Yes, I Have A Car… Now, Where Should I Drive It?

I alluded to this in the comments to an earlier post… after years of being auto-free, my family has recently purchased a car. (Actually, it’s in my wife’s name so that technically I can still claim to have never owned a car in my entire life.)

What inspired the purchase? Well, if you must know, my wife is pregnant (due in December) and so that she doesn’t have to bike to work through the winter (as she usually does), and so that she doesn’t have to trust transit to get her to the early-morning class she’s teaching, and so that we can get to the hospital at a moment’s notice if the need arises nearer the due date, we figured it was sensible to put our car-hating ways aside for a time.

The rusty, carbon-spewing beast we now own was purchased off one of my wife’s colleagues who is on sabbatical this year. We’ve a handshake agreement that he’ll buy it back in the spring. So, hopefully, by May we’ll be car free once again.

But, in the interim, I’m wondering where we should go with the thing? See, yesterday we were driving back from the hardware store and I noticed a building that claims to offer a Hungarian buffet and karaoke. “What the hell??” I said. “Hungarian buffet and karaoke. We so have to go there.”

And that’s when my wife pointed out that there are probably all sorts of far-flung gems like that in Regina that we’ve never been to because they’re beyond our usual walking range. And, she noted, seeing as I’ve access to a blog, I could mob-source the finding out of where some of those gems are.

Great idea.

So, dog blog readers, can you help me out? What awesome Regina stuff should I be driving to? Are there any must-see nooks and crannies to this city that I’ve been missing? The more off-the-beaten-path the better. (And “beaten path” for me means Cathedral and downtown.) And don’t not mention something because you figure, “Oh, everybody knows about that.” We’ve only lived here three years and there’s still a lot of the city we haven’t seen.

UPDATE: I needed to get some anchors to hang shelves in my living room, so on the recommendation of Collette, I went to check out Peavey Mart. The pic I took from my trip is above. Read the comments to find out how it went.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

32 thoughts on “Yes, I Have A Car… Now, Where Should I Drive It?”

  1. Seriously?

    You know, I half expected that and had ended the post with the line “And no saying Saskatoon,” but deleted it thinking it too obvious.

    As for Saskatoon, never been. But have a trip planned at the end of the month to see Arcade Fire.

    As for Moose Jaw, have rented a car a couple times just so we could eat at Nit’s. Which is awesome. Anything else in Moose Jaw worth seeing?

  2. Oh, and we’re also planning a trip to Gravelbourg to check out the Heritage Days on the 18th (perhaps you’ve seen an ad for that somewhere?).

    But is there anywhere in Regina we should be going?

  3. Peavey Mart! no really. it’s the oddest hardware store you have ever seen. particularly near Christmas when they have 4 aisles of kids toys, most of them farming-themed. also, it’s your source for John Deere paraphernalia.

    also, Afghan Cuisine restaurant.

    this is interesting. there is lots to do in Regina, but I can’t think of much outside of downtown and Cathedral that is actually worth making a trip for.

  4. oh actually how about Government House? it’s free! and they have their Victorian Teas on one weekend a month. it’s $9 each for sandwiches, tea, biscuits with jam, plus dessert. you should reserve a table in advance, though. September’s tea is this weekend.

    just outside of Regina, how about Wascana Trails or White Butte trails?

  5. Eastview – just go there and walk around! Dakota and I did last spring and really enjoyed it – it is a super quirky neighbourhood (just by way of where it is located). There is the Ross Food Centre you could check out on your walk, and then go for lentil soup at Nicky’s Cafe afterward (8th and Winnipeg).

    Paul – I think you would really dig this area.

  6. Been gone a couple of years, but things may not have changed that much.
    We used to do a Saturday morning shopping route on Vic. East- Italian Star, Old Fashion Foods, Indian Food Ctr, then up Winnipeg to the Ukrainian Co-op (fresh smoked sausage and bacon) and back on 11th to Oskar’s and the Ngoy Hoa Asian market. This would not have happened as easily without a car, especially in February.
    If you need more after Peavey Mart, Western Feeds/Cowtown at Park and Ross is another interesting place to visit.
    Seconding the Eastview idea- CMS surplus!
    If you can time it right the landfill at sunset in winter, looking down at the refinery is pretty cool.
    You might want to drive out to Last Mountain right about now for bird migration.

  7. Gord – such good suggestions for interesting local shops to frequent! You obviously haven’t lost touch with the city.

  8. Thanks, Laura.
    Just thought it also might be a good idea to look at a copy of “Regina’s Secret Spaces” as this might prompt a few more excursions.

  9. Prairie Food Products at 628 4th ave East.
    It’s totally off the beaten path and you can get the most amazing fresh pitas, Mediteranian treats and other hidden gems. Go hungry.

  10. Thanks everybody for the suggestions. Keep ’em coming. I will definitely be checking them out.

    In fact, Collette, thanks for the tip on Peavey Mart. As I mentioned in the update to the post, I needed to get some hardware this afternoon so I followed your advice and have provided photo evidence. Very interesting. That’s one boy-friendly kids department. I’ve never seen so much die-cast John Deere. My daughter was unimpressed.

    On my way back I toured past Regina Donair and Hemp Haven on 15th, near the site of an upcoming (and controversial) apartment complex. Neat little block that, and close enough I should be walking there.

    Laura, Gord: Eastview and the Ukrainian Coop are at the top of my list. And the landfill is a very intriguing idea.

    Kim: Fresh pita? In Regina? You’re kidding. I mean, I’d heard rumors but figured they were just that… rumors. Man, I haven’t had fresh pita in years.

    Oh, Laura! How’s the move working out? Are we ever going to hear your impressions of living in the States? Something on Regina Urban Ecology maybe?

  11. Which high horse were you referring to, anon? I’ve so many in my stable it can be difficult keeping track.

  12. Gail’s Wholesale in the industrial/business zone between Arcola and Park. You will need a membership to buy anything (does the PD have one?) but you can freely wander around. It’s like the Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse for place settings, wedding decorations, art supplies and random foodstuffs.

    And sorry, I do have to suggest something out-of-town, but not too far (you’re halfway there if you make it out to White City): Friday nights at The Grotto restaurant in Vibank. Currently the best and most authentic Mexican food in the province.

    And drive to the top of the big earth pile hill near the Douglas Park track just to say that you did it.

  13. Indeed Barb – congrats to you and your lovely wife Paul!

    Yes – Regina Urban Ecology will be getting updates soon. I have been busy editing a manuscript for (hopeful) publication, but in the next week or so I hope to get the blog back on its feet.

  14. Laura: Great news. Looking forward to the update. RUE has been too quiet.

    Barb & Laura: Thanks! We’re very excited.

    Heath: Sorry dude. Can’t help on Thursday. I’m booked to go to the Bulk Cheese Warehouse.

    Palinode: Pssst. Need some cheese? I’m free Thursday. Don’t tell Heath.

    Brett: I will drive very far for good Mexican food. Thanks for the tip.

  15. Great discussion topic, Paul, but I get the feeling you’re teasing us. I can’t believe that someone who has lived in a new place for 3 years hasn’t explored it outside of walking range of their house. (Every far-flung area is accessible by bike.) If you’ve really been under house arrest in Cathedral, I will read your City Hall reviews with a different eye. This is a very interesting topic you created, and you should expand it in the Dog.

  16. David: I don’t even have a bike.

    As for the city hall column, Google Street View is a huge help there. (My wife wants me to point out that I’m not a 700 lbs shut in.)

    And, for the record, we do occasionally rent cars. But then it’s mainly used for trips out Quance way for hardware and coconut buns at China Pastry. And, as I mentioned, for trips to Moose Jaw to eat at Nit’s.

  17. I’m just kidding about the Saskatoon remark. Sort of a knee-jerk reaction, with the recent Saskatoon-Regina heckling match happening here.

    Anyways, I don’t have any suggestions to offer – most of the places I know of in Regina are in the Cathedral area. When you come up for Arcade Fire, I suggest the Ricebowl on 33rd for supper (or Bliss on Broadway if you’re feeling spendy.) I’ve got tickets too – should be a great show!

  18. – Oskar’s Sausage Haus
    – Taco Del Mar (yes, I know, it’s a chain… but it’s yummy)
    – Alfredo’s for brunch… bring an extra wallet of cash though, it’s pricey.

  19. Perhaps Lumsden is cheating as it isn’t quite in Regina – but it is worth the short drive to eat at the Brick House Bistro.

  20. Anon #1 – Oskar’s Sausage Haus sounds like a great idea. And close to the Ukrainian Coop so I could visit both at the same time. Mind you, when I read the name I was hoping it’d turn out to be a German restaurant that specialized in sausage meals. Too bad it’s not. I’d be all up on that.

    So, does anybody know if there are any German restaurants in town? I mean, we have a Germantown after all, which makes me think there must be a strong German community. Shouldn’t it follow that there’d be a really frickin’ awesome gasthaus somewhere?

    An aside: I used to live in Kitchener/Waterloo which has (or used to have) the biggest German Canadian population in the country. But all the pubs were faux British or faux Irish. (Or generic sports bar.) You’d think someone could’ve made a killing opening a Bavarian beer hall — that’d at least be able to muster an air of authenticity.

    But no.

    Oktoberfest was a thing of beauty though. Man, I loved Oktoberfest.

    Anon #2 – Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Lumsden. Actually, didn’t the p-dog’s erstwhile dining critic Dave rave about the Brick House?

  21. Take the back roads out to Condie, dummy. It’s been years but I believe its the 1st grid road past pinkie then head north. If you get lost there should be some farmers about plowing their fields.
    It used to be nice catching the sunset off the sasktel building around 13th on the west side of town.

  22. Hey Paul,

    My kids loved the Science Centre and the recently renovated Candy Cane Park, the view from Wascana Hill is also interesting. My favorite park area has to be boreal island in A.E. Wilson park, and just a short walk from there is a neat bit of prairie in Toothill park where the CNR railway crosses the creek on a wooden trestle. In the spring the hillside south east of bridge has a lovely patch of native crocuses. As for food recommendations the mediteranean bistro started the whole ‘Regina has good places to eat!?’ thing about 11 years ago, it has been some time since we went though. In the same strip mall is Angkor, which I miss dearly. We also went to a place called the cottage on South Albert once which was worth the trip for the juxtaposition of the stripmall location with the swiss mountain lodge interior, and of course there is Grekos. Chicken a la Grekos, a half a chicken stuffed with feta, cooked in a way that is indescribably good.

    I have also always found the west end of Rochdale Blvd. to be interesting. From the high schools west, the City tried something a bit different in zoning, and it has created an area that is almost walkable that has an impressive number of services, including the YMCA, Library, Leisure Centre, parks, groceries, restaurants (mostly fast food though), and some increased housing density. It also sports separated sidewalks and a centre median with trees. Too bad about the adjacent subdivisions…

    Good luck with the car, we have been here in TO for three weeks now without one, and I am really getting into it.

    Cheers,
    Chris

  23. German Club as well – the bar downstairs is great (not sure if they only do meals for private bookings, but I am guessing not).

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