Best of Regina 2020 by Stephen Whitworth

Every year since 2003 this newspaper’s readers have voted on Regina’s best people, places, arts and culture, shops, services and more. That’s 18 editions of Best of Regina including this one.

But there’s never been a Best Of Regina in a year like this.

Back in March when the world began shutting down, we had no idea how much everything was about to change. By the end of April, we weren’t sure there would even be a Prairie Dog by the time Best Of Regina voting rolled around. But now it’s December 2020, and here we are and here you are. Together, we made this fun, slightly silly annual tradition work (a reminder that together, we can make a lot of good things work?).

When you think about it, it might be the best time there’s been to celebrate what’s great about this town in a reader poll. It has never been more challenging to celebrate our favorite people, places and things. We can’t have a huge bash at a pub or restaurant or social hall. We can barely even have visits.

On the business side of things, local shops miss their loyal customers who are themselves trying their best to balance pandemic safety with supporting the local businesses they love. There are ways to make shopping work, and most of us are trying — social distancing, limited number of shoppers in-store, delivery and curbside pick-up. Still, a certain face-to-face element has been lost to safety protocols. I miss loitering in shops and chatting to people. A lot of you do, too. But that will come back, we’ve just got to bear down and get through this. Reminder: supporting local business means cheerfully wearing a mask.

Then there’s the personal costs of this pandemic. We all miss our friends. Depending on our individual bubble situations, some have gone months without seeing some family members.

I mean, it’s rough.

But for now we have this moment, a chance to celebrate the Best of Regina as chosen by Prairie Dog’s readers. It’s not enough — not nearly, but it’s something. We hope you enjoy this feature in a safe setting, with a beverage of your choice to toast the people and things that stand strong against mediocrity to make this city great.

Hopefully by next summer this plague will be over, and we’ll be able to celebrate properly. Until then, cheers.

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As Prairie Dog was going to press we were saddened to learn of the passing of Best Drag Queen runner-up Sister Jenny Talia, known as Derek Seitz in his not-so-secret civilian identity. Our sincere condolences to family, friends and fans on this terrible loss.