When you look at a map of North America, you will find Regina in the center of the continent. The land around the city is flat and seems to stretch forever. The first settlers arrive in the area in the 1880’s and First Nation hunters arrived to hunt the roaming herds.
In 1882, the first settler camp was set up near modern Wascana Lake. The settlement was called Pile of Bones and grew quickly because of the flat and fertile land. The first residents lived in small shacks or tents despite the extreme temperatures in summer and winter. Despite the harsh temperatures, the small town continued to grow.
Renaming The Town
In late 1882, the name of the town was changed to something more ‘regal’. The town was renamed Regina in honor of Queen Victoria whose daughter suggested the name. The name Regina is Latin for Queen and is why many people refer to Regina as the Queen City.
In 1882, the headquarters of the North West Mounted Police was moved from Fort Walsh to Regina. The headquarters were later moved to Ottawa in 1920, but the RCMP training academy can still be found in the city. In 1883, Regina became the capital of the North West Territories because the pervious capital, Battlefords, has been too far away from the railroad.
As the town grew, more businesses started to arrive. By the end of 1883, Regina was officially a town and the first mayor, Dr. David Scott, was elected 5 weeks later. Early Regina still had unpaved streets and water had to be hauled from the river.
Regina Becomes A City
The population of Regina had grown to 3000 by 1903. In July of that year, the town officially became a city with Jacob Smith as the mayor. Two years later in 1905, Saskatchewan became a province and the next year Regina was named the capital. At this time, Saskatchewan was the quickest growing province in Canada with a booming economy.
The Later Years
After the First World War, Regina entered the air age with veteran Roland Groome becoming Canada’s first commercial pilot. By the 1920’s, immigration to Saskatchewan had started to slow, but Regina was still the largest distribution center for agricultural equipment and supplies in Canada. When the stock market collapsed, the Depression hit and a drought added to the woes of Saskatchewan. After the Second World War, Regina started to prosper again because of an oil pipeline linking it to a new oil field in Alberta.