Suddenly on March 8, 2017, and as a result of a tragic fire, the Travellers Building passed at the age of 88. She had been neglected for some time and in poor health. Designed by architects Storey and Van Egmond in 1929 she played an important role in the commercial development of the city of Regina. The original developer was George Broder, a local businessman, who is best known as the developer of one of the early neighbourhoods, Broder’s Annex, on his farmland east of Winnipeg Street.
The main floor initially housed A.B.M. Motors Ltd (car dealership and repair) as well as some smaller businesses such as “Ed’s Lunch”. The upper floor was occupied by short-term sales offices and space for traveling salesman – where the building gets its name. Other tenants over the years included Group Medical Services (1949-1964) and use as the city bus terminal (1936-49), but the building’s greatest call to fame was perhaps the second floor Arcadia Ballroom where a 1920’s style horsehair dance floor kept Regina’s population dancing during the difficult depression years and until the end of the War (1929-45). This leaves Danceland in Watrous, built in 1928 and Rock Church, an 80+ year old former Ukrainian Hall in Saskatoon as the only other original horsehair dance floors in Saskatchewan.
The Travellers Building was designated as a Municipal Heritage Building in 2001.
She leaves to mourn a heart-broken heritage community and citizens of Regina who ask the questions: “Was this demolition by neglect?” and “What can the community do to make sure that other vacant heritage buildings are re-purposed and do not suffer the same fate?” Cremation has taken place. In lieu of flowers and in memory of the Travellers Building please consider attending a Heritage Regina walking tour to learn more about the history of our city or talk to your city councilor and advocate for preservation of Regina’s Cultural and Built Heritage. www.heritageregina.ca
This pictorial essay was commissioned by Heritage Regina and originated as a result of an e-mail from Jeannie Mah, a Regina-based ceramic artist and Board Member of the Architectural Heritage Society of Saskatchewan. On October 30, 2015 Jeannie reported that an application for demolition of the Simpsons-Sears Warehouse had been received by the City of Regina. As this building is on the City’s Heritage Holding Bylaw, a 60 day assessment process was initiated by the City Administration on or about Oct. 21, 2015 to prepare a report for Council on the heritage value of the building.
Evolution of Simpson’s as documented in Henderson’s Regina Directories The following entries are taken from Henderson’s Regina Directories.
While the Directories are an excellent source for research information, the data is not always up-to-date or fully accurate, and often entries are a year late, as the annual updates were undertaken before people moved into the premises. New dates are listed below when changes occurred to the directory entry. Some of those revisions likely reflect changes in operation, rebranding of the company name, and mergers. Further research is required to determining exactly when such activities actually took place and what impact they might have had on occupants of the Robert Simpson Company Warehouse and/or Simpson’s other Regina operations. The changing content of those directory advertisement also reflect to some extent the value that the company placed on this form of advertising. By 2000, the last year that the Henderson’s Directories were published in Regina, the entry for the Warehouse was barely noticeable, and in fine print, without any bold print title drawing attention to the company. The following entries are Not to Scale, but are enlarged or reduced in size to make them more suitable for reading.
Wanuskewin Heritage Park received the National Aboriginal (Indigenous) Cultural Tourism Award, sponsored by the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada. Located outside of Saskatoon, the national historic site has been a gathering place for more than 6,000 years and is the longest continually operating archaeological excavation site in Canada. Read more.
Heritage Canada last week announced the first Saskatchewan recipients of Canada 150 funding. SaskCulture’s multi-partner project, Resilience and Respect: Canada 150 and Beyond, was among the 19 projects announced.
A $400,000 grant will help a new partnership, made up of several Saskatchewan cultural groups, will build new and respectful relationships between Canada’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through language, literature and arts engagement throughout 2017 and beyond, according to SaskCulture’s website. Resilience and Respect: Canada 150 and Beyond will acknowledge the resilience of Indigenous peoples and celebrate the potential of Indigenous cultures, languages and arts in the province.
Activities taking place as part of Resilience and Respect: Canada 150 and Beyond include:
- Indigenous artist presentations to schools through LIVE Arts, in partnership with Saskatchewan Arts Board and Saskatchewan Ministry of Education;
- Design and delivery of Indigenous language workshops for youth in First Nations communities, in partnership with Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre;
- A Métis culture and language gathering, in partnership with Gabriel Dumont Institute;
- Expansion of an Indigenous literary festival, in partnership with Saskatchewan Aboriginal Writers Circle Inc.;
- Creative workshops and community celebration, in partnership with Buffalo People Arts Institute;
And a final cultural gathering to showcase activities and ensure a legacy, organized by SaskCulture.
City council has approved municipal heritage status for the Regina Indian Industrial School cemetery on September 26, 2016 with councillors voting unanimously in favour of the designation.
An unknown number of students died at the residential school, and as many as 40 are believed to be buried in the cemetery, located near Pinkie Road and Dewdney Avenue. The school was built in 1891 with the goal of assimilating First Nations children. The school was originally built in 1891 and closed in 1910.
Chief Lynn Acoose, from the Sakimay First Nation, said the cemetery is an important link to the past.“At this point in our history, where there is a need to come together and collectively work on moving beyond the painful legacy of Indian residential schools, that’s what that graveyard does for us,” Acoose said.
Acoose also said the area has become a place for learning and classes have started going there to learn about the history of residential schools.
“It may look like an insignificant piece of land, but it’s already become a place of learning and reconciliation,” she said. The cemetery, which is located on Pinkie road, has 36 different plots, but it’s unknown how many children were buried there.
Building relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people will be a key focus of Heritage Rising, the National Trust’s 2016 conference in Hamilton this fall.
Ry Moran, first director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, will speak on the challenges of how to commemorate the physical legacy of residential school buildings and sites.
Before joining the Centre, Moran oversaw the collection of nearly 7,000 statements from residential school survivors for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
As well, a special roundtable will discuss how to move beyond mere consultation to meaningful engagement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous heritage advocates.
The Hamilton Indigenous Heritage Roundtable 2016, Going Beyond Consultation, will draw on Ontario case studies to understand how true relationships are built and nourished over time. Participants will discuss how to resolve issues and find ways to “break through the dominance of western viewpoints in land-use planning and natural and cultural heritage conservation,” the program description states.
The Oct. 19-23 conference will feature numerous other learning and discussion activities, opening on Day 1 with a workshop on regenerating faith places and ending on Day 5 with a tour of historic wineries.
For information visit www.nationaltrustconference.ca