It's time once again to celebrate the Best of Vancouver

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      For 26 straight years, the Georgia Straight has been dishing up the Best of Vancouver.

      Longtime readers know the drill by now: readers vote for the winners in dozens of categories in boxes sprinkled throughout this paper. If you see a winner in the “Readers’ Choice” box, that person or business is the people’s champion. And the Straight’s writers pick their bests, sometimes serious and sometimes offbeat, in the items that follow this introduction.

      This year’s Best of Vancouver includes a sensational cover illustration by Shayne Letain that captures the joy that many people in the arts and cultural sector are feeling about the return of live entertainment. But not everyone is thrilled, as demonstrated by an article by Mike Usinger in this week’s music section.

      The popular owner of the beloved Rickshaw Theatre, Mo Tarmohamed, is feeling cheesed about what appears to be a double standard. Rockers can fill Rogers Arena because everyone is seated, but the far smaller Rickshaw had to reduce its capacity because of an order from the provincial health office, even though everyone has to still be vaxxed and masked to get inside the premises.

      “The only time I get worked up is when I get hacked on a soccer pitch,” Tarmohamed wrote on his Facebook page, “but the current duplicitous PHO order has me incensed.”

      C’mon, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry—you can do better than that. Give our buddy Mo a break.

      On the upside, Vancouverites can look forward to a bounty of arts and culture this holiday season. This year’s East Van Panto is Alice in Wonderland at the York Theatre. Chor Leoni Men’s Choir will be back with stirring Christmas concerts at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church. And the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is offering its own set of traditional Christmas performances around the region in December.

      There’s a chance that the worst of COVID-19 might be behind us, given that more than 8.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in B.C. And if that, indeed, turns out to be true—and the pandemic’s impact is finally starting to fade—that is truly the Best of Vancouver, as far as we’re concerned.

      As you flip through this year’s Best of Vancouver edition, we hope you learn some undiscovered secrets about the city and enjoy more than a few laughs.

      Ideally, you’ll also take time to patronize local businesses and other organizations that have proven to be so popular with so many readers. After all, they just won an election in their categories.