top of page

Early Beginnings


Regina was established in 1882 when it became clear that Edgar Dewdney, the lieutenant-governor of the North-West Territories (as they then were), eschewed the previously established and considered Battleford, Troy and Fort Qu'Appelle (the latter two both some 30 miles to the east), as the territorial headquarters: these were widely considered more amiable locations for what was anticipated would be a far more major metropole for the Canadian plains than actually eventuated, situated as they were in amply watered and treed rolling parklands whereas "Pile-of-Bones," as the site was then called, was in the midst of arid and featureless grassland. However I believe that the extreme flatness of the land where Dewdney "acquired" large landholdings was most beneficial to Masonic requirements to map or create "ley" lines within the future territorial headquarters of the North West Territories. Regina viewed from the Trans-Canada Highway to the west of the city, demonstrates the extreme flatness of the Regina Plain. See the Dominion Lands Act for more information of how the Federal Government set up ownership of the land. I implore you to search out more information on this information as this is just one reference and an easy one to obtain. Another topic of interest is Saskatchewan's Land Holding System.


People Involved in Regina's Foundations


Lieutenant-Governor Edgar Dewdney,_young_man_posed_in_front.jpg

Lieutenant-Governor Dewdneya loyal devotee of John A. Macdonald and the Conservative Party, had acquired land adjacent to the route of the future CPR line at Pile-of-Bones, which was distinguished only by collections of bison bones near a small spring run-off creek, some few kilometres downstream from its origin in the midst of what are now wheat fields. There was an "obvious conflict of interest" in Dewdney's promoting the site of Pile-of-Bones as the territorial headquarters and it was a national scandal at the time, but until 1897, when responsible government was accomplished in the Territories, the lieutenant-governor and council governed by fiat and there was little legitimate means of challenging such decisions outside the federal capital of Ottawa, where the Territories were remote and of little concern. Commercial considerations prevailed, however, and the town's authentic development soon began as a collection of wooden shanties and tent shacks clustered around the site designated by the CPR for its future station, some two miles to the east of where Dewdney had reserved substantial landholdings for himself and where he sited the Territorial (now the Saskatchewan) Government House. (Wapedia) Established in 1889, today the Government House is on Dewdney Avenue. The owner of the house is the Queen in Right of Saskatchewan (Elizabeth II) and it's client is the Queen of the United Kingdom, Victoria.






The Last Spike: The Great Railway 1881-1885 (Toronto: McLelland & Stewart, 1973) p. 120 The Frontier World of Edgar Dewdney




Sir John Alexander Macdonald


Sir John A. Macdonald was Canada's first Prime Minister in 1867 (1st term = 1867-1871). Macdonald was also Indian Commissioner till 1888 when he was appointed as Minister of the Interior & Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Macdonald was a member of the Freemasons of the Orange Lodge or Orange Order, and a devout Presbyterian. Macdonald drafted the British North American Act, which defined the federal system by which the 4 provinces were united on July 1, 1867 and assigned jurisdiction over "Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians" to the federal government. Macdonald started the Transcontinental Railway and used the 1885 rebellion to his advantage to gain funds to finish it. Because of the Pacific Scandal in 1873, Macdonalds government was forced to resign and lost power in 1874 (2nd term = 1871-1873).

Macdonald gained power again in 1874 but his involvement and handling of the Northwest Rebellion in 1885 and execution of Louise Riel along with legal challenges launched by other provinces cast shame on his reputation. Thomas Scott, the man Riel executed was also a member of the Orange Order, therefore a brother to Macdonald. I'm sure that this played a big role in the Trial of Louis Riel. Queen Victoria knighted him for playing an integral role in bringing about Confederation which "helped" the election for Prime Minister which was held the following month. In March 1891 Macdonald won a 4th consecutive electoral victory but died 3 months later while still holding the title of Prime Minister. (3rd term = 1878-1891).


Named Father of Confederation in 1867 to form the Dominion of Canada. It has been said that Macdonald's primary purpose was "To Build a Nation".
The Fathers of Confederation are the people who attended the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences in Canada in 1864, preceding Canadian Confederation.

Started the Pacific Transcontinental Railway in 1881

Created the North-West Mounted Police in 1873 (now called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

Freemason of the Orange Order. Named by the United Grand Lodge of England as its Grand Representative near the Grand Lodge of Canada (in Ontario) and the rank of Past Grand Senior Warden conferred upon him. Among the books in his library was a very rare copy of the first Masonic book published in Canada called, A History of Freemasonry in Nova Scotia, 1786.



Nicholas Flood Davin

Davin was a significant figure in nineteenth-century Canada, whose work as a writer, newspaper journalist, and politician brought him into contact with many of the key figures in post-Confederation Canada––among them Métis leader Louis Riel (just prior to his execution in 1885) and Prime Minister John A. Macdonald. Macdonald commissioned Davin to write what became known as the Davin Report (its formal title was "Report on Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds"), submitted in Ottawa, March 14, 1879, which led to the establishment of the residential school system in Canada.
Davin's loose adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, The Fair Grit, attacked political hypocrisy. Yet Davin's apparent progressive thinking was mitigated by the tone and content of the "Report on Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds" and the Riel interview, as readers can see for themselves via the links to these texts CASP has established below. The Davin Report was typified by statements such as the following:

"The importance of denominational schools at the outset for the Indian must be obvious. One of the earliest things an attempt to civilize them does, is to take away their simple Indian mythology, the central idea of which, to wit, a perfect spirit, can hardly be improved upon. The Indians have their own ideas of right and wrong, of 'good' Indians and 'bad' Indians, and to disturb this faith, without supplying a better, would be a curious process to enlist the sanction of civilized races whose whole civilization, like all the civilizations with which we are acquainted, is based on religion." (14)

Davin's self-serving interview with Riel, published in The Regina Leader, November 19, 1885 three days after Riel's execution, creates yet another astonishingly clear insight into nineteenth-century patronizing attitudes toward aboriginal culture. Significant portions of the interview have to do with Davin's own skills in tricking Riel's guards and Davin's banal questions seem more to elicit predictable (and highly conventional) Christian language from Riel regarding his impending death. As such, the "interview" (and readers must be warned that we cannot necessarily take Davin at his word regarding the veracity of Riel's own words as he ostensibly transcribed them) reinforces a rather safe notion of Riel and his revolutionary zeal. In addressing himself to John A. Macdonald, for example, the most Riel is represented as saying is to "not leave yourself be completely carried away by the glories of power. In the midst of your great and noble occupations take every day a few moments at least, for devotion and prayer and prepare yourself for death." Davin's interview accomplishes the contradictory function of establishing a hagiographic reading of Riel's last words, while reinforcing the values of settler culture Riel was fighting.

Perhaps the most intriguing question is how the apparently progressive politics evident in Davin's Shakespearean adaptation are to be reconciled with the backward thinking displayed in the Davin Report and the Riel interview. Could it be that the appropriation of a Shakespearean context served what were effectively fairly conservative ends that involved gathering authority to the authorial persona of Davin, while the writing Davin produced in relation to aboriginal culture displays a disturbingly familiar bigotry? The two forms of writing inform each other and CASP has sought to reproduce the apparent contradictions Davin generated in his varied writings as a way of thinking through the historical, political, and ethical issues related to the encounter between aboriginal and settler cultures.

The Davin Report
Link to "The Davin Report: Shakespeare and Canada’s Manifest Destiny" by Sorouja Moll
"His Parting Messages to Mankind."Davin's interview with Louis Riel before his execution: 19 November 1885.
//The Regina Leader// 19 November 1885
Front page of the paper in which Davin's interview with Louis Riel appeared.

Link to Online Anthology: The Fair Grit
Retrieved from: The Canadian Adaptation of Shakespeare Project

I will dare to say my opinion here. I believe that the Davin Fountain that was dedicated to the memory of Davin Nicholas Flood was erected in the center of Victoria Square Park in 1907 for a reason. I believe and will show pictures of my hypothesis in section 9 in the navigation, that Victoria Square Park is the center of Masonic energy, their power. The fountain in honor of Davin is placed in the center of the circular formations in celebration of Davin's success in kick starting the aggressive assimilation of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada's Indian population.



Thomas Walter Scott

In 1895 Thomas Walter Scott (1867-1938) bought the Regina Leader from Nicholas Flood Davin. On June 19, 1903 Regina was incorporated as a city and proclaimed the capital of Saskatchewan on May 23, 1906 by the first provincial government led by Premier Walter Scott. Scot's campaign slogan was "Peace, Progress, & Prosperity". Scott approved the legislative location in 1906 in Regina. Scott favored decentralization policy which sent the University to Saskatoon (the president Walter Murray was chosen before the University's location was chosen), the insane asylum to North Battleford in 1913, and the provincial penitentiary to Prince Albert in 1911. Scott was also a devout Presbyterian and member of Knox Presbyterian Church. Here is some information from the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan.


Walter was not a member of the Orange Lodge because he was a Liberal. However he was a Presbyterian. It does seem though that Scott was not able to appease the powers to be and his life did not seem easy because of it.



Historical Timeline


1872 – The Dominion Lands Act encouraged homesteaders to come to the area where they could purchase 160 acres (647,000 m²) of land for $10.

1882 – Regina was established.

1883 – Regina was chosen as the new capital of the North West Territories, replacing Battleford, and over the in many ways superior claims of Battleford, Qu'Appelle and Fort Qu'Appelle.[neutrality is disputed] The headquarters of the North-West Mounted Police was then transferred to Regina from Fort Qu'Appelle.

1883 – On December 1, Regina was officially declared a town.

1884 – The town's first mayor, David Scott, was elected on January 10.

1885 – Regina attained national prominence in 1885 during the North-West Rebellion when troops were mostly able to be transported by train on the Canadian Pacific Railway. By the time of the Riel Rebellion in 1885 the Canadian Pacific Railway had only reached Qu'Appelle (then called Troy), some 30 miles (48 km) to the east of what became Regina.

1885 – Louis Riel was brought to Regina after his troops were defeated by government forces in the North-West Rebellion in the spring.

1885 – The trial of Louis Riel. Riel was found guilty of treason and hanged on November 16.

1886 – On July 4, the first scheduled Canadian Pacific Railway transcontinental passenger train reached Vancouver, after travelling for five days, 19 hours. It was the first scheduled train to cross Canada from sea to sea.

1891 – Government House (Saskatchewan) completed.

1892-1920 – Regina was the headquarters of the North-West Mounted Police, and it is now headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Northwest Region and home of the RCMP Academy, Depot Division.

1894 – The Supreme Court was built in 1894 on the northwest corner of Hamilton Street and Victoria Avenue.

1903 – With a population of more than 3,000, Regina was incorporated as a city on June 19, with Jacob W. Smith serving as the first mayor.

1906 – Regina was proclaimed the capital of the province of Saskatchewan on May 23 by the first provincial government, led by Premier Walter Scott.

1906 – Royal Saskatchewan Museum established.

1906-07 – The Old Post Office built. Its distinctive bell tower was added in 1912.

1908-12 – The monumental Saskatchewan Legislative Building was built.

1910 – University of Regina established.

1911 – The first site in Regina used for flying was the infield at Regina Exhibition Park's horse race track, where visiting barnstormer "Lucky Bob" St. Pierre flew a Curtiss Model D biplane in August.

1911-12 – Train Station- later to become Casino Regina was built.

1912 – On June 30, a tornado known as the Regina Cyclone hit the community, levelling much of the young city's business district, killing 28 people and injuring hundreds, making it Canada's deadliest tornado.

1913 – Regina Normal School built.

1929 – Regina grew rapidly till the Great Depression, when Saskatchewan was the third province of Canada[4[[|]]] in both population and economic indicators. Thereafter, Saskatchewan never recovered its early promise and Regina's growth slowed and at times reversed.

1930 – Albert Memorial Bridge (Regina) opened on November 10.

1933 – Regina Manifesto.

1935 – The adoption by the new CCF (now the NDP) of the Regina Manifesto, which set out the new party's goals.

1935 – The Regina Riot, an incident of the On-to-Ottawa Trek, on 1 July.

1944 – The 1944 election of the CCF under T.C. Douglas, the first social democratic government in North America and a pioneer of numerous social programs – notably of course Medicare which were later adopted in other provinces and nationally.

1945 – At the conclusion of the war Regina's population was about 65,000.

Not Included


What isn't included in this historical timeline is that Regina opened an Indian Residential School in 1809 but it was not called a residential school. It was called Regina Industrial School. This Residential School stayed open till 1910 when it was forced to shut down due to lack of funding. There was no money coming in because the students kept on dying. Because the students were dying the parents sent thier children to other Residential Schools close by like Lebret and Fort Qu'appelle. In fact, none of the historic dates to do with Regina's "Indian Problem" are included. A seperate comprehensive timeline will follow in the Residential School sections. More on this later.


Regina Indian School


(Also called The Presbyterian Indian Residential School; and the Regina Industrial School)

In 1891 the Regina Indian Industrial School for First Nations children and youth was opened four miles northwest of the growing town of Regina . The school was managed by the Foreign Mission Committee of the Presbyterian Church of Canada through a contract with the Department of Indian Affairs. Another site claims that the Residential cemetery is North of Dewdney & East of Pinkie Road.

Church: Presbyterian
Year established:1890
Year closed: Most cites say Unknown (one site says closed in 1910 see chart under picture)


"Why should we expect that Indians alone, of all people, should be quietly ready to give up all old customs and traditions and language, and adopt those of the aggressor upon their soil? The change which we expect the Indian to make, and make so quickly, is a far greater one than is required of any of those nations above enumerated [Germany, Sweden, France, Italy], who have left the shores of one civilized country to come to those of another. With the Indian, the change is a radical one -- a change of dress, a change of dwelling, a change in mode of gaining livelihood, a social change, a religious change, an educational change, a totum in toto change. And this -- not so much for his own benefit, as for our own convenience. We want the land. We cannot have Indian hunters annoying our farmers and settlers. If the Indian is to remain, we expect him to be a decent neighbour; and to be a decent neighbour, we expect him to accept our religion, our education, our laws, and our customs. We allow him no choice and we allow him no time."
Attributed to E.F. Wilson. Principal of Shingwauk Residential School. May 1891. The Canadian Indian. Vol.1, no.8.


In 1842 the Bagot Commission recommend agricultural based boarding school far from parental influence. In 1876 Sir John A. Mcdonald commissioned Nicholas Flood Davin to go to the US to study the Indian education system. Davin recommended that four denominational industrial boarding schools be established so that Indian children could learn Christian morality and work habits away from the influences of the home. Davin's report had an important influence in shaping the early residential school system.

The model was deemed successful because it effectively cut children off from the presumed negative influences of their families.

"If anything is to be done with the Indian we must catch them very young" wrote Davin. The difficulty here was the "the influence of the wigwam was stronger than the influence of the school," he concluded.

There were many different events and factors that led up to the opening of The Regina Industrial School in 1890. This page is meant to document some of the happenings in that school. I have searched the whole Web and have found nothing but through the published written word I have been able to find a trail. Here are some of my findings:

The Principle of Regina Industrial School's name was Mr. J.A. Sinclair. The school was run by the Presbyterian Church. Most of the founder's of Regina were either Presbyterian or didn't have a faith. Regina was established in 1882 and in 1885 the first school was opened (in someone's house) under the Protestant School District #4. In 1890 the first school was built in Regina on Hamilton & 11th called "The White School" (It was said to be called that because the exterior was white). However that same year the Regina Industrial School opened for Indian children.






"Shingwauk's Vision: A History of Native Residential Schools" by J.R. Miller 2006

One Mother wrote a warning to her Sister-in-Law

"You better bring here your children at once or they will be taken to Regina. They are taking children off the Reserve to Regina. 19 children have been taken from the Reserves to the Regina School". This information was found in the Reed Papers, Vol. 19, file, May 1891, 619. Knatakasiwisine (Piapot Reserve) to Dear Sister in Law [Mrs Mistassini], 21, May 1891.


"The accountant for the Presbyterian mission wrote indignantly about conditions at the Regina Industrial School: 'I honestly believe that the late Principal's death was accelerated-if indeed the disease of which he dies was not brought on by the coarse indigestible food he - a clergyman of delicate nature - was obliged to eat in common with the Indian under his charge" (Shingwauks Vision, Jr. Miller. pg 291).


"A variety of evidence reinforces first-hand impressions about the unsatisfactory nature of residential school food. At Regina Industrial School in 1892, the food bill for 100 pupils was $3,192.72, while the cost of feeding twelve employees was $722.08. Employees received 55lbs of bacon each while students were allotted fifteen; 400lbs of beef to the 182lbs the children received; 461lbs of sugar to the 21lbs the young people were allowed to consume" (Miller. pg 291, 292).
This information was taken from the United Church of Canada Archives [UCA]. Records of the Presbyterian Church [PC]. Foreign Mission committee {FMC], Western SEction [WS], Indian Work in Manitoba and the North West [IWMNW], box 4, file 72, John H. Menzies to R.P. MacKay, 26 April 1905.


So the students were being worked hard and not fed properly. The result was the children's deterioration. Immune systems were broken down, disease set in and deaths occurred.


"The most striking example of withholding children because of a school's bad reputation particularly for health, was the Presbyterian's Regina school. Parents had always had problems with the institutions, with with its aggressive efforts to fill it with students. Parents had always had problems with the institution, and with its aggressive efforts to fill it with students" (Miller, 347).
"Problems at the Regina school worsened steadily thanks to incompetent leadership and serious health problems that alienated parents fromn the institution. The touble, noticeable early in the century, neared a crisis point towards the end of the decade".
This information was taken from Pc, FMC, WS, IWMNW, box 1, file 24, J.A. Sinclair to R.P. MacKay, 19 April 1901; ibid., box 5, file 115, (copy) R.P. MacKay to J. Farquharson, 30 Nov. 1908; ibid., file 116, J. Farquharson to R.P. MacKay, 3 Dec. 1908


"Regina's unhappy experience pointed up several aspects of residential school operations that gave parents at least a narrow area in which to protest effectively. First, when a school was located in a region with numerous institutions, parents had a certain amount of choice. A defective school could be taught a lesson by withholding students. In the southern prairies there were at least a dozen schools serving four denominations in the early decades of the twentieth century, and there were even instances where the same denomination had an industrial and a boarding school within a fairly short distance. the Presbyterians, unfortunately for Regina, operated boarding schools at File Hills in Saskatchewan and at Birtle, Manitoba, in addition to the unpopular industrial school at Regina: Miller pg 349, 350. "Regina was in bad odor with parents for many reasons. It was distant, run by an unpopular principal, had a reputation for overworking the children, and experienced a lot of sickness and death among the students " (pg. 350). "Of seven who were sent there only one is alive today, all the rest dying of tuberculosis. The parents are really afraid to let the children go" (Ibid., file 72, F.O. Gilbart to R.P. MacKay, 28 April 1905).


Things got aggressive when the leadership turned the education of students into a business to survive "Sine all our support excepting clothing froim the W.F.M.S. comes from the government per capita grant, our very life depends upon recruiting as fast as we are discharging pupils arriving athe th eage of eighteen or through other causes ...Recruits we must have, if we are to live, as we have no source of revenue but the per capita grant of $10.00 per month. We have lost twenty-five since March through graduation and furlough on accounts of illness, making it about impossible to escape deficits. I expect to go away on a trip looking for recuuits next week, but being still a stranger on the reserves, I cannot do a great deal without the support of our missionsries" (PC, FCMC, WS, IWMNW, box 1, file 24, J.A. Sinclair to R.P. MacKay, 19 Apri and 17 May 1901).


"As events transpired, Regina Industrial School was never able to overcome its bad reputation and the problem of discance. The Presbyterian Church managed to stave off a threat to close in 1904, but continuing financial problems compounded if not caused by inadequate enrollment stemming from parental opposition - led to its demise in 1910" (pg. 353).


A clipping I found on the principle of the Regina Industrial School was dated January 28, 1905: Rev. J. A. Sinclair, M.A., first Presbyterian Minister at Whitehourse, passes away January 15, 1905 in Regina.  Sinclair built the Presbyterian church in Whithorse in 1903, the Bennett Presbyterian church in 1899 and in 1898 he was pastor of the Presbyterian congregation in Skagway.

Between residential school administrative letters and this clipping it is safe to say that Rev. Sinclair died during his time as principle at Regina Industrial School.

bottom of page