Regina and Tourism - Two Words That Don't Belong in the Same Sentence

Foyer of hotel
Regina is not a place that I have a desire to visit again.

On the positive side, it is a neat and tidy city and clearly there is clearly an effort to keep it that way. It is easy to get around the city itself and the airport is only 10 minutes from the downtown core. But those are not good reasons to visit this prairie city. It is also sterile, cold (metaphorically, that is) and lacking in any real character.  At 7pm on a weeknight you could shoot a cannon down any downtown street and not hit anything. Sad really!

Government office
The Regina tourism site touts it as the cultural and commercial center of Saskatchewan. “ Regina is a fast-paced, exciting city and very much a part of the ‘New Saskatchewan’ and that we are ready and willing to welcome you". Come on folks, is that for real?

The hotel is attractively lit at night
Commercial perhaps, lots of office towers and a decent if not very exiting central enclosed shopping mall that offers few specialty shops though it still has one of the few remaining Maison Birk stores left in Canada. A high end wine store, high end shoe store and women's fashion, nope! Lot's of greasy food stops though.

Interesting office tower design
Cultural center, hmm. Does football count as "cultural"? I suppose so and if you are a Saskatchewan Riders fan you probably have a very good reason to come to Regina. I am willing to bet that you don't stick around to see the other "cultural sites", aside from a sports bar after the game.

Former Post office?
I went to a cultural site on Saturday; the downtown liquor store to pick up some local craft beer.  There was none. Or some imported beer and there were maybe a handful of brands, less than 5 or so. However I did see a rack of fortified wine in two liter "pop" containers which told me something. Saskatchewan liquor commission might call this "harm reduction" but I call it exploitation. I asked the clerk at the store concerning the limited imported beer choices and she said, "well, look where you are".

Old downtown building that looked vacant
Other cultural sites? The Casino? Hmm again.

Life in the downtown core
The hotel was okay. It is one of the early CP hotels (built in the late 1920s) now owned by a large hotel chain. It was quiet, clean and comfortable, however it is clear that it has tumbled from grace. What used to be a four diamond hotel in now three diamonds and in my opinion....just. Oh, it is regal and imposing and nicely lit with green floodlights at night but also tired and worn on the inside and in need of some tender loving care. You also need a room card to activate the hotel elevators. Maybe this is something new that I am not familiar with but clearly a feature designed to keep a certain element of society from wandering aimlessly within the hotel hallways.

A good reason to visit?
Excitement is also not a word I'd use in the same sentence as "Regina". My advice to City of Regina officials. Do something to liven the downtown core and make it a fun and exciting experience. And redefine the cultural experience. There is a ton of Saskatchewan history you can draw on.

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