McNab Area History

McNab Area History

The history of Regina began within the McNab community boundaries in 1882.  Territorial Lieutenant-Governor Edgar Dewdney brought debate on the location of the new capital of the North West Territories to an end June 30, 1882, when he posted a notice on the pole of a tent pitched on the creek bank, reserving for the government "township 17, range 20, west of the second meridian."  This encompassed all the land in the vincinity of the spot where the Canadian Pacific Railway, then under construction, would cross Pile of Bones Creek.

Many questioned choosing to build the capital on a flat, treeless plain, with little access to water.  But Dewdney and CPR general manager William Van Horne said it was "the natural centre of a vast and rich agricultural country," a statement that over time was proven accurate.  It has also been argued that Dewdney favoured the spot because he had extensive land holdings in the area.
In these discussions and the subsequent rush to develop the area, the rights of First Nations people who had hunted and lived along Pile of Bones Creek were largely ignored.  The Salteaux band, led by Chief Cheekuk and later by Muscowpetung, had marked off this area as necessary to their survival.  They assumed, based on their understanding of treaty negotiations, that this land would be included as part of their reserve.  But this didn't happen - their reserve was eventually established on a smaller parcel of land along the Qu'Appelle Valley.

The new capital was named Regina in honour of Queen Victoria.  On August 23, 1882, the first passenger train arrived, carrying officials who celebrated the designation of the new capital by pouring champagne over a pile of railway ties.  They toasted "the success of Regina, Queen City of the Plains."  This spot was, for a time, the end of the railway line and the steam engines were often washed on the creek banks.

The capital was officially transferred from Battleford to Regina in March, 1883.
If Dewdney had had his way, the CPR station would have been built on the banks of Wascana Creek and this spot would have become the centre of the new capital.  But the CPR chose to build its station two miles to the east, on land the railway already owned.  Other important public buildings, including the customs office, land office and post office, were built in that same area.

Dewdney scceeded, however, in influencing the location of other significant public buildings.  Government House (the residence of the lieutenant-governor), the Territorial Administration Building and the Headquarters of the North West Mounted Police were all built in this area.

The original Government House was a single-storey wooden structure constructed in 1883.  The present Government House was constructed immediately east of the original building beginning 1899.

The headquarters of the North West Mounted Police, now the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was transferred to Regina from Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills in 1882.  Metis Leader Louis Riel was executed at NWMP Headquarters on November 16, 1885.  The RCMP headquarters later moved to Ottawa but McNab is still home to the RCMP training academy and the RCMP Heritage Centre.
Part of the historic NWMP training grounds is now home to the Royal Regina Golf Club, the oldest golf club in the province of Saskatchewan.  The golf club was established in 1899, first moved to this location in 1901 and has made this area its permanent location since 1910.

Luther College, then known as Luther Academy, was established by Lutheran settlers in Melville in 1913 but moved to Regina in 1926.  It attracts students from across the province and around the world.  The school's gym is on the site of the original Government House.

The following notable sites are also within McNab: Government House Botanical Gardens, the RCMP Heritage Centre, Christ Lutheran Church, Pioneer Village, Mutchmor Lodge and Gateway Christian Fellowship Church.