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Regina, Saskatchewan

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Regina in Saskatchewan.

 

Regina is the capital of Saskatchewan, Canada. The city is the second largest in the province (after Saskatoon), and is a cultural and commercial metropole for southern Saskatchewan.

Culture

Regina has a substantial cultural life in music, theatre and dance, supported by the fine arts constituency at the University of Regina, which has faculties of music, theatre and plastic arts. At various times this has attracted notable artistic talent: the Regina Five were artists at Regina College (the University's predecessor) who gained national fame in the 1950s; Donald M. Kendrick, Bob Boyer and Joe Fafard, now with significant international reputations, have been other artists from Regina. The Regina Conservatory of Music operates in the former girls' residence wing of the Regina College building. Annual festivals in and near Regina through the year include the Cathedral Village Arts Festival; the Craven Country Jamboree; the Regina Folk Festival; the Regina Dragon Boat Festival; and Mosaic, mounted by the Regina Multicultural Council, which earned Heritage Canada’s designation of 2004 "Cultural Capital of Canada" (in the over 125,000 population category). As in other cities and towns across Canada the annual Kiwanis Music Festival affords rising musical talents the opportunity to achieve nation-wide recognition.

Regina lacked a large concert and live theatre venue for many years after the loss to fire of the Regina Theatre in 1938 and the demolition of the 1906 City Hall in 1964 at a time when preservation of heritage architecture was not yet a fashionable issue. But until the demolition of downtown cinemas which doubled as live theatres the lack was not urgent, and Darke Hall on the Regina College campus of the university provided a small concert and stage venue.

The default was remedied in 1970 with the construction of the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts (now the Conexus Arts Centre) as a Canadian Centennial project, a theatre and concert hall complex overlooking Wascana Lake which is one of the most acoustically perfect concert venues in North America; it is home to the Regina Symphony Orchestra (Canada's oldest continuously performing orchestra), Opera Saskatchewan and New Dance Horizons, a contemporary dance company. The Royal Saskatchewan Museum (the present 1955 structure a Saskatchewan Golden Jubilee project) dates from 1906. The old Post Office at Scarth Street and 11th Avenue, temporarily used as a city hall after the demolition of the 1906 City Hall, is now home to the Globe Theatre, founded in 1966 as "Saskatchewan's first professional theatre since 1927." Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Cathedral and Knox-Metropolitan United Church have particularly impressive Casavant Frères pipe organs, maintain substantial musical establishments and are frequently the venues for choral concerts and organ recitals.

The Regina Public Library is a city-wide library system with nine branches. Its facilities include the RPL Film theatre which plays non-mainstream cinema, the Dunlop Art Gallery, special literacy services and a prairie history collection. The Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery in Wascana Centre and the Dunlop Art Gallery have permanent collections and sponsor travelling exhibitions.

Parks and outdoor attractions

Regina has a substantial proportion of its overall area dedicated as parks and greenspaces, with biking paths, cross-country ski-ing venues and other recreational facilities throughout the city; Wascana Lake, the venue for summer boating activities, is regularly cleared of snow in winter for skating and there are toboggan runs both in Wascana Centre and downstream on the banks of Wascana Creek. Victoria Park is in the central business district and numerous greenspaces throughout the residential subdivisions and newer subdivisions in the north and west of the city contain large ornamental ponds to add interest to residential precincts such as Rochdale, Lakewood, Lakeridge, Spruce Meadows and Windsor Park; older school playing fields throughout the city have also been converted into landscaped parks.

The City operates five municipal golf courses, including two in King's Park northeast of the city. Kings Park Recreation facility is also home to ball diamonds, picnic grounds, and stock car racing. Within half an hour's drive are the summer cottage and camping country and winter ski resorts in the Qu'Appelle Valley with Last Mountain and Buffalo Pound Lakes and the four Fishing Lakes of Pasqua, Echo, Mission and Katepwa; slightly farther east are Round and Crooked Lakes, also in the Qu'Appelle Valley, and to the southeast the Kenosee Lake cottage country.
Wascana Lake with downtown Regina

Wascana Centre is a 9.3 square kilometre (2,300 acre) park built around Wascana Lake and designed in 1961 by Minoru Yamasaki — the Seattle-born architect best known as the designer of the original World Trade Center in New York — in tandem with his starkly modernist design for the new Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan. Wascana Lake was created as a "stock watering hole" — for the CPR's rolling stock, that is — in 1883 when a dam and bridge were constructed 1½ blocks to the west of the present Albert Street Bridge. A new dam and bridge were built in 1908, and Wascana Lake was used as a domestic water source, to cool the city’s power plant and, in due course, for the new provincial legislative building.

During the fall and winter of 2003–2004, Wascana Lake was again drained and dredged to deepen it while adding a new island, a promenade area beside Albert Street Bridge, water fountains, and a waterfall to help aerate the lake.

Downstream from Wascana Lake Wascana Creek continues to provide a lush parkland on its increasingly intensively developed perimeter; in the northwest quadrant of the city Wascana Creek has a second weir with a smaller reservoir in A.E. Wilson Park.

Visitor attractions

Regina is a travel destination for residents of southeastern Saskatchewan and the immediately adjacent regions of the neighbouring US States of North Dakota and Montana, and an intermediate stopping point for travellers on the Trans-Canada Highway. Attractions for visitors in Regina include:

the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (a museum of natural history);
the Saskatchewan Science Centre, housed in the 1914 Powerhouse on east Wascana Lake;
the Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery[96] and numerous smaller galleries and museums;
the Roman Catholic cathedral on 13th Avenue in the West End, but also perhaps to a somewhat lesser extent the Anglican cathedral in downtown Regina and the Romanian Orthodox cathedral on Victoria Avenue in the East End;
Knox-Metropolitan United Church on Victoria Park in downtown Regina: the surviving downtown congregation of the United Church (Metropolitan Methodist and the now demolished or closed Knox, Carmichael and St Andrew's United Churches, previously Presbyterian, were its antecedents or now-defunct daughter congregations) with the largest pipe organ in Regina;
the Mormon Temple, a Mormon conventicle with a beautiful building and lovely grounds;
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) national training centre and the museum;
Government House, where regular tours are available, conducted by guides in "period" costume and the Lieutenant-Governor holds an annual levée on New Year's Day;
Casino Regina, in the old Union Station;
the Globe Theatre in the Old Post Office building on the Scarth Street Mall;
events held at Mosaic Stadium sports stadium and the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts;
Evraz Place (formerly Ipsco Place, previously Regina Exhibition Park), the venue for the annual Buffalo Days Exhibition[98] summer agricultural fair every August; and
the Canadian Western Agribition, a winter agricultural show and marketplace.

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