Regina is a child of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The CPR originally
planned to cross Wascana Creek at a well wooded spot five or six miles north-
west of the present site of the city. However, a second survey placed the railway
crossing at a spot where the creek snaked between low banks near what is now the Regina
Golf Club. This attracked a scattering of businesses, operating out of tents.
Through a cooperative effort between the federal government and the CPR, Regina was
born. Together, Lieutenant-Governor Edgar Dewdney and W.C. Van Horne, general
manager of the CPR, chose the place where the railway crossed Wascana Creek as the site
of the new Territorial capital. It was christened Regina, in honour of Queen Victoria, on
August 23, 1882, at a celebration marking the arrival of the first train.
The CPR chose to place its station approximately two miles to the east, and this created a
second, and more permanent, settlement. Even businesses which had been located near the
creek crossing moved east. Thus the centre of Regina came to be situated on a piece of flat
bald prairie, nowhere near Wascana Creek. The three partners in early development
of Regina - the CPR, the Canada North-West Land Company, and the federal government
quickly arranged to have the town site surveyed into lots, and they were put up for sale in
late October, 1882.
Located on the dry, dusty prairie, a source of water was from the start a concern for the
citizens of Regina. In the summer of 1883, the CPR and its partners dug a well and struck
a good supply of fresh drinking water at ninety-seven feet. At the same time they built a
dam across Wascana Creek between Albert and Angus Streets. Made of three inch wooden
planks, banked with earth, and in constant need of repair, it did
flood two hundred acres, creating
a reservoir. Wagons were used to
haul water from the reservoir for stock and household needs.
Regina was then incorporated
as a town on December 8, 1883.
The Manitoba Free Press described the new townsite -
"it will never amount to anything ... it is situated in the midst
of a vast plain of inferior soil, with hardly a tree to be seen as
far as the eye can range, and with about enough water in the
miserable little creek to wash a sheep...the place has not a
single natural advantage to commend it."