Settlement and Development
Regina grew slowly at first, reaching a population of 2250 by 1901, but thereafter its fortunes improved dramatically. Named provincial capital when Saskatchewan was formed in 1905, Regina grew quickly, and by 1911 numbered over 30 000 inhabitants. The boom mentality of the period survived the destruction wrought by a 1912 tornado, but an economic depression in 1913 and the outbreak of World War I temporarily halted the city's growth.
Economic conditions remained unsettled after the war, and Regina continued to mark time. Not until the mid-1920s did prosperity return, as the population leaped from 34 400 to 53 200 in the decade, but then a decade of drought and depression reduced life in Saskatchewan to bare subsistence. When better times returned for the province's farmers after 1939, Regina's economy began to revive as well.
Since World War II the city has experienced steady, though unspectacular, growth, with the primary spurt in the 1950s, when the population grew by 57%. An increase in the population of nearly 10% between 1981 and 1991 was the result of a diversifying economy and the movement of people from farms to the city. At the turn of the 21st century growth was considerably slower.
Reginans have transformed the flat and treeless prairie into a city of shaded parks and streets. Wascana Centre, surrounding man-made Wascana Lake, a 930 ha area in the heart of Regina. The park encloses the stately Legislative Building (1912) and other provincial government offices, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the Conexus Arts Centre and the Saskatchewan Science Centre.
The Regina Downtown (a business improvement district) is a 40-block area in the city's downtown. Major changes to the city's skyline have taken place there with the addition of the McCallum Hill "twin" towers, the Canada Life Assurance Building and several bank buildings. Many of the buildings are connected with walkways. One of the oldest buildings in the downtown core, a railway passenger station, has become the home of Casino Regina.
Economy and Labour Force
Regina is surrounded by a rich wheat-growing plain on which its economy is largely dependent. The city is the most important retail, distribution and service centre in southern Saskatchewan. The headquarters of the SASKATCHEWAN WHEAT POOL, the world's largest grain-handling co-operative, is located here. Founded as a co-operative in 1924, it is now a publicly traded company. The Canadian Western Agribition, the second largest livestock show in North America and the Western Canada Farm Progress Show (an exhibition of dryland farming technology), reinforce Regina's position as a major centre of Canadian agriculture.
The provincial government continues to be a major factor in the urban economy, although its importance is waning. In recent decades Regina has diversified its economy, the principal new developments being in telecommunications and financial services. Crown Life Insurance relocated its head office from Toronto to Regina in 1992; it is now part of Canada Life. ISM Canada and CGI Information Systems handle data services for governments, organizations and corporations throughout North America. As well, SEARS CANADA INC, the CANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK OF COMMERCE and Staples Business Depot have established telephone call centres in Regina to reach clients.
The largest firms in the manufacturing sector are IPSCO Inc (steel mill and pipe plant) and a heavy oil upgrader and refinery. The recent growth and diversification of Regina's economy is reflected in its relatively low unemployment rate. Since the late 1990s it has averaged 5.3% on an annual basis.TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY, on the main line of CP Rail and on a branch line of the Canadian National Railway. Four airlines and 2 bus lines serve the city.
Regina is served by one community cable channel, 3 English-language television stations and one French-language television station, more than 10 radio stations, a daily newspaper, the Leader-Post, a weekly, the Regina Sun Community News and a biweekly, the Prairie Dog. A province-wide French weekly newspaper, l'Eau vive, is published in the city.
Government and Politics
Regina's educational facilities include the UNIVERSITY OF REGINA and the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology. The FIRST NATIONS UNIVERSITY OF CANADA, at the University of Regina, is the only university college in Canada run by and for First Nations people.
The city's main cultural venue is the Conexus Arts Centre. It is the home of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, one of the city's most distinguished cultural institutions, Opera Saskatchewan and the contemporary-dance company, New Dance Horizons. The MacKenzie Art Gallery and the Dunlop Art Gallery have substantial permanent collections and feature many travelling exhibitions. The GLOBE THEATRE has gained a national reputation for its professional theatre productions. In addition to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, other museums include the Regina Plains Museum, focusing on the city's development, and the RCMP training academy (Depot Division) and Centennial Museum, which together attract tens of thousands of visitors each year.
The pride of the city, and indeed of the whole province, is the SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS, a Canadian Football League team that plays at Taylor Field. As well, there is a junior hockey team, the Pats.
Author J. WILLIAM BRENNAN
William Argan, Regina, the First 100 years: Regina's Cornerstones: The History of Regina Told Through Its Buildings and Monuments (1995, rev 2002); J. William Brennan, Regina: An Illustrated History (1989); E.H. Dale, ed, Regina: Regional Isolation and Innovative Development (1980); E.G. Drake, Regina: The Queen City (1955).
Links to Other Sites
The official website for the City of Regina.
Geographical Names of Canada
Search the "Canadian Geographical Names Data Base" for the official name of a city, town, lake (or any other geographical feature) in any province or territory in Canada. See also the real story of how Toronto got its name. A Natural Resources Canada website.
Main Street, Saskatchewan
Take a stroll down Main Street, Saskatchewan. This extensive compilation of photographs and other archival material highlights more than a century of Saskatchewan history. Search the Saskatchewan Archival Information Network or browse the Virtual Displays and the Town List. Produced by the Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists.
Check out the latest news and other online features from the “Regina Leader-Post” newspaper. A CanWest Global Communications Corp. website.
Regina Archaeological Society
The Regina Archaeological Society focuses on archaeological discoveries underway in Saskatchewan and around the world.
This very entertaining website for Regina’s Globe Theatre features synopses, reviews, and video clips of recent shows. Also provides information about theatre school programs, study guides, outreach initiatives, and more.
A Scientific and Historical Background Regarding the Time System in Saskatchewan
A report on the history of local and regional time zone policies in the Province of Saskatchewan. From the website for the City of Saskatoon.
The website for Jane’s Walk, a network of free walking tours that explore the quality and livability of local neighbourhoods based on ideas espoused by Jane Jacobs. Click on "The Community" to access the latest news and photos on their blog and more. Also, check out "Find Your Walk" for maps and descriptions of local walks throughout the country.