Best of Saskatoon 2020 by Stephen Whitworth

Every year since 2004 Planet S readers have voted for Saskatoon’s best people, places, arts and culture, shops, services and more. That’s 17 editions of the Best Of Saskatoon, including this one.

I think it’s fair to say there’s never been a Best Of Saskatoon in a year like this.

Back in March when the world began shutting down, we had no idea how much everything was about to change. By the end of April, we weren’t even sure there would be a Planet S by the time Best Of voting rolled around.

But it’s December 2020, and here we are and here you are. Together, we made this fun, slightly silly annual tradition work (could it be a reminder that together, we can make a lot of good things work?).

When you think about it, it might be the best time for a reader poll celebrating what’s great about Saskatoon. Because it has never been more challenging to cheer for our favorite people, places and things.

We can’t have a huge bash at a pub or restaurant. We can’t book a fancy event at a social hall. We can barely even have visits with our favourite people!

On the business side of things, local shops miss loyal customers who are themselves trying to balance pandemic safety with supporting the local merchants they love. Yes, there are ways to make shopping work, and most of us are trying — social distancing, limited number of shoppers in-store, delivery and curbside pick-up. Still, as Covid cases spiral out of control a certain face-to-face element has been necessarily lost to pandemic protocols.

I know I miss loitering in shops and chatting to people. A lot of you do, too. But that will come back; we’ve just got to bear down and get through this.

(Remember: supporting local business means cheerfully wearing a mask. Please don’t be an jackass about it.)

Then there’s the personal costs of this pandemic. We all miss our friends. Depending on our individual bubble situations, some have gone months without seeing some family members.

We also miss concerts, sports and public events. I mean, it’s rough.

For now we have this moment, a chance to celebrate the Best of Saskatoon as chosen by Planet S readers. It’s not enough — not nearly, but it’s something in these dark days.

We hope you enjoy this feature in a safe setting and with a beverage of your choice toast the winners of this reader’s poll.

Hopefully by next summer this plague will be over, and we’ll be able to celebrate properly. Until then, cheers.