Created in partnership with the Wascana Centre Authority.
Wascana Centre is on the traditional lands of Treaty 4 territory, the original lands of the Cree, Ojibwe, Saulteaux, Dakota, Nakota, Lakota, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.
Wascana Centre is internationally known as a beautifully landscaped park surrounding a 150-hectare lake located in the heart of Regina. It was established in 1962 to be a place for recreation and beauty.
Wascana Centre includes 2,300 acres of urban land that provides countless functions and services to tenants, landowners and community resulting in an area of immeasurable value as a place of work, education, recreation and natural preservation.
The centre is recognized as one of the top tourist and resident attractions in the province and many other attractions are within the centre’s boundaries such as Candy Cane Park, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the Saskatchewan Science Centre, MacKenzie Art Gallery, etc.
Wascana Centre is home to 8.7 kilometres of paved pathways and 5.6 kilometres of natural paths, recreation and play area as well as the Habitat Conservation Area with a marsh ecosystem, promoting healthy active lifestyles for families and community.
The Centre remains one of the finest outdoor venues in the country to host an outdoor event. Wascana Centre is the host facility of over 400 events annually, including flagship events like the Queen City Marathon, Dragon Boat Festival, Canada Day and Bazaart.
Wascana Centre is a part of our community, with hundreds of thousands of visits a year, places for learning and recreation. It is a welcoming place for everyone providing a place of work, education, recreation and natural beauty.
The purpose of Wascana Centre is to ensure that an area surrounding Wascana Lake be devoted to the:
Development of the seat of government;
Enlargement of educational opportunities;
Advancement of cultural arts;
Improvement of recreational facilities;
Conservation of the environment.
Once the site of Calvary Evangelical Church, 2627 13th Ave. is now home to the sights and sounds of diverse community gatherings at The Artesian.
Stepping into the Artesian Performing Arts Centre, you are greeted by a treasure trove of heritage elements from across Saskatchewan. The wooden ceiling beams are from a grain elevator in Humboldt and the turn of the century tin ceiling comes from Wolseley – but the heart of the building is pure Regina.
The facility began its life as Cavalry Evangelical Church in 1950. The structure was designed and built by prominent Saskatchewan architects Storey and Van Egmond, creators of some of the city’s most renowned public buildings. After decades of religious services at the corner of 13th Ave. and Angus Street, the building was privately purchased in 2009 and its heritage elements were lovingly restored. In 2011, the facility reopened as The Artesian, a multipurpose performing arts centre that welcomes thousands of guests annually.
Several chapters of Regina’s history have been preserved in the interior and will feel like a homecoming for generations of the city’s residents. The building’s main doors were salvaged from Herchmer School, which closed in 2008, and the doors of the theatre from Marian High School, which closed in 1990.
Welcome to Darke Hall, an architectural gem that tells the captivating story of Regina’s cultural heritage. Originally known as Darke Hall for Music and Art, this magnificent concert hall stands as a testament to the vision and generosity of Francis N. Darke, a prominent figure in the early days of Regina. Step back in time as we guide you through the fascinating history and distinctive features of this iconic landmark.
Designed by the esteemed architect J.H. Puntin, Darke Hall was erected in 1928/1929 on the west side of the original Regina College campus. Its construction was made possible through the generous donation of $100,000 by Francis N. Darke himself, a successful businessman with a passion for music and the arts. Darke Hall was intended to serve as the city’s premier performing arts center, a place where Regina’s cultural aspirations could flourish.
Francis N. Darke’s dedication to the arts extended beyond the construction of Darke Hall. He also gifted the Darke Memorial Chimes to Knox-Metropolitan Church, ensuring that the gift of music would resonate throughout the city. Darke’s impact on Regina’s cultural landscape and his philanthropic endeavors have left an indelible mark on the community.
For four decades, Darke Hall took center stage as the city’s primary venue for performances. It hosted the Regina Symphony Orchestra, choirs, and numerous musical and theatrical groups, captivating audiences with its exquisite acoustics and opulent ambiance. However, with the completion of the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts in 1968, Darke Hall’s role as the cultural hub gradually evolved.
Over the years, Darke Hall has undergone transformations and renovations to preserve its architectural grandeur. In 1962, a rear addition was constructed to provide additional space, and in 1986, the University of Regina undertook significant structural stabilization and restoration work, ensuring that this historic gem continues to stand strong.
Darke Hall’s architectural significance cannot be overstated. Its grand Gothic Collegiate Revival style, characterized by banked pointed arched windows, prominent Tyndall stone entryway, and projecting full-height bays, exemplifies the architectural preferences of the era. James H. Puntin, the talented architect behind Darke Hall, masterfully blended intricate brickwork and exquisite Tyndall stone detailing, creating a visually stunning masterpiece.
Venturing inside Darke Hall, you’ll be captivated by its remarkable interior. The concert hall boasts a spacious auditorium with seating for over 800 people, a semi-thrust stage, and a deep cantilevered balcony. The lavish lobby, adorned with intricate plasterwork and a series of repeating motifs, creates an atmosphere of refined elegance. Every corner of Darke Hall is a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into its creation.
Beyond its architectural splendor, Darke Hall holds immense historical value. It stands as a symbol of Regina College’s commitment to music and the arts, with the college serving as the city’s first post-secondary institution. Through the decades, the campus expanded under the guidance of Reverend E.W. Stapleford, offering university-level education and fostering a vibrant cultural environment.
In 2014, the University of Regina embarked on an ambitious endeavor to restore Darke Hall to its original splendor. Through a comprehensive six-year construction process, the hall underwent a remarkable transformation, combining modern accessibility with the meticulous refurbishment of its architectural heritage.
The culmination of this monumental restoration project took place in 2022, when Darke Hall welcomed a grand gala opening hosted by the University of Regina on April 21st. Subsequently, on May 1st, 2022, the operation of Darke Hall was transferred to the Darke Hall Society through a partnership agreement between the university and the non-profit society.
Today, Darke Hall stands as a premier concert and performance venue, boasting 474 seats and a steadfast commitment to programming and promoting the work of local, national, and international artists.
As you explore the captivating history and architectural marvels of Darke Hall, we invite you to witness its rejuvenation as a vibrant hub of artistic expression and cultural enrichment. Join us in celebrating the timeless legacy and enduring spirit of this cherished landmark.
Welcome to the Provincial Normal School, a historic institution with a fascinating past that has shaped the educational landscape of Regina, Saskatchewan. Step back in time as we take you on a journey through the history of this iconic building, from its construction to its present-day significance.
The Provincial Normal School building, located at College Avenue and Broad Street, was constructed in 1913. The architectural firm Storey and Van Egmond, of Regina and Saskatoon, designed and supervised the construction of this magnificent building. With careful consideration given to its neighbouring Regina College, the Normal School was designed to reflect continuity in appearance, employing similar architecture and positioning.
To ensure that the Normal School (two story’s) appeared comparable in height to Regina College (three story’s), a significant amount of grading was done during construction. Earth was hauled from the excavation site of the proposed Grand Trunk Pacific hotel and dumped at the Normal School site. This elevated the building five feet one inch above College Avenue, giving the appearance of similar height.
The provincial government desired the Normal School to be as prominent and imposing as Regina College. To achieve this, the building was placed well back from the street, with its main entrance on an axis with Rose Street. Furthermore, the government enlisted the expertise of renowned English landscape architect T.H. Mawson to design the school’s grounds, ensuring a visually stunning environment.
During the construction process, the government sought to reduce the cost of the building without compromising its size or prominence. Non-essential features were eliminated, and more expensive materials were replaced with cost-effective alternatives. Wood was used as a substitute for terrazzo and tile floors, partitions, lintels, and windows. The originally planned concrete fireproof floor was replaced with lumber and steel construction.
The Normal School served as a teacher’s college, providing instruction and training for aspiring teachers. It also housed other institutions such as the High School Correspondence Instruction branch, the School Attendance Branch of the Department of Education, and the provincial museum. The building’s facilities were made available to groups and organizations for various activities, including practices, drills, and social events.
Over the years, the Normal School building underwent repairs, renovations, and changes in usage. It served as a training facility for the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II and later accommodated the Teachers’ College. In 1964, it became part of the University of Saskatchewan’s Regina Campus. Renovations were undertaken to meet the needs of different departments, such as the College of Education and the College of Fine Arts.
In 2002 the building was renovated, while keeping the outside façade, the interior was made into a sound stage for the Canada-Saskatchewan Production Studios. The building’s north face has been maintained, and it is now connected to the adjacent CBC building.
The Regina Auto Court, constructed in 1926 along the northern shoreline Wascana Lake and beside Broad Street, emerged as a groundbreaking establishment in the realm of motels in Regina. Comprising numerous cabins, an office, a central kitchen, and washrooms, the auto court offered visitors a serene and park-like environment in close proximity to the water. Despite not being conveniently located near main highways, guests appreciated the tranquil setting. However, in 1951, the emergence of new highways brought a change in the preferences of the traveling public, leading to the closure of the Regina Auto Court as visitors sought alternative accommodations to meet their evolving needs.
The Broad Street Bridge, is an architectural marvel that has witnessed the evolution of Regina’s landscape and transportation needs. This iconic bridge, spanning Wascana Creek, holds tales of ingenuity, controversy, and perseverance.
Construction on the original bridge commenced in 1908. Its elevated design allowed sailboats to glide through, connecting both ends of the picturesque Wascana Lake. However, as the years passed and the mechanized era dawned, it became evident that the old bridge’s purpose should be restricted to leisurely drives around the lake, admiring the splendor shaped by human hands. It was ill-equipped to bear the weight of heavy trucks that emerged during the population explosion following the 1939-1945 war. The rumbling of construction machinery and the strain of heavy vehicles raised concerns that the aging bridge might collapse under the load.
In 1956, the bridge underwent a facelift to reinforce its structure and received a new floor at a cost of $13,000. Despite these improvements, the need for a new bridge was being seriously contemplated. The Regina City Engineer’s Department proposed a new bridge location, approximately 1,000 feet east of Broad Street, to cater to the anticipated development in the southwest area. The suggested site angled in a southeasterly direction across the creek, coinciding with the rapidly developing region south and east of the creek, courtesy of the McCallum and Hill Company’s land subdivision efforts.
However, the proposed bridge relocation faced significant opposition within the city council and became a contentious issue during civic elections. Both sides campaigned fervently, with their respective visions for the future of the bridge. In May 1957, the citizens rejected a $120,000 money bylaw intended for the construction of the new bridge, further fueling the debate.
In 1958, McCallum and Hill Company offered an alternative financing arrangement that garnered attention. They proposed lending the city $100,000 at a 5% interest rate, with repayment commencing two years after the bridge’s completion. The company projected that the development of approximately $8,000,000 worth of new businesses would yield $200,000 in taxes for the city. This land, encompassing a hundred acres between Wascana Lake and Twenty-third Avenue, was previously assessed as farm land, generating only $200,000 in annual revenue. Additionally, the company suggested that half-yearly taxes from the developed land could contribute to repayment. The offer ignited heated debates within the city council and polarized taxpayers.
In April 1959, the city, the company, and other groups submitted briefs to the Legislature, presenting their respective cases. After a series of intense deliberations, the Private Bills Committee approved the bill confirming the agreement, subject to a majority vote of the citizens. However, in May 1959, the city released McCallum and Hill Company from its obligation under the proposed agreement. The company had previously stated that it would withdraw its offer if a vote of the citizens was required. It seemed as though the issue would be buried until the old fifty-one-year-old bridge became unusable, after years of impassioned arguments for and against its replacement.
However, in June 1959, McCallum and Hill Company surprised the community by announcing their decision to proceed with the bridge’s construction. Driven by faith in the future and confidence in the citizens of Regina, they chose to forge ahead, undeterred by the setback. Construction commenced on June 22, 1959, but faced another hurdle when the citizens rejected payment for the bridge after a fiercely contested election campaign. Despite this setback, the determined company preserved with construction, as their eastern investors insisted on an access road. It was not until October 1960 that the bridge was officially opened, following delays caused by city-built approaches and other challenges.
The new bridge was constructed about 1000 yards east of the old one, but problems ensued when the old bridge wasn’t closed. Motorists attempted to drive onto Broad Street from the old bridge which caused extensive traffic problems. Eventually, Lakeshore Drive was extended, and the old bridge was demolished in 1960. The concrete abutment of the old bridge can be seen on the west side of the Wascana Parkway/Broad Street. The story of this heritage landmark continued to evolve after the “Big Dig” and now remains of the bridge stand as a beautiful waterfall on Pine Island.
Today, as you stroll across the Broad Street Bridge, marvel at its grandeur and remember the tales of struggle and triumph that echo through its structure.
Step into the past as you discover the captivating history of Faraway House, a magnificent brown brick residence nestled in the heart of Regina. Built in 1912 by the astute businessman A.B. Cook, who became sheriff for many years, this grand home served as a testament to his success and his deep connection to the community. Throughout the years, Faraway House witnessed the ebb and flow of life in Regina, leaving an indelible mark on the city’s history.
Initially, the home was situated on a sprawling five-acre property in Douglas Park, southeast of the Power House (now the Science Centre), overlooking the picturesque Wascana Lake. It stood as a haven of tranquility, far removed from the bustling city center. In winter, the cozy living room would come alive with the crackling fireplace, while the scent of fresh-cut flowers wafted from the adjacent conservatory. The residents of Faraway House reveled in the joy of house dances, snowshoeing excursions, and sleighing parties, embracing the beauty of the season.
During the summer months, Faraway House transformed into a prairie wonderland. Impeccably maintained tennis courts and croquet grounds adorned the lush lawn, providing endless entertainment for its occupants. The property boasted a former RCMP riding horse, a small boat for crossing the narrow strip of Wascana Creek, and even a diving board-equipped raft for invigorating swims in the refreshing waters of Wascana Lake. A barn sheltered majestic horses, and in earlier times, a milking cow graced the premises. The secluded nature of Faraway House gave rise to an air of mystery, fueling countless stories and rumors, none of which held any truth.
When A.B. Cook received his appointment as Superintendent of the Sanitorium near Fort Qu’Appelle, Faraway House found a new owner in the form of Dr. E.A. McCusker. For many years, Dr. McCusker, accompanied by his mother and nieces, called this remarkable residence their home. The Hamilton MacLeans also resided within its walls, and eventually, ownership transferred to the esteemed Leader-Post newspaper.
However, it was the Victor Sifton family who left an indelible imprint on Faraway House during their tenure. In fine weather, Mr. Victor Sifton, a prominent figure in Regina, could be seen walking the many miles from his downtown office to the welcoming embrace of Faraway House. The house continued to thrive under the care of its final residents, Mr. and Mrs. Percy Keffer, until its regrettable demolition in 1962, making way for the expansion of the Wascana Centre Authority.
The architectural masterpiece known as “Faraway House” was the brainchild of Regina-based firm Storey and Van Egmond. Constructed in 1911, it was originally commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Cook, who resided there until the mid-1920s. The Cooks’ departure marked the beginning of a fascinating chapter in the house’s history, as it passed through the hands of distinguished individuals, each leaving their own unique imprint.
Today, as you stroll through the streets of Regina, spare a moment to imagine the grandeur and allure of Faraway House—a place where stories were woven, memories were made, and the spirit of a bygone era still lingers.
The ‘old’ Broad Street Bridge opened in 1909. Its elevated design allowed sailboats to glide through, connecting both ends of the picturesque Wascana Lake. Photographers and the public were treated to breathtaking sunsets with the majestic Legislative Building in the distance, enhancing the charm of the scenic lake drive. Even after a new modern bridge was constructed about 1,000 yards east in 1959, motorists continued driving onto Broad Street from the old bridge which caused extensive traffic problems. The following year, Lakeshore Drive was extended and the old bridge was demolished. The concrete abutment of the old bridge can be seen on the west side of today’s Broad Street. Remains of the bridge structure have been repurposed as a beautiful waterfall on Pine Island.
Step onto the Albert Street Memorial Bridge and journey back in time to witness the remarkable story of its construction and transformation. This iconic landmark holds tales of resilience, ingenuity, and community spirit that have shaped Regina’s history.
In 1885, a dam was built to provide a reservoir and roadway for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) barracks, marking the early beginnings of what would become the beautiful Wascana Lake. However, the passage of time took its toll on the dam, and in 1901, a heavy spring run-off damaged its structure. Repair efforts were swiftly undertaken to ensure the preservation of this vital water source.
As the new legislative buildings were set to be erected, the old dam between Albert and Angus streets proved inadequate and unsuitable. In 1908, Parsons Construction Company took on the task of constructing a new bridge on Albert Street. This reinforced arch span, measuring 80 feet in length, featured a retaining wall for the approaches and a dam to create a reservoir from Wascana Creek. A massive retaining wall, 2300 feet long and 8 feet high, was built alongside reinforced water stairs to form a landing for boats. The bed of the reservoir was leveled and cleaned, with excess soil used to even out the north slope inside the retaining wall. Simultaneously, the abutments for the Broad Street bridge were constructed, further enhancing the waterway.
The bustling year of 1908 witnessed a flurry of activity along Wascana Creek. Work crews labored on the construction of two bridges, while others deepened the lake bed and built retaining walls and steps. Excavation for the Legislative Building also commenced, marking the birth of a grand architectural endeavour.
Fast forward to 1929, when the newly elected government, led by Dr. J.T.M. Anderson, initiated plans to drain and deepen the lake. A more impressive bridge, replacing the aging single span structure, was envisioned as a means of providing employment during the harsh economic conditions resulting from the stock market crash and serious unemployment. Despite initial opposition, the project went ahead.
In August 1930, the lake was drained, and manual labor commenced to reshape its landscape. Over 2,000 unemployed men were employed, using hand shovels and dump wagons to move 120,000 cubic yards of earth. They meticulously cleaned the lake and crafted islands from the excavated material, fortifying them with field stones. The retaining wall was repaired, and a new spillway enhanced water control. The Albert Street Memorial Bridge emerged as a testament to the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers of the 1914-1918 war. With shared funding from the Federal Government, the Province, and the City of Regina, the bridge became a symbol of remembrance and progress, standing as a memorial to honor the brave men who lost their lives.
The bridge’s unveiling on November 10, 1930, drew a crowd of 10,000 people, eagerly witnessing its grandeur. Premier J.T.M. Anderson proclaimed it as a testament to the province’s commitment to honoring the fallen soldiers. However, the bridge was not immune to criticism, with nicknames like “Bryant’s Folly” reflecting public skepticism. A popular myth that it was the longest bridge over the shortest body of water persists to this day. Yet, the bridge persevered, becoming a source of employment and a symbol of hope during challenging times.
The Albert Street Memorial Bridge stands today as a municipal heritage property, a testament to Regina’s resilience and determination. In the late 1980s, it underwent a meticulous restoration, costing $1.4 million, ensuring its preservation for future generations. As you traverse this historic bridge, take a moment to admire the intricate balustrades and lamp posts adorned with lotus flowers and papyrus plants, symbolizing the Egyptian craze that captivated Regina (and the rest of the world) after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1923.