Every building communicates to us . . .
The Somerset Block building, located at the southwest corner of Smith Street and 11th Avenue, was designed by the Regina architectural firm of Reilly, Warburton and Reilly and built by the Hipperson Construction Company in 1929.
A two-storey building providing office and retail space, the property boasted two “strongrooms” or vaults. These vaults, one on each floor, were installed in the building as part of the construction process. Steel rods reinforced the vaults’ thick concrete walls. Equipped with a burglar-proof system of locking mechanisms and bolts, the vaults’ heavy steel doors offered high security—as well as protection from fires and natural disasters—for the storage of documents and valuables belonging to the building’s tenants.
The building was designated as a municipal heritage property in 2016 and is currently being restored by Nicor Group, a Regina company that specializes in the respectful preservation of heritage properties.
In 2019, an engaging exhibit was created inside the second floor’s vintage vault. The exhibit’s text and archival photographic materials explore the early history of Regina and its commercial corridor on 11th Avenue. They draw attention to the value of tangible cultural heritage in general and of the Somerset Block in particular. They relate the stories of the building’s early tenants and highlight copies of the building’s blueprints as well as information about the vault.
Tours of the exhibit are self-guided, free of charge and open to the public during the building’s regular business hours.
To access the exhibit, enter the Somerset Block building using the Smith Street entrance and climb the stairs to the second floor. The vault is on the right, at the top of the stairway. The light switch for the exhibit is inside the vault, at the right.