Regina

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Named after Queen Victoria’s middle name, Regina is a tree-lined oasis of culture, activity and shade in an otherwise flat and unpopulated province. As the capital city of the province of Saskatchewan, and the second largest city in the province after Saskatoon, Regina is home to a vibrant cultural scene which includes Canada’s oldest continuous symphony orchestra, Canada’s biggest multi-cultural festival and one of the most turbulent and interesting histories of any city in the west! All of this despite -40 centigrade winter temperatures!

Regina was founded in 1882 and named by Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter and wife of the Canadian Governor-General at the time. The site had been loosely settled near Pile-O-Bones, the only landmark in a treeless expanse consisting of a massive pile of buffalo bones assembled there by First Nations hunters over the centuries. Ā The new Canadian Pacific railway being forged through the territory chose what few landmarks it could to create temporary worker’s towns. The town around Pile-o-Bones stayed, however, and began to grow.

Pile-O-Bones, the original site of Regina. The city is literally built on top of bones.

Pile-O-Bones, the original site of Regina. The city is literally built on top of bones.

The Canadian Pacific railway being built through Regina.

The Canadlian Pacific railway being built through Regina.

At the time of Regina’s founding as a real city, Saskatchewan was part of the massive Northwest Territories. Lieutenant-Governor Dewdney, then governor of the territory, decided to move the capital of the territories from Battleford to Regina, centrally located as it was on the new rail line. In 1885 the Northwest Rebellion broke out and following the defeat of the rebels by the new Canadian Army and the hanging of rebel leader Louis Riel, Regina grew in importance. The government established the headquarters and training depot of the Northwest Mounted Police (later to become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) in Regina as a show of federal force for anyone else who might think of rebelling. The RCMP training depot has remained in Regina since, and is a major tourist stop in the prairies.

Between 1890 and the outbreak of the First World War, the Saskatchewan region and Regina boomed economically as new technologies gave agriculture economic primacy. A flood of immigrants to the region, particularly from Scotland and the Ukraine, settled the land and Saskatchewan became the third richest area in North America! In 1905 Parliament granted Saskatchewan provincial status and invited her to join Confederation. Regina, the historic capital of the territories, remained as capital of the new province.

Regina 1892

Regina 1892

In 1912 a massive tornado hit the city, destroying buildings and killing 28 people.

In 1912 a massive tornado hit the city, destroying buildings and killing 28 people.

The "Regina Cyclone" of 1912 remains the deadliest tornado in Saskatchewan's history.

The “Regina Cyclone” of 1912 remains the deadliest tornado in Saskatchewan’s history.

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The boom years Regina experienced came to a crashing halt in 1929 with the start of the Great Depression and the “dust bowl” drought of the continental mid-west. Farms dried up the same time factories were closing, and Regina was hit particularly hard. The economic hardship of the “Dirty Thirties” resulted in a growing socialist and union movement in Canada which originated in Regina. The CCF (Cooperative Commonwealth Federation), the forerunner of today’s left-leaning New Democratic Party, was founded in 1935 in Regina following a riot by protesting labourers on their way to Ottawa. Police charged into the crowd and the first union-busting riot in Canada ensued, going down in labour history as the Regina Riots.

The 1935 Regina Riots, between workers and union-busting police, resulted in several deaths and the rise of the CCF (NDP) as a national political movement.

The 1935 Regina Riots, between workers and union-busting police, resulted in several deaths and the rise of the CCF (NDP) as a national political movement.

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Following the Second World War, when all social and political differences were put aside (and in which the local regiment, the Regina Rifles, landed in the first wave on D-Day), Regina’s local economy stagnated. The War Years had largely benefited eastern Canada’s manufacturing industry, and the discovery of oil in Alberta in the 1940’s saw provinces to the west of Saskatchewan boom. Agriculture, it seemed, would take a back seat in the new post-war world.

In 1982 Regina celebrated its centennial, with Princess Anne presiding over the ceremonies.Since then, Regina has remained fairly stable. The city has grown to 193,000 inhabitants and is the home to various festivals, the University of Regina, the Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL team and the government of Saskatchewan. Enjoy this picture tour of the “Paris of the Prairies”!

The Regina Rifles storm Juno Beach on D-Day, June 6 1944. They lost 308 killed that first day of Normandy.

The Regina Rifles storm Juno Beach on D-Day, June 6 1944. They lost 308 killed that first day of Normandy.

The Saskatchewan legislature

The Saskatchewan legislature

Regina summers are beautiful, with warm temperatures and cool prairie breezes.

Regina summers are beautiful, with warm temperatures and cool prairie breezes.

Autumn in Regina

Autumn in Regina

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Cold, blowing snowy Regina winter.

Cold, blowing snowy Regina winter.

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Springtime in Regina is often wet and rainy...

Springtime in Regina is often wet and rainy…

Downtown Regina

Downtown Regina

RCMP Training Depot

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Cadets in training.

Cadets in training.

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RCMP police driving simulator. Training for the RCMP is a grueling year-long endeavour in which only 50% of cadets actually stay in to graduate.

RCMP police driving simulator. Training for the RCMP is a grueling year-long endeavour in which only 50% of cadets actually stay in to graduate.

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New officers at their graduation ceremony.

New officers at their graduation ceremony.

Recruits are quickly assigned to active duty across the country.

Recruits are quickly assigned to active duty across the country.

Regina’s Culture

The pile of bones Regina was founded on has lent its name to local sports teams, shops and a popular all-brass brand, Pile-O-Bones!

The pile of bones Regina was founded on has lent its name to local sports teams, shops and a popular all-brass brand, Pile-O-Bones!

Ukrainian heritage is celebrated in Regina.

Ukrainian heritage is celebrated in Regina.

The Regina Mosaic Festival is the country's largest multi-cultural celebration.

The Regina Mosaic Festival is the country’s largest multi-cultural celebration.

The Regina Symphony Orchestra is Canada's oldest continuous orchestra.

The Regina Symphony Orchestra is Canada’s oldest continuous orchestra.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL team are a popular sports franchise.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL team are a popular sports franchise.

Roughriders fans are loyal and loud.

Roughriders fans are loyal and loud.

The Roughriders cheerleading squad.

The Roughriders cheerleading squad.

The MacKenzie Art Gallery is the largest gallery and concert hall in the prairies.

The MacKenzie Art Gallery is the largest gallery and concert hall in the prairies.

Queen City Pride is a popular festival.

Queen City Pride is a popular festival.

The Regina Folk Festival is a popular annual event.

The Regina Folk Festival is a popular annual event.

The RCMP Museum is a must-see for anyone travelling through town.

The RCMP Museum is a must-see for anyone travelling through town.

The City

Regina International Airport

Regina International Airport

Casino Regina

Casino Regina

Regina Transit

Regina Transit

Victoria Park

Victoria Park

Albert Memorial Bridge

Albert Memorial Bridge

The Regina War Memorial.

The Regina War Memorial.

Wascana Lake, a man-made lake originally created in 1892.

Wascana Lake, a man-made lake originally created in 1892.

Wascana Park

Wascana Park

Historic West End

Historic West End

The Old Warehouse District has become a popular "loft living" condo development area lined with cafes, bookshops and bygone-era charm.

The Old Warehouse District has become a popular “loft living” condo development area lined with cafes, bookshops and bygone-era charm.

Typical Old Warehouse District condo.

Typical Old Warehouse District condo.

Regina's famous tree-lined streets, some of the only trees for hundreds of miles around.

Regina’s famous tree-lined streets, some of the only trees for hundreds of miles around.

The surrounding countryside...

The surrounding countryside…

Qu'appelle Valley, a popular summertime cottage and camping retreat outside of Regina.

Qu’appelle Valley, a popular summertime cottage and camping retreat outside of Regina.

Regina was named the winner of the 2010 "Prettiest Small City Skyline" competition for North America.

Regina was named the winner of the 2010 “Prettiest Small City Skyline” competition for North America.

University of Regina, home to first-class geological, archaeology, engineering and earth sciences programs, including graduate degrees.

University of Regina, home to first-class geological, archaeology, engineering and earth sciences programs, including graduate degrees.

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