Explore the significant cultural and heritage events that have transpired in Downtown Regina through text and archival photographs over the course of 130 years!

ST. PAUL’S ANGLICAN CATHEDRAL

Designation: Municipal Heritage Property (1982)

Awards: Municipal Heritage Awards in the Adaptive Re-Use (1994)

Lieutenant-Governor’s Architectural Heritage Award—Sympathetic New Construction (2016)

Municipal Heritage Awards in the New Design Addition (2017) Categories


1859 McIntyre Street

St. Paul’s Cathedral was founded in 1882 with Alfred E. Osborne of Prince Edward Island acting as its first priest. Back then, the church was housed in one of the tents which formed the early Regina settlement, but by 1883 its parish built the St. Paul’s Church at its current site. As the congregation grew, the church commissioned Frank Peters to design a new building, which after four years of planning and six months of construction was completed in 1895.

Designed in the Gothic Revival style, St. Paul’s, built with yellow Pilot Butte brick, is characterised by pointed arches, buttresses, and steeply pitched roofs. However, the corner bell-tower, home of the first churchbell in Regina (purchased from the Troy Bell Foundry of New York in 1885), was built in the Norman style.

Although a tornado cast the dome of the First Baptist Church, located two blocks away, onto St. Paul’s in 1912, the church was intact enough that its bishop opened his church to all congregations whose churches were damaged more severely by the disaster.

Development for the church continued with construction of a memorial chapel in 1949. In 1958, a new parish hall was built. The church was promoted to cathedral in 1973. The hall bordering McIntyre Street was demolished, but the cloisters were enhanced, the foundations were shored up, and a lift was installed in 2012 to improve accessibility to the columbarium.

SOMERSET BLOCK

Designation: Municipal Heritage Property (2016)


1806 Smith Street

The Somerset Block was commissioned by Somerset Properties Limited, designed by the firm Reilly, Warburton & Reilly, and built in 1929 by the Hipperson Construction Company.

Sharing its property lines at the southwest corner of 11th Avenue and Smith Street, the Somerset Block fit into its immediate environment seamlessly. This building’s flat roof and broad, rectangular massing strongly resembled the Lloyds Building located at the southeast corner of the same intersection as the Somerset Block. Moreover, the materials used for the exterior of the Somerset Block—Claybank bricks and Tyndall Stone—were, and remain, aesthetically congruent with many Regina buildings.

Despite the installation of aluminium storefronts, the loss of one cornice, the need for some masonry restoration, and modifications to its pediment (a gable commonly found in classical architecture), the Somerset Block, when compared  to buildings of similar age, is relatively intact.

As a mixed-use commercial building, a varied array of  tenants used the Somerset Block premises. Renowned dancer Jean Gauld, Glaswegian doctor Janet Henderson, Regina violinist David Naimark, Crescent Finance Limited, Peerless Printers, McCubbin’s Hardware Store, Rich’s Fur Shop, and Moe’s Malted Milk Shop all used space in the building at one time. Today, the Somerset Block remains home to a diverse set of businesses including boutiques, a hair salon, a record store, and more.

DONAHUE BLOCK

Designation: Municipal Heritage Property (2006)


2312 11th Avenue

The Donahue Block is a monument honouring the structural design advancements of its age. Designed by short-lived Regina firm Sharon & Darrach, the Donahue Block cost an estimated $110,000 ($2.4 million today) when it was built in 1911. Its utilitarian Chicago-style design features a conservative use of simple rectangular windows, muted decoration, and minimal pilasters (ornaments meant to look like columns). Raised during a prosperous period between 1910 and 1912, when Regina’s administration issued $8 million in building permits ($174 million today), the Donahue Block was built well. Framed with steel and concrete instead of the common wood and stone, the Donahue Block withstood the tornado of 1912.

The ground floor of the Donahue Block was used as commercial space, while the upper two storeys were used as residences. Original business occupants included Child & Gower, who sold furniture from the building between 1912 and 1969. Otis & Fensom Elevator Company also based operations in  the Donahue Block from 1913 until 1929. Most notably, the contractors Smith Brothers & Wilson—the contractors for The Hotel Saskatchewan—located their office in this building.

Purchased by the Nicor Group and the Woodvue Group, the Donahue Block has a renovated interior, façade, and electrical system. Hence, the Donahue Block, one of the few intact commercial buildings from before the First World War along 11th Avenue, still stands in downtown Regina.

REGINA PUBLIC LIBRARY

Designation: Municipal Heritage Property (1984) and Victoria Park Conservation District (1996)


2311 12th Avenue

Regina’s public library system began in 1907 when Regina citizens petitioned City Council for a free public library. City Council opened the first library in City Hall, but soon a larger library was needed. The American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated $50,000 (the rough equivalent to $1 million in modern currency) in funding assistance for Regina’s library.

City growth and increased library use left the Carnegie Library unsuited for its community’s needs. Demolished in 1961, the Carnegie Library was replaced by a new library    designed in the Modernist or International style by the Regina firm Izumi, Arnott & Sugiyama. Modernist elements of the Regina Central Library include a low-slung roof, rectangular massing, cubist composition, and aluminium sunscreen–equipped windows. Clad in textured granite, the library, whose glassy entrance vestibule is oriented toward Victoria Park, matches the Cenotaph’s granite in the park.

Elements of the Carnegie Library were incorporated into the design of the current library. The columns that once framed the entrance are sunken into the courtyard, the stone lintel  (or beam at the top of a doorframe) reading Qui Legit Regit (“He who reads, rules”) is set into the entrance vestibule, and the circular date stone from the Carnegie Library is mounted on the east wall.

Outside the library on 12th Avenue is “Rusty”, a wire elephant sculpture created by Saskatchewan artist Russel Yurisity in 1981 and named by schoolchildren. Originally a temporary display, Rusty was purchased by the library and became a permanent piece of public art.

KNOX METROPOLITAN UNITED CHURCH

Designation: Municipal Heritage Property (1986) 


2340 Victoria Avenue

Built for Regina’s Methodist congregation, Knox  Metropolitan United Church survived history to emerge as one of Regina’s greatest downtown community hubs.

The Toronto- and Winnipeg-based architectural firm Darling & Pearson blended Norman and Gothic Revival styles—  evidenced by the towers at the entry, the cross-gabled roof, the large stained glass windows, and the entryway’s Norman style sandstone arches—in the church’s design. Beginning in 1906, construction finished in 1907.

This church was nearly completely destroyed by the tornado in 1912. As “the most complete wreck of all”, the entrance wall remained only partly intact. The towers had collapsed, and the south wall was almost gone. Francis Portnall and James H. Puntin prepared a design, and the church was rebuilt in eleven months. With more Gothic influences than the original building, the church now features crenellations (the square pattern of stone atop its towers) and stained glass windows set in pointed-arch frames. A dark red band of brick on the north wall of the building delineates the area of reconstruction.

The church’s Casavant organ from Saint-Hyacinth, Quebecdamaged by the tornado—was later rebuilt. Its bells, the Francis Darke Memorial Chimes, which Francis Darke presented to the Knox Metropolitan United Church in 1925, weigh fifteen tons, and were cast by Mears & Stainback, bell-makers since 1517, based in London, England.

BALFOUR APARTMENTS

Designation: Municipal Heritage Property (1993) and Provincial Heritage Property (1993)

Awards: Municipal Heritage Award Adaptive Re-use Residential Category (1988)


2305 Victoria Avenue

At seven storeys, the elegant Balfour Apartments was the largest and tallest apartment building in Saskatchewan until 1955, and still stands prominently in Regina’s downtown.

Noteworthy Regina resident James Balfour originally owned the site where the building now stands. In his life, Balfour was a lumberjack, farmer, transport driver during the North-West Rebellion, teacher, principal, lawyer, and amateur actor and singer. He was also mayor of Regina in 1915 and 1931.

In 1920, Balfour commissioned Regina firm Storey & Van Egmond to design an apartment building on his land. Completed in 1930, the apartments cost $475,000 to build (almost $6.6 million now). The H-shaped building takes up six city lots and features 82 suites. Designed with a Moorish-influenced style, its open limestone arches that form a front arcade and the light-and-dark brick band along the top of the building are distinctive. The roofline is also decorated with carved Tyndall Stone finials and iron rails.

Outfitted with fixtures and features designed to impress, Balfour Apartments had chandeliers and art plaster walls ornamenting the lobby. Other amenities included a lounge, a tearoom, and a restaurant. It was also the first apartment building in the province to have a self-operated elevator. All suites in the building featured nine-foot high ceilings, oak floors, and walnut baseboards.

After completion, James Balfour took up residence there.  Many Regina judges, lawyers, and politicians also lived in this prestigious building. In 1984, it was sold by the Balfour family and converted into condominiums.

FRONTENAC APARTMENTS

Designation: Municipal Heritage Holding Bylaw Properties (1989)


2022 Lorne Street

Behind the prestigious Balfour Apartments is another architectural gem of the downtown core—the Frontenac Apartments.

Completed in 1930, the Frontenac Apartments were commissioned by Provincial Apartments Limited. Meant to rival Balfour Apartments in all ways, Frontenac Apartments was scaled back to four storeys and its two elevator shafts never had lifts installed due to the Great Depression. Although it housed labourers about to work at the General Motors plant on Eighth Avenue, the Frontenac was also home to many of Regina’s doctors, lawyers, and one of its architects, William Van Egmond.

The Frontenac was designed in a Spanish-Mediterranean Revival style with a sloping terracotta roof, stucco band adorned with patterned tiles below the front eaves, and decorative contrasts achieved with brick and stone facing materials. Other features of the Frontenac include decorative ironwork, staggered balconies, arched door and window openings, and a curvilinear false central gable—echoed on the north and south faces—with a round bull’s-eye vent. Moreover, the building has two grand entrances framing a central courtyard. Its interior possessed oak flooring in all apartments, and the largest living rooms in the entire city at the time.

The Frontenac received Municipal Heritage Property status in 2016. This designation formally recognises the cultural or heritage value of the building. This designation also ensures that the apartments are eligible for funding for repairs and refurbishment so that they will be protected and will stand  for another generation to enjoy and appreciate.

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH

Designation: Municipal Heritage Property (1992)

Awards: Municipal Heritage Award in the Exterior

and Interior Restoration Categories (1993)


2241 Victoria Avenue

Since its establishment by Reverend Wellington Jenkins in 1890, Regina’s First Baptist Church had outgrown two other buildings before it commissioned local architect William W. Hilton to design a larger church on Victoria Avenue in 1911.

Completed in February 1912, its classical detailing includes a symmetrical design, cross-gabled roof, and central cupola set on an octagonal base. The building also features a rusticated foundation, red brick facing, and limestone detailing around the exterior. The vast interior sanctuary was designed with lofty ceilings, a massive chandelier, an impressive organ with gold pipes, and beautiful stained glass windows.

Like other buildings surrounding Victoria Park, the six-month-old church did not survive the 1912 tornado unscathed. As the storm tore through the downtown, it ripped off the cupola and tossed it two blocks north onto St. Paul’s Anglican Church. Rain poured through the hole in the roof, damaging the interior of the building. The building was repaired quickly and the dome was reconstructed.

First Baptist Church has gone through several refurbishments. The first began in 1956 and was completed in 1960. The church’s heaving floors, leaky roof, cracked plaster, and  non-functioning organ were repaired. The building underwent another major renovation in the 1990s. A $1.3 million project commenced in 1991 that shored up its foundations and modified its interior. This has ensured the church will stand  for many more decades.

SASKATCHEWAN SPORTS HALL OF FAME

Designation: Municipal Heritage Property (1978)


2241 Victoria Avenue

Known as the Land Titles Building until 1977, this property was the first public building commissioned by the Government of Saskatchewan in 1906. The transfer of land administration from the federal to the new provincial government in the early twentieth century required new facilities to house the land titles records. Built in 1910 for $94,000 (a rough equivalent to $2 million in modern currency), the Land Titles Building was designed by the official provincial architects, Pearson & Darling, in the Romanesque Revival style.

This building projects the confidence, assurance, and stability the turn of the century government felt for the newly minted province of Saskatchewan. Use of Kootenay marble from British Columbia on the exterior, and the main floor’s five metre high ceiling enhance its prestige. This government building, reflecting the standards of the 1910s, was “fireproofed” with stone, reinforced concrete, and metal window sashes and door fixtures. For these reasons, it was the template for other land titles buildings across Saskatchewan.

Beginning as a partnership between the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada’s Saskatchewan branch and Molson Brewery, the Molson Sports Hall of Fame opened in 1966 and became the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame & Museum in 1974. It moved into the Land Titles Building from South Railway Avenue, now Saskatchewan Drive, in 1979. Presently, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame has inducted 519 athletes in fifty-two sports and is the home of 10,000 sports artefacts and archives.

CENTRAL PARK

Designation: Municipal Heritage Award in the Heritage Open Space Category (1992)


2231 Scarth Street

In the middle of Regina’s Centre Square neighbourhood stands Central Park. Originally the athletic fields of Central Collegiate, this area was developed into a park  in the late 1980s.

Victoria Hospital once stood in the northeast corner of the park. The hospital was first operated by the Victorian Order of Nurses and opened in 1901. Soon, massive demand for services plunged the Victoria Hospital into dire financial straits. In 1907, the city took over the hospital and renamed it the Regina General Hospital. After the hospital moved to a larger facility on 14th Avenue, the city gave the building to the Regina College in 1910. In 1917, the aged, infirm, or patients with incurable diseases were treated there. The old hospital building became dilapidated and was demolished in 1932.

To the south of the park stood Central Collegiate. Renowned for its academic vigour, this school—the first exclusively secondary school in Regina—was designed by Storey & Van Egmond and built for $108,322 (a rough equivalent to $2.3 million in modern currency). Demolished in 1994, it was succeeded by the College Garden, College Court, and College Park buildings, yet its front entrance now adorns Winston Knoll Collegiate.

In the late 1980s, the City of Regina and the Transitional Area Community Society discussed developing the area into a park. Completed in 1990, the park’s southern end honours its namesake by orienting its design along the axis that led to the original north entrance of the school.

HOTEL SASKATCHEWAN

Designation: Municipal Heritage Property (1993)


2125 Victoria Avenue

The Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) began building Saskatchewan’s first luxury hotel in 1925. When completed in 1927, it was the largest hotel in the   province, and Regina’s tallest building.

The Hotel Saskatchewan emerged from the remains of the Chateau Qu’Appelle, the never-completed hotel that the Grand Trunk Pacific (G.T.P.) Railway tried raising on the corner of Albert Street and 16th Avenue (now College Avenue) in 1912. However, the First World War halted construction and the G.T.P. went bankrupt in 1919.

The C.P.R. built The Hotel Saskatchewan, the fourteenth of its nation-wide luxury hotel chain, with steel beams salvaged from the Chateau Qu’Appelle site for its frame, finishing    construction eleven months after it began in June 1926.

Architectural firm Ross & Macdonald designed the hotel in the Modern-Classical style. A Georgian style balustrade caps the first three Tyndall Stone–clad storeys, which feature tall, round-headed windows. The building’s symmetry, pediment windows, and stacked-brick patterns on its corners enhance the Modern-Classical character. Additionally, the interior featured crystal chandeliers, marble floors, and shower-baths in each room.

The Hotel Saskatchewan was the official residence and office of Saskatchewan’s Lieutenant Governor from 1945 to 1984. The hotel has hosted royalty, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip. Still, it fell into disrepair between the 1960s and 1980s.

In 1992, the previous ownership restored The Hotel Saskatchewan and joined the Radisson brand. Today, The Hotel Saskatchewan is owned by Innvest Hotels and flies under the Marriott flag as one of their iconic Autograph Collection hotels.

REGINA TORNADO


 

On Sunday, June 30, 1912, the people of Regina    prepared for Dominion Day, boated on Wascana Lake, or mused about the recent election that The Leader-Post suspected was manipulated. Instruments had indicated the barometric pressure fell during the night, but this raised no concerns. Although the newspaper suggested thunderstorms might form that weekend, nobody foresaw the coming disaster. However, two dark clouds which appeared eighteen kilometres south of Regina, converged at 4:50 PM and created a tornado of historic dimensions.

The cyclone that ravaged Regina whirled at 318-333 km/h which, coupled with its 400-metre diameter, explains its destructiveness. Landing near Wascana Lake at 16th Avenue (now College Avenue) between Lorne Street and Smith Street, it laid waste to grand residences and disintegrated some buildings with rapid air pressure changes. Once downtown, it ruined the Presbyterian and Metropolitan Methodist churches, and cast the cupola of the First Baptist Church from Lorne Street and Victoria Avenue to McIntyre Street. The library was destroyed. A canoe crashed through a fourth floor window of the Film Exchange at the Kerr Block on Scarth Street. Wounded citizens collected at the Leader Building at 11th Avenue and Hamilton Street as the tornado visited the Canadian Pacific Railway yards, lifting boxcars, exposing the roundhouse’s rafters, and mauling warehouses.

All told, the Regina Cyclone inflicted damages which took two years and $1.2 million ($485 million today) to repair. The storm, the deadliest tornado in Canadian history, left 2,500 homeless and 28 dead.

LOUIS RIEL


 

Louis Riel was born in 1844 in Saint-Boniface in the Red River Settlement near Winnipeg.

On November 10, 1869, the Hudson’s Bay Company transfered Rupert’s Land and the North-West Territories to the Government of Canada for $1.5 million, alarming the Métis around Red River. Following Louis Riel, the Red River Métis demanded provincial status for what would become Manitoba, protection of French language rights, 1.4 million acres of land, and amnesty for the rebels among themselves.

Although the Manitoba Act received royal assent and brought Manitoba into Confederation on  May 12, 1870, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald dispatched troops to find the rebels and Riel, driving the Métis leader into exile.

In 1884, some Métis from the Saskatchewan Valley asked Riel to assist their struggle. Riel agreed and moved to Batoche, in what is now Saskatchewan.

In response to this rebellion, the Canadian government sent 500 soldiers west. Although Riel drafted a Bill of Rights for the Canadian West advocating responsible government, and addressing land and language rights, and few supplies, the number of Canadian troops overwhelmed the rebellion at Batoche.

Riel surrendered. Taken to Regina, he was tried for treason at the current location of the Dominion Government Building (1975 Scarth Street), found guilty, and on November 16, 1885 hanged at the North-West Mounted Police depot in Regina. His body was later buried at Saint-Boniface.

For many, Riel was either a rebel or a heroic visionary of a Métis golden age. Regardless, Louis Riel left an indelible mark on Canada.

VICTORIA PARK

Designation: Victoria Park Heritage Conservation District (1996)


2190 Victoria Avenue

Victoria Park, originally called Victoria Square, has stood at the centre of Regina for over 130 years. Named for the renowned monarch, Queen Victoria, Victoria Square was reserved by the Town Site Committee in 1883 as a two-block municipal reserve.

As Regina expanded, the barren field was turned into a more pleasing park. In 1907, Frederick Todd of Montreal prepared a formal landscape plan including the radial design still used today. The fountain at the park’s centre was built in 1908 to  honour Nicholas Flood Davin, founder of The Regina Leader-Post. This fountain was later replaced by the Cenotaph.

The Regina Cenotaph was designed by R.W.G. Heughan from the firm Ross & Macdonald in Montreal. Depicting a figure of a soldier that links it with other memorials in Belgium and England, the monument was unveiled on Armistice Day in 1926.

The central entrance to the park from Victoria Avenue at Cornwall Street is home to a memorial plaza. Standing prominently is a bronze bust of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. The plaza also has memorials to the 1912 tornado, and to Saskatchewan’s first premier, Walter Scott. In the southeast end of the park, there is a cairn dedicated to Louis Riel, who was tried for treason in a now-demolished courthouse that stood on the corner of Victoria Avenue and Scarth Street.

Victoria Park is now a green getaway and home to downtown Regina’s most popular events including Regina Farmers’ Market, Rink at City Square, Cinema Under the Stars, and music festivals.

ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION

Designation: Municipal Heritage Property (1992)


1820 Cornwall Street

Designed by the Regina architectural firm Storey & Van Egmond in a Modern-Classical style variant with Art Deco influences, Regina’s Royal Canadian Legion Building was built in two phases between 1947 and 1951. Its official opening of Memorial Hall in October 1951 was    attended by Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

The architecture has strong Art Deco influences that are evident in the pilaster detailing and the frieze band over the front portico. The Memorial Peace Tower is capped with a large entablature of Tyndall Stone, supported at each corner by squared, fluted stone canons. In turn, the entablature is decorated with a zig-zag band course and features an engraved dedication to those who lost their lives in the World Wars.

Inside the auditorium foyer, known as the Memorial Chamber, are a number of elements of architectural, artistic and historic significance. On the right, stands a nine foot “Cross of Sacrifice”, made of Tyndall Stone donated by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Regina Branch.

The Memorial Tower has five stained glass windows which were unveiled by His Excellency, the Right Honourable Vincent Massey, Governor-General of Canada, on May 14, 1955. Two pairs of smaller stained glass windows are situated on either side of the tower. In addition, there are wall murals, executed by noted artist, Kenneth Lockhead and installed in 1956 depicting important events in Canadian military history.

Between 2013 and 2015, the Legion underwent large-scale renovations and the installation of a parkade at the rear of the building.

CANADA LIFE ASSURANCE BUILDING

Designation: Provincial Heritage Property (1978)

Awards: Municipal Heritage Award in the Exterior and Interior Restoration Category (1985) and Municipal Heritage Awardin the Adaptive Re-Use Category (1986)


2201 11th Avenue

Designed by the Regina architectural firm Storey & Van Egmond in a Modern-Classical style variant with Art Deco influences, Regina’s Royal Canadian Legion Building was built in two phases between 1947 and 1951. Its official opening of Memorial Hall in October 1951 was    attended by Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

The architecture has strong Art Deco influences that are evident in the pilaster detailing and the frieze band over the front portico. The Memorial Peace Tower is capped with a large entablature of Tyndall Stone, supported at each corner by squared, fluted stone canons. In turn, the entablature is decorated with a zig-zag band course and features an engraved dedication to those who lost their lives in the World Wars.

Inside the auditorium foyer, known as the Memorial Chamber, are a number of elements of architectural, artistic and historic significance. On the right, stands a nine foot “Cross of Sacrifice”, made of Tyndall Stone donated by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Regina Branch.

The Memorial Tower has five stained glass windows which were unveiled by His Excellency, the Right Honourable Vincent Massey, Governor-General of Canada, on May 14, 1955. Two pairs of smaller stained glass windows are situated on either side of the tower. In addition, there are wall murals, executed by noted artist, Kenneth Lockhead and installed in 1956 depicting important events in Canadian military history.

Between 2013 and 2015, the Legion underwent large-scale renovations and the installation of a parkade at the rear of the building.

PRINCE EDWARD BUILDING

Designation: Provincial Heritage Property (1982)


1801 Scarth Street

With construction beginning in 1906, the Prince Edward Building was originally raised to function as the post office of Regina. Its grandiosity and location at 11th Avenue and Scarth Street make it stand   prominently over the downtown “shock corridor” developed by the colonial administration, which strengthened conceptual barriers between social groups or classes within the city via urban planning. Sited beside the Northern Crown Bank amid the financial and business districts of Scarth Street, this post office rivalled many other buildings in splendour and served as an expression of British culture upon the rapidly colonised prairies.

Designed by David Ewart and expanded upon in 1929 by architectural firm Storey & Van Egmond, the towering Prince Edward Building acted as a post office from 1907 until 1956. Then, in 1962, the municipal government of Regina moved into the building. Completion of a new city hall in 1975,  however, saw Regina’s administration move out.

By 1981, one of the building’s best-known tenants—the Globe Theatre—began operating from the premises. Established by Ken and Sue (Richmond) Kramer in 1966, the Globe Theatre, a theatrical organisation, had subscriptions at 97% capacity by 1984 and a $1 million budget by 1985.

A municipal heritage property since 1982, the Prince Edward Building, besides playing host to the Globe Theatre, also hosted the Regina Plains Museum upstairs, as well as offering commercial space for offices, retailers, or other businesses.

NORTHERN BANK BUILDING

Designation: Provincial Heritage Property (1989)


1819 Scarth Street

The Northern Bank Building, one of the oldest commercial structures in the downtown area, was constructed from 1906 and into 1907 to house a branch of the Winnipeg-based Northern Bank, which Logan also founded one year earlier.

The manager, W.M. Logan, also owned Turgeon International Hostel, where the honourable William E.A. Turgeon, Saskatchewan’s second Attorney General and one of Canada’s most prominent public figures, resided.

In 1908, after amalgamation with Toronto’s Crown Bank, the building became the Northern Crown Bank.

The Winnipeg firm Blair & Northwood applied the Beaux-Arts style to commercial architecture when designing this building,  yet it incorporated other styles into its plans as well. The elaborate façade, for instance, includes pronounced consoles and a classical entablature supported by Ionic columns and pilasters, with the latter sporting a low-relief pediment sculpture depicting prairie settlement.

For many years, the building was owned by the Goldman family and was the location of Regina-born artist Tony Thorn’s art studio. Later, Denise and Len Currie of Colliers International bought the building and developed a large condominium on the third floor for Denise Currie’s mother, Francis Olson, who was the president of Regina’s first and only all-female real estate company. The building fell into disrepair in the 1980s but underwent extensive interior renovations and, upon becoming a Provincial Heritage Property in 1989, the façade was largely restored to its original condition by the Fennell Companies.

The current owners, Beer Brothers Gastropub & Deli, restored large portions of the building for their restaurant.

MCCALLUM HILL BUILDING

Designation: Victoria Park Heritage Conservation District (1996)


1874 Scarth Street

Starting in 1903 as a partnership between Walter A. Hill, Ernest A. McCallum, and later Edgar McCallum, McCallum Hill & Company showed its optimism in Regina’s future form by raising a skyline-dominating signature building in 1912. The company—which had sold land on the proposed Legislative Building site it had purchased for $20,000 in 1904 to the provincial government for $96,250 in 1906—bought land on the corner of Scarth Street and 12th Avenue, then the site of the Assiniboia Club, for $175,000.

The architectural firm Storey & Van Egmond designed the ten-storey Chicago-style tower. Consequently, it had a steel frame, grid-like window arrangements, Renaissance ornamentation, and dominant cornice along the top floor.  The interior was outfitted with three elevators and the building had its own well and power-plant. The building cost $430,000 to build ($9.3 million today).

In the early 1980s, the company considered the landmark building’s future. Increasing needs for commercial space in the downtown, as well as the state of the 75-year-old building, led the Hill family to tear it down. On October 31, 1982, the old building was demolished in a six-second implosion. In its place, a new landmark for the Regina Downtown rose, the twenty-one-storey Hill Centre Tower I. Later, a mirror-image tower rose beside it, creating the iconic twin towers of Regina. Key parts of the old building were preserved as part of the F.W. Hill Mall.

REGINA RIOT


 

Beginning in 1929, the Great Depression dropped market values for Canadian resources from $1.12 billion in 1929 to $579 million by 1932, and employment fell until 32% of the labour force was without work. 

Work camps established by the federal government for unemployed, single men fuelled further discontent. Labourers likened their squalid conditions, meaningless work, and the meagre 20¢ per day wage to slavery. In May 1935, hundreds  of these workers tried taking their grievances to Ottawa,   with a thousand leaving Vancouver on freight trains in the so-called On-to-Ottawa Trek.

Once the trekkers passed the Rocky Mountains, the federal government ordered the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.) to stop the trekkers in Regina, which they did on June 14.

On July 1, police descended upon hundreds of trekkers, who gathered in Regina’s Market Square to hear their leaders speak. Deploying from trucks parked around the square, R.C.M.P. officers in riot gear advanced, then city police brandished their batons and baseball bats at the trekkers.

Trekkers improvised crude weapons or threw stones, bricks, and bottles in response. Breaking through the police line, the crowd streamed downtown. A battle raged down 11th Avenue, Cornwall Street, and then up Scarth Street through the night. City police fired their revolvers into the crowd, injuring    dozens but, remarkably, none died from gunfire.

Nevertheless, the riot injured hundreds, saw 118 people arrested, caused costly damages to the city, and killed a Regina policeman and a trekker.

VICTORIA PARK BUILDING

Designation:  Victoria Park Heritage Conservation District (1996)

Awards: Municipal Heritage Award in the Interior Restoration (2003) and Exterior Restoration (1996) Categories


1945 Scarth Street

Designed by the firm Storey & Van Egmond, this  two-storey retail space was built in 1929, and has a peaked name panel and a rounded, recessed arch with rope moulding. The building itself is decorated with stone and tile, with glazed tiles above each second-storey  window. Finally, the pilasters outlining each building bay  have pressed metal parapet caps.

Long-time residents Mac & Mac Clothes Limited used this building from 1930 to 1980. Another occupant, Aren’s    Drugstore, remained a tenant until the 1960s. The Victoria Park Bowling Alley, Little & Jameson, and California Fruit Growers Exchange were also based in the building.

The lunch counter at Aren’s Drugstore was owned and operated by Robert and Ann Gardikiotis, and was expanded into a restaurant, the Copper Kettle, by 1960. The Copper Kettle doubled in size by 1975.  In 2001, Robert expanded his business by starting O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub and an off-sale liquor store.

The Victoria Park Building has undergone several alterations within the last two decades. In 2001, the façade and the interior of the Copper Kettle were completely renovated. The historic Victoria Park Bowling Alley was renovated into an underground parkade in 2004. In 2015, both the Copper Kettle and O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub incorporated European-style heating into its patio. In 2016, the Gardikiotis family honoured the late Robert Gardikiotis with a mural on the building’s southern wall. The mural serves as a reminder of Robert’s values of entrepreneurship and community involvement in downtown Regina.

DOMINION GOVERNMENT BUILDING

Designation:  Federal Heritage Building (1984) and Municipal Heritage Bylaw List (1989)

Awards: Municipal Heritage Award in the Interior Restoration Category (1991)

Exterior Restoration (1996) Category


1945 Scarth Street

Constructed near Victoria Park during the Great Depression as part of a larger federal relief plan, the Dominion Government Building is a fine example of Canadian architecture.

In 1934, the Federal Government brought together Regina architects Francis H. Portnall, William Reilly, and J.H. Puntin. They designed a building that projects grandeur for a reasonable cost, given the Great Depression. Portnall designed a four-storey building faced with Tyndall Stone and brick, featuring a stepped back design and a central tower.

The Dominion Government Building is a combination of Art Deco and Streamlined Moderne styles. Its Art Deco elements include geometric massing, the façade’s strong vertical accents, regular window placement, and bronze ground floor window and door frames. Streamlined Moderne elements include the curved corners of the building and porthole windows.

As part of a larger national construction programme in the 1930s, the Dominion Government Building’s importance was recognized when it was placed on the Federal Heritage Building list, making it locally and nationally significant. Moreover, it was built atop the site of the courthouse where Louis Riel was tried for treason.

SASKPOWER BUILDING

Designation: Victoria Park Heritage Conservation District (1996)


2025 Victoria Avenue

One of Regina’s best recognised buildings, the SaskPower Building was completed in 1963. Its flowing façade on one of Regina’s busiest avenues is displayed proudly to all.

The headquarters for SaskPower was designed by Joseph Pettick, who was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright’s consultant, Mendel Glickman, during the 1950s at the University of Oklahoma. Prior to studying in America, Pettick trained with Regina firm Portnall & Stock and, after his studies, he designed the Bank of Montreal building, the S.G.I. building, and the current Regina City Hall.

Established in 1929, SaskPower—formerly the Saskatchewan Power Commission—had ten offices in Regina, including two located downtown by the mid-1950s. To bring these disparate offices together into one building, in 1956, SaskPower General Manager David Cass-Beggs tasked Pettick with drafting plans for a thirteen-storey building without orthodox geometric massing. Pettick sought inspiration abroad, and discovered modernist architecture flavoured with aesthetics evocative of the artist Antoni Gaudí in Brazil. Modifying Brazilian designs, Pettick used wheat-coloured brick, glass mosaic tiles, and gold trim to reflect the Saskatchewan sky, and paid homage to Gaudí with a colonnade resembling bleached bones on the grasslands.

Construction began in 1961. Requiring 2,300 tons of steel  and 650,000 custom bricks, the SaskPower Building also required twenty Italian tradesmen to install the glass and mosaics in the building. When construction finished in 1963, the assassination of U.S. president, John F. Kennedy, delayed its opening.

BLESSED SACREMENT CHURCH


2049 Scarth Street

Originally St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Blessed Sacrament Church is the oldest Catholic church in Regina. Funded by Regina locals C.J. McCusker and Pascal Bonneau, the original building was erected on Cornwall Street in 1881. Following his execution in 1885, Louis Riel was buried beneath this building’s floorboards by his son, Treffle, and by Bonneau before Riel was exhumed for shipment to Saint Boniface, Manitoba. This original church stood for over thirty years.

The current Blessed Sacrament Church on Scarth Street was designed by Samuel Hooper, Manitoba’s first provincially appointed architect, in the Gothic Revival style and was built in 1906. This brick church became Blessed Sacrament in 1934, with St. Mary’s Church moving to Winnipeg Street.

In the early 1960s, the main altar was moved forward and oriented so the priest would face the congregation. In 1973, an organ was installed in the sanctuary, the first of its kind in Western Canada. Blessed Sacrament, like Knox Metropolitan United Church, has a bell tower; however, Blessed Sacrament’s bells were silent until the Saskatchewan Department of Intergovernmental Affairs asked the church to ring the bells to usher in the new millennium in 1999. The elaborate stained-glass windows in the sanctuary were made by the Frères Raoult in France and brought over to Canada in 1956. In addition to the stained glass windows, the hand-lettered scroll on display by the church’s north entrance honours the Blessed Sacrament congregation members who died in the Second World War.

ASSINIBOIA CLUB

Designation: Municipal Heritage Award in the Adaptive Re-use Category (1998) and the Heritage Open Space Category (1999)


1925 Victoria Avenue

The Assiniboia Club was one of the first private clubs in Western Canada and the second oldest business club in the nation, from 1912 until 2007. Established as a music club in 1882, it transitioned to a private club for businessmen. Designed by Storey & Van Egmond, the building features distinctive Tudor Gothic Revival influences. It was built atop land donated by the Whitmore family by then-popular Regina general contractors Smith Brothers & Wilson for $57,400 in 1912.

Membership to the club was exclusive and represented Regina’s elite. From the founding of Regina in 1882 until the club’s closure in 1994, all Regina mayors, territorial leaders of the North West Territories (of which Regina was the capital from 1883 to 1905), Saskatchewan premiers, and lieutenant governors have been members of the club. The building has played host to governors general and many foreign dignitaries. Many of its rooms were originally bedrooms, as travelling businessmen commonly spent the night at the club rather than a hotel after a day of deal brokering. The foyer floor and insignia are original to the 1912 building. The lounge in the building’s back corner was formerly a men’s cigar bar. The club experienced its first closure in 1994, and only occupied the upper two floors of the building until it’s final closure in 2007. Since 2006, the Assiniboia Club has been the home of Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar.

LEADER BUILDING

Designation:  Municipal Heritage Property (1987)

Awards: Municipal Heritage Award in the Adaptive Re-Use Category (2011) and Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan Heritage Architecture Excellence Award (2011)


1853 Hamilton Street

The Leader Building is linked to Nicholas Flood Davin and The Regina Leader-Post. Davin came to Regina in 1883, lured to the new town by an offer of free land and $5,000 to start a weekly newspaper, which he named The Leader—the forerunner to today’s Leader-Post. The paper was sold to Walter Scott, who operated it from 1895 to 1902. Scott became the first premier of Saskatchewan in 1905.

As the paper grew in readership, a new headquarters was needed. The Leader Building was completed in 1912 and designed by architectural firms Sharon & Darrach of Regina and Brown & Vallance of Montreal in the Chicago-style, marked by its grid-like arrangement of windows, wall space, and its ground level glass displays. The exterior is faced in white terracotta and decorated with ornate carvings and geometric shapes.

The Leader Building was also home to Saskatchewan’s first commercial radio station, C.K.C.K. Radio, that started broadcasting in 1922. C.K.C.K. made waves by broadcasting the first church service in the British Commonwealth and the first play-by-play hockey broadcast in Canada in 1923.

The Leader-Post eventually moved out, and the building was completely vacant by the end of the 1990s. Beginning in 2007, the building underwent a redevelopment, completed in 2010, that turned the building into an office and residential   condominium complex. It is currently the home of NWL Contemporary Dresses.

ENGINEERS BUILDING


1853 Hamilton Street

Raised in 1912 while the neighbouring Leader Building was under construction, the building at 1843 Hamilton Street has hosted many businesses during its service lifetime. Among the tenants of this brick building with a cream-coloured façade and accents, Loggie’s Shoes was  particularly noteworthy. Established from a partnership between J. Nicol and New Brunswick merchant H.N. Loggie, Loggie’s Shoes was owned by Loggie alone after 1914. With a lifespan of 106 years, Loggie’s Shoes was owned by Bill Childs after Loggie’s death in 1940, then Harold Hague in 1978, and finally Kelly Hague in 1989. It also occupied one space on Scarth Street and three spaces on Hamilton Street over the years. Moreover, Harold Hague contributed to the formation of the Regina Market Square, a forebear of the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District.

Although the attentive service and quality products associated with Loggie’s Shoes from before the Great Depression until modern times when all employees were Footwear Institute of Canada graduates, Loggie’s Shoes closed and was replaced by other businesses. Today, a restaurant along with arts and cultural organizations are based in the building, writing a brand new chapter in the commercial history of downtown Regina.

UNION STATION

Designation:  Provincial Heritage Property (1999)

Awards: Municipal Heritage Awards in the Adaptive Re-Use Category (1995),

Interior Restoration Category (1996), and Conservation Category (2015)


1880 Saskatchewan Drive

First built as the third Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) passenger terminal in Regina, Union Station was raised circa 1911 and 1912. For nearly eight decades, it was an important transportation hub vital to civilian and, in wartime, military affairs. One of its trains, the No. 340 “Galloping Goose”, was the fastest in Western Canada from 1911 to 1945, completing the Moose Jaw run in less than 55 minutes, four times daily.

The C.P.R., the Canadian National Railway (C.N.R.), and VIA Rail all used Union Station during its lifetime as a transportation centre. Designed by the C.P.R.’s chief engineer, its central block was designed in the Classical Revival style while the interior and exterior exhibit strong Art Deco influences. The 1911 building was renovated in 1931 to address a need for more space. Consequently, a southward addition created the grand concourse; ceiling medallions, stone wall details, and Art Deco light fixtures were also installed in the Central Hall during these renovations. Furthermore, Ashlar stone used on the building in 1911 was exchanged for Tyndall Stone in 1931, contributing to the total renovation cost of $1,250,000. Decades later, Stanley Park, Regina’s first landscaped open space, became the parking lot for this renovated train station.

Although the Union Station ceased being a train station in 1990, the building’s architecture is mostly preserved. It was purchased by the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation in 1994, and Union Station was transformed into Casino Regina, which opened in 1996.

TRAVELLERS BUILDING

Designation: Municipal Heritage Property (2001)


1833 Broad Street

Designed by Regina architectural firm Storey & Van Egmond, the Travellers Building was built on Broad Street between 11th Avenue and 12th Avenue for $60,000 in 1929. Commissioned by property developer George Broder, the namesake of Broder’s Annex, and named after the travelling salesmen who were permitted to sell their products on its second floor, the Travellers Building’s history was an interesting one.

Assembled from bricks salvaged from the demolished Rose Theatre, its asymmetrical façade incorporated Art Deco piers and mullions (bars placed between windows) with conservative parapets and display windows. Including a garage for primary tenant A.B.M. Motors and the horsehair-cushioned “sprung” dancefloor upstairs, the Travellers Building has served many purposes since it first opened, only weeks before the Great Depression–inducing stock market collapse of October 29, 1929. Businesses, from restaurants to a lumber dealer, and organisations such as the Saskatchewan Motor Club (from 1931 to 1960) and the Saint John Ambulance Association (from 1945 to 1951), all used the building’s 22,800 square   feet during its decades of use.

Despite accommodating hardware stores, a bus depot, and a doughnut shop later in its service life, the Travellers Building fell into disrepair. Then on March 7, 2017 it burned down in  a fire that lasted sixteen hours. The Travellers Building is often remembered, however, for the subtle Art Deco aesthetics of its façade and a “sprung” dancefloor on its second storey—the likes of which were often tourist attractions.

CENTRAL FIRE HALL

Designation: Municipal Heritage Property (1982)


1880 Saskatchewan Drive

Situated on 11th Avenue and Osler Street, the Old No.1 Fire Hall was originally a building associated with the Market Square which was built in the Queen Anne style in 1908. Modified by Regina architects F. Chapman Clemensha and Francis H. Portnall in 1920, this building was given another two floors and a seven-foot frontage expansion to house fire department equipment and vehicles. Within a year, the low building transformed into a Fire Hall replete with gables and a tower protruding from a steeply angled roof.

The Regina Fire Department, established in 1883, fought an inferno at the Canadian Oil Company facilities in July 1925, four years after moving into the former Market Square building. Burning so brightly it was seen from Moose Jaw, this petroleum fire sent 45-gallon oil drums flying high skyward upon ignition. Fortunately, no one perished from this massive fire.

This Fire Hall belongs to the “shock corridor”, a district of buildings meant to provide additional barriers between social classes. Consequently, it marks where the historic immigrant district of Germantown ends and the rest of Regina begins. History was made amid this ‘shock corridor’ during the Depression when the Regina Riot erupted at Market Square on July 1, 1935, and rioters threw rocks in ranked volleys through teargas as police on horseback charged at them outside the Old No. 1 Fire Hall.

In 1988, the Fire Hall relocated to 13th Avenue and Albert Street. The Central Fire Hall currently houses various administrative departments of the City of Regina and other non-profit organizations.

The Downtown Regina Cultural Trailway is presented by:

Special Thank You Extended To:

Regina Downtown Staff:

Judith Veresuk, Amber Parker, Dominika Deneve, Lindsay Des Rochers, Nelson Mitchell, Bonny Bodnar, Dana James, Craig Dunham, Quentin Friesen, and the Info on the Go Team.

Paul Hill, Steve Enns and Dave Pettigrew
Harvard Developments, Inc.

Jackie Schmidt, Margaret Hryniuk, and Melissa Clow
Heritage Regina

Amy Butcher and Steve Wong
Regina Public Library – Central Branch

Rob Deglau and Gillian Anderson
Civic Museum of Regina

Dana Turgeon
City of Regina

Kevin Parker
Young Canada Works

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