History of North Central

The area currently known as the North Central neighbourhood was once a midway point between the east and west town sites, given its proximity to both the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) station and government buildings. As the CPR was moving west towards British Columbia in the late 19th century, the decision to lay tracks in the southern portion of the Great Plains, near an area known as Pile of Bones, was what led to the formation of Regina, capital of the Northwest Territories. While there were no water sources nearby, Lieutenant Governor Edgar Dewdney insisted that a spot close to the main rail line was more beneficial to the capital city.

However, Dewdney’s intentions were later revealed as being somewhat self serving, as lands close to the proposed government buildings for the new capital were owned by Dewdney himself. Eventually, the CPR decided to locate the station east of Dewdney’s sites, and local businesses followed. The North Central neighbourhood quickly became home to Europeans who worked for the CPR as labourers, and later would become an affluent district for the middle class until the 1950’s.

Historic Settlements

A town site was surveyed and a large area was laid out for sale.  This land was located from Winnipeg Street to Pasqua Street (on the west), and between 1st Avenue and 16th Avenue (College Ave) to the south.  Donald Smith and Richard Angus of the CPR, and Edmund Osler and William Scarth of the Canada North-west Land Company were all held in trust of the town site property. The original plan of subdivision Old 33 was drawn up in 1883. Most development was concentrated on the downtown area, but connections were being made between the Territorial buildings and the RCMP lands. In 1905, the subdivisions of Washington Park and Parkdale (the northeast and northwest quadrants of North Central) were created.

In 1948 the subdivision of Windsor Park was developed. It is a small area between 2nd Avenue and 4th Avenue, and contains Elizabeth Crescent. In 1949 Pasqua Place was created along the western edge of the North Central neighbourhood, between 7th Avenue and 4th Avenue. Both of these subdivisions were developed with wartime housing.

The Territorial Administration Building

The Territorial Administration Building (on Dewdney Avenue and Montague Street), two miles east of the North West Mounted Police and Government House, housed the Indian Office, Territorial Council chambers (1891-1905), and the provincial government (1905-1910). It was the home of the Ruthenian Training School (a school for immigrants from Eastern Europe) from 1910 until 1922.  After surviving a devastating fire, it was rebuilt in 1922 by the Salvation Army.  They began using it as Grace Haven, a hospital and home for unwed mothers, which closed in 1971. The building deteriorated over the years, but in 1979 the building was restored by the provincial government and became the North Central Community Centre, and later Saskatchewan Express. In 1982, it was designated a provincial heritage property as the Territorial Administration Building and is one of the oldest remaining structures in Regina.

The Exhibition Grounds

Early town founders were eager to promote Regina in order to attract businesses and settlers to the community. In 1891, Senator William D. Perley of Wolseley initially suggested that the local agricultural societies fund an exhibition. Lieutenant-Governor Charles H. Macintosh revived the idea in 1893 when he came to the Northwest Territories to begin his term.  He convinced the Regina town council to put $10,000 behind the scheme in order to purchase a site and buildings for the exhibition. Funding for the event was a joint effort of the town, the Northwest Territories, and the federal government. The Territorial Exhibition was held in1895, and was an instant success. In 1896, town council purchased the buildings on the same site that the Exhibition Grounds currently sit, and since 1899, the event has become an annual tradition.

Park de Young/Mosaic Stadium

Mosaic stadium, originally known as Park de Young Stadium, was built in 1927.  In the same year it became the home of the Roughriders. In 1946 it was renamed Taylor Field, in honour of Neil J. “Piffles” Taylor, an enthusiastic sportsman, World War I fighter pilot, and lawyer. In June of 2006, the facility was renamed Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field after naming rights were purchased by the Mosaic Company.

Neighbourhood Schools

The first Albert School opened in 1905, but by January of 1908, a new Albert School opened to accommodate the increased number of students. Around this time, the city’s direction of growth indicated the need for a collegiate in the northwest.  The Collegiate Board purchased a block on 7th Avenue in preparation for a new school. WWI postponed this project, however, and it was not until 1923 that Scott Collegiate was built. Within a few years the 11 rooms were overcrowded, so an addition was built in 1927. In 1985 the decision to build a new school was made because of rising costs to maintain the old structure.

Kitchener Community Elementary was built in North Central in 1922, and Sacred Heart school was built in 1928. In 1980 Kitchener and Sacred Heart were two of the original elementary schools that received a community school designation. Herchmer School closed in June of 2008, and was later demolished. Students and staff from Herchmer school were amalgamated with Wascana Community School.

Source: North Central Legacy Study – Office of Urbanism