Regina Armoury

Prior to World War I, armouries had been built in many locations throughout Saskatchewan. In Regina, however, adequate facilities for military training were lacking: earlier attempts to build an armoury, dating back to 1906, had come to nothing, and the eight units of the Regina garrison had to train in various buildings scattered throughout the city. In 1926, a number of Regina businessmen who were also senior officers in the militia decided to form a corporation, the Regina Armoury Association, to raise funds through a bond issue to build an armoury in the city. The bond issue was to be retired by receiving the rent that was paid out by the Department of National Defence for the other buildings being used for military purposes throughout Regina. The armoury committee set about to convince Charles Dunning, then Finance Minister in the federal government, that it would be in the best interests of the Department of National Defence to have a “Grade A” armoury built in the city. Dunning agreed, and a holding company was formed in 1927 to begin its construction.

In the fall of 1927, a suitable building site had been found on the Regina Exhibition Grounds, and construction began. Poole Construction Company of Regina was the chief contractor. The armoury was completed in March 1929; the bond issue was retired in 1937, when the Armoury Association transferred the title to the building to the Department of National Defence for the sum of $1. Just inside the main door of the armoury is a bronze plaque that commemorates the names of the members of the Armoury Association who by their efforts made the building a part of the Regina heritage: Colonel J.S. Rankin, Colonel Alfred Styles, Lieutenant Colonel A.P. Linton, Lieutenant Colonel C.E. Gregory, and Lieutenant Colonel R.H. Matthews. Over the years, the Regina Armoury has been used for many purposes other than military training: political meetings, musical and athletic events, industrial shows, and various other civilian activities. Perhaps the most outstanding event that was held in the armoury for many years was the annual armistice service, which was started in order to supply funds for the upkeep of the Soldiers’ Plot in the Regina cemetery. At the end of World War II, the service was taken over by the Regina Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion; it is now held in the Exhibition building on the Regina Exhibition Grounds. Today, the Regina Armoury continues to be the home of the Regina units of 38th Brigade Group: 10th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, Royal Regina Rifles, 16th Saskatchewan Service Battalion, and 16th Medical Company. Other organizations that use the armoury include the cadet corps and the Military Museum of Saskatchewan.

Lillian Mein