Extreme Makeover: West 11th Edition

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author:  quinn bell | a&c writer


Keeping it local. / Jeremy Davis

Billy Crystal and Neil Patrick Harris were both unavailable. I suppose.

Regina’s West 11th is going to be seeing some exciting changes over the next few months, further transforming the area into a hip and friendly commercial strip (as close as it may be to the infamous Empire Hotel). 

After the closing of the problematic Rouge Nightclub last year, Heritage redeveloper Nicor initially leased the space to Hitchhikers Improv. The improvisers were to use the space a few nights a week. During the days, the hope was that the space would be used to host pop-up shops, community markets, and the like. Jimmy at HOBO-Donuts, for example, has had some pop-ups in the space.  

Apparently, however, the plans fell through, and so what income there was from the infrequent pop-ups was not sustainable for the building owners. As a consequence, the Hitchhikers are getting moved out (Nicor is helping them to find a new space, however, as they were good tenants and are not being evicted for their part in the lease agreement). This is nonetheless unfortunate for the troupe, as they have only been in their own theatre for less than a year. They will be just about finishing off their season in the West 11th theatre, with the finale show taking place at the Artesian on 13th, like the good old days.  

Meanwhile, there are some exciting expansions taking place. As unfortunate as it is that the improvisers will no longer be on 11th Avenue, the changes afoot can only benefit the area. Mainly, the changes revolve around neighbouring eco-store Mortise & Tenon.  

Mortise & Tenon will be moving into the West 11th space come April, expanding their inventory as well as the experience of the shop. If you’ve been in lately, you’ll know that Mortise & Tenon have already begun to carry sustainable soap products: shampoos and conditioners, hand wash, lotions, and so on. They have these massive glass jars from Italy to store the soap in, which they then sell in mason jars with pumps on them. The hope, I think, is that you can go back and refill your jar whenever you need, saving everyone a heck-ton of plastic waste. For now the products are coming in from B.C., but when the expansion officially begins, store owners are planning on making their own, so as to further reduce waste, environmental impact, and price for consumers. It’s a bit pricy at the moment, but it will get better soon. 

With more space to play with, the store will likely be expanding their inventory of homemade carpentry products  cutting boards, serving dishes, sushi sets, and so on. Their already wide selection of witty buttons and stickers, eco-friendly toiletries and utensils, and hopefully punny graphic tees will also get wider. There are rumours of dog-friendly days, and of a cafe to open in the space. I, for one, would love to see another cool coffee shop open up, especially in a space where there’s cool stuff to browse while I sip. 

Mortise & Tenon’s former space will likely be used by Cub clothing, a Regina brand featuring stylish, tasteful, hand-made clothing and accessories.  

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