Wascana Park




Interpretive Panel:
The Railway and the Creek

(Click on a picture for larger view)


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."