Today’s Warehouse District is a mixture of old and new, past and present. In keeping with its namesake, the area is home to a number of historical buildings that feature Chicago-style warehouse architecture, many of which were built in the early 1900’s. This style of architecture features large internal columns, reinforced concrete, and prominent windows that allow for free expanses to form and create ample natural light. This design allows for buildings to be reclaimed and renovated for a variety of uses, including residential lofts, commercial offices, and entertainment.
Regina itself was one of the instant towns created by the Canadian Pacific Railway as it extended its prairie line west of Winnipeg to the Rockies during the late 19th century. Upon the arrival of the first train on August 23rd 1882, the Warehouse district became a hub for the distribution of dry goods and farm implements during the western settlement boom at the turn of the century. Between 1906 and 1913, the population rapidly increased from 6,000 to 30,000.
Regina’s Warehouse District (then known as the Wholesale District) grew as a multi-purpose settlement, defined by a mixture of offices, warehouses, and spur rail lines. Businesses such as John Deere Plow Co., Sears, and General Motors, built significant warehouses in the area. Spur rail lines ran between these buildings, easing access to the main rail line. By 1924, there were 22 rail lines radiating from Regina with up to 50 arrivals and departures per day.
Warehouses were not the only buildings in the area as houses, grocery stores, pharmacies, and even a school lined the streets. Historic Dominion Park served as the original home of the Regina Rugby Club, predecessor to the Saskatchewan Roughriders from 1910 to 1917 before becoming the Sears Outlet Store.
Regina’s Warehouse District has witnessed many changes over its life span. Led by Bev Robertson, Regina’s Old Warehouse District Association (ROWDA) was established in 1998 as a non-profit, member-based entity to promote the development of the area. In March 2003, Regina City Council passed a bylaw leading to the formation of Regina’s Warehouse District Business Improvement District.
Through growth, through the devastation of the 1912 tornado, the Great Depression, and two world wars, and now through an exciting phase of redevelopment, the Warehouse District continues to serve as the soul of our city today.
Biographies Regina Book
Available to the public is the award-winning book, Regina’s Warehouse District: Brick and Mortar – Pride and Passion published by Biographies Regina. This fascinating book chronicles the stories of entrepreneurs and visionaries responsible for the development of such a unique and diverse community,
Want to learn more about the history of the area? The book is available for purchase for $24.95. Shipping is an additional charge and will be added to the total price of the book.
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