Description of Historic Place
The Saskatchewan Legislative Building and Grounds is a Provincial Heritage Property located in the City of Regina. The property features a monumental three-storey, Edwardian Classical style public building with a central copper-clad dome, situated on approximately 17 ha of formally landscaped grounds highlighted by a boat landing, tennis courts and clubhouse building.
As the first building purpose-built to serve as the seat of government, the primary heritage value of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building and Grounds lies in its association with the governance of the Province of Saskatchewan. Since completion in 1913, the building has housed the executive and legislative offices of the province. During this time, the Legislative Building has been associated with every political figure, piece of legislation and administrative decision related to the governance of the province and has emerged as the most recognized symbol of government in Saskatchewan.
Acknowledged as one of the finest examples of Edwardian Classicism in Canada, the Legislative Building is also valued for its architecture. Designed by the nationally-noted Montreal architectural firm of Maxwell and Maxwell, the building features a Tyndall Stone façade punctuated by large windows, raised entryways, double-order Doric columns and extensive ornamental stonework. The most distinguishing element of the exterior is the central dome. Featuring a colonnaded cupola and square drum base with an extended cut corner motif, the dome reflects the architecture of English public buildings, an attribute desired by the new provincial government.
The heritage value of the architecture is enhanced by the manner in which the building's interior promotes a prestigious yet accessible nature. The prestigious character of the interior is drawn from the formal arrangement of space in a cruciform shape, the use of several different types of marble and other substantial materials, and the sculpted carvings, electrical fixtures and woodwork found in the entryway, rotunda and legislative chamber. These elements are complemented by the incorporation of public artwork throughout the building, the use of marble for functional elements such as floors and balusters and the subtle use of ornamentation throughout the building. The rotunda, set at the axis of the four wings of the building, is the focal point of the interior and projects both prestige and accessibility through the use of marble Ionic columns and intricately-carved symbols of royalty and public art. The design also compels all those who wish to enter the Legislative chamber to meet in the rotunda, further reflecting the egalitarian and accessible nature of the space.
The heritage value of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building and Grounds also resides in the design of the grounds. Developed according to the master plan laid out by the noted Canadian landscape architect Frederick Todd and the detailed design layout of the renowned urban planner Thomas Mawson, the Legislative Building grounds are an uncommon remaining Canadian example of a park developed according to a City Beautiful Movement master plan. This was an aesthetic response to the monotonous grid plans upon which most cities were founded. Featuring a mix of French and English landscape design, the grounds of the Legislative Building balance the formal and the picturesque through the use of informal open spaces, organized plantings and strategically-placed statues and monuments. The alignment of the Building with the axis of Smith Street across Wascana Lake also represents the formal nature of the grounds and illustrates an urban design connection with downtown Regina. The large open spaces and flower gardens of the grounds have served as the location for many government and non-government events of local and provincial significance and have emerged as one of the province's most important public gathering spaces
Order Designating Protected Property under the Saskatchewan Heritage Act, April 20, 1978.
Province of Saskatchewan, Notice of Intention to Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under the Heritage Property Act, February 18, 2005.
Province of Saskatchewan, Order Designating Provincial Heritage Property under the Heritage Property Act, May 26, 2005.
The heritage value of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building and Grounds resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those elements which reflect the use of the building as the seat of government, including the benches, speakers chair and signage in the Legislative Chamber and the royal crests and symbols located throughout the building;
-those exterior elements which reflect Edwardian Classical design, including the monumental proportions, the pediments, columns, carved stone ornamentation and the regular pattern of segmented windows;
-those elements which reflect British public architecture, including the colonnaded square drum with extended cut-corner motifs on the dome;
-those elements which reflect the historical integrity of the building's exterior, including the Tyndall Stone façade, metal window frames, metal doors and the copper-clad dome;
-those interior elements which reflect the Classical style of architecture, including the open expanse of the rotunda, the grand staircase, the symmetrical layout of the hallways and the carved stone, wood and metal decorative elements found throughout the building;
-the public artwork located in the rotunda, including the "Before the White Man Came" mural and the maquettes crafted by Clemesha;
-those interior elements which speak to the historical integrity of the building, including the hallway clocks, the wall coverings, mouldings and trim of the premier's office and Cabinet room, the shelving, staircase and balcony in the library;
-those elements of the Legislative Grounds which reflect the designs of Frederick Todd and Thomas Mawson, including the walkways which radiate from the entryways of the building, the formal garden promenade leading from the front entryway to the lakefront, the open spaces immediately surrounding the north side of the building and the maintenance of the height and location of plantings which provide visual diversity for the grounds and preserve the vista view of the building's dome from most areas of the city;
-those built structures which contribute to the formal display on the grounds, including statues and fountains;
-those elements which speak to the use of the grounds for recreation activities and public gatherings, including the open lawns, tennis courts and the boat landing at the end of the formal garden promenade on the north side of the grounds.