incorporated as a city in 1903, population 193 100 (2011c), 179 282 (2006c). The City of Regina is the capital and commercial and financial centre of SASKATCHEWAN. Regina is situated 160 km north of the United States border. The city is set in a wide, level alluvial plain.
incorporated as a city in 1903, population 193 100 (2011c), 179 282 (2006c). The City of Regina is the capital and commercial and financial centre of SASKATCHEWAN. Regina is situated 160 km north of the United States border. The city is set in a wide, level alluvial plain. It was named for Queen VICTORIA, mother-in-law of then Governor General the Marquess of Lorne.
Settlement and Development
Regina was founded in 1882 and made capital of the NORTH-WEST TERRITORIES in 1883. The town was a creature of the CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY (CPR), which determined the location of the townsite near the meandering Pile O' Bones (Wascana) Creek and influenced Regina's street layout and land-use patterns. The NORTH-WEST MOUNTED POLICE chose the city as the site of its headquarters in 1882. Recruit training began 3 years later.
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.
CityscapeReginans 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.
PopulationRegina's population has more than doubled since World War II, in part through immigration from outside the province, but more from a general population shift from farm to city within Saskatchewan. Most citizens are native born and over 40% claim some British ancestry. People of German, Ukrainian, Polish and Scandinavian ancestry form large groups as well, and during the last 4 decades many First Nations people have come to the city. The largest religious denominations are Roman Catholic, United Church, Lutheran and Anglican.
Economy and Labour ForceRegina 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.
TransportationRegina is located on the 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.
CommunicationsRegina 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 is governed by an elected mayor and 10 councillors, each of the latter representing a specific "zone" or ward. The ward system, first introduced in 1906, was abolished in 1914. It appeared again in 1934, only to be abandoned 2 years later. The present wards were established in 1973. Public and separate (Roman Catholic and Francophone) school boards administer Regina's tax-supported elementary and high school systems.
Cultural LifeRegina'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.
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).