History of Regina

Did You Know?

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A Brief History of Regina – The City of Infinite Horizons

Regina is the capital of the province of Saskatchewan. With a population of more than 230,000, it is one of the fastest growing urban centres in Canada. Located in the heart of the prairies, Regina is called the “City on the Horizon.” Named after Britain’s Queen Victoria, Regina is also known as the “Queen City.”

The site where Regina stands today was once a place where buffalo roamed the prairies. The Cree who hunted buffalo in this part of the prairies believed that the buffalo would not leave the bones of dead buffalo. Buffalo would be plentiful and hunting would be good as long as there were dead bones. Thus, the Cree gathered the bones of the buffalo in a large pile.

The site became famous for its large pile of bones, with the Cree calling it oskana kâ-asastêki, meaning “where the bones are piled.” The first Metis settlement was called “Pile O’ Bones.” In 1857, the explorer James Paliser incorrectly heard the Cree word for the area as “Wascana,” which it is still known by today.

Homesteaders took advantage of land grants and settled in this area of what was the Northwest Territories in the late 1800s. Edward Cars, who settled near Wascana Creek in 1881, was the first pioneer in the Regina area. In 1882, six settlers set up camp near present-day Wascana Lake. Another party of eleven people arrived a few days later.

There were several names that were proposed for this new settlement along Wascana Creek. Princess Louise, wife of the Governor General who was the Queen’s representative in Canada, suggested “Regina” in honour of her mother Queen Victoria. The capital of the Northwest Territories was moved from the northern town of Battleford to Regina in 1883, although this was not without controversy. Saskatchewan was declared a province in 1905 and Regina was named its capital in 1906.

Today, Regina is a rapidly growing city with a vibrant arts and culture community. As the capital of the province of Saskatchewan, it is home to the Saskatchewan Legislature. The Globe Theatre, MacKenzie Art Gallery, New Dance Horizons, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Royal Saskatchewan Museum, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre are but some of the cultural activities that Regina has to offer visitors. It is home to the University of Regina, Campion College, First Nations University of Canada, and Luther College, as well as Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Also called Riderville, Regina is the home of the Canadian Football League’s beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders.

From A Brief History of Regina by the City of Regina