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Your McMurray Magazine's 2021 Best of YMM Readers' Choice

(6 votes)

Welcome to Your McMurray Magazine’s Best of YMM - Readers’ Choice! With 40 topics listed in four categories, the Best of Award Program is growing to be a well-received community initiative for our region and the people who are actively evolving the betterment of our livelihoods.

We first launched the Best of YMM in 2019. And though it paused in 2020, our editorial team felt it was in our readers’ best interest to bring it back to liven up the community rapport and act as a booster to cheer each other on as we continuously adjust and readjust through the pandemic.

The 2021 program kicked off in January with thanks due to our program presenting partners, the Casman Group of Companies and the Tourism team at Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism.

Beginning with the nomination process, we tallied up the top five finalists from each of the four categories and opened up the voting polls for residents to choose their best. The entire process brought in over 7,000 responses, and you will find the results on the following pages.

Check out the Behind-the-Scenes piece to learn how our exclusive 2021 Best of YMM photographer Greg Halinda captured the photos of our top-ranked finalists, as they received the most votes in their specific categories.


Best Food

2021 Best of YMM Winner!

Best Steak: The Keg Steakhouse + Bar

Chef Matthew Verhulp presents one of the Keg Steakhouse + Bar award-winning steaks in the restaurant’s lounge alongside his team members. The Best Steak title was the most our readers voted on of all the Best of YMM categories.


Best Breakfast

8528 Manning Avenue, 780-750-0395

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

East Village Pub + Eatery
Paddy McSwiggins
Surekha’s on the Snye
The Fish Place


Best Bowl (noodles/soups/stew etc.)

Mitchell’s Cafe
10015 Main Street, 780-743-1665

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Earls Kitchen + Bar
East Village Pub + Eatery
Triple S Noodle Bar


Best Coffee

Firebag Coffee Company
271 Rattlepan Creek, 780-215-0744

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Second Cup
Tim Hortons


Best Donair

PK’s Corner Pizza
101 Riverstone Ridge, 780-750-9991

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Cedars Bakery
Cosmos Pizza
Hu’s Pizza & Donairs
Jomaa’s Pizza & Chicken


Best Dessert

Mitchell’s Cafe
10015 Main Street, 780-743-1665

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

East Village Pub + Eatery
MR MIKES SteakhouseCasual
Surekha’s on the Snye
The Keg Steakhouse + Bar


Best Pizza

Hu’s Pizza & Donairs
10020 Franklin Avenue, 780-791-5554
Facebook: Hu’s Pizza & Donairs

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Boston Pizza
Cosmos Pizza
Milano’s Pizza & Grill
PK’s Corner Pizza


Best Pub Food

East Village Pub + Eatery
101-395 Loutit Road, 587-276-2238

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Blackhorse Pub
Paddy McSwiggins
The Canadian Brewhouse
57 North Kitchen + Brewery


Best Steak

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar
10006 MacDonald Avenue, 780-791-2540

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Earls Kitchen + Bar
East Village Pub + Eatery
MR MIKES SteakhouseCasual
The Podollan Pub


Best Take-Out Menu

Boston Pizza

Timberlea: 110 Millennium Drive, 780-715-1999
Downtown: 10202 MacDonald Avenue, 780-743-5056

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Earls Kitchen + Bar
East Village Pub + Eatery
MR MIKES SteakhouseCasual
The Canadian Brewhouse


Best Vegan/Vegetarian

DEDICATE Healthy Kitchen & Meal Prep
135 Eagle Ridge Boulevard, 780-790-0065

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Earls Kitchen + Bar
Spices Restaurant
Surekha’s on the Snye


Best People

2021 Best of YMM Winner!

Best Delivery Person: Bulldog Delivery

Bulldog Delivery owner Walid Herda shows how his business will bring residents purchases to wherever they may be with this order to the Shell Place. His team claimed the Best Delivery Person title in this year’s Best of YMM.


Best Bus & Cab Driver

Diversified Transportation
920 Memorial Drive, 780-743-2244

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Hank’s Quick Cabs
Sun Taxi
United Class Cabs
Wood Buffalo Co-op Taxi Inc.


Best Beauty Care & Salon Specialist

Jenni Pottle of Spoiled Rotten Beauty Boutique
122 Millennium Drive, 780-714-5070

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Jessica Beresford of The Beauty Cellar
Krista Kemp of Allure Medi Spa
Shelby Kenny of Razor’s Edge Hair Studio
Sunny Najm of Sunny’s Salon


Best Community Cheerleader

Blake Crossley of Buddy the Elf
Find @therealbuddytheelf, 780-799-5466

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Judy Dredge of 9Round Fitness
Melanie Galea of Discover Fort McMurray
Mike Jones of On Stage with Mike Jones
Robbie Picard of Oil & Gas Strong


Best Grocery Store Staff

Save-On-Foods in Thickwood
131 Signal Road, 780-791-3909

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Family Foods in Gregoire
Joly’s Your Independent Grocer in Timberlea
Save-On-Foods in Timberlea
Sobeys in Thickwood


Best Health Care Provider

Intensive Care Unit - Northern Lights Regional Health Centre
7 Hospital Street, 780-791-6161

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Dr. Elliot Frank of MaxWell Medical
Dr. Nasim Arruj of Hardin Medical Clinic
Dr. Raman Kumar of MaxWell Medical
Kate Farkouh of Mama Coach YMM


Best In Education

Dan Tulk - Fort McMurray Composite High School
9803 King Street, 780-743-5800

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Sheldon Dahl of Fort McMurray
Composite High School
Helen Marche of St. Kateri Catholic School
Brendan Toner of Walter and Gladys Hill School
Jennifer Pope of Father Mercredi
Community High School


Best In Delivery Service

Bulldog Delivery
Find @bulldogdelivery, 780-215-3766

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Intelcom Courier
Jomaas Pizza
57 North Kitchen + Brewery


Best In Retail Service

Chocolates & Candlelight
4-122 Millennium Drive, 780-743-3878

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Home Hardware Building Centre
The Sprouting Fawn
Velenzia Fashion
Yvonne Lauren Boutique


Best Pet Care Provider

Wood Buffalo Small Animal Hospital
5-608 Signal Road, 780-715-9369

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Ann’s Pet Services Ltd.
K9 Clubhouse
Northern Veterinary Services
Pawfessional Pet Sitting


Best Photographer

Emily Locke of Emily Gale Photography
Find @emilygalephotography, 780-881-1143

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Crystal Mercredi of Life & Portraits
Cortny MacKenzie of Cortny MacKenzie Photography
Kayla Lavers of Kayla May Photography
Thomas Hopkins of Thomas Hopkins Photography


Best Places

2021 Best of YMM Winner!

Best Bakery, Best Dessert & Best Bowl: Mitchell's Cafe   

Mitchell’s Cafe owner Owen Erskine with the bakery’s award-winning cinnamon buns and dessert tray. His hardworking team topped the voting charts for the Best Bakery, Best Bowl and Best Dessert titles.


Best Barber Shop

Thickwood Barber Shop
700 Signal Road, 780-750-9939

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Fade 99 Barbershop
Millennium Barbershop
MVP Modern Barbers
Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop 


Best Bakery

Mitchell’s Cafe
10015 Main Street, 780-743-1665

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Cedars Bakery & Restaurant
Joly’s Your Independent Grocer
Safeway in Downtown
Sobeys in Thickwood


Best Beauty/Hair Salon

Spoiled Rotten Beauty Boutique
122 Millennium Drive, 780-714-5070

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Cool Blondes Salon
Head Case Artistry
Orange Lily Hair & Body Studio
Razor’s Edge Hair Studio


Best Car Care & Dealership

NorthStar Ford Lincoln SVT
1540 Memorial Drive, 780-791-7911

Readers’ Choice Runner-ups 

Borealis Automotive
Beyond Detailing Ltd.
Legacy Dodge
Summit GM Chevrolet GMC Buick


Best Entertainment Place

The Alley YMM
15-8528 Manning Avenue, 780-972-9900

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Boomtown Casino
Keyano Theatre & Arts Centre
Landmark Cinemas


Best Fitness Centre/Recreation Facility

MacDonald Island Park
1 MacDonald Drive, 780-791-0070

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Exhale Yoga & Barre
Oranj Fitness
Syncrude Sport & Wellness Centre
9Round Fitness


Best Flower Shop

The Flower Studio
4-412 Thickwood Boulevard Bay, 780-791-4262

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Caribou Flowers & Gifts
Flora Boreal
Safeway in Downtown
Save-on-Foods in Downtown


Best Park & Playground

Syncrude Athletic Park
101 Cartier Road, 780-799-5865

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Howard J. Pew Memorial Family Park
Lion’s Park
Snye Point Park
Abasand Park (Simon & Lucas Park)


Best Real Estate Agency

Coldwell Banker Fort McMurray
9905 Sutherland Street, 780-714-5050

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

RE/MAX Fort McMurray
Royal LePage True North Realty
Seller Direct Fort McMurray
3% Realty Fort McMurray


Best Restaurant Patio

Surekha’s on the Snye
2 Clearwater Drive, 780-713-3330

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

The Banquet
Earls Kitchen + Bar (Downtown)
East Village Pub + Eatery
Bear & Buffalo


Best of Virtually Anything

2021 Best of YMM Winner!

Best in Education, Best Online Entertainer, Best Online Party, Best Social Media Personality: Dan Tulk

Educator and musician Dan Tulk won the Best of YMM this year with six finalist titles in two categories. He showed up to the Tavern On Main stage to play some “air guitar” for photoshoot entertainment.


Best Local Online Entertainer

Dan Tulk

Just like James Taylor’s lyrics, “Winter, spring, summer or fall. All you have to do is call,” and Dan Tulk will be there. Not physically speaking, but he found his way through residents’ devices during the worst hits the past year has brought to the community and revived their spirits through guitar and song. Whether from an empty bar or his home studio, Fort McMurray’s favourite music man hit incredible heights in online entertainment and still does to this day.

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Angela Ordaz
Max Noseworthy
Simma Downe
The Borderpines


Best Online Party

Dan Tulk NYE at 57 North Kitchen + Brewery with Special Guest Max Noseworthy & Shantelle Davidson

New Year’s Eve of 2020 may have seemed dull and drab without the dancefloor and dress-up opportunity, but not for the guests who took part in 57 North Kitchen’s NYE’s virtual event. With Dan Tulk headlining the evening with Max Noseworthy and Shantelle Davidson, 2021 was rung in with a start set while the restaurant had ready-made orders of appetizer platters and cocktails to-go for their guests to enjoy from home.

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

2020 Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards: Midnight Steampunk
Fort McMurray Food Festival Virtual Patio Party in support of Waypoints
New Year’s Eve Bash featuring JD Hunter at Earls Kitchen + Bar
The Festival of Trees Online Tree Auction for the Northern Lights Health Foundation


Best Social Media Personality

Dan Tulk

Social media through the pandemic plays a pinnacle role for many of us because it’s one of the best ways to stay social with everyone else outside of our household. It can also be a dreary place if you’re steadily reading the negatives. However, if you’re lucky enough to have Dan Tulk on the newsfeed, you know how it feels to be enlightened by his spunk and constant positive affirmations.

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Melanie Galea
Mike Jones
Paige Cyr
​​​​​​​Simma Downe


Best Virtual Open-Mic

Open Mic Night at Tavern On Main by Dan Tulk

If you’ve travelled to the pubs and taverns regularly pre-COVID, then you have seen Dan Tulk on the stages performing and hosting open mic nights. During the pandemic, he’s kept them going to share virtually, and it’s why you see his name twice in this category because he’s the man who knows how to bring musicians together in many places.

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Canada Day 2020 by the Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo
Open Mic Night All Ages at Paddy McSwiggins hosted by Dan Tulk
NorthWord Magazine’s Issue 22 Anomaly - Virtual Launch
​​​​​​​Quarantheatre Series by Theatre; Just Because


Best At-Home Initiative

Fort McMurray Birthday Parties on Wheels by Amanda Chubbs

At the beginning of the pandemic shut down in March 2020, Fort McMurray resident Amanda Chubbs launched an at-home initiative to help children celebrate their birthdays by having a motorized driveby. With hundreds of happy birthday greetings shared to-date, Chubbs created a way for residents to safely send special salutations to family and friends regardless of the COVID restrictions set in place.

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Escape Boxes by Mr. E’s Solve-It-Torium YMM
Quarantheatre Series by Theatre; Just Because
Stay Home, Read Gala by Wood Buffalo Regional Library
Virtual Classes by Exhale Yoga & Barre


Best Local Online Concert

Country 93.3 Virtual Concert for Fort McMurray

On June 5, 2020, local radio station Country 93.3 brought an all-star panel of musicians together on a virtual platform to support the Fort McMurray victims of the 2020 Spring Flood and the Canadian Red Cross. Brett Kissel, Tim Hicks, High Valley, Shawn Austin, Madeline Merlo, The Washboard Union, The Prairie States and many others united for an evening of musical inspiration.

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Around the Campfire: Music, Stories & Songs
Dan Tulk Music
Live Music at 57 North
Tibb’s Eve with Max Noseworthy


Best Online Program & Service

Exhale Yoga & Barre’s Virtual Classes

Between Government-authorized reopenings and lockdowns, Exhale Yoga & Barre studio has helped its clients stay healthy in body and mind with various virtual classes for residents. The studio will soon celebrate its first anniversary since it opened its doors and quickly learned how to adapt to the times. It’s most likely because it states it’s “built on community, love, experience and strong foundations” and welcomes its clients with respect and open hearts.

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Arts Council Wood Buffalo’s Artist-in-Residency Program
Girls’ Inc. of Northern Alberta’s Home-Based Programming
Wood Buffalo Regional Library’s Virtual Story Time Corner
YMM Dance Company’s Virtual Classes


Best Social Distancing Event

Wood Buffalo Ribfest at the Casman Centre

Labour Day Weekend in Fort McMurray has had a turnover in excitement since the inaugural Wood Buffalo Ribfest in 2019. It was also named the Best Community Event in our first Best of YMM program. With the 2020 changes, organizers transitioned to continue delivering delicious barbecued eats from some of the top rib trucks available to come safely into the region and allowed residents to grab food from the comfort of their cars. Another Best of YMM title should be a great reminder for them to keep coming back!

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Dog Sledding with Controlled Chaos
Gord Bamford at the Fort McMurray International Airport
Northern Lights Health Foundation Festival of Trees
Reverse Santa Claus Parade by Regional
Municipality of Wood Buffalo


Best Virtual Conference

Arts Council Wood Buffalo’s AGM 2020

Hosting annual general meetings took a learning curve to coordinate through the pandemic for many organizations. Arts Council Wood Buffalo’s AGM 2020 was highly successful with its open discussion with its members through a Q&A session through a webinar platform. They also shared a special presentation revealing the theme of their 5th Annual Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards.

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Convergence YMM by FuseSocial
Momentum 2020 by Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism
Some Other Solutions’ AGM 2020


Best Virtual Community Event

New Year’s Eve Fireworks at MacDonald Island

The Wood Buffalo region’s residents were still able to ring in 2021 by watching the New Year’s Eve Fireworks presented by Syncrude at MacDonald Island Park. Though spaces were limited, guests did have the opportunity to view on-location and around the city of Fort McMurray, while others enjoyed them from the comfort of their own homes through live streaming.

Readers’ Choice Runners-up

Canada Day 2020 by the Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo
Festival of Trees Online Tree Auction by the Northern Lights Health Foundation
Fort McMurray Food Festival presented by Suncor Energy in support of Waypoints
2020 Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards: Midnight Steampunk by Arts Council Wood Buffalo


Behind The Scenes

With all the disruptions COVID-19 has caused, we were so excited to get back to the roots of magazine content creation by curating the exclusive and original content we’ve been used to with on-site photoshoots and in-person interactions. So, we brought on one of the Wood Buffalo region’s best photographers for our Best of YMM - Readers’ Choice program. With all respect to the COVID-19 restrictions set in place, Greg Halinda shared the scoop with Your McMurray Magazine on capturing some of our highest-ranked finalists in their regular community backgrounds and settings, donning their smiling faces.


The Keg Steakhouse + Bar

Greg Halinda: After working with Keg manager Tony Loga and his team to set up some photos in the beautiful two-story lounge, it was evident how they take pride in their business. I was pleasantly surprised to see people lining up outside for the doors to open at 4 p.m. Obviously, the Keg in Fort McMurray has been doing things right for years based on their devoted following!


Bulldog Delivery at the Shell Place

GH: Bulldog Delivery owner Walid brought his dog to the photo shoot, along with his Bulldog team. They are a fun bunch who enjoy working together and having a laugh or two, which they did even as I posed them outdoors in a chilly March wind.


Mitchell’s Cafe

GH: It was great to spend some time with Mitchell’s Cafe owner Owen Erskine and his crew. I’ve had so many memorable meals and snacks there over the 25 years I’ve lived in Fort McMurray. I’m always inspired when I get to ask a chef about how they do things, and it’s a bonus to share my thoughts on good coffee and food with them.


Dan Tulk at the Tavern on Main

GH: Musician Dan Tulk was photographed in his element on stage at the Tavern on Main. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions meant he wasn’t allowed to sing, as the patrons and staff at the Tavern were egging him on to do just that as I photographed him. It’s always a pleasure to be around Dan as he exudes a love of music and of people.

And that’s a wrap...

With the intent of saving the BEST for last, our team and partners would like to share a special thanks to you - our valued readers and everyone who took part in this year’s Best of YMM program. As we continue to work through and adapt to new ways of living, we value the people who surround us and all the great things they do to create the betterment of our community and region entirely.

Special thanks to our Best of YMM - Readers’ Choice partners, Casman Group of Companies and the Tourism team of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism.

As we continue to share the stories and our programs for outstanding individuals and businesses through our magazine publication, we would like to hear your feedback on the Best of YMM - Readers’ Choices. If you have any questions or inquiries, email Your McMurray Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Dawn Booth.


Dawn Booth is a local journalist and business owner of the communication service, Media Booth. Residing in Fort McMurray since 2007, Booth has been actively working in the Wood Buffalo region as a media and marketing expert. From her arrival to the city, until November 2010, she worked as the Special Features Editor at the Fort McMurray Today. In April 2011, she co-launched snapd Wood Buffalo and managed the publication for three years, until June 2014. In March 2014, she created Media Booth and is currently working with a wide-variety of clients in the business and nonprofit sectors throughout Alberta. Her passion for volunteering in the community has given her two civic awards from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. She has also received the title for the Fort McMurray Connect's Top 40 Under 40 and is one of Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta's 2014-2015 Women of Inspiration. A happy wife and loving mother to two young boys and a baby girl, Booth can be found easily at