author: ethan williams | staff writer
Regina, you really are the Queen City of the plains
Regina, O fairest Regina. With your cold, harsh winters and dry, scorching summers; your drunken Rider fans and seedy but somehow profitable Dewdney Strip. You give us your beauty in the provincial legislature grounds, we turn it into a car show for young adults who still haven’t found a steady, full-time job. You give us the beauty of the prairie, we thank you by creating whatever the area of Quance Street between University Park and Prince of Wales is. Seriously. Has anyone who hath ventured to those parts ever lived to tell the tale?
But after some time tediously maneuvering Ring Road and its never-ending construction that thrusts motorists into one lane, and stopping at what must be one of the last ground-level train crossings on a major road in a major Canadian city waiting for a CP train to slowly jaunt along the tracks, stop, and then reverse, we’ve come to realize that there are some things we just can’t live without that live within you.
Where would we be without the simple things you so bountifully provide? Walking in the park and passing the bandshell, hearing a group of musicians start an impromptu performance for those who should pass by. Or going to the Conexus to catch a band, even if it is their 35th anniversary reunion tour and they haven’t had a song in twenty-five years, and Regina was a last-minute addition because some die-hard fans started a campaign to get them to come and play. Or the smaller venues like seeing a start-up rock group bring down the Exchange, or a performance by the newest local music sensation at the Capitol.
Or those chilly autumn nights, when the sun is just going down, and if you really listen, you can hear the din of the crowd at Mosaic Stadium after a touchdown pass is completed. Or really hear it when you leap up out of your seat after sitting for an hour trying not to focus on how cold you are at the game itself. And not to mention the frigid, dark, midwinter nights when we grab our skates, toques, and ski gloves to play an hour or so of hockey at the old stand-by: the community rink. Continuing even after the thirty minute timed lights shut off, and the game is so intense that no one dares to leave the ice to find the switch to turn them back on. First, because no such switch ever seems to exist, and second because you’d rather win the game than lose; even if that means chipping a tooth on the crossbar because you can’t see anything anymore.
We can’t forget the special spaces you provide us. Ever take a walk out to the arch bridge on Fleet Street? You look out on the water and past it, out to the grassy prairie and think you’ve reached heaven. Or the block of Hill Avenue that makes it seem as though you’ve stepped back in time, with the small businesses in the tiny brick buildings, and the little corner grocery store that still sells fruit for cheap, but yet the quality is better than that of some big brand stores. Or under the glow of Christmas lights as we skate by the glow of City Square Plaza downtown. Or yelling at the top of your lungs, believing you’re the King of the World while standing atop Douglas Park Hill, looking over the skyline to the right, the U of R to the left, and the dancing lights of the oil refinery and big white lights illuminating Leibel Field behind you.
We often say that we “can’t wait to leave you,” or that you’re “nothing special.” But, perhaps, we’ve been expecting too much all along. Maybe what we’ve needed this whole time is what you’ve been giving us since we started our lives here. Places to learn, places to heal, even places to shop for your favourite band’s logo on a t-shirt and grab a new bong for the road. And we’ve seen some pretty awesome times together: The Rolling Stones rocking old Mosaic; the Juno Awards capturing the spirit of Canadian Music; the Rider’s home-field Grey Cup Win; blustering blizzards, raging thunderstorms, Dick Assman, Fiacco’s moustache; it’s all happened here.
We couldn’t ask for anything more. With or without the zipper merge, thank you for being there for us. And if your people could collectively proclaim their everlasting love for you, they would probably say something like this:
“I Love Regina.”
The People of the Queen City