Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Whether you arrive by land or air, Regina seems to sprout right out of the flat prairie. Its skyline towers over the crops in the fields that surround it.
Regina began as an agricultural community, providing a distribution point for farm materials and produce for a wide area. In the early 1880s, there was little here – just fertile land, a small creek and a great deal of potential.
Originally called Pile of Bones because of the huge piles of buffalo bones left in the area by First Nations hunters, the community was renamed Regina (Latin for queen) after Queen Victoria, who was the monarch at the time. It has been the “Queen City” ever since.
The arrival of the railroad in 1882 led to rapid growth of the small village. Immigrants from Europe and the United States bought fertile homesteads for just $10. Regina became the capital of the Northwest Territories – a 2.5-million sq. mile land mass larger than present-day Europe. In 1883, the North West Mounted Police moved their headquarters to Regina. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police training facility is still in the city and Regina is proud to be the “home of the RCMP.”
Regina grew quickly during its first few years, becoming a city in 1903. When Saskatchewan became a province in 1905, Regina was chosen as its capital. Construction of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building began in 1908. The creek passing in front of the Legislature was dammed and the lake became the focus for a large park. It later became Wascana Centre, one of North America’s largest urban parks.
Regina’s rapid growth was slowed by drought and poor crops in the settlement’s early years. A tornado in 1912 devastated parts of the residential area south of downtown, the downtown, and the warehouse district north of the railway. Twentyeight people were killed and thousands lost their homes.
The economy of Regina and region is now strong and diversified. Though farming remains a core industry, oil, potash, finance, telecommunications, natural gas, filmmaking, steel pipe production, and technology are very important. An oil upgrader and refinery takes Saskatchewan’s heavy crude and turns it into gasoline and other products. Potash and nitrogen-based fertilizers are produced in plants west of the city. A steel pipe manufacturing plant has been located here since the 1950s. Regina Research Park, located adjacent to the university, is working on technologies vital to our future, such as greenhouse gases and their effect on global warming. As provincial capital, Regina is also home to head offices of most Crown-owned corporations, as well as many federal regional offices.
The powers and duties of the City of Regina are set by the provincial Cities Act. Regina’s municipal government is run by an elected City Council. City Councillors are elected through a ward system with the city divided into 10 wards. The Mayor is elected at large and chairs the Council meetings. Councillors and the Mayor are elected for threeyear terms.
The City Manager handles the day-to-day administration of the City, under policies set by City Council.
Residents are invited to comment on issues at committee meetings or at City Council meetings. As well, they are invited to contact their City Councillor or the Mayor. For information, call 777-7000 or visit the City Web site at www.regina.ca.
Just over half of the money needed to provide civic programs and services comes from property taxes. Other revenue sources include user fees, utility fees and grants from other levels of government.
More than half of each dollar the City of Regina collects in property taxes goes to both school boards and the public library system. Only about 44 per cent of each property tax dollar is used by the City of Regina in providing services.
Coat of Arms
In September 1992, the new heraldic symbols were presented to the City of Regina by the Governor General of Canada.
The Coat of Arms was designed to include some elements of the 1906 original insignia. The colours reflect the yellow and gold of the grain fields which surround the city and the blue of the prairie skies.
The buffalo or bison honours the First Nations people who first lived in the area. The golden wheat sheaf depicts the role of agriculture in our economy.
The mural or stone crown (above the shield) is built from stones and symbolizes the municipal government. The royal crown above it recognizes the city being named after Queen Victoria and our status as the provincial capital.
The grassy mound at the base of the Coat of Arms represents Regina’s many parks and green spaces. The two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers celebrate the relationship between the force and the community as the “home of the RCMP.” The figure on the left is a man dressed in an 1882 uniform – the year our community was founded. The figure on the right is a woman dressed in the RCMP uniform of today.
Regina’s historic motto is “Floreat Regina.” Translated from the Latin, it means “Let Regina flourish.”
The blue upper portion of the flag symbolizes the wide prairie skies that arch over the city. The gold at the bottom represents the fields of grain that surround us. The Royal Crown symbolizes our royal roots and status as the capital of the province.
Chain of Office
The Mayor’s Chain of Office was presented to the City by Frederick W. Hill, then-president of McCallum Hill Limited in 1978. It commemorates the 75th anniversaries of both the City and the company. The gold-plated chain consists of 13 round disks which depict local historic events. The disks are linked with gold bars with the name of a Regina mayor inscribed. The former Coat of Arms is suspended from a Saskatchewan coat of arms.
Water, sewer and residential garbage services are municipally owned. SaskPower and SaskEnergy are provincial Crown corporations, which provide electricity and natural gas, respectively. Another Crown corporation, SaskTel, provides local telecommunications services. Mobile or cellular and long-distance phone services are provided by a number of firms, including SaskTel.
The community is served by eight English-language and one French-language radio stations. As well, there are three English-language and one French-language television stations, a community access cable station, one daily newspaper, a Sunday community newspaper, a French newspaper and bi-weekly community paper.
Recreation and Culture
Regina’s early settlers planted trees and shrubs that turned the community into a park-like oasis on the prairies. We now have over 300,000 trees – most of which were hand planted.
Regina is also home to more than 100 parks – the largest being Wascana Centre. This 930-hectare (2,300 acre) park is home to some of Regina’s most popular attractions, including the Legislative Building, Conexus Arts Centre, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the Saskatchewan Science Centre.
Government House is the oldest building in the city and was formerly the home of the Lieutenant Governors of the Northwest Territories and the Province of Saskatchewan. It has been returned to its Victorian Age splendour and offers free tours.
The Devonian Pathway is an eight-kilometre asphalt multi-use trail running along Wascana Creek from east to west. Designed for cycling, walking or jogging in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter, it features rest spots and rain shelters.
The Conexus Arts Centre is home to the Regina Symphony Orchestra, Canada’s oldest continuously operating symphony orchestra. Besides hosting major travelling shows, the centre also showcases local talent.
The RCMP Training Academy and its Centennial Museum are among Regina’s most popular tourist destinations. The museum offers the history of the world’s most recognized and most admired police force, from its founding in 1873 to the present. Visitors can also see how recruits are trained. A national heritage centre will open at the training academy in 2007.
Regina has many art galleries, both public and private. The MacKenzie Art Gallery in the T.C. Douglas Building is the largest. Each June, it hosts Bazaart, Saskatchewan’s largest outdoor art and craft show, on its grounds.
Regina is home to hundreds of recreation facilities, from the 8,300 sq. m Sportplex with its competitive-sized pool to Canada’s best lawn-bowling green. There are five municipally owned golf courses, over 200 athletic fields, an indoor and outdoor skateboarding facility, a BMX track, biking trails, an Olympic-sized track, indoor soccer facilities, swimming pools, speed skating oval, rugby and soccer fields and a cricket pitch. Whatever sport you’re involved in, chances are you’ll find the facilities in Regina.
IPSCO Place, formerly Exhibition Park, is Canada’s second-largest trade show and exhibition facility. Each summer, it hosts the Buffalo Days Exhibition, Saskatchewan’s provincial fair. It is also home to the Canadian Western Agribition, the second largest cattle show in North America, held in late November/early December. Each June, the park also hosts the Western Canada Farm Progress Show, a world-calibre showcase of dryland farming equipment and technology.
The Saskatchewan Science Centre provides a hands-on experience of science and the world around us. Films shown on the five-storey screen at the IMAX Theatre make you feel you’re part of the action – from aboard the shuttle to thousands of feet below the sea.
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum showcases the natural history of Saskatchewan and other parts of the world, from pre-history to the present. The First Nations Gallery gives glimpses into the life of the people who lived in this area before European settlers arrived.
Casino Regina is housed in the historic Union Station. Its show lounge offers food, music and entertainment and is one of Regina’s most popular destinations.
Jinan: Our Sister City
Regina has been twinned with Jinan, in the Shandong province of China, since 1987. The purpose is to develop exchanges that will lead to more co-operation in trade, science and technology, culture, education and civic administration.
- 187,772 (2005 estimate by Sask Health)
- 16th largest city in Canada
Regina’s population is ethnically and culturally diverse, with immigrants from the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States.
- Latitude: 50º 26’ North. Longitude: 104º 37’West.
- Elevation: 577.4 metres above sea level
- Area: The city covers 118.4 sq. km (45.7 sq. miles)
Regina is situated in South Central Saskatchewan on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is approximately midway between Calgary, Alberta and Winnipeg, Manitoba. Saskatchewan sits above the American states of North Dakota and Montana.
Regina’s climate is continental with warm summers and cold, dry winters. It is the sunniest capital city in Canada with an average of 2,365 sunshine hours each year. Precipitation averages 364 mm (14 inches) each year, with most of it falling as summer rains.
Natural resources are a very important part of Regina’s economy. Oil and gas, potash, sodium sulphate, bentonite, kaolin and other natural resources are found in southeastern and south central Saskatchewan.
Regina has been named one of the most affordable places to do business in western North America several times over the past few years. The Regina Regional Economic Development Authority has been established to attract new business to the area and to foster growth of existing businesses.
Here are a few of Regina’s thriving industries:
- Insurance, financial and data management services
- Oil and natural gas exploration and production
- Agricultural chemicals and equipment
- Electrical and electronic equipment
- Film and video production
- Call centres
- Potash and nitrogen fertilizer production
Regina has some of the most affordable housing in Canada. The average selling price of a home in the first part of 2007 was $117,468 (according to the Association of Regina Realtors).
Regina has two school boards and systems, each supported by property taxes. The Regina Public School Board administers all public elementary and high schools, while the Regina Catholic School Board runs elementary and high schools with a Roman Catholic affiliation. There are 75 elementary schools and 14 high schools in the two systems. A third school board, the Division Scolaire Francophone, administers the kindergarten through Grade 12 school, French-language Monseigneur de Laval.
The Wascana Campus of the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) offers full-time or part-time training in agriculture, industrial and technical trades, health sciences, dental, adult basic education, business and general studies.
The University of Regina and its federated colleges – Campion and Luther – provide academic training and research in a variety of fields, from engineering to journalism. The Language Institute offers training in many languages to students from around the world. The campus is also home to a large research and development park. Important research into greenhouse gases, petroleum technology and sustainable communities is taking place there.
The First Nations University of Canada (formerly the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College) is the only university-level institution in North America developed and run by First Nations peoples.
The Regina Public Library system is one of the top ten in Canada, offering a wealth of resources to local residents. There are nine locations serving the community, as well as online searching capabilities. The library also has a top-notch art gallery and a repertory film theatre.
Regina is located on the Trans-Canada Highway, about 160 kilometres north of the American border. It is also on the CP mainline. The Regina International Airport is the oldest in Canada and is served by six regular carriers, as well as charter service. Over 100 trucking and courier companies provide transportation of goods.
The name Saskatchewan is derived from the Cree word kisiskâciwanisîpiy meaning "swift-flowing river." Saskatchewan became a province of Canada on September 1, 1905. Located between Alberta to the west and Manitoba to the east, its boundaries extend from the US border along the 49th parallel to the border with the Northwest Territories along the 60th parallel.
Saskatchewan covers 6.5% of Canada, an area of 651,036 square kilometres. Of this, 591,670 square kilometres are land and 59,366 square kilometres are covered by water. The land is divided between the mostly crystalline rocks of the Precambrian shield in the northern third of the province and the sedimentary rocks of the western Canadian sedimentary basin in the south. Mineral resources include world-class deposits of uranium and potash.
Four ecozones span the province: prairie, boreal plains, boreal shield, and taiga shield. The climate is continental, characterized by large seasonal temperature ranges and low precipitation. Humans began to occupy the land as ice retreated at the end of the last glaciation. Distinctive cultures evolved, dependent on the natural resources available in the different ecozones.
European contact with Aboriginal peoples occurred during the fur trade era, and increased when agricultural settlement began in the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, that settlement history produced an ethnically mixed, largely agrarian population concentrated on farms and in communities across the prairie ecozone. A century later, agriculture has declined in relative importance and more people live in urban areas (64.3%) than in the countryside.
The 2006 census recorded Saskatchewan's population at 968,157, while provincial estimates for April 2010 were 1,041,729. The 2006 median age (38.7 years) was slightly below the Canadian average. Saskatchewan had the highest proportion (15.4%) of inhabitants over 65 in Canada, but relatively more people under 25 years of age (34.4% versus 31% for Canada). 14.88% of people identified themselves as Aboriginal, an increase of 9% since 2001. Although only 3.6% of the population was self-identified as visible minorities, a total of 186 different ethnic groups were recognized, ranging from 286,045 people claiming German ethnicity to just 10 people identified as Moroccan.
Saskatchewan's economy, as measured by the rate of increase in Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), expanded at an annual rate of 3.9 per cent in 2008 to $41,646 million of which approximately 25% derived from primary industries such as Agriculture, Mining and Petroleum. A further 15% came fron the Finance, Insurance and Retail sectors and almost 13% from the Wholesale and Retail trades. The remainder attributes to an ever-increasing range of service industries.
Saskatchewan's real GDP per capita increased by 3.7% (ranked 1st among the provinces) in 2008. Saskatchewan's productivity (real GDP per employed person) increased by 2.2% and was the highest among the provinces. Saskatchewan also led the nation in personal income (at 12.4%) and disposable income(at 13.7%) growth in 2008.