Regina’s hidden gems
author: mac brock | a&c editor
Keep an eye out for these little-known spots in the Queen City
We’re lucky to live in an easily-explored city. There are the classic tourist stops – the museum, the science centre, Wascana Park, and so on and so forth. Certain areas of the city, however, are taking big steps toward becoming the new pedestrian hot spots. As the weather keeps getting warmer, head out into the city and take a look at some of these historical and cultural points of interest to learn more and love more about the Queen City.
CITY SQUARE PLAZA
I am incredibly lucky to have my walk to and from work pass through this heart of the city. After a couple years of impossible construction, the city did a beyond commendable job bringing life and energy to what used to be a regular street block on 12th Avenue between Scarth and Lorne. With constantly changing art installations (like the repurposed pianos in summer 2016), the outdoor skating rink, and lighting setups that make a walk home from the bar feel like a New York magic moment, downtown has been activated in a new and wonderful way. Also look out for dance lessons, a reinvigorated farmer’s market, and local favourite Trifecta festival on the installed stage.
This hidden gem lives at the north end of the Albert Street bridge over Wascana Park. Many of us likely drive past it a few times a week and never give it half of a thought, but this spot is a historical marvel in the city. Created as an access point to the walking trail around the Lake, Speaker’s Corner was developed into a monument to democracy and free speech. Much of the brick around the walls is taken from the Old City Hall; the gas lanterns from structures around the Houses of Parliament in London, England; and six paper birch trees around the perimeter from Runnymede Meadow where King John signed the Magna Carta. The circular plaza is surrounded by history and makes for a wonderful stop on your next walk.
Jason Hall is a well-recognized piece of human mess. Stonehall Castle, his newest investment, came under heavy controversy after its use of the word “wench” to hire female staff based on their physical measurements, breaking Saskatchewan Labour hiring codes. After some flimsy rebuttals, the castle opened to the public for overly expensive visits and school field trips, although the site has little to no actual historical merit or educational value.
Don’t go to Stonehall Castle.
LES SHERMAN PARK
I discovered Les Sherman Park through Brown Communications’ geocache challenge late last year. The park runs between Pasqua and Elphinstone near Kiwanis, and features some of the most interesting walking paths next to Wascana Creek. There’s plenty of wildlife to be seen and some great romantic picnic opportunities.
The library in the Southland mall may have gone under your radar for a long time as a place you maybe went to once or twice with your parents or school. The library has just completed a $3 million renovation, transforming the space into a technological wonderland.
The finished product features spaces shared for community organizations, a teen section featuring a PlayStation VR and a huge mobile-accessible Apple TV monitor, and an interactive 60-inch tablet for kids in the children’s section. The renovations make the new library a trendy, modern spot for families, students, and anyone ready for a creatively equipped paradise.
THE HERITAGE HOUSES
If you haven’t taken a chance to go around the city and take in the various houses deemed heritage spaces in the city, you are missing out. Several houses within the city, either due to their previous owners or unique styles, are deemed to have heritage status. Arguably the most interesting home being the “Doll’s House” on McCallum Avenue, named for its striking exterior, decorated with hot pink features, shutter windows, and a steeply pointed face. The home was built by local architect William Van Egmond, as a wedding present for his daughter. It stands now as an inhabited residence with a heritage plaque in front. All of the homes, listed at regina.ca, are well worth a quick walk to learn their fascinating, and sometimes bizarre, stories.
HUNTER GATHERER DINER
I can’t say enough about Hunter Gatherer. After a busy day walking around the city and taking in some of the underrated features of the city, you’ll need some healthy nourishment. You’ll need to make a stop at Regina’s best new vegetarian place. That’s right, vegetarian. I scoffed too, a hungover brunch needs some sort of bacon, sausage, or at the very least eggs. But when you walk into Hunter Gatherer, you’ll feel a new understanding for the indie culture of Regina. Huge pastoral paintings line the walls, adding to its cabin-in-the-woods décor. Then you get the “Ringer” – an egg, cooked inside of an onion ring, with all sorts of toppings and arguably the best hash browns in the city. Eating local is one thing, but eating vegetarian, delicious, and unstoppably local is a new level.
Everyone has that one friend who will try to tell you that Regina has nothing interesting going on. Take a look at these local attractions and get to know a differen