Regina: A Century of Change

Regina: A Century of Change May 29, 2015 · 6 min. readThis article may contain affiliate links.

At 112 years old, Regina has seen its fair share of changes.

While exploring the city for my piece on Tourism Regina and my 8 Places to Visit in Regina, I stumbled upon the Civic Museum of Regina. The CMR will be featured in my upcoming blog where I will talk about its many fascinating treasures from our city's past, but in this article I will discuss one very unique artifact I found in their museum: an old map of the original plan of Regina.

While I don't have a date for this map, I estimate it to be created somewhere between the 1900s and 1910s, which means it was probably created early into the city's history. The map shows what the city was proposed to look like, and while they are some locations that remained the same, much of the map has changed.

(Hover your mouse over the below picture to see both maps.)

So, what has changed in the past 100 years? Well, there's been a lot!

1. Wascana Park

Regina's crown jewel, Wascana Park, is much different. This can easily be seen if you look at the shoreline. During the 1930s the lake was dug up in an attempt to create and sustain jobs. Much of the dirt was then used to create the islands. You can see just how narrow the lake used to be, especially at the southern mouth of it.

The park is also very different, especially across from the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. To the north of the Leg., on the old map, is the location where the Royal Saskatchewan Museum currently sits. However, the RSM wasn't there until after 1945. Instead, this is where Government House was supposed to be. However, Government House is located several kilometers away to the west (near the corner of Lewvan and Dewdney), so this shows its proposed re-position. This also fits with records at the Leg., which talk about having the Government House directly across the water from it.

2. Downtown

Downtown Regina is where Regina started, so it's interesting to see how much of it never came to be. The most drastic change is the triangle from Casino Regina (formally Union Station) to RSM to Balfour Collegiate and Miller Comprehensive High School. Neither of these schools would be built for the next few decades, but because Darke Hall and the former University are in the proximity, it would make sense that this would be an extension to them. This would have connected the train station, government buildings and the university together, all very easily. (Unlike the current set up, where Government House is located on the far west end, the train station is closed and the university is on the far south/east end).

Albert Street also wasn't expected to be the major street like it is today, and although the map doesn't show it, the beautiful Albert Street Bridge would not have existed at this time either. Instead, the bridge would have had flowery arches at the entrance and exit (which I think we should bring back).

Also, the current Regina General Hospital isn't on the map, and is instead replaced by a park, with several nearby parks never coming to be (except Central Park, which was moved a block north).

One of the reasons why this area is so different could be because of the 1912 cyclone, which flattened the area and probably forced the city to reconsider building parts of it.

3. Regina International Airport

The airport doesn't exist on the old map, as that whole area is covered with residential neighborhoods. It also appears there was a proposed train station or railway stop where Lewvan currently is, curling into College Ave. If this map was made in the early 1900s, this would make sense as the primary form of transportation was by rail. In fact, the first airport wouldn't be built until 1930, long after this map was made.

4. Ring Road

Although neither the Ring Road nor Lewvan Drive exist on the old map, Lewvan Drive doesn't appear too out of place. Similar streets in the area can be seen, so it almost seems natural to have it built. Ring Road, on the other hand, stands out between the maps as it wasn't even considered. I'm too young to remember the year it was constructed, but you can see on the map there was no plan for a high-speed road to be placed there, as several parks and railway crossings are throughout the area.

See any other locations that seem odd to you? Let me know in the comments! And share this if you find it interesting like I did!


And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.

Get Your Complete List of What to See & Do in Regina!

You might also enjoy

Inside Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shut its doors in 1970. A year later, in 1971, it would briefly reopen and house inmates from Holmesburg Prison after a devastating riot. After the prisoners were returned to Holmesburg, Eastern State would sit empty for over two decades. It would rot, decay and collapse. Trees and shrubs would grow into the structure and a clowder of cats would take residence. These hallowed halls would sit empty, the only noise being the chatter of startled birds and the trotter of feline paws.

The following decades would see various discussions of what to do with the building. Eventually, it was decided to preserve it and turn it into a tourist attraction. Although it officially opened for tours in 1994, attendants would have to sign a waiver and wear hardhats before entering until 2008. They had 10,000 visitors the opening year, a number of tourists not seen in the prison since 1858.

From 1829 to 1970, Eastern State Penitentiary underwent a variety of changes and transformations. This massive, sprawling, 11-acre complex was founded under the belief that solitary confinement was the cure needed to prevent criminals from committing future crimes. It was believed criminals who served in solitary confinement would turn to a higher power to reconcile with themselves for their crimes – hence feeling "penitent". To assist in this process, each cell was equipped with a slit window on the ceiling nicknamed "The Eye of God". It would be the only light source available to the inmate.

Read More

10 Things To Do in Venice

I don't often take blog requests, but a friend approached me recently and asked about Venice. He's traveling to Italy for a wedding this summer and is stopping in Venice for few days. He asked me if I knew what he could do in the Floating City, so I racked up a list of ten things for him to see.

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if I missed anything, what your favorite thing to see in Venice was, or if you plan to go visit Venice after reading this!

You're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Read More

5 Weekend Destinations In Saskatchewan

The past few weeks have been really busy for me, with a lot more time at the office and a lot less time travelling. Thankfully, the weekend is just around the corner and with it comes the possibility of a two day vacation. Having traveled to Lac La Ronge earlier this month, I've been thinking more and more about these short trips and how rejuvenating they can be.

Unfortunately, I haven't done as much travelling around Saskatchewan as I'd like, so I wasn't sure what the best places to visit were. There were of course the obvious choices such as Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, but I wanted someplace remote, yet somewhat close. For this project I approached some of my fellow travel bloggers and I got some ideas of what to go do and see for a weekend. I went through their ideas and came up with this short list of 5 weekend destinations in Saskatchewan.

Thanks to TELUS' incredible network, sections of Saskatchewan that once never had coverage can now be fully explored while still being connected to your mobile device. No matter where you travel in Saskatchewan -- or even in Canada -- this summer, you can rely on TELUS' mobile network to keep you connected.

Read More