Best Of Saskatoon!!!
**BEST CITY ARTS**
BEST ARTIST (TRADITIONAL MEDIA)
Awesome illustrator Don Sparrow has moved up from last year’s second-place finish to capture gold in this category for 2011! Cate Francis (if you like local music, chances are you’ve seen some of her awesome album artwork!) is painted into second spot, while Zachari Logan maintains a solid grip on the podium by finshing third once again.
BEST ARTIST (NEW MEDIA)
Man, do Saskatoon’s art lovers love Don Sparrow! Along with collecting the Traditional Media category this year, Sparrow has repeated his win from last year in the New Media Category — well done, Don! Cate Francis is also clearly feeling the love, as her second spot this category gives her a silver two’fer, while Carrie Gates is close behind in third.
There’s no stopping the Martel machine, as this literary genius tops the Best Author category for the second year in a row. There’s also no doubting the fact that, in a city with an inordinate amount of wonderful authors compared to its population size, three stand out for our readers: along with Martel, Guy Vanderhaeghe is once again on the list, hopping from third last year to second this year, while mystery maven Anthony Bidulka also remains in the top three.
Noted local thespian Heather Morrison did some wonderful insider blogging for Planet S during the Fringe—and judging by the opinion of our readers, we made an excellent choice! The award-winning Morrison tops our list for the first time this year, just ahead of another noted theatre performer, Joshua Beaudry, who edged out noted Saskatoon actor Kim Coates for second.
Planet S staff have a sweet spot for this win, as Charles used to be one of our top news writers—well done, Chuck! Even though he’s moved on to the Evil Empi—er, StarPhoenix, our readers clearly remain enrapt with the poetry he presents during events like Tonight It’s Poetry. Saskatoon literary icon Don Kerr takes second spot, while relative newcomer Leah Horlick zooms onto the podium by taking third!
When it’s time to bring the bottom end, our readers say no one does it better than Enver Hampton of Volcanoless in Canada! Hampton trumps his solid second place finish from last year by winning the category for 2011, just ahead of Ryan Gullen of The Sheepdogs (get ready to hear their name a few more times in this section!). Skip Kutz, an absolute icon of Saskatoon’s music scene, finishing third—beating out Earl Pereira by the smallest of margins!
The guy gets around, but there’s no stopping him on his home turf! Jordan Cook brings home the golden Gibson yet again, but in a perfect repeat of last year’s results, voters also praised the shreds of bluesman Tim Vaughn and multi-instrumentalist Terry Mattson.
BEST REAL ESTATE AGENT
Re/Max’s Lacy Watson brings buyers and sellers the best in, well, buying and selling — and to prove it, voters have bestowed on her the golden handshake for the second year in a row! Sam Cress at Hallmark Realty also makes it a two-fer, coming in a strong second once again, while Ashley Turner closes in on third.
BEST U OF S HUSKIE
I guess it is the high time of football season, but I hope all the great non-football Huskies aren’t feeling the bite. What can I say? We love a dog in pigskin! Just behind the quick QB are Tony Michalchuk (linebacker) and Zach Hart (defensive lineman).
Our readers say The Sheepdogs’ (perhaps you’ve heard of them?)Sam Corbett swings the sticks better than anyone else in the city, as he zooms to the top of this category for 2011. Tallus Scott of the Jordan Cook Band—and many other excellent projects—snags second, while last year’s winner Jim Ginther (Shooting Guns, for just one example) hits the podium once again in third.
Score one for the jazzsters! Don Griffith is a legend in Saskatoon jazz circles, both as a top-notch player and a tireless organizer, so it’s great to see him pick up this prize! Last year’s champ Finn Day-Wiggins proves to be enduringly popular, finishing in a close second, while Megan Kardash tickles the keys to a second consecutive third-place finish.
BEST “OTHER” INSTRUMENTALIST
Many of our readers have suggested that in past polls we didn’t have categories for people who played instruments outside those found in your average four or five-piece band. We listened, and created this category—and the inaugural winner is trombone master Sean Sinclair! Sean ever-so-narrowly edged out Saxophone stud Sheldon Corbett in an exceedingly close race, while super cellist Lisa Nazarenko was right behind in third.
TIE: CARRIE CATHERINE AND EWAN CURRIE
Holy crap—this is an exceedingly popular category with voters, and yet somehow we’ve ended up with a tie! Congrats to both Catherine (purveyor of “green-eyed soul) and Currie (of The Sheepdogs—did I ask you if you’ve heard of them?)! Also hitting the right notes with our readers were Ryan Boldt of The Deep Dark Woods, who finished a close third, and Jordan Cook.
DJ CHARLEY HUSTLE
Charley “hustles” (gawd, I’m hilarious!) his way up from last year’s impressive second-place finish to an even more impressive ,gold medal win for 2011! DJ Sugar Daddy (Mark Sugar) spins his way to second spot, while Nick James scratches his way into third!
BEST SOLO ARTIST
Catherine scored an impressive tie in the Best Singer category, so it’s no surprise that she wins Best Solo Artist! It was an exceedingly close race for the podium, however, with Jordan Cook right behind in second and Jen Lane hot on both their heels in third!
Surprise! Yeah right—The Sheepdogs (perhaps you’ve… okay, I know—that joke’s getting super-old) are as hot as Georgia asphalt these days, and our readers are definitely showing them the love. They dominated this category, but a bunch of other bands got a ton of votes as well, proving that Saskatoon’s music scene is hopping! The Deep Dark Woods nab second spot here, just ahead of a tie for third (!) between Slow Down, Molasses and Shooting Guns.
TEGAN AND SARA
The Jazz Festival should be proud, as two Jazzfest concerts hold down the tops spot inthis category! Tegan and Sara’s Jazzfest appearance took the crown, but only by the narrowest of margins, as the Sheepdogs/Jordan Cook Canada Day show was right behind! The Black Keys grooved their way into third.
BEST LOCAL ALBUM
THE SHEEPDOGS — LEARN AND BURN
Seriously — I’m running out of compliments to give these shaggy wonders of rock! The Sheepdogs take yet another category, but The Deep Dark Woods are also clearly a band to watch, as their latest, The Place I Left Behind, took a ton of votes to come in second. Saskatoon icons Slow Down, Molasses (who just returned from a super-successful U.K. tour!) place third, with their record Walk Into The Sea.
BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE
This may as well be a recording: Amigos is THE live venue of choice for Planet S readers! The home of all things indie, punk, rock ‘n’ roll and more has always dominated this category, and 2011 is no different! We do however have a changing of the guard for the silver medal, as the Bessborough Gardens zooms into second spot, with TCU Place close behind in third.
BEST ART EXHIBIT
Okay, this is supposed to be a category about a specific exhibit, people! Still, the Mendel Art Gallery whomped here, so they win. Courtney Milne’s Pool Project took a wonderful number of votes while finishing in second, and School Art did impressively as well, finishing third.
BEST PUBLIC ART GALLERY
MENDEL ART GALLERY
Um… I think it’s possible that people in Saskatoon may love the Mendel just a tad. As they have every year that this poll has existed, the Mendel absolutely ruled this category! Paved Arts also pulled in a lot of appreciative patrons, finishing second, while the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery at the U of S took third for the second year in a row.
BEST PRIVATE ART GALLERY
THE ROUGE GALLERY
For those who’d like to take that brilliant piece of art home and look at it every day, our readers once again say there’s no better place to find it than the Rouge Gallery, which wins this category for a third year in a row! Readers also have an eye for the Stall Gallery, which moves up to second this year, while perennial fave Darrel Bell Gallery stays on the podium in third.
BEST PUBLIC ART INSTALLATION
UNFURLED, BY DOUGLAS BENTHAM
Public art is part of what makes any city cool—and once again, our readers love Bentham’s iconic statue at the bottom of the University Bridge! The super-cool Sculpture Gallery behind the U of S campus takes a deserved second spot, while the iconic Gandhi bust on the corner of 2nd Ave. and 21st. takes third.
BEST LIVE THEATRE PRODUCTION
The Wizard of Ozis one of the most-loved stories in history, so it’s no surprise that this super-cool story about the witches of Oz before they were witches was a big hit with Saskatoon theatre fans! Those who love the stage also loved Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan’s version of The Winter’s Tale, which finished in second, and the Persephone Theatre’s Urinetown.
BEST LIVE THEATRE COMPANY
Persephone Theatre remains the unquestioned ruler of Saskatoon’s theatre scene for yet another year, as their always-impressive list of plays allowed them to run away with this category yet again. Indie theatre is also obviously striking a chord with readers, however, as Live Five jumps into second spot for 2011—just ahead of perennial podium-placers Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan.
BEST MOVIE THEATRE
Zap! Pow! Kabloo! In 3-D!!! That’s right—Sakatoon’s major Hollywood megaplex takes this category for the fourth year in a row! No surprise, perhaps—but it was awesome to see both The Broadway Theatre, which finished in second, and the Roxy Theatre, which came in third, pull in a hefty number of votes.
BEST PLACE FOR A READING/BOOK LAUNCH
They’re a perennial winner of our Best Bookstore category, so it’s no surprise to see McNally tops as the favourite place to hear your favourite author talk about their work yet again! Indigo Books jumps into second spot this year—and interestingly, “By the river” comes in third!
**BEST CITY PEOPLE**
It’s a two-peat for Carman Rabuka when it comes to the top tooth doctor, as he follows up his 2010 win. It’s also a two-peat for Nina Moe, who repeats her second-place finish from last year, while Shaun Brakstad drills his way into the top three this year.
Back in the day, he was a world-class track athlete — and now, Cyprian Enweani tops our poll in the Best Doctor category. Also ready to help you heal are awesome doctors Aaorn Friggstad in second, and Cynthia Nave in third.
Cats may have nine lives, but Dr. Elbermani has two straight Best Veterinarian titles to display in his office at the Prairieland Vet Clinic! Rekha Orchard zooms onto our list this year by taking second spot, while Teresa Chu remains on the podium in third.
KATIE MARTIN, SHADES
After a long week at the grindstone, nothing feels better than treating yourself to some perfect pampering—and our readers say no one will do it better for you than Katie Martin! Also ready to make you feel beautifully content are Hanna Jamieson at Compliments Salon, and Ashley Campbell at Salon Diva, who takes third.
HANNAH JAMIESON, LUX STUDIO
Well hello again, Hannah — you’re clearly doing something right! Hannah takes this “super-scissors” category for a second straight year, but the race was exceedingly close, as Kara Firman from Magnolia Salon was right — and I do mean right — behind, just ahead of Magnolia colleague Shelby Gaudet.
When it comes to legal representation in this city, our readers looooove Bill Roe! This is Roe’s second win in a row (ha!), and yet another of the multiple times he’s captured this title in our poll. Other law superstars include Gwen V. Goebel, who takes second, and perennial top three placer Jennifer Pereira—with Goebel and Pereira switching spots from last year in another tight race.
BEST MASSAGE THERAPIST
That knot in your back will soon be a thing of the past if you visit Julie at Circle Centre Chiropractic, say our readers, as she takes top spot in this category for 2011! Last year’s winner, Rachel Harrison, comes up with another strong showing while landing in second, and Dolphyn Boschma in Inphynite Phreedom jumps onto the list in third.
BEST CITY COUNCILLOR
And it’s five in a row for the Charlie Clark dynasty! In what could only be called a landslide, Clark takes the Best Councillor category yet again, although Council newbie Mairin Loewen almost nabbed a ton of votes to finish in second, with Tiffany Paulsen hopping up into the top three this year.
BEST SASKATOON MLA
Speaking of dynasties, it certainly looks like NDP MLA Cam Broten is creating one in this poll. Broten romps to the top of this category for the second straight year, once again finishing ahead of NDP colleague Pat Atkinson (by the way, Atkinson is retiring as of the Nov. 7 election. thanks for a great career Pat! We’ll miss you!). Just like he has for the last two years, Sask. Party MLA Ken Cheveldayoff denies the NDP a top three sweep, landing in third.
BEST SASKATOON MP
Man, politicians of every stripe would kill for the kind of enduring popularity that “None” has in this category, as it wins for yet another year. As for what that says about the people who actually do represent us — sigh. Kelly Block takes second again, while Lynne Yelich maintains her hold on third.
BEST U OF S PROFESSOR
There are always a ton of entries in this category—which is a good thing, as it means there’s a lot of great teachers at the U of S!—so kudos to Rachelle Brockman, who takes top spot this year! David McGrane also wows his students, taking second, while last year’s winner, Keith Russell, maintains a solid third.
BEST SIAST INSTRUCTOR
SIAST students clearly think the world of Kurt Soucy, as the instructor in the Mechanical Engineering department takes top spot here for a second straight year! Bob Knox takes second spot, while Alexis Williams nabs third.
BEST TEACHER (K-12)
There won’t ever be many people more important to a child than a teacher—so parents of children in Katie Frass’ classroom must be over the moon with joy, as she takes this category for a second straight year! Other superstars of molding young minds include Sheela McLean at Aden Bowman and Aaron Adair at Evan Hardy, who lands in the top three for a second straight year.
BEST SASKATOON BLADE
He was one of the best Saskatoon Blades ever, in fact—although the talented forward still couldn’t lift last year’s team to their first-ever Memorial Cup victory. Other stars for our readers include Duncan Siemans who takes second spot, just edging out Josh Nicholls, who placed third.
Sadly, winning this category during the current season doesn’t seem to mean as much as usual, but still—congrats to talented receiver Andy Fantuz, who takes it for a second straight year! (Now just don’t go signing anywhere else in the off-season, Andy!) Speedster Weston Dressler jumps from third last year to second place this year, while quarterback Darian Durant remains in the top three as well.
BEST TATTOO ARTIST
PAT BURKE (RITES OF PASSAGE)
Pat Burke is the master of the ink needle for our readers once again, as the Rites of Passage guru top spot for the second year in a row! Craig Fenrick at Ink Addiction is also a great bet when you’re looking to get a perfect piece of permanent body art, as he takes second, as is Pat’s brother Graeme Burke at Rites of Passage, as he hits the top three for a second straight year.
BEST YOUNG ACTIVIST
When it comes to working for a cause you believe in, few people do it better than uber-activist Ellen Quigley (We Are Many and a ton of other things), who takes this category for a second straight year! Mitchell Anderson (president of the young NDP) moves from third to second this year, while Jeh Custer remains in the top three, taking third.
BEST VETERAN ACTIVIST
Just like the Young Activist category, Veteran Activist also sees a repeat, as readers once again reward the indefatigable Peter Garden for his tireless efforts to make this city—and this world—a better place! Also worthy of your adulation are Nettie Wiebe, who takes second, and perennial contender Don Kossick.
**BEST LOCAL MEDIA**
DANNY GRUMMETT, GLOBAL NEWS
Oh my — CTV’s unbelievable hold on this category has been broken by Global’s Danny Grummett! That’s right—our voters have given Grummett’s nose for news top spot for 2011. CTV shouldn’t fret too much, however, as their own Tara Yolan was right behind, landing in second after an extremely close race, while her colleague Jeff Rogstad finishes third—just ahead of the StarPhoenix’s Jeremy Warren.
BEST POLITICAL REPORTER
JAMES WOOD, STARPHOENIX
Long-time Legislature reporter James Wood wins this award for the first time—just shortly after leaving the province for Alberta. Boo! CBC reporter and 2010 winner Stefanie Langenegger lands in second spot, while the SP’s David Hutton hits the top three for the first time, taking third.
BEST SPORTS REPORTER
KEVIN JESUS, GLOBAL TV
Wondering what the hell happened to the Riders this year? Turn to Global’s Kevin Jesus for the answers! Jesus has now won two straight Best Sports Reporter awards, while past winner and perennial favourite Kevin Waugh repeats last year’s second place finish, just ahead of Rawlco’s Wray Morrison.
BEST ARTS REPORTER
CRAIG SILLIPHANT, PLANET S
This is a first-time category, and look at that — Planet S crackerjack-of-all-trades writer Craig Silliphant takes the inaugural title! Kudos, Craig! Veteran StarPhoenix writer Cam Fuller pulls into second spot, just barely edging out CBC’s Britanny Robinson, who takes third.
JEFF ROGSTAD, CTV
Man, does Jeff Rogstad have a lock on this category! For a sixth straight year, our readers turn to Jeff to find out the forecast! Global’s Warren Dean repeats his second place finish of last year, while CBC’s Dan Reynish also repeats, holding down third once again. Tell me it’s going to be a short winter, guys!
BEST LOCAL RADIO HOST(S)
RYDER, WIRED 96.3
They’re the upstart young radio station in Saskatoon’s market—and Wired 96.3’s Ryder has taken top spot in this category away from veteran radio-ranter John Gormley of NewsTalk 650! Those who love to have John make their blood boil shouldn’t despair too much, however, as he finishes in a solid second spot for 2011, with C95’s Shauna Foster taking third.
BEST RADIO MORNING SHOW
THE BIG SHOW, WIRED 96.3
After years of sneaking up on CFCR’s Green Eggs and Ham, Planet S readers’ long-time favourite, Wired has finally taken top spot. Community radio will still wake you up bushy-tailed, though, and The Rob And Shauna Show on C95 also perks you up without hitting the snooze. Who knew a morning race could be so energetic?
BEST LOCAL RADIO STATION
With a big shakeup in the Best Radio Morning Show results, voters revert to their old favourites and return CFCR once again to the Best Local Radio Station podium, a category that community radio’s never lost in all the years we’ve held our survey. Taking second for the second year in a row is Wired, with C95 again in third, to form a perfect repeat of last year’s results!
BEST LOCAL WEBSITE OR BLOG
It’s been a seminal year for Ominocity, what with the site’s launching and immediate success, and its combination of arts, news, downloads and pure fun makes a winner for Planet S voters. And shucks, you’ve returned our website to the #2 spot! Thanks for that, and kudos also to Saskatoon Home Page, who brings bronze to your screen.
BEST TV ANCHOR
ROB MACDONALD, CTV
No surprise here: the man is untouchable in this category! We at Planet S sure hope he’s not getting tired of the accolades, because he shows no sign of letting up his dominance! Lisa Dutton at Global reads the second-place news once again, while in an upset Chantel Huber gives CTV a two-fer by taking third.
BEST LOCAL TV NEWS
Planet Sreaders have long gotten the scoop from CTV, and this year is no exception, with the TV powerhouse delivering the best coverage for the ninth straight year. Global once again reports its way to second place, while other voters like to get the deets from CBC.
BEST LOCAL TV SPORTS
After scoring top spot for the first time last year, Global plays defensively to answer back for the years of CTV dominance in the Local TV Sports category. CTV still gives it 109 percent, though, to bring home the silver.
BEST LOCAL TV STATION
With Corner Gas gone the way of the grain elevator, you might have expected CTV to loosen its grip on this category …but you’d have been wrong. CFQC has absolutely owned this award since we at Planet S started polling, and that was nine years ago! The couch surfing’s also fine at Global and CBC, say voters, in that order.
BEST STARPHOENIX WRITER
The tongue-in-cheek columnist takes the front page in this, the first year of this category. With so many writers on staff, this was a very tight race, but nightlife reporter Jeanette Stewart wrote her way to second place, and Jeremy Warren takes it for the news department.
BEST PLANET S WRITER
It’s no wonder our readers love the guy – local music and food being two of our favourite things! Readers also love Chris Morin’s music previews and editor Chris Kirkland’s inane ramblings. Er, I mean, untouchable wit. Way to go, guys!
**BEST CITY LIVING**
BEST FITNESS FACILITY/ GYM
Whether it’s getting toned, pumped up, trained, slim or just plain fit, World Gym brings the iron best, say readers. Perennial favourite Physical Activity Centre at the University of Saskatchewan hoists second yet again, while Mawson’s Health and Fitness cleans-and-jerks the bronze.
BEST DANCE STUDIO
LA DANSE SCHOOL OF DANCE
Our readers love to kick off their Sunday shoes, and when it comes steering clear of toes, nobody teaches it better than Sutherland’s La Danse, in their classical style. ClubMynx also thinks you can dance, with or without the pole, while def SOL kicks it up hip hop style.
Pushin’ pedals is a great way to have fun and stay fit, as voters keep proving, and it’s a hobby that just keeps growing — just look at Saskatoon Cycles advocacy group, Ice Cycle winter parade, and a new guide published by the City: all just getting started on the city scene! Running and jogging break the top-three ribbon to take second, too, while yoga takes third, proving we really are a bunch of fresh air, fitness and fun loving folks!
The City is developing a new Master Plan for Kinsmen Park, but here’s hoping all the good stuff — a train, for crying out loud! — doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, as Planet S readers make it the preferred place to play yet again. The Forestry Farm Park also hands out the fun, say voters, and the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market playground also serves it up with excitement.
BEST PUBLIC RESTROOMS
MOXIE’S CLASSIC GRILL
It’s not just cleanliness — the Moxie’s facilities have style, too, as they maintain their porcelain grip on the Best Restrooms category. Voters also flush with flair downtown at Earl’s Restaurant / Bacchus Lounge and Midtown Plaza.
BEST FESTIVAL OR EVENT
SASKTEL SASKATCHEWAN JAZZ FESTIVAL
It’s not an easy choice — with so much fun stuff to choose from (and, let’s face it, anything outside in summertime is awesome), this category always proves an exciting race, like the festival season itself. Jazz Fest entertains its way to top spot once again, while this year’s pared-down Fringe Theatre Festival narrowly beat out Taste of Saskatchewan and Folkfest.
If great school is more than a building with books and chalk (do they still use chalk?), then Nutana’s Victoria is one of those. Victoria overtook last year’s voters’ favourite, Brunskill School, but the Varsity View institution still makes the grade. Kids and parents also love the learnin’ at Aden Bowman Collegiate.
BEST WILD ANIMAL
Also technically Canada’s most dangerous animal (that massive bulk goes right through your windshield), moose are becoming a more and more common sight in the city, and Planet S readers love that sight a hair more than last year’s favourite, cougars. Some of our favourite answers: college students, pileated woodpecker, and Jim Pankiw (hey — we said best wild animal!).
BEST LOCAL POLITICAL/SOCIAL ISSUE TO ARGUE ABOUT
Last year’s favourite thing to get riled up about just hasn’t gone away, even if the Traffic Bridge’s basic plans for replacement have already been laid. Other hot topics that get readers hot under the collar: recycling, roads and bridges in general, biking infrastructure (hey, it’s our Best Hobby!), housing and River Landing, in that order.
BEST THING THAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST YEAR
A GORGEOUS SUMMER
Well, it’s hard to argue with this one, readers! It’s been years of disappointing Julys, so 2011’s hasn’t come a decade too soon, and the heavy traffic on the trails, streets, parks and yes, BEACHES is proof positive that we’re all in agreement. Yay for us! The Sheepdogs’ Rolling Stone cover and the Jazz Festival are further reasons Saskatoon’s glass is definitely half full.
BEST EXCUSE FOR BEING LATE FOR WORK
Unless you’re working the graveyard shift, it’s hard to find fault with this one, since no small amount of planning your commute can prepare you. Construction detours and car trouble may also help you talk your way out of hot water with your boss. Some of our favourites: “There was a bomb threat on University Bridge,” “Gormley pissed me off so I had an accident,” “I support the troops,” “My Hummer ran out of gas,” “I was reading Planet S on the toilet,” and “Cialis.” I sure hope your boss likes you!
It’s four years in a row for the U of S administration, who are one of the city’s biggest employers and take Best Employer yet again. Planet S readers also love the ethic and atmosphere at Robertson Stromberg Pedersen LLP and Saskatoon Health Region.
BEST PLACE TO TAKE AN OUT-OF-TOWNER
Whether it’s River Landing, Meewasin Valley trails, the weir or any number of riverside parks, riverside is the place to impress by far. But what’s also impressive is the incredible variety of places our voters favour to make an impression — there just isn’t the room to list them all, so here are the runners-up: Berry Barn, Broadway Avenue, Western Development Museum and downtown. Way to go, civic pride!
BEST GOLF COURSE
So great it’s got its own neighbourhood, The Willows rises to the fore yet again. Voters also don’t mind a bit of travel to tee off at the great links at Dakota Dunes, the groomed course at Moon Lake, or the City-owned Holiday Park.
It’s a nice addition to the Saskatoon landscape from afar, but here’s betting Planet S readers are touting the Traffic Bridge in anticipation of treading its boardwalk sometime in the future, as the iconic iron rides away with the Best Bridge award yet again. Voters also appreciate the curved style and smooth flow on the Broadway Bridge and the entirely walkable (if bomb-threatened) University Bridge.
BEST THING TO DO IN SASKATOON
WALK ALONG THE RIVER
It’s no surprise that wandering Saskatoon’s many riverbank trails places high on voters’ to-do lists, as it’s beautiful, peaceful, and accessible to nearly all ages and abilities. Voters also love to take a more active approach to the trails — by jogging, running, skiing and biking them — or to just walk or bike in general. Need a break from all that activity? Readers would also like to remind you to veer off the path once in a while to take in some of Saskatoon’s excellent dining and shopping!
BEST YOGA STUDIO
Readers who are tense, tired, stiff or stressed retreat to One Yoga, who takes our first ever Best Yoga trophy! Voters also get untwisted at Hot Yoga on 20th or Joos Yoga at The Refinery.
** BEST CITY LOVING**
BEST PLACE TO MEET A SEXY SOMEONE
Whatcha readin’? With throngs of people and loads of opportunity to ask for notes or study help, the U of S can’t be beat for making connections. Voters also break the ice at Earl’s Restaurant / Bacchus Lounge, Amigos, online or Tequila.
BEST PLACE FOR A FIRST DATE
Forget the studying — get to know someone while rivergazing and dodging roller-bladers, say voters, who also recommend Earl’s Restaurant as their second choice, and Broadway Roastery as their third.
BEST PLACE TO BREAK UP
Okay, I get the romantic appeal of the riverbank, but Planet S voters like romance for breaking up as well as for hooking up — maybe it’s the mix of privacy and publicity. Close behind is “at home” in second place, whether it’s your place or theirs. Broadway Roastery also plays it cool, say voters.
BEST PUBLIC SMOOCHIN’ SPOT
When you’re feeling the warmth, any place with a watery view will do, readers say, followed closely by River Landing in particular, then the weir. Just don’t get so close to all that water that you cool off!
BEST COUPLES ACTIVITY, BESIDES THAT
WALKING THE RIVERBANK
Well, our gorgeous riverbank (great job, Meewasin!) maintains its utter dominance of all things romantic, with yet another score for exploring nature, the sound of waves and finding hidden benches. Other voters’ favourite dates are biking, mini-golfing and watching movies.
BEST LOVE SHOP
When you’re looking to add some spice to your love life, Planet S readers say the saucy offerings at Positive Passions can’t be beat, and they’ve got the handsome new digs on 3rd Avenue to prove it. Voters also get tickled at For Lovers Only or try new pleasures at Lil’ Devil.
BEST PLACE TO GET CONDOMS
SHOPPERS DRUG MART
On your way from the riverbank, be sure to stop at Shoppers Drug Mart to take care of your naughty bits. Positive Passions also has safety and selection in mind, overtaking last year’s second-place finishers, Walmart, who holds on for third.
BEST PLACE TO PROPOSE
Whether you’re after a peaceful atmosphere, a grassy place for your knee, or somewhere your beloved can see that skywriting you paid for, the river once again rules. River Landing in particular follows far behind in second, but the Delta Bessborough Gardens also offer the right mix, say voters.
BEST REASON TO GET A DIVORCE
Infidelity once again runs away with the dubious distinction of winner in the Worst Betrayal category, running around the competition — so here’s hoping Planet S readers are staying true! “The love is gone” is also a valid reason, say voters, followed by abuse, which, we hope, goes without saying. Points to my personal favourite: “We never go to the riverbank.”
BEST PICKUP LINE
It’s direct, it’s confident, it isn’t moronic, and hey, it’s also hard to reject: voters narrowly favoured “Hi” over “Hello” and “Hello, my name is…” Other interesting attempts include: “You smell like bacon,” “Wanna see a Blades game?,” “I’ve got a van out back if you’re interested,” “I’m in The Sheepdogs,” and “Didn’t I see you fall off the stage at Walker’s?”
BEST BATH AND BEAUTY SHOP
THE BODY SHOP
When it comes to needing a little pampering — and let’s face it, winter is coming and that means sumptuous baths — nobody body-butters you up better than The Body Shop, who’ve got some stiff competition from other Midtown Plaza inhabitants Lush and, for next year’s survey, Sephora, who got several votes despite not being open yet at the time the survey closed. The Bath Goddess bubbles up to third.
BEST BOOK STORE
Once again, McNally Robinson absolutely rules as the place to find books by everyone from J.K. Rowling to Yann Martel! McNally runs away with this category for another year, but Indigo also had a very respectable showing, landing in second spot — and local indie Turning The Tide holds on to third spot as well!
BEST CD/DVD STORE
Music on CD and movies on DVD have been under serious threat from the Internet for some time now, but if you want ‘em, our readers say HMV is the place to be. However, the big chain just barely edged out last year’s winner, local indie shop extraordinaire Vinyl Diner. In another triumph for locals, the Vinyl Exchange came in third!BEST SPECIALTY/USED BOOK STORE
WHITE CAT BOOK COMPANY
Downtowners White Cat returns to the top spot after taking its first second place showing in last year’s poll. Westgate books turns to the second page for the first time, overtaking Turning the Tide who takes third.
BEST PLACE TO BUY MAGAZINES
They may be nearly obsolete in print form, but readers of this magazine still love to browse the glossy pages at McNally Robinson, who rules this category yet again. Indigo Books also has a great selection, say voters, who also appreciate the mags at Shoppers Drug Mart.
BEST COMIC BOOK STORE
Holy competition, Batman! This category saw an extremely close race, with Amazing Stories narrowly — and I mean by one single blue-black, helmeted hair — kapow-ing its way to top spot. Hardly sidekicks are 8th Street Books & Comics and Unreal City.
BEST CAR DEALERSHIP (NEW)
ENS LEXUS TOYOTA
The folks at Ens drive away with this one again — their service, selection and quality have given them a stranglehold on this category! You can also pick up some excellent wheels at perennial second-placer Meidl Honda and survey newcomer Saskatoon Hyundai.
BEST CAR DEALERSHIP (USED)
ENS LEXUS TOYOTA
Yep, Ens has a stranglehold on this one, too. But there are changes for second and third: Auto Clearing shifts into second, while the new-to-you rides at Saskatoon Motor Products will also get you around in style, say voters.
BEST CLOTHING STORE (GALS): HIP AND TRENDY
It’s been a year since Planet S introduced this category, and Tonic has absolutely owned it twice — and they’ve got the expansion to Broadway that’s only served to improve their reach. Holding second with chic once again is Frakas, while Stasia Consignment sashays into third.
BEST CLOTHING STORE (GALS): CASUAL/EVERYDAY
Maybe it’s something a little more comfortable you’re looking for? Well, never mind — stay where you are! Tonic’s got you covered there too. Frakas barely beats out Winners for second.
BEST CLOTHING STORE (GALS): PROFESSIONAL
What a race! I hope voters didn’t wear their business suits for this battle, because it was wild. In the end, it’s a three-fer for Tonic, who in the tightest of races defeated Le Chateau, who shared last year’s top spot in a rare tie. Holding down third is the classy styling at Ricky’s.
BEST CLOTHING STORE (GUYS): HIP AND TRENDY
Looking to dress to impress? Planet S readers head to Manhattan Casuals for the dudest of duds, but this was an intense fight with many contenders. Narrowly landing in second place is Mint Fashion Company, while voters say Divine can also do you up right.
BEST CLOTHING STORE (GUYS): CASUAL/EVERYDAY
It’s an upset! Nobody dresses you down like Gap, whom voters handed the top t-shirt in a complete turnaround of last year’s results. Winners narrowly edges out last year’s winner, Old Navy, to put the silver in their jeans.
BEST CLOTHING STORE (GUYS): PROFESSIONAL/FORMAL
Whether you’ve need of an Oscar winner’s tuxedo or a politician’s suit, look no further than Moores, though our male shoppers are once again embroiled in a brilliant battle. Barely nudged out, but still cleaning you up nice, are Tip Top Tailors and Anthony’s Fashion For Men, who take second and third spots respectively.
BEST YOUTH/CHILDREN’S CLOTHING STORE
When your kids have grown out of their wardrobe yet again, it’s time to head to Children’s Place, who’s been looking pretty comfortable in this spot for years. Once Upon a Child moves up a size to take second, while Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo steps into a third place finish.
BEST COMPUTER STORE
Make it a 4G for OTV, whose service and quality have won them the golden microchip for the fourth straight year! Still looking after your bits and bytes is Neural Net too, another perennial favourite. The Campus Computer Store uploads a third-place showing.
In a perfect repeat of last year’s results, Blossoms once again picks the “loves me” petal from our voters! Also romancing readers are the flower powers at Flowers by Fred and Bill’s House of Flowers.
BEST FAIR TRADE STORE
TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES
Saskatoon’s favourite fair trade store, a branch of the Mennonite Central Committee, celebrates its 65th year of equitable commerce with its third straight award in this category. Not to be outdone, The The Better Good and Dad’s Organic Market also chalk one up for the little guy.
BEST FURNITURE STORE
Wow, has Saskatoon got some great competition chasing the chaise chalice! Urban Barn makes it two in a row for a great place to stuff your upholstery, but hot on its heels are Leon’s Furniture, Palliser Rooms EQ3 and Furniture World.
BEST HOBBY SHOP
They must give out great instructions, because the city’s best in hobby notions followed last year’s results to a tee. Hobbyworld puts it together perfectly yet again, while Michael’s keeps it glued and Dragon’s Den plays supporting role.
BEST HOME ELECTRONICS STORE
After just missing last year’s podium to the 2010 newcomers, Best Buy, Future Shop replays its previous winnings and takes this year’s highest definition. Best Buy makes a strong showing in second place, however, followed by Visions Electronics.
BEST JEWELLERY STORE
Saskatoonlocals Heinrichs are now twice gilded by readers seeking a little sparkle in their lives. Voters also noticed the earrings at Frakas can dangle too, and the pendants at Peoples Jewellers are simply sterling.
BEST ACCESSORIES STORE
When voters need a little extra something for an outfit, they clearly know just where to head — Frakas, who absolutely runs away with this award yet again. Ardene improves to second scarf in its best-ever showing, with our third-place winner smack-dab in between — at Etceteras.
BEST MUSIC EQUIPMENT STORE
LONG AND MCQUADE
Need the tools to ply your musical trade? Planet S readers know just where to head — Long and McQuade, who overtook last year’s winner, Mother’s Music, in more ways than one. Mother’s children haven’t forgotten, however, as they bring in enough votes to give the now-defunct music merchant the silver cymbal. St. John’s Music takes third, with newcomer Village Guitar & Amp just behind.
BEST OPTICAL STORE
The finest frames make it five straight for Nutana dwellers Optika, in another close race with so much competition. Voters also like what they see at Point Optical downtown and in Confed, where they can also head to third-placers Atrium Eye Care.
BEST SHOE STORE (GALS): FANCY
Quickly growing into institution shoes (‘cause they’re so popular, I mean), Fixation runs away with the perfect pump — without even breaking a heel. Gals also like to show off their tootsies at perennial favourites Aldo and Durand’s.
BEST SHOE STORE (GALS): CASUAL
Since there’s no shortage of superb options around town for a great sandal or sneaker, it’s no surprise this foot race got a little sweaty. Aldo pulled ahead at the last, followed by the cozy cushions at Fixation and the sensible slip-ons at Traxx.
BEST SHOE STORE (GUYS): FANCY
When Planet S guys gotta get a getup, Aldo’s their favourite place to finish off that supercool look and shod them up right. But they also appreciate the sole stylings at Swank Shoe Lounge and Fixation Footwear.
BEST SHOE STORE (GUYS): CASUAL
Well, most guys I know aren’t that complicated. While picking up that pristine pair at Aldo, why not look after your everyday shoe needs as well? Voters also loved the laidback loafers at Swank Shoe Lounge and the wearable walkers at Traxx.
BEST STORE FOR A SECOND-HAND FIND
Maybe it makes some people uncomfortable, but for Planet S readers who need a 1970s coffee table, a monster truck tee shirt, an eight track player and a Halloween costume all at once, they know Value Village is the place to find that treasure. Just behind in second is the fabulous finds at Stasia Boutique, followed by the youthful yields at Plato’s Closet.
BEST STORE FOR A UNIQUE FIND
THE THE BETTER GOOD
Whether it’s clothes, housewares, food or bric-a-brac, The The Better Good has something interesting, and it’s fair-trade, too! Voters also appreciated the amazing “What the?!” moments at Value Village and Stasia Boutique.
BEST TATTOO SHOP
TANTRIX BODY ART
Tantrix must be doing their ink up right, because they’ve been creeping up in the Best Tattoo category for years! Ever-popular Rites of Passage and Ink Addiction follow just behind. Congratulations, folks — this one’s on me! Er, not too literally now…
BEST PIERCING SHOP
It’s the golden gauge for Schmatta yet again, who’ve taken Best Piercing Shop for three straight years. The studs and barbells are also excellent at Tantrix Body Art and Pic-Man Tattoo, say voters.
BEST LOCALLY OWNED SHOP
THE BETTER GOOD
Broadway’s The Better Good makes it two in a row for Best Locally Owned Shop, while also making impressive showings in a number of categories. Dearly loved locals Turning the Tide and Esteem for the Home also help us keep it real when we might have been heading for the big box. Way to go!
BEST NEW STORE
GUYS AND DAWLS
2011 has seen a ton of new shopfronts on the Saskatoon scene, making this a tough race to call. The welcome wagon goes out to the cool fashions at Guys and Dawls, followed by Leven’s Coffee, Guess and Pure Frozen Yogurt.
When it comes to browsing a bunch of places without having to drive around, nothing beats the Midtown for sheer selection and convenience. Shoppers also worship at the Mall at Lawson Heights, who overtake last year’s silver medalist, The Centre Mall.
BEST STORE SIGN
A store’s sign is more than an advertisement — it sets the atmosphere for what you’ll find when you step inside. On that note, Planet S readers love the rounded storefront and vibrant colours at Frakas. They also dig the classic style of Amazing Stories and that crazy parrot at Earl’s. (That’s a parrot, right?)
BEST PART OF TOWN TO SHOP IN
A great area to shop in has more than selection and quality — it’s easy to get to, and pleasant to get around in, meaning interesting and friendly faces, shelter and trees. Congratulations to our fine downtown for overtaking perennial favourite Broadway Avenue, which still sits pretty in second. The linear convenience of 8th Street takes third.
BEST BICYCLE STORE
The doctor is definitely in: the Bike Doctor makes it eight years of taking the golden spoke! Voters also love the cyclin’ service at Doug’s Spoke ‘n Sport and the pedal pushers at Bike Universe.
BEST SKATEBOARD STORE
It’s a three-peat for Nine Times Boarding, who kickflips to number one again, while Undergrind Skates overtakes 2010’s silver truck winners, Escape Sports, who grind in at third.
BEST SPORTING GOODS STORE
It’s little wonder this was a close race, but what one can’t be sure of is whether Sport Chek swam, skated, boarded, skied or ran to the finish line, with Al Anderson’s Source for Sports just behind. Escape Sports takes the B pool.
BEST ECO-FRIENDLY STORE
THE BETTER GOOD
Green business makes good business, and it turns out, it also makes good voter turnout! The Better Good’s specialty truly shines in this category, but voters remind you that you can also do good by shopping at Dad’s Organic Market and Steep Hill Food Co-op.
BEST PET SUPPLIES STORE
Animal lovers need more than a steady supply of food — knowledgeable staff, healthy ingredients and cute conveniences are all in order, and that’s why Planet S readers appreciate Critters, as well as Petsmart and Petland.
BEST HOME DÉCOR STORE
They’ve only been in town for a couple of years, and as of now, they’ve taken Best Home Décor twice in a row — talk about instant gratification. Their Stonebridge companions, Urban Barn, accent their way to second, while Esteem for the Home nabs third.
BEST ACCOUNTANT /TAX PREPARER
I let the big firms do the counting on this category, and they tell me H&R delivers the fattest refund. Voters also like their results at MNP, who lands just behind, followed by Liberty Tax Service.
BEST AUTO REPAIR SHOP
AVALON AUTO SERVICE
It’s a four-cylinder for Avalon, who are on a serious roll at doing the best job on your ride. Other great tuneups come from Glenwood Auto, a new contender to this category, and perennial top-three-er Lai’s Auto Service.
BEST AUTO BODY REPAIR SHOP
PARR AUTO BODY
Sutherland’s Parr takes the paint in our first year of this category, which proved a hotly contested battle. Downtown’s Kavia Auto Body and the north end’s Mark’s Auto Body will also smooth you out just fine, say our readers.
BEST AUTO GLASS REPAIR SHOP
SPEEDY AUTO GLASS
With the state of our roads a hot topic in 2011, and construction going on everywhere, voters appreciate a good soldier in the war of flying rocks, like Speedy Auto Glass. Last year’s third-favourite, ADESA, takes second chip filler, just ahead of Windshield Wizard.
BEST AUTO PARTS STORE
Voters fixin’ to fix it themselves know a place with selection and knowledgeable service is just the thing — and they’ve once again elected PartSource their go-to guy. The folks at NAPA Auto Parts can also help you lay your hands on what you need, as can WSSL Autoparts.
BEST ALTERNATIVE/HOLISTIC HEALTH PRACTITIONER
DR. HOE MARK
Acupuncturist Dr. Hoe Mark has won himself a healthy following, as he takes this category for the second straight year! Voters also come away feeling good from Dolphyn Boschman at Inphynite Phreedom, and stand up straight at Orchard Holistic Chiropractic Care.
BEST CAR RENTAL OUTLET
BUDGET and ENTERPRISE
They put their pedals to the metal, but this photo finish was inconclusive. The two powerhouses duked it out and came back with a rare tie. The folks at Avis Car Rental can also set you up in style, say voters.
BEST APPLIANCE REPAIR
Prompt house calls, quick repairs and a great warranty — when your kitchen goes kaput, you look for someone who gives it all. Shaughnessy beats out last year’s favourite, Blitz Appliance Repair, who takes second place, followed by Midtown Appliance.
BEST HAIR SALON
Voters needing a hair job — be it trim, colour, updo or plain ol’ cut — have plenty of great choices in Saskatoon, as this category gathers a gigabillion votes, and Magnolia comes out with the throne. Just behind are Chel Salonspa, voters’ pick for 2010, and Ethos Salon Spa.
BEST TRAVEL AGENCY
Tripping it old school? CAA stamps voters’ passports for the third straight year, sending them out in style. Marlin Travel outpaces last year’s second placer, Travel Cuts, who takes the bronze booking.
BEST BANK BRANCH
ROYAL BANK ON 8TH ST.
The imperials take it again, as for the second straight year, Royal on 8th delivers the best in short lineups, friendly staff, lots of ATMs …and oh yeah, trust. Just nickels behind is TD on 8th St., followed by Royal Bank on 1st Ave.
BEST BEAUTY SPA
Face, feet or fingers — every part benefits from a little special treatment now and then. Broadway’s Spa Ahava’s got no mask here, as they take Best Beauty Spa yet again. Other perfect pamperers include Edgewater Spa and Just For You Day Spa.
BEST CELL SERVICE PROVIDER
Crown corporation SaskTel takes the cellular crown a second time in a row, in a runaway show of prairie pride. For second place, Telus leapfrogs Rogers Communications, who delivers the third bar.
BEST FINANCIAL PLANNERS
Since I’m not young enough to get away with ignoring my lack of retirement planning anymore, I appreciate the advice from voters who know, who tell me Investors Group can set me up right. They also appreciate the accumulations from Wiegers Financial and Sun Life Financial. My favourite answer: “Dad, mom (in that order).”
BEST MORTGAGE BROKER
Your Mortgage Link’s Ryan Mollberg pays it off twice by taking Best Mortgage Broker two years in a row — you might even say he’s moving in to this category, as he collected votes like they were bottom-line signatures. Voters also trust Scott Trainor and Lynn Trost, both at The Mortgage Group.
BEST INSURANCE AGENCY
Be it home, life or car, great insurance can sweeten the deal. Cherry takes the cake by overtaking last year’s favourite, Galon Insurance Brokers, who land at third. The Co-operators keep you safe at second place.
BEST CARPET CLEANERS
DIAMOND CARPET CLEANING
If you’ve ever removed a carpet, you know the value of a good carpet cleaning. Diamond keeps it to a gold standard by making it two in a row, but steaming up behind them are City Carpet Services and Brothers in Grime.
Bzzzt! A tradesperson who knows their way around the wiring is indispensable, especially when the labels on your breaker box look anything like mine. Voters say trust it to Sommerfeld, but they also like the wattage ways of All Star Electric and Greva Electric.
Since the home improvement craze of the past few years, this has become a hot category that’s hard to nail down. Beehive, in the end, makes it two in a row, with Braid Flooring and End of the Roll close behind.
BEST HOME RENO STORE
The big box juggernaut seals it up tight for the second straight year. Planet S readers also love the aisles of tiles at Rona and Saskatoon Co-op, while Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore isn’t far behind.
BEST INTERIOR DESIGNERS
ATMOSPHERE INTERIOR DESIGN
Just can’t make that working, sleeping, cooking or living space work? Or starting from scratch and want to be sure you never have to look at carpet swatches again? Voters recommend the pros at Atmosphere to set you up in style, but they also love the looks at Studio 2.0 Interior Design Consultants and Funktional Space.
SAWYER’S TREES & LANDSCAPES
Speaking of starting from scratch — or needing to — the folks at Sawyer’s are really growing into their role, taking Best Landscaper once again. It was a close battle though, with the second- and third-place spots taken by DMS Landscaping and Vision Landscape and Design.
THE PIANO GUYS
You just know that if you ask your friends, you’ll have to ply them with beer and pizza and by the time they get around to handling your precious stuff, they’ll be drunk, disorderly and possibly a little greasy. Voters say let The Piano Guys take care of it, but they also like the intact deliveries from Geransky’s Moving and Storage and Jay’s Moving.
Whether installing new or repairing old, look no further than the prestigious plumbers at Centennial Plumbing and Heating. Other voters love the polite piping at Perfection Plumbing and the careful cleaning at Gregg’s Plumbing and Heating.
Everyone knows the importance of having a roof over their heads — but those who aren’t taking for granted the importance of a roof that keeps them dry know where to go. Helgason Roofing covers it up right once again, but you can also look to Tweet’s Roofing or Rapid Roofing Solutions to seal you in.
BEST REAL ESTATE COMPANY
Buying or selling, home or business, a good realtor can get the job done with less pain and strain. Re/Max realty rules, say voters. Closing the deal in a dead heat are Hallmark Realty and Realty Executives, followed hotly by Century 21.
BEST PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER
Wow, are there a ton of great photogs in this town — proven utterly by the landslide of voters and votees in this category! At the end of the roll, it’s Karen Mackie who snaps it, but Planet S readers also love the flashy flashes from Lauren Winter Photography and the shimmery shutters at Cindy Moleski Photography Studio.