Regina's first bank, the Bank of Montreal, was established January 2, 1883 on the corner of Victoria Avenue and Lorne Street. It was the first office of any chartered bank west of Winnipeg. Around the same time, a " private bank and a short-lived Merchant's bank opened, but Reginans knew that the Bank of Montreal was here to stay when it imported a wooden building from Chicago."
Sources: Regina Leader Post, May 26, 1965.
Drake, Earl G. Regina, the Queen City. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1955.
The first Regina city hall (1886 - 1908) was a town hall, since Regina wasn't incorporated as a city until 1903. It was located on the northeast corner of Scarth Street and 11th Avenue. This frame building functioned as a fire hall, police station and jail, a theatre, and a school. It was officially opened by Lieutenant Governor Edgar Dewdney on February 11, 1886. The day Regina became a city, Lieutenant Governor A.E. Forget raised the Union Jack for the first time over the City of Regina at this location.
Regina's second city hall (1908 - 1962) was located on 11th Avenue between Rose Street and Hamilton Street. It housed an auditorium and a jail. It was designed by W.M. Dodd and was opened officially on March 6, 1908. This site was sold for the Midtown Centre development in 1964 and the building was demolished the following year.
Regina's third city hall (1962 - 1976) was located in the old post office building on the corner of Scarth Street and 11th Avenue. This building, designed by David Ewart, chief architect for the Dominion of Canada, was constructed in the "Beaux Arts" style and completed in 1909. It ceased being used as a post office in 1956. In 1962 the building was declared surplus by the Federal Government and sold to the City of Regina for $100,000. The building was renovated and used as the city hall until 1976. The old post office building is still standing, now called the Old City Hall Mall.
The fourth and current city hall (1976 - present) faces Victoria Avenue between McIntyre Street and Smith Street. The building was officially opened December 14, 1976. The construction manager was Poole Construction Limited and the architect, Joseph Pettick. It cost $10.1 million. It is 16 storeys high, rising 208 feet above a landscaped public plaza known as Queen Elizabeth II Court.
The illuminated upper tower of city hall is symbolic of a crown. The building material, white quartz aggregate, used for the building's exterior and the ground floor public area, is from Colorado. The granite, used on the floor and wall finish in ground floor areas, was quarried and pre-finished in Italy. Walnut veneer, lining areas such as the Council Chamber, came from Louisville, Kentucky.
Regina Leader Post, June 11, 1976, June 18, 1963.
Regina City Hall (pamphlet), City of Regina, 1980.
The history of Regina's court facilities dates back to 1883 when the Federal Government rented Court House space in a downtown building. This building at Victoria Avenue and Scarth Street was purchased by the Federal Government in 1892 and continued to operate for court purposes. The treason trial of Louis Riel and those of Chief Poundmaker and Big Bear took place in this building in 1885, bringing international attention to Regina. Highwayman, George Garnett was tried in this courthouse in 1886 and sentenced to 14 years in prison for a stagecoach robbery.
In 1894, a new and larger courthouse was built at the corner of Hamilton Street and Victoria Avenue. Regina had undergone a phenomenal growth spurt and was named capital of the Territories. It was necessary to expand the city's judicial system. Barely a year after the move into these new quarters, Regina's first courthouse was gutted by fire.
The Hamilton Street courthouse served the community for 70 years. One of the most famous trials conducted here was that of Tootsie LaFleche and Jacob Dyck, the longest running court case ever tried in the North-West. The courthouse was outgrown, filled with tons of documents and law books. The deteriorating condition of the building finally prompted the construction of the city's third courthouse. Vacant since 1961, the Hamilton and Victoria building was demolished in 1965 to make way for the 12-storey Avord Tower. Designed by architects Portnall and Golle, construction of Regina's present courthouse began in 1960. It stands on Victoria Avenue between McIntyre and Smith Streets where the keystone, once visible above the main entrance of its Hamilton Street predecessor, adorns the front lawn.
Regina Court House Official Opening (brochure), 1961.
Drake, Earl G. Regina, the Queen City. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1955.
The building at 2720 College Avenue was originally the station for the Grand Trunk Railway. It was used later as a private home. In 1945, the home was purchased by the provincial government for use as an infants' home and in 1952, it began to serve the needs of children from two to sixteen waiting placement in foster homes. The home was named Dales House in 1954, after Miss Alice Dales, Child Care consultant for the Department of Social Welfare.
Regina Leader Post, July 20, 1954.
Francis Nicholson Darke donated Darke Hall to Regina College. The building opened on January 6, 1929 and served as the city's main performing arts center for forty years. It was the home of the Regina Symphony Orchestra until the opening of Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts. The pipe organ in Darke Hall was donated by the Ambrose Froom family in memory of their son Lieut. Alvin Froom, R.A.F.
Regina Leader Post, April 27, 1970.
General Motors Plant
To meet the heavy demand for new cars in Saskatchewan, General Motors opened a new assembly plant in Regina in 1927 at the corner of Winnipeg Street and 8th Avenue. The first new cars rolled off the assembly line in December 1928. This plant produced the first all-Canadian-made Chevrolet with a six-cylinder motor. At its height of production the plant employed 850 and had a capacity output of 150 cars a day.
The plant closed down in 1930 because of the market crash and the depression. In 1931, GM reopened the plant and added Oldsmobiles to its line. In 1941 the Canadian Government took over the plant, renaming it Regina Industries Ltd. Over 1,000 people worked there producing war materials. Automobile production never resumed after the war.
Brennan, J. William. Regina: An Illustrated History. Toronto: James Lorimer & Co., 1989.
The area popularly known as Germantown in Regina was located between 10th and 11th Avenues, east of Broad Street. The earliest residents of the area were predominantly German and established themselves around the public market as early as 1892. The German community soon established its own religious, secular and educational institutions and services. The legacy of their historical presence in Germantown remains in the concentration of churches and cultural clubs in and around this area.
The architectural heritage of the area is more modest than elsewhere in the inner city. Most of the homes were modest with no more than three rooms, situated on narrow lots. Many of the commercial buildings that once stood around the former Market Square have been lost.
Brennan, J. William. Regina, an illustrated history. Toronto: James Lorimer & Co., 1989.
"Germantown" 11th Avenue East. Regina's Heritage Tours, City of Regina, 1994.
The R.H. Williams Store, Regina's first department store, was known as Glasgow House, named after Glasgow, Scotland. The business was established in Regina in 1888 on South Railway Street. A larger and up-to-date department store was built at 11th Avenue and Hamilton Street in 1910. The Robert Simpson Company purchased the business in 1946. The building was demolished in 1982.
Regina Leader Post, October 22, 1982.
Riddell, William A. Regina from Pile O'Bones to Queen City of the Plains. Burlington: Windsor Publications, 1981.
The first hospital in Regina, Mrs. Truesdell's Home for the Care of the Sick, was established in 1889. It was a private hospital in Mrs. Truesdell's two-storey home located at McIntyre Street and 11th Ave.
In 1898 the Cottage Hospital opened where the Qu'Appelle Apartments now stand at 2105 Hamilton Street. The Local Council of Women raised $1,000 and the Town Council, $300. This public hospital consisted of a five bed men's ward and a two bed women's ward and was staffed by the Victorian Order of Nurses. The Cottage Hospital soon proved inadequate and plans were made for a new brick hospital, the Victoria, on Hamilton Street south of 14th Avenue.
Regina's Victoria Hospital officially opened in 1901 with beds for 25 patients. The Victorian Order of Nurses contributed $1,500 of the $9,000 cost with the balance raised by public subscription. Nurse Jane Witherspoon was the superintendent for many years.
Regina General Hospital
In 1907 the City of Regina took over Victoria Hospital from the V.O.N. and it became known as the Regina General Hospital. The south wing was added in 1912 to accommodate a further 108 adults and 40 children. A nursing home was added in 1915 and the north wing in 1926 accommodated a further 410 beds. In 1945 the new Department of Veteran Affairs Wing increased the capacity to about 800 beds. In 1951 the newest wing added another 350 beds and increased staff to 924 persons.
The provincial government purchased the hospital in 1974. A major regeneration project started in 1978. In the next ten years $80 million was spent on renovations. A new addition replaced the oldest parts of the building. A new burn unit opened at Regina General Hospital in 1986 and became officially known as the Southern Saskatchewan Fire Fighters Burn Unit in 1989.
Regina Grey Nun's Hospital
In 1907 the Order of Grey Nuns bought a private sanatorium on 1400 block Angus Street and transformed it into a 24-bed hospital.
In 1910 construction started on the first building of the present hospital at Dewdney Avenue and Pasqua Street. A west wing was added in 1914, a nurses' home in 1915 and in 1926 another addition was added. The first cancer clinic within the hospital was erected in 1939 and in 1942 the new south wing was added. In 1945 a new cancer clinic was built with solarium, new powerhouse and laundry. A three-storey addition was built along Dewdney Avenue in 1951, with one of the most modern operating theatres in America. Grey Nun's Hospital was sold to the province in 1972.
In 1973 the Grey Nun's Hospital officially became known as the Pasqua Hospital. A new addition was built in 1979 and the Allan Blair Memorial Cancer Clinic opened in 1982. In 1985 a $19 million addition opened and a year later the Cancer Patient Lodge was added. A new Pediatric Unit opened in 1991.
Plains Health Centre
In 1973 Premier Alan Blakeney laid the cornerstone of the new Plains Health Centre. The hospital opened the following year as a teaching hospital. In 1980 Regina's first CT scanner was purchased for the Plains Health Centre.
The Plains Health Centre closed in 1998. The building was purchased by SIAST (Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science & Technology) and operates as their Wascana Campus after costly asbestos removal.
Neal, May. A Souvenir of Regina: Queen City of the Plains. Regina: Western Printers, 1953.
Argan, William. Cornerstones 2: An Artist's History of the City of Regina. Regina: Centax Books, 2000.
Regina Leader Post, September 1, 1972, April 7, 1988, April 6, 1989, January 31, 1991, November 23, 1998.
The Canadian Pacific Railway built the Hotel Saskatchewan in 1926 on Victoria Avenue, facing Victoria Park. The grand hotel was built in 11 months and represents the wealth and economic opportunities that existed before the depression era. It was the first major hotel in Regina, 280 rooms and 12 storeys high. The Georgian-style hotel, designed by George Ross & R.H. Macdonald, has a Tyndall stone and brick exterior, marble thresholds and terrazzo floors. Most of the steel used in its construction came from the ill-fated Chateau Qu'Appelle, which the Grand Trunk Pacific had begun more than a decade earlier but never finished.
Canadian Pacific sold the hotel in 1980. A fire in 1982 caused major damage, requiring reconstruction of the ballroom and kitchen area. The original antique furniture dating back to 1927 was lost from the second-floor Qu'Appelle ballroom. The hotel served as the official residence of all of Saskatchewan's lieutenant governors from 1945 to 1984. The impressive Royal Suite on the eighth floor has housed many dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother.
In 1992, the hotel was officially renamed the Hotel Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza. The new owners undertook major renovations restoring the hotel to its former grandeur. In 1993 the Hotel Saskatchewan was designated a municipal heritage property.
The Morning Leader, May 23, 1927.
Castles of the North: Canada's Grand Hotels. Toronto: Lynx Images Inc., 2001.
The first Regina Jail was completed in 1887. The first prisoner was Charles Wright, in 1891, on a charge of stealing shirts. The Regina Jail property consisted of 13 acres on the south side of Sixteenth Avenue (now College Avenue) extending from Cornwall Street to Winnipeg Street. This jail was transferred to the Province in 1905 but stood empty by 1915 when a new provincial jail was constructed. The property was sold in 1911 to the Methodist Church for the construction of Regina College.
The new Provincial Jail officially opened in November 1914 at a location six miles northeast of the city. The original jail on this site is still in use along with several additions.
Robinson, Marguerite. Pile o'Bones: History of Wascana Creek. Regina: Saskatchewan Department of Culture and Youth, 1975.
Regina Leader, April 24, 1915.
Martha House, a home for unwed mothers, was founded in 1936 by the Sisters of St. Martha in the old Mercy Hospital. This building at the corner of Victoria Avenue and Smith Street was sold to the city in 1962 and later demolished. The home relocated several times. The Archdiocese of Regina purchased Martha House in 1984 and the Sisters of St. Joseph carried on the services for unwed mothers. In June 1994, Martha House closed the doors to pregnant girls and became a home for retired priests.
Regina Leader Post, June 21, 1962, July 11, 1994.
Regina's first skyscraper was ten storeys high, the tallest building in Saskatchewan at the time. Real estate developers E.A. McCallum, E. M. McCallum and Walter H.A. Hill began construction of the McCallum-Hill office building in 1912. Designed by Regina architects Storey and Van Egmond, the prime office space faced beautiful Victoria Park and dominated the Regina skyline for years.
The McCallum-Hill Building was imploded in six seconds with 200 pounds of explosives in 1982.
Brennan, J. William. Regina, an illustrated history. Toronto: James Lorimer & Sons, 1989.
Regina Leader Post, October 31, 1982.
The official opening of the newest and most modern naval reserve building in Canada, HMCS Queen, took place on June 4, 1955.
The naval reserve unit, HMCS Queen, was scuttled in 1964 due to national defence cutbacks. Re-commissioning took place in September 1975. The naval unit owned the Queen building prior to 1964, but would now have to share space in the building with other Canadian Forces units.
Regina Leader Post, May 16, 1955 and beyond.
Northern Bank Building
One of the oldest commercial structures remaining in Regina's downtown area, this building at 1821 Scarth Street was constructed in 1906 to house a branch of the Winnipeg-based Northern Bank.
In 1908, after an amalgamation with Toronto's Crown Bank, it was known as the Northern Crown Bank. The building was restored and designated a Provincial Heritage Property in 1989.
Brennan, J. William. Regina, an illustrated history. Toronto: James Lorimer & Co., 1989.
Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald offered the position of Regina's first postmaster to Joseph Irvine in 1882. The first post office was located at Victoria Avenue and McIntyre Street.
In 1896 a new two-storey brick building at 12th Avenue and Scarth Street was constructed, closer to the business core and the train depot. These first two post offices were demolished to make way for city expansion.
Construction began in 1906 on a large new Post Office at 11th Avenue and Scarth Street after demolition of the old Knox Presbyterian Church. This building functioned as a post office from 1907 until 1956. David Ewart, chief architect for the Dominion of Canada, designed it in the "Beaux Arts" style. In 1912 the building's distinctive clock tower was added. The J. Smith and Sons timepiece was made in England and became known as Regina's "Big Ben". Installation of the clock was supervised by Regina jeweller, Fred England, whose responsibility it became to wind the clock once a week.
Regina architects William G. Van Egmond and Edgar M. Storey designed an addition to the southern end of the building in 1929 and the dormer windows in the attic storey were added at that time.
The old post office building was sold to the City of Regina in 1962 for $100,000.
This building was one of the first in Regina to be designated as Municipal Heritage Property. It has functioned as a Post Office, offices of the Provincial Government prior to the completion of the Legislative Building, as a federal tax office, as the City Hall for Regina, and as the headquarters for the R.C.M.P. Regina district; it is a community landmark and part of a heritage streetscape.
Regina's present post office on Saskatchewan Drive (formerly South Railway Avenue) was opened in 1956.
Regina's Heritage Tours/Downtown. Regina: City of Regina, 1994.
Regina Leader, July 9, 1913.
Regina Leader Post, April 6, 1933, April 28, 1954.
The first railway depot was built in Regina in 1882. It was located on the north side of the CPR tracks, east of Broad Street and was the hub of the early business district.
The second station was built in 1892 at the head of Hamilton Street, south of the tracks. A new Union Station, constructed of Tyndall stonework, replaced it in 1911. Located just east of the former station, it acquired its name because the facilities were designed to accommodate both the Canadian Pacific Railroad and the newly formed Canadian Northern Railway. In 1924, there were twenty-two lines radiating from Regina with up to fifty arrivals and departures a day.
Expansion in 1931 necessitated complete removal of the 1911 façade.
Union Station greeted many important dignitaries including Prince of Wales (1919), King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (1939), Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh (1951).
The station became a military hub during the Second World War. Uniformed personnel were sent off to war with the sounds of brass bands and bagpipes filling Union Station and jubilant cheers welcomed the soldiers home again.
CP Rail sold Union Station to VIA Rail in 1984. VIA started refurbishing the station but cuts by the federal government resulted in passenger routes through Regina being eliminated.
In 1991, Union Station was designated as an official heritage site by the federal government. In 1995 massive renovations were undertaken and craftsmen restored the antique oak mouldings, the brass railings and doors, the marble stairs and Tyndall limestone panels. Union Station was transformed into a gambling casino, Casino Regina, run by the provincial government.
Argan, William. Cornerstones: An Artist's History of the City of Regina. Regina: Centax Books, 1995.
Regina's First Home
The first house to be built in Regina was erected in 1882 by Frank Binnie of Earl Grey for Lt. Col. John Selby. It stood at the corner of Lorne Street and 11th Avenue. In 1910, it was moved to 2614 Albert Street to make way for the Donahue Building. The Donahue block was itself destroyed in 1978 to make way for the Cornwall Centre, the SGI building standing on the corner where the first house stood.
The first recorded white male child, William Selby, was born in this home in 1883. Regina's first home was demolished in 1950.
Regina Leader Post, December 10, 1945, August 15, 1950.
Regina's Oldest Building
The oldest standing building in Regina is believed to be the R.C.M.P. chapel. Originally built to house prisoners, it served as mess hall and canteen until it was converted to a chapel in 1895. Construction began in Eastern Canada and the building was moved in sections by flat-car, steamer and ox team to Regina where it was assembled in 1885. The building was partially destroyed by fire in 1895. It was after its restoration that Mrs. Herchmer, the commissioner's wife, suggested the conversion to a chapel. The first service was held in the new chapel on Dec. 6, 1895. A prominent addition to the structure, the spire, was designed and constructed by the staff of Depot Division in 1939. The first two impressive stained glass windows were installed in 1944 and two more in 1951. Royalty have frequently visited the Chapel.
Neal, May. Regina, Queen City of the Plains: 50 Years of Progress. Regina: Western Printers. 1953.
Chapel Royal Canadian Mounted Police "Training Academy", Regina, Saskatchewan (brochure), 1990.
Regina Leader Post, December 11, 1995.
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Building
The original wing of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Building at the corner of Albert Street and Victoria Avenue was built in 1912 and operated as the Sherwood Department Store until 1916. It was purchased by Regina Trading Company. During the war the building served as a military supply depot and demobilization centre for returning servicemen.
The Saskatchewan Wheat Pool began operations in 1924 with A. J. McPhail as president. Its purpose was to market wheat in a stable manner directly to importers, rather than through the grain exchange. Returns were pooled and divided annually among members.
Following the amalgamation of the Wheat Pool and Saskatchewan Cooperative Elevator Company in 1926, the Pool purchased this building as their head office. A new 7-storey west wing as added in 1967.
The east wing remains as an important part of the architectural heritage of Regina. Many ornate carvings decorate the outside walls including several gargoyles. In 1983 the building was designated as a Municipal Heritage Property.
Drake, Earl G. Regina, the queen city. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1955.
Regina Leader Post, March 4, 1978.
This heritage property was built in 1907 on the 2300 block of Angus Street. The first resident was William Logan, a prominent bank manager. William Turgeon, Saskatchewan's Attorney General at the time and famed politician and diplomat, lived in the house from 1910 - 1920.
In 1982 the house was saved from demolition. It was moved to 2310 McIntyre Street and renovated to become the Turgeon International Youth Hostel.
Regina Leader Post, September 29, 1982.
Young Men's Christian Association
The Regina YMCA was originally established in 1890, the first in the Territories. The three rooms in the W. F. Eddy building, 1751 Scarth Street, were formally opened on November 20, 1890, illuminated by the very first electric lights in Regina. The project collapsed in a couple of years because the quarters were small and lacked a gymnasium, and funds could not be secured.
Rented space was again in use in 1901.
The first YMCA building was constructed in 1907 at 12th Avenue and Cornwall Street. Partially demolished in the tornado of 1912, the building was repaired and used until 1959. The old YMCA building was demolished and is now the site of the Bank of Canada.
The new facility was constructed on the site of the demolished Victoria School, 2400 13th Avenue. In 1977, an addition costing over $1 million was opened.
Drake, Earl G. Regina, the Queen City. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Ltd, 1955.
Regina Leader Post May 9, 1959.
Young Women's Christian Association
The YWCA of Regina was founded on March 14, 1910 at a meeting of the Local Council of Women. The initial concept was to provide residence accommodation for women and children arriving from the east by wagon train or railroad. Their first home was rental space in the Leader building on Hamilton Street where a cafeteria and rest-room for young ladies was established. Working girls were able to eat at the YWCA avoided the embarrassment of eating in a public restaurant unaccompanied by a chaperone.
Young girls could take classes in domestic science, personal hygiene, literature and Bible study.
The cornerstone for the first YWCA building was laid in 1911 at 1950 Lorne Street. This building received extensive damage in the 1912 tornado but was soon repaired. A swimming pool was added in 1925.
The YWCA moved into a new building in the 1900 block of McIntyre Street in 1969.
Countdown to Completion (pamphlet), Regina YWCA Completion Fund, 1968.
Regina Leader Post, June 22, 1989.