Categories: Stories From Our Past

I thought readers would be interested to note that this Friday marks the 110th anniversary of the province of Saskatchewan. On September 4th, 1905 Saskatchewan was given official provincial status (prior to that it was part of the North-West Territories), and the city of Regina was set to be ground zero for inauguration celebrations. Both the Canadian Pacific and the Canadian National Railways had extra cars ready to ferry excited rural residents to the capital city where Saskatchewan’s biggest party was set to take place.

In 1905 people saw great things for the future of Regina. At that time Saskatchewan was known as the “bread basket of the world”, and was host to countless burgeoning agricultural and industrial projects. Early predictions regarding the city’s growth estimated that it would one day be home to a population of roughly 10 million people, and though we know now that those predictions were for naught, in 1905 it meant that Regina was thought of by many as a place of consequence. To this end, Inauguration Day was a chance for the City to pull out all the stops and give people a show they would never forget.

The week leading up to September fourth saw Regina festooned with bunting, banners, and flags of all shapes and sizes. The City erected arches covered in wheat and evergreen branches at the intersections between Broad and Scarth Streets along South Railway Street (now Saskatchewan Drive). These decorative arches were emblazoned the slogans “World’s Granary”, “North West Forever”, “God Save the King”, and “Saskatchewan”. In the evenings, homes and businesses illuminated their windows with displays celebrating the birth of our province. A notable example of this type of display could be seen in the windows of The Regina Trading Company, which featured a tableau depicting Saskatchewan as a baby in a carriage!

The official programme kicked off on the morning of September 4th, 1905, with festivities starting at Victoria Park where the crowds were treated to a performance from the 90th Regiment Band who were brought in from Winnipeg for the occasion. All the school children in the city lined up and formed a procession, leading a parade from Victoria Park to the Exhibition Grounds. At the Exhibition Grounds, over three thousand people crowded onto the grandstand to watch the official swearing in ceremony of Lieutenant-Governor Amedee Forget. Some of Canada and Great Britain’s most distinguished citizens were present at the event including Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier (best known today as the face on our five-dollar bill), and Governor Earl and Lady Grey.

After the speeches, which heaped praise upon the land and people of Saskatchewan, the crowd was treated to performances by several different marching bands and a musical ride performance by the Royal North- West Mounted Police. In the evening, crowds once again descended on Victoria Park to watch an incredible fireworks display, highlights of which included the display of the phrase “God Bless Our Province”, and a photo of King Edward VII in the sky. Today a cairn in Victoria Park commemorates this event, but it is hard to imagine the excitement people must have felt in the days leading up to the celebration. This Friday, as you get ready to enjoy the long weekend, take some time to think back on the first celebration we enjoyed as a province.

Written by: S. Hay

Source Cited:
"Hail Province of Saskatchewan", The Regina Leader. Vol.22, No. 29, September 6th, 1905. This newspaper can be accessed through the microfilm collection in the Prairie History Room at the Regina Public Library.


Categories: PHR News

Prairie History Room hours for the Labour Day Long Weekend

Just a reminder that the Prairie History Room will have the following operating hours this upcoming Labour Day long weekend:

Saturday, September 5, 2015: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 6, 2015: CLOSED
Monday, September 7, 2015: CLOSED
Tuesday, September 8, 2015: 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.


Categories: New Magazines

New PHR Magazines for the week of August 17, 2015

Family Tree Magazine September 2015, Volume 16, Issue 5

* "Sweet 16" by David A. Fryxell. Discover the 101 genealogy websites that take the cake in 2015. pg. 16-

* "French Connections" by Kimberly Powell. From the vineyards of Burgundy to the lights of Paris, say "bonjour" to your roots. pg. 26-

* "Workbook: Naturalization Records" by Lisa A. Alzo. pg. 33-

* "Break It Down" by Dana McCullough. Going around in circles after ancestors on the free FamilySearch.org? Let's break down the site's search form and filter options... pg. 42-

* "DIY Your Family History Book" by Maureen A. Taylor. pg. 46-

* "Modern Families" by Lisa A. Alzo. Unsure how to include an open adoption, surrogate child or same-sex marriage in your software or online tree? Our guide to charting today's families... pg. 52-

* * *

Manitoba History, The Journal of the Manitoba Historical Society No. 78, Summer 2015

* "Pioneers on the Forest Fringe: The Wood Economy of the Red River Settlement, 1812-1883" by Thomas Shay. pg. 2-

* "William James Sisler, A Most Unconventional, Conventional Man" by James Mochoruk. pg. 13-

* "A Cup of Cold Water: Alfred Kirkness and the Brandon Residential School Cemeteries" by Anne Lindsay, Clare Cook, and David Cuthbert. pg. 29-

* Edward Worrell Jarvis in Western Canada" by Sam McBride. pg. 39-

* "The Postage Stamp Province" by Gordon Goldsborough. pg. 43-

Note: Issue also contains the Summer 2015 edition of the MHS Gazette.

Note: These magazines can be borrowed for 1 week.


The Civic Museum of Regina closing its doors August 31

After 55 years of preserving the history of the city, The Civic Museum of Regina (formerly The Regina Plains Museum) will be closing its doors to the public August 31st, 2015 and will be permanently dissolved by December 31st, 2015.

The museum is member-based, registered charity and has been unable to secure core-operating funds. The decision comes after working with the City of Regina for several years in hopes to avoid closure.

View the full press release PDF

* * *
from the Leader-Post article "Civic Museum of Regina to be dissolved" August 14, 2015:
Scott Cheston, the board’s vice-president, called the decision to close the museum to the public Aug. 31 heartbreaking.

“A lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into this,” he said.

Since joining the board in spring 2011, Cheston said the museum has operated on a “fairly shoestring budget.”


Categories: New Magazines

New PHR Magazine for the week of August 10, 2015

Internet Genealogy, August/September 2015, Vol. 10, No. 3

* "Rich Resources: Online State Archives" by Carol Richey, pgs. 6-9.

* "Seven Resources for World War II Reunion Groups and Associations" by Jennifer Holik, pgs. 11-15.

* "Digitization Project: Snapshots from the Korean War!" by Tony Bandy, pgs. 17-18.

* "Uncovering the Bairnsfather Story" by Gabrielle Morgan, pgs. 20-24.

* "National Folklore Collection of Ireland: Schools' Collection" by Joe Grandinetti, pgs. 29-33.

* "Know Your Historical Societies and Find Your Ancestors" by Amanda Epperson, pgs. 38-41.

* "Published and Digital Record Sources of the Revolutionary Era: A State-by-State List" by David A. Norris, pgs. 42-46.

* "Four Essential Keys for Genealogy Backups!" by Tony Bandy, pgs. 49-51.

Note: This magazine can be borrowed for 1 week.


Take a Tour of Regina with a Heritage Regina Guide in August

Curious about certain events in Regina's history? Need a bit of exercise on a Sunday evening? Looking for affordable (e.g. FREE) ways to spend a couple of hours?

Then check out these free walking tours in August, courtesy of Heritage Regina:

Regina's Beginnings
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015
Meet here: the McNab Historic Marker across from 90 Empress Drive

Meet guides Amanda Girardin, Hazel Whippier and Joe Jozsa at the McNab Historic Marker across from 90 Empress Drive at 6:00 p.m.
The tour will look at Regina's beginnings through a tour of the McNab neighbourhood, including stops at Luther College and Government House.

The (Almost Lost) Footpaths of College Avenue
Sunday, August 30th, 2015
6:00pm- 8:00pm
Meet here: the South East corner of Broad Street and College Avenue

Meet guide Jeanie Mah on the South East corner of Broad Street and College Avenue at 6:00 p.m. and learn about the great history of this remarkable street in our city.


Categories: PHR News

Prairie History Room hours for the August long weekend 2015

Just a reminder that the Prairie History Room will have the following operating hours this upcoming August long weekend:

Saturday, August 1, 2015: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 2, 2015: CLOSED
Monday, August 3, 2015: CLOSED
Tuesday, August 4, 2015: 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Categories: New Magazines

New PHR Magazines for July 31, 2015

Alberta History, Summer 2015, Vol. 63, No. 3

* " 'Strike Action is Forced Upon Us' The Alberta Farmers' Strike of 1946" by Carrol Jaques, pgs. 2-10.

* "Isabella Clarke Hardisty Lougheed: First Lady of the North-West" by Doris Jeanne MacKinnon, pgs. 11-15.

* "Ecology or Economy: A History of Fire Management in Alberta" by Elizabeth Ramsey, pgs. 16-20.

* "A Jewish Homesteader in the West" by Jack Hackman, pgs. 21-25.

Note: issue contains the July 2015 copy of History Now, the newsletter for The Historical Society of Alberta.

* * *
National Genealogical Society Quarterly, June 2015, Vol. 103, No. 2

* "Too Few Sources to Solve a Family Mystery? Some Greenfields in Central and Western New York" by Thomas W. Jones, pgs. 85-104.

* "Mothers for Sophie (Kanetski) Howe of Scranton, Pennsylvania" by Melissa A. Johnson, pgs. 105-114.

* "Free and Enslaved: John and Melinda Human/Newman of Talbot County and Baltimore, Maryland" by Michael G. Hait, pgs. 115-128.

* "Family Members Missing from Derbyshire Censuses Help Identify Edwin Thorpe's Parents and Original Name" by Allen R. Peterson, pgs. 129-138.

* "Identifying a Son for John Temple of Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama" by Rachal Mills Lennon, pgs. 139-150.

* * *

Families: Ontario Genealogical Society, August 2015, Vol. 54, No. 3

* "How Burns Ker Weld Thomson Got His Name" by Joyce Huth Munro, pgs. 3-7.

* "Thomas McInnes's Final Resting Place" by Nancy Findlater Cutway, pgs. 9-11.

* "One Record is Not Enough" by Elizabeth Ramsey, pgs. 11-13.

* "The Mewburn Voyage to Canada 1832" by Dr. Ian G. Macdonald, pgs. 14-32.

* "Russell Edgar Mitton: His Life and My Memories" by Russell Lloyd Mitton, pgs. 32-33.

Note: issue contains the copy of NewsLeaf, the newsletter for The Ontario Genealogical Society supplement to Families, vol. 45, No. 3.

Note: These magazine issues can be borrowed for 1 week.


Stories from the Rare Book Cabinet

The Prairie History Room is full of textual treasures, and I thought it would be nice to take some time to highlight some of the rarest and most intriguing books in our collection. This week I have selected a book that you will not find anywhere else, as it was compiled by Regina Public Library staff over the course of four painstaking years. The book was not meant to be published, in fact, calling it a book is a tad generous. The volume is a scrapbook of articles entitled “Newspaper clippings of Regina’s Enlisted Personnel: World War One”.

From 1914-1918 Canadian soldiers were fighting in the First World War.We are all familiar with the narrative by now; we all know that thousands of our best and brightest made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and way of life, but this book makes the period come alive in a way that more traditional narratives do not.In an abstract way we can imagine librarians 100 years ago leafing through the newspaper each day, searching for information about local soldiers fighting overseas. The pages of this book gain added dimension when one realizes that the men they were reading about were their brothers, their sweethearts, and their friends. These weren’t articles about strangers, these men were part of Regina- at one point or another they had lived here and worked here. They spent happy moments here in quieter, more peaceful times.It is easy to understand why those left behind on the home front felt it was their duty to keep a record tracking the various tragedies and triumphs experienced by their loved ones.

Each page of this book is stiff with century old adhesive, and the articles are beginning to yellow with age and use, but these shortcomings are nothing compared to the treasures contained on each scrap of newsprint. We read the story of Edward Puntin, who tells a harrowing tale of being torpedoed in the English Channel. His story becomes more gripping when we learn that he was a boy of 14 at the time, having most recently been a student at Albert Elementary School. Another notable article details the heroism of the Milne family, whose sons James, Alex and Thomas were all awarded service medals. Sadly, James was the only brother to live to receive his medal as his brothers were both killed while performing the acts of bravery for which they were honored. These are just two of hundreds of captivating stories in this amazing album.

This book is a unique snapshot of Regina during a very specific moment in time, a period when our citizens were taxed emotionally and physically. Events that were taking place thousands of miles away had a very real impact on the lives of those in our community. The strange mix of pride and horror experienced by Regina citizens every day as they read their morning paper is hard to imagine. This battered and careworn scrapbook from that time says more about how Regina’s citizens experienced the First World War than any standard history book.

Written by Shana Hay

Source: "Newspaper Clippings of Regina's Enlisted Personnel: World War One". This volume is available for research at the Prairie History Room, located in the Central Branch of the Regina Public Library. The image at the top of the page is from a page in this book.


Rielco Productions presents The Trial of Louis Riel 2015

Witness history come alive!

This play “The Trial of Louis Riel” by John Coulter is based on the actual transcripts of the famous trial of Louis Riel in Regina in 1885.

Performances are Thursday, Friday, Saturday from July 16 to August 1st
Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
Show starts at 7:30 p.m.
The Museum Shop will be open along with the Mega Munchies concession and cash bar.

Ticket Price:
$20 / Adult
$15 / Senior or Student
$12 / Youth 12 and under
Venue: Royal Saskatchewan Museum
Address: 2445 Albert St, Regina
Purchase your tickets at the Museum Shop in the Museum lobby. 306-787-2815
or online at Rielco Productions

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This blog will inform you about the new items added to our collection; recommend some of the best online genealogy resources for you to use; and notify you of any upcoming genealogy and heritage-related workshops and events in the Regina community or around province. So remember to bookmark this page or subscribe to one of the RSS feeds so can you always remain up-to-date. And don't forget, we love to hear what you think so don't be shy about leaving your comments!

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