Story by Patricia Dawn Robertson
REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN — No one adores a royal visitor more than Saskatchewan residents. Prince Edward is touring the prairie province, for the fifth time, this month. The Earl of Wessex will make stops in Regina, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Swift Current. While all four cities have much to offer a Commonwealth-savvy traveller, Regina is the provincial seat and the destination with the most royal panache and history.
If you crave the kind of travel enjoyed by visiting royalty, look no further. First of all, Regina’s nickname is the Queen City. It’s named after Queen Victoria and it offers the best royal hospitality in the province. If I were setting up an ideal Regina itinerary for Prince Edward, it would proceed as follows:
The Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan: This landmark (2125 Victoria Avenue) is where the Rolling Stones gather their moss and Mick Jagger calls dibs on the Royal Suite. Prince Edward will most likely occupy the hotel’s best bed while in the city. So can you for $1,499 per night. The Royal Suite spans 146.2 square metres of royal elegance. The suite features a whirlpool tub, a heated towel bar, a separate shower and a luxurious living room area. The dining room seats up to 10 people and the suite also features a small kitchenette with a microwave and a mini fridge, perfect for the royal butler.
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High Tea is served in the hotel’s Queen Victoria Tea Room (Thursday–Saturday, 2:30-4 pm, reservations are required, telephone 306-337-4311). Have the butler lay out your best daytime suit to partake in a late afternoon refresher. Formal High Tea starts at $29 per diner and features hot tea steeped right at tableside from a classic cart. The fresh scones, smoked salmon pinwheels and madeleines will tempt Prince Edward’s inner aristocrat.
Michi Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar: (1943 Scarth Street), While he’s in town, the prince would also be well-served to partake in the best sushi in the province,which is only a block away from the hotel. Michi sources its fresh fish — and its skilled chefs — straight from Japan. Their fresh and light green tea ice cream is the perfect sushi chaser.
Fresh & Sweet: Located at Victoria Avenue and McIntyre Street, this spot is the brainchild of Valley Girls Catering. Since breakfast is served all day, this lively bistro is always packed on weekends. Nosh on freshly squeezed strawberry-orange juice and signature red velvet pancakes. They’d be happy to set aside a table for the royal party should they crave a noisy breakfast out among the local citizens.
MacKenzie Art Gallery: After breakfast, pay a visit to Regina’s iconic gallery (3475 Albert Street). I’m sure Prince Edward can arrange a private tour of painter Wilf Perreault’s upcoming exhibition (September 24 to January 4). This show is a major retrospective of one of Saskatchewan’s most celebrated painters. See how the other half lives through this painter’s eyes. Best known for a single subject — the everyday back alley — this exhibition features more than 40 paintings and watercolours. It traces the development of this unlikely urban icon. The exhibition will include a major new installation: a 150-foot wraparound panorama of back alleys.
Tangerine: The Food Bar: This establishment (2234–14th Street) serves farm fresh lunches harvested from the garden of chef-owner Aimee Schulhauser’s grandmother. This hip café’s menu includes gluten-free macarons, ham and cheese sammies and quinoa spinach salad with cranberries and almonds. This is the hot spot for ladies who lunch after yoga. They would welcome the chance to bump elbows with a handsome royal out-of-towner.
The RCMP Heritage Centre: No royal visit would be complete without a stop at this celebrated academy (5907 Dewdney Avenue). It’s located in the city’s west end (10 minutes from downtown). The impressive 70,000-square-foot facility, designed by Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson, features a state-of-the-art multimedia Carousel Theatre with serge red seating and four permanent exhibit spaces that tell the story of the Canada’s National Police Service. Weekday visitors can also take in the RCMP Sergeant-Major’s Parade at 12:45 pm. Call 306-780-5838 for more info. Visitors may even catch a glimpse of cadets in training as they run in small groups along the Wascana Creek pathway system.
Saskatchewan Roughriders: Summer is football season in Saskatchewan as rabid fans drive from far and wide to show their Rider Pride. If Prince Edward wants to witness the athletic side of Regina, football is the ticket. His highness can don some green and head out to Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field (about 10 minutes by car from downtown) to catch an afternoon CFL game. (Adult tickets range from $33-$76.50.) Be sure to stop for soft ice cream after the game at The Milky Way (910 Victoria Avenue). Their pistachio soft ice cream is divine and this Regina landmark is only open in summer.
The Regina Public Library Film Theatre: This downtown cultural hub is the best place to view independent films in Regina. This week, foodie films “Chef and “The Lunchbox” are featured on the marquee at the theatre ((2311 – 12 Avenue). Catch a film then head for the popular patio at La Bodega Bar and Grill (2228 Albert Street) to debrief with red wine and tapas. Chef-owner Adam Sperling charms his regulars with a bi-weekly “Fresh Sheet.”
The Diplomat: This restaurant is where all of the visiting high-rollers indulge in a good steak dinner. Owner John Makris has hosted politicians like Brian Mulroney and Rene Levesque, diplomats from around the globe have signed the guestbook and the lobby is rife with photos of celebrities like John Candy and Stage West dinner theatre alumni like David Madden (The Partridge Family’s agent, Reuben Kincaid). The kitschy red booths are cozy and intimate, the wine cellar is the best stocked in the province and Frank Sinatra croons away while you treat yourself to a classic Caesar cocktail and some mushroom caps, followed by a juicy filet mignon. For dessert, a little strawberry flambé with ice cream and a coffee. Allow three hours for dinner as this is old-school dining at its finest (2032 Broad Street, 306-359-3366).
Crave Kitchen and Wine Bar: Need a quiet nightcap after a busy day of photo-ops and ribbon cutting? You’ll find fine choices at the hottest downtown wine bar (1925 Victoria Avenue, 306-525-8777). Down the street from the Diplomat, Crave has a fresh modern ambiance, the best smart drinks in town, and its proximity to the Hotel Saskatchewan allows Prince Edward and his entourage to amble back to the Royal Suite on foot.