs and more I do feel a twinge or three of envy. I know, all I have to do is turn into the lot, and with the help of friendly staff at the dealership, I’d be fixed up in no time. Maybe one day I’ll do that. Meanwhile, can I borrow your car for an hour? I’ve got an errand to run, and mine is out of commission. /Shane Hnetka

Best Drugstore

Hill Ave. Drugs
3410 Hill Ave. 306-586-6262 hillavedrugs.com

Runners-up Lorne Drugs (2nd), River Heights Drugs (3rd)

There’s a little strip mall on Hill Ave. in Lakeview that’s got to be one of the cutest on the planet. It’s got a main street small-town feel and terrific tenants, including a pizza place, a Chinese restaurant, a grocery store, a coffee stop, some neat shops and a pretty terrific drug store called Hill Ave Drugs, which is this year’s Best Drug Store winner. The shop and pharmacy is the city’s most popular option for our readers, who have obviously been charmed by this folksy corner of Regina. Who wouldn’t be? Also, Hill Ave Drugs has a good logo—give it a closer look the next time you’re there. Always gotta give a shout-out to solid graphic design.  /Stephen Whitworth

Best Eyewear

Factory Optical
5556 Rochdale Blvd. 306-585-1035 518 University Park Dr. 306-790-7682 926 Victoria Ave. 306-522-6411 factoryoptical.ca

Runners-up Spex By Ryan (2nd), EYES on Hamilton (3rd), Special-Eyes Optical (4th)

A friend and I spent a couple of hours at Factory Optical this summer. She needed new glasses and that’s where she always goes, so off we went. It was a lot of fun wandering up and down the Rochdale shop’s aisles looking at frames. My pal picked out a couple of gorgeous spectacles while I ogled the Vuarnets. Ahhh, Vuarnets! Cool specs and a fun word to say. I love the model 06 with steel and blue Citylynx lenses. If I had Vuarnets, I’d dramatically say “my Vuarnets” every time I slid them on. Then again, I’m weird. At least Factory Optical gets me. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Florist

Wascana Flower Shoppe
333 Victoria Ave. 306-522-5243 wascanaflowershop.com

Runner-up Gale’s Florist (2nd)

Do you tolerate aging because each birthday calls for a celebratory bouquet? Do you sometimes pick a fight with your significant other, hoping they’ll apologize with flowers? And really, what’s the harm in a few days subsisting on hospital food if it means you can enjoy a special “Get Well” arrangement from a thoughtful friend? There’s always a good reason to get flowers! And our readers say the best come from Wascana Flower Shoppe, a long-time family-owned and operated business. When you spot one of their colourful delivery vehicles slowing down on your street, you’re always hopeful the delivery is for you. This is Wascana Flower Shoppe’s 10th anniversary win as Best Florist. I wonder if flowers are a proper way to mark the occasion? /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Head Shop

Vintage Vinyl & Hemp Emporium
2335 11th Ave. 306-347-3111

Runner-up Smoke Inc (2nd)

In its Oct. 25 throne speech, the Saskatchewan government indicated it would establish guidelines to permit the recreational sale of cannabis. “Introduce legislation to facilitate the federal government’s legalization of the use of non-medical marijuana, even though the province continues to have concerns about the federal government’s rushed timetable” is how they actually put it. That’s been the government’s position since the federal Liberals announced the initiative following their October 2015 election win. But I figure if Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Washington, California, Massachusetts, Alaska and Oregon can do it, Saskatchewan can too. A long-time standard-bearer in this area, Vintage Vinyl is our voter’s choice for Regina’s top head shop. /GB

Best Kept Shopping Secret

T+A Vinyl and Fashion
1603 Victoria Ave. 306-737-1513 tavinylfashion.com

Runners-up Groovy Mama (2nd), PrimaDeanna Boutique (3rd), Bodhi Boutique (4th), Naked Kitty Naturals (5th)

Now I know what you’re thinking. But that’s not what T+A stands for. Instead, it’s an amalgam of the owners’ initials Tim and Amy Weisgarber. I suppose if they’d wanted, they could’ve switched the order. That would have yielded A+T Vinyl and Fashion. But the only thing that conjures up, for me anyway, is AT&T — which is an American telecommunications company, and decidedly uncool. What the couple does, they say on their website, is scour garage sales, thrift shops, estate sales and other sources looking for old vinyl records and vintage clothing that serve both feminine and masculine tastes. So there you have it readers. Regina’s Best Kept Shopping Secret. /GB

Best Local Furniture Store

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

Runners-up Pearl Hardware (2nd), Fathers Furniture Gallery (3rd), Alford’s Floors & Interiors (4th), Continental Furniture & Appliances (5th)

We’re all familiar with the idiom “a house is not a home”. Usually, it applies to the idea that what makes a home special is the people who inhabit it, the experiences they have together, and the memories they make. That’s all true, of course. But it can also be true of furniture. Drop in to Urbane EQ3, and you’ll find everything you need from chairs and couches to tables, bookcases, beds, and desks, to furnish your house and turn it into a home. It’s a pretty amazing place, and the staff is super helpful and friendly. Who needs big boxes when we have awesome local stores like this? /Shane Hnetka

Best Local Hobby Shop

Gale’s Wholesale
1602 Elliott St. 306-757-8545 galeswholesale.com

Runners-up Paper Umbrella (2nd), Comic Readers (Downtown) (3rd), Redline Hobby  (4th), Remote Control Hobbies (5th)

You can either visit Gale’s in person or via their website, which has a snazzy counter displaying how many items they currently have for sale (as of my visit: 39,668!). Gale’s is the number one stop in Regina for craft and art supplies, including top-notch brands like Winsor and Newton, Swarkovski (for your jewellery needs) and Swiss Army. In business since 1970, they are family-owned, have a separate floral business, a branch office in Winnipeg, and rightly boast of serving over 20,000 customers around the world. You go, Gale’s! P.S. wholesale customers are welcome too. /Chris Scott

Best Local Home Decor & Furnishings

WP Garden Centres
254 University Park Dr. 306-586-2929 wphomeandgarden.com

Runners-up Anex Interiors (2nd), Mabel and Martha’s (3rd), Urbane EQ3 (4th), Mortise & Tenon (5th), Alford’s Floors & Interiors (6th), Pearl Hardware (7th)

When I think WP Garden Centres, I generally think of their awesome garden centres that run outside during the summer months. But they also have a great selection of home décor and furnishings that can help spruce up any room. Visit their website and you’ll find all sorts of unique items in areas such as wall décor, vases and artificial florals, pillows and throws, lamps, arty knick-knacks and more. Whether you’re looking to make a statement with something large and eye-catching, or you’re on the prowl for a few accent pieces to help tie a room together, WP Garden Centres can help you out. /Shane Hnetka

Best New Locally Owned Business

Loom & Magpie
4305 Rochdale Blvd. 306-581-5667 loomandmagpie.ca

Runners-up The Cathedral Pet Stop (2nd), Local Barre Fitness (3rd), The Style Lab (4th), Clean Me Up Scotty (5th), Ro & Ry (6th), Beauty House Hair Boutique (7th), Meraki Salon and Spa (8th)

Regina has other consignment options, but Loom & Magpie distinguishes itself by not only selling fine women’s clothing on consignment, but also guaranteeing the authenticity of their goods, which Ebay and other online sellers can’t. They also pass donations and unsold goods onto their charity partners. As the owners say, “Our name reflects our two philosophies of “slow fashion” and recycling. The Loom: A device that reminds us how much time and dedication were used to produce a garment. The Magpie: The bird that is thought to be fond of pretty shiny things and is one of nature’s great recyclers.” And for our voters, those philosophies are a winning combination. /Chris Scott

Best Pet Supply Store

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

Runners-up PetSmart (2nd), Pawsitively Purrfect (3rd), The Cathedral Pet Stop (4th), Pat’s Pets & Supplies (5th), Prairie Aquatics And Exotics Inc (6th)

To the shock of no one, Metro Pet Market wins Best Pet Supply Store for the ninth time in 10 years*. Well, you know, it is the best. Owners Ross McNabb and Kurt Jensen put a ton of work and research into finding top-quality, crap-free pet food and health products. The quality of their inventory is matched by a strong visual style, which you’ll see in Metro Pet Market’s design, logo, website, decaled car and promotional materials (a “Keep Calm And Carry On” parody postcard series with phrases like “Keep Calm And Walk The Dog” should’ve won someone a marketing award). Bottom line: these are good people who know what they’re doing.

*The one year they didn’t win (2009) we skipped the award for some reason. And technically, the award was originally Best Pet Store. But we added “supply” to take the focus off retailers selling animals. Though there was at least one year with both Best Pet Store and Best Pet Supply Store. Best of Regina is complicated, you guys. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Specialty Shop

Groovy Mama
3206 13th Ave. 306-347-2229 groovymama.net

Runners-up PrimaDeanna Boutique (2nd), T+A Vinyl and Fashion (3rd), Sawchyn Guitars (4th)

Groovy Mama has some of the best window displays in the city, and is filled with bright and colorful clothing for babies, toddlers and expectant mamas, along with toys, accessories and nursery décor items. It also offers advice and training with workshops, seminars and other resources for new and expectant parents and families. Beyond pregnancy, there’s also an array of eco-friendly local or Canadian-made products that cover areas such as menstruation, menopause and skin care. The groovy staff get rave reviews from customers who gush about the friendly and knowledgeable service. Now, Prairie Dog voters have added their own endorsement for Groovy Mama as Best Specialty Shop. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Toy Store

Zippity Zoom Toys
4601 Albert St. 306-522-8697 zippityzoomtoys.ca

Runners-up Mastermind Toys (2nd), Toys ‘R’ Us (3rd), Metro Pet Market (4th)

Do you like good toys and want some for your room?
Well, listen I say! Here comes Zippity Zoom!
This store can be found way, way down there on Albert
Near a comic book shop and a place with a shirt
Now, Zippity Zoom has the very best toys
They have things for all children, regardless of size!
They have Lego and dinosaurs! Puzzles and games!
Educational stuff! Probably little trains!
Stuffed things and puppets? You bet they have those!
If it’s a good toy, well then Zippity knows!
But wait! There’s some NEWS about this nifty store!
Are you getting excited? Do you want to learn more?
Word has spread from this town through to South Carolina
Zippity Zoom’s the best toy store in all of Regina!
So head there at once via car, bus or bike-ramp
Zippity Zoom is officially Regina’s toy champ!

/Stephen Seussworth

Best Used Car Dealership

Regina Motor Products
Albert St. S. @ Hwy 1 & 6 306-585-1770
reginamotorproducts.com

Runners-up Capital Ford Lincoln (2nd), Wheaton Kia (3rd), Anderson Automotive (4th), Siman Auto Sales (5th)

Sometimes, buying a new car is just not an option. Sure, it’s nice to have a factory fresh ride. But when money’s tight, as it is for many people these days, you have to buy used. That doesn’t mean you still can’t get a great deal, especially if you shop in the right place. For our voters, that place is Regina Motor Products. Not only do they have a great selection of used cars, SUVs and trucks, they have a solid service department so you know you’re not getting a lemon.  If, unlike me, your current ride is in decent shape, you might even get some dollars knocked off on a trade-in. And presto, you’ve got a new (to you) vehicle to drive without a hefty price tag. /Shane Hnetka

Best Vape Shop

Queen City Vapes
1763 Halifax St. 306-359-8273 queencityvapes.ca

Runners-up Vaping The Way (2nd), Element Vapes (3rd), Electric Fog Vape Shop (4th)

Some smokers say e-cigarettes help them quit by giving them a safer way to get a nicotine fix. Others are perhaps intrigued by certain tantalizing recreational possibilities. All would point out that you don’t even need nicotine in an e-cigarette, and since you can get stuff that tastes good, what the heck. All these views suggest that vaping has its fans and is here to stay. If you vape, you might be interested to learn our voters chose Queen City Vapes as Regina’s top shop. If it’s too cold out to go there today, stay inside and check out their webpage, which includes a regularly updated blog and links to vaping sites. You know how many Regina businesses update their blogs? Me neither, but it’s not a lot. /Stephen Whitworth