Regina, Home of the Mounties (RCMP) – Among Comfortable Holiday Destinations to Spend a Couple of Days!

In the days when the Canadian prairies were originally filled with herds of bison that roamed free, the province of Saskatchewan was the ideal place to hunt the bison and herd them, plenty of rivers for water, flat ground for drying the meat, and what would later be known as Regina, the perfect place for Oskana kaasateki. The Cree created the Oskana kaasateki, or “bones piled together” made from the bones of the bison that they had killed for meat, hides and bones used for tools and the Oskana kaasateki. The Cree believed that the bison wouldn’t leave the bones of their departed, and therefore kept the Oskana kaasateki to help their hunt.

The Fountain in Wascana Park

The Fountain in Wascana Park

The first Métis settlement where Regina would later develop was dubbed “Pile of Bones”, “Bone Creek” and “Manybones” after the old buffalo hunting grounds.  During his 1857 exploration of the Regina area, Captain James Palliser mistook the Cree word for the region Oskana, recording the name of the creek as “Wascana,” as it is still known to this day.

The Canadian prairie provinces are once again home to the bison after being successfully re-introduced back into their native land, and the Pile of Bones settlement has transformed significantly. It’s funny what a couple hundred years will do! Regina was part of the 160 acre homesteads that became available across the prairies, prompting pioneers to settle in the Regina area where the fertile soil and availability of water sources made it an ideal spot to put down roots. It was hard work given the fact that the lack of a railway through the region inhibited the development of the area, but the first Regina pioneer, Edward Carss, made a life for himself at the junction of the Qu’Appelle River and Wascana Creek in the fall of 1881 – by June of 1882 after a long winter, the first party of six more settlers set up their camps at Wascana Lake, followed shortly after by a second party of eleven more homesteaders. These seventeen pioneers together made up the founders of Regina.

It wasn’t long before the Canadian Pacific Railway had a southern route going through Regina, which ended up becoming the new territorial capital. Before it’s naming, quite a few names were tossed around but none really suited the new community. Names like “Leopold,” were proposed for this bustling town settled on the banks of Wascana Creek. The name “Regina” was eventually suggested by Princess Louise, the wife of the Governor General. Being the name of her mother Queen Victoria who was reigning at the time, the name Regina was adopted as the town’s official name. The only difference, is that the Canadian city of Regina pronounces the city’s name rhyming with “China”, and they’ll be quick to point out that it’s the correct way of pronouncing the Latin word meaning “Queen”!

Regina has grown immensely over the years, from a “Pile of Bones” to a flourishing provincial capital city of more than one hundred and ninety three thousand people and about twice as many hand planted trees! Beautiful Wascana Lake makes up Regina’s center, where it’s encompassed by a 2300 acre park called Wascana Centre and makes the best place for a leisurely stroll or jog. Come here with your lunch and have a relaxing picnic, and you’ll discover that the Legislative Building, the University of Regina Campus, and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum are close by.

Wascana Centre also features a Waterfowl Park that acts as a refuge for many birds such as ducks, geese, and a number of other birds. Many of these birds who stay at the Waterfowl Park do not leave for the winter, while some fly south. Directly east of the legislative building you’ll see the impressive Trafalgar Fountain, one of two different fountains in Peterhead granite which were designed by Charles Barry and constructed by McDonald & Leslie, Aberdeen. One of a pair of fountains that stood in Trafalgar Square in London, England, the fountains remained there from 1845 to 1939. When King George VI and Queen Elizabeth spent six weeks in May and June touring Canada in May and June, including Regina, the fountains were removed to make way for new ones, and the originals were given as gifts to the Canadian government. One was placed in Ottawa, now sitting in the country’s capital in Confederation Park; the other was placed in Saskatchewan’s provincial capital of Regina, and has been dedicated to the 1882 founding of the North-West Mounted Police Headquarters in Regina.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, “RCMP”, or “Mounties” are Canadian icons. The formation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police dates back to before they became a Regina staple. The Mounties as a police force was influenced by an unfortunately brutal event that happened between American wolf hunters or “wolfers”, a group of American bison hunters, American and Canadian whisky traders, some Métis cargo haulers or ‘freighters’, and a camp of Assiniboine people in Canada’a West in the 1870s. The North-West Mounted Police were formed as a means to bring law and order to Canada’s West and, once this goal was achieved, the force was to be disbanded. As it happened, however, once the whiskey traders were successfully driven from the West for the time being, the arrival of Americans to the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s ended up prompting the Canadian federal government to once again draw on the support of the Mounties. As the Gold Rush ran its course, the Mounties grew to become firmly established in Canada’s history, their image romanticized and popularized by Hollywood, and now known all around the world.

RCMP Heritage Centre
5907 Dewdney Avenue
Regina, SK Canada S4T 0P4
Phone: 306-522-7333
Fax: 306-522-7340
Toll-free: 1-866-567-7267

The history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is celebrated at the RCMP Heritage Centre in Regina. Coming from downtown Regina, the RCMP Heritage Centre is a conveniently quick drive – about fifteen minutes – from within the city, and offers ample free parking. If you’re taking public transportation, Regina Transit Route #1 makes a stop right in front of the Centre.

Situated on the grounds of the RCMP Academy, ‘Depot’ Division, the Regina RCMP Heritage Centre first opened its doors to the public in 2007, on May 23rd, and has continued to share the story of the RCMP with visitors from around the globe over the past decade.  The history of the RCMP is passed down where Cadets are trained and their own story begins.

Vancounver-born Architect Arthur Erickson is the man behind the design of the RCMP Heritage Centre’s impressive stone, glass and concrete building. Inside you’ll find an extraordinary collection of interactive exhibits, displays of artwork, multimedia technologies and engaging programming. There are self-guided tours available, as well as guided tours for anyone looking for an extra bit of interpretation along the way. To take a self-guided tour of the RCMP Heritage Centre, all you need to do is follow the trail of banners found throughout the exhibit hall, which are numbered from 1 through 6.

The RCMP Heritage Centre galleries numbered 1 through 5 will escort you along a journey into the past, starting with the formation of the Force in 1873 all the way to the end of the 20th century. Upon reaching Gallery 6, you’ll be able to engage in a number of activities that portray modern day side of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.or The March of the Mounties exhibit describes the story of the RCMP through by portraying the different modes of transportation that have been used by the force throughout their history.

 

Sunset Ceremony at the RCMP Heritage Centre

Sunset Ceremony at the RCMP Heritage Centre

The RCMP Heritage Centre is also the venue for the RCMP Sunset Ceremony, a fantastic display put on by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police through the summer. This must-see Regina event gives you the chance to celebrate Canadian history on the grounds of the of the RCMP Academy, ‘Depot’ Division. The dynamic RCMP Sunset-Retreat Ceremony is a free, bilingual Canadian Signature Experience that begins on Canada Day and continues every Tuesday night into August. The Sunset-Retreat Ceremony is a terrific tourist hot spot, being one of the American Bus Association’s 2015 Top 100 events in North America.

With names like “Hummingbird Manor” and “Dragon’s Nest”, you know you’re in for an interesting treat when you’re checking into one of the unique Bed and Breakfasts that can be found within the city of Regina and environs.

Creekside Terrace Bed & Breakfast
Address: 2724 Angus Blvd. Regina, SK S4T 2A7
Phone: 306-569-2682
Situated along the city’s Heritage Walking Tour, you’ll discover Creekside Terrace Bed & Breakfast among some tall trees and lovely natural surroundings. The charming home on the banks of Wascana Creek in Regina was constructed using materials originally intended for the Grand Trunk Hotel, making Creekside Terrace a unique place to call home during your Regina stay.

Country Fare Bed & Breakfast
Address: 243 Markwell Drive, Regina SK
Phone: 306-924-0208
This tranquil bed and breakfast is ideal for Regina visitors who have sensitivities to scents. The quiet and relaxing accommodations feature a nice yard and access to a laundry facility. The Country Fare Bed and Breakfast has convenient access to the EVRAZ Place, CU Eventplex, the Exhibition Grounds, Pasqua Hospital, Western Christian College, the RCMP Heritage Centre, the airport, and highways #1, 6, & 11 to Craven and Lumsden/Qu’Appelle Valley.

Dragon’s Nest Bed & Breakfast
Address: 2200 Angus St. Regina SK
Phone: 306-525-2109
Right in the heart of downtown Regina, the Dragon’s Nest Bed & Breakfast will enchant you with its luxurious and unique rooms which are both spacious as well as comfortable.

Hummingbird Manor
Address: 20 Short St. Lumsden, SK S0G 3C0
Phone: 306-731-2235
Just a short drive from downtown Regina, you’ll discover Hummingbird Manor in the small town of nearby Lumsden, Saskatchewan. Priding themselves on their true hospitality as well as their home cooking, Hummingbird Manor is a unique place to make your home base while exploring Regina and environs.

The Chapel in Regina, seen on Heritage Walks

The Chapel in Regina, seen on Heritage Walks

Regardess of whether you’re a history buff or you just like to get out and about, Regina’s various Heritage Walking Tours have something for everyone. There are a number of different tours offered throughout the city, some of them starting from the Warehouse District, others from Centre Square, and more dispersed throughout the city. Each one of them takes a minimum of an hour to complete, and will highlight a variety of interesting places around Regina.

Once you’ve finished your tour, you will have worked up a thirst! Relax and enjoy some live music and a cold drink at McNally’s Tavern at 2226 Dewdney Avenue in Regina. With 24 taps of premium style draft beer including an impressively extensive selection of Scotch varieties, the Irish style McNally’s Tavern has become well known locally for its live music, featuring performers both local and international. It’s the perfect place to kick back and enjoy the rest of your Regina evening after a long day of seeing the sights of the Wascana Centre Park, the RCMP Heritiage Centre, and every bit of Regina in between.

Visit the North American destinations category to learn more about best places to visit in America!