Government House, Regina
Links and documents
1889/01/01 to 1891/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Government House is a Provincial Heritage Property located within the City of Regina at 4607 Dewdney Avenue. The property features a large, two-storey brick building built in 1889, situated on a well-groomed 3 1/2- hectare grounds.
The heritage value of Government House lies in its use as the office and principal residence of the Lieutenant Governor of the Northwest Territories (1891-1905) and later the Province of Saskatchewan (1905-1945). Constructed on a large estate on the outskirts of Regina, Government House was commissioned in 1888 after the Territorial capital was moved to Regina from Battleford. It was constructed as part of a group of government buildings along Dewdney Avenue which included the North-West Mounted Police headquarters and the Territorial Administration Building. The large manicured estate surrounding Government House was intended to demonstrate the authority of the federal government in the Territories, as well as to reflect the Vice-Regal position of the Lieutenant Governor. The large structure took three years to complete and, when finished, was the grandest building in the community and the main social gathering place for the city’s elite. In 1945, the Lieutenant Governor was moved out of the building but, in 1980, Government House again resumed its role as the office of the Lieutenant Governor.
The heritage value of the property also lies in its architecture. Designed under the direction of Thomas Fuller, Chief Dominion Architect (1881-1896), the brick-with-stone foundation building exhibits a subdued Italianate influence, expressed in the segmented archways, low-sloped hip roof, ornate cornice, roof monitor and the picturesque arrangement of the chimneys. The main entranceway boasts a prominent porte-cochere, which remains the building’s most defining feature. Government House saw extensive expansion in 1928 when a ballroom and conservatory were constructed. Designed by Provincial Architect, Maurice Sharon, the addition enhanced the property’s capacity for hosting social functions. Government House underwent another substantial addition in 2004 when space for offices and a museum display were added.
The heritage value of the property also lies in its interior design. The interior reflects the importance of the property by featuring extensive decorative woodwork throughout the building and use of numerous ornate fixtures. Also of value are the large ballroom and central double height reception area situated below a large skylight, which are central to the property’s social function.
The heritage value of the property also lies in its landscaped grounds. The late nineteenth-century styled gardens feature the use of treed borders to partition the property into parterres, as well as the use of trees and flower beds along the main drive way, giving the garden a formalized structure. The gardens were designed by George Watt in 1894 and were the first large-scale gardens in Regina. Prominent gates mark the property’s entrance and central driveway exiting from Dewdney Avenue. While the size of the gardens has been significantly reduced since 1945, the grounds to the north and west of the building retain much of their original historical integrity. In 1984, the existing garden was complemented by the establishment of the Netherlands Liberation Memorial Garden, commemorating the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers by the planting of one tulip for each Canadian soldier killed in that country.
Province of Saskatchewan, Notice of Intention to Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under The Heritage Property Act, May 14, 1981.
Province of Saskatchewan, Order to Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under The Heritage Property Act, August 26, 1982.
The heritage value of Government House resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those elements that reflect the property’s connection to the Lieutenant Governor, such as the signage, provincial symbols, and Vice-Regal symbols such as the VR carving;
-those elements that reflect Italianate architecture, such as the segmented archways, hip roof and cornice;
-those elements that reflect the building’s unique architecture, such as the roof skylight and the porte-cochere;
-those elements that reflect the opulent interior, such as wood moldings, floors, and door frames, as well as the fixtures, fireplaces, double height entryway and ornate ceilings;
-those elements that reflect the late 19th-century design of the grounds, such as the treed borders and the arrangement into parterres;
-the layout of the Netherlands Liberation Memorial Garden;
-the property’s central driveway, its access to Dewdney Avenue, and the flanking row of trees.
Government of Saskatchewan
Heritage Property Act, s. 39(1)
Provincial Heritage Property
1891/01/01 to 1945/12/31
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Government and Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Office or office building
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation
Heritage Resources Branch
1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK
File: PHP 405
Cross-Reference to Collection