Saskatchewan Legislative Building

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Saskatchewan Legislative Building
Saskatchewan legislative building.jpg
Saskatchewan Legislative Building
General information
Architectural styleBeaux-Arts
Town or cityRegina, Saskatchewan
CountryCanada
Construction startedAugust 31, 1908
CompletedJanuary 25, 1912
Cost$1.75 million
ClientGovernment of Saskatchewan
OwnerGovernment of Saskatchewan
Design and construction
ArchitectEdward and William Sutherland Maxwell
Official name: Saskatchewan Legislative Building and Grounds National Historic Site of Canada
Designated:2005
Type:Provincial Heritage Property
Designated:1978
 
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Saskatchewan Legislative Building
Saskatchewan legislative building.jpg
Saskatchewan Legislative Building
General information
Architectural styleBeaux-Arts
Town or cityRegina, Saskatchewan
CountryCanada
Construction startedAugust 31, 1908
CompletedJanuary 25, 1912
Cost$1.75 million
ClientGovernment of Saskatchewan
OwnerGovernment of Saskatchewan
Design and construction
ArchitectEdward and William Sutherland Maxwell
Official name: Saskatchewan Legislative Building and Grounds National Historic Site of Canada
Designated:2005
Type:Provincial Heritage Property
Designated:1978

The Saskatchewan Legislative Building is located in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and houses the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.

History[edit]

The Saskatchewan Legislative Building being constructed

The Saskatchewan Legislative Building was built between 1908 and 1912 in the Beaux Arts style to a design by Edward and William Sutherland Maxwell of Montreal. The Maxwells also supervised construction of the building by the Montreal company P. Lyall & Sons, who later built the Centre Block of the federal Parliament Building in Ottawa after the 1866 Parliament Building was destroyed by fire in 1916. Piles began to be drilled for the foundations during the autumn of 1908 and in 1909 the Governor General of Canada, the Earl Grey, laid the cornerstone. In 1912, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, by then the serving governor general, inaugurated the building.[1][2]

People enjoying a boat race on Wascana Lake north of the Legislative Building circa 1910.

The design contemplates expansion of the building by the addition of wings extending south from the east and west ends and coming together to form a courtyard. The plans originally called for the exterior of the building to be red brick but after construction had begun and red bricks were already on the site, Premier Walter Scott decided that Manitoba Tyndall stone would give the building greater grandeur and the plans were adjusted with the substitution increasing the building cost by $50,000. The total cost of construction came to $1.75 million by the time of its opening in October 1912, ten months after the assembly had begun meeting in the yet-uncompleted building.

Characteristics[edit]

The legislative chamber inside the Saskatchewan Legislative Building with its original red carpet

Diverging from parliamentary tradition, the carpet in the legislative chamber was red until 2012. Canonically, red carpet is used for houses of unelected members, such as the Canadian Senate, and houses of elected members are given blue or green carpet. In anticipation of green carpet, the legislative chamber was given green marble trim. Walter Scott preferred red carpet, and for a century the Saskatchewan Legislative Building stood as one of only two in Canada to feature red carpet in its legislative chamber (British Columbia's being the other). The red carpet was replaced by green carpet in the summer 2012.[3]

Legislative rotunda, ca. 1925. The overhead mural entitled “Before the White Man Came”, painted by Department of Public Works employee John Leman, was not painted until 1933, so it did not exist when this photograph was taken.

Walter Scott anticipated that the building might "for a century yet be credible enough to form the main building on the Capital grounds" (Barnhart: 2002, 43), the general assumption of the time being that Saskatchewan's population would grow to several million. That century has now almost elapsed; the provincial legislative building remains the main building on the "Capital grounds", but indeed, continues to be the most imposing structure in a city smaller than its founders envisioned.

Such planning is evident in the legislative chamber itself, designed to accommodate well in excess of one hundred members. The assembly has never expanded beyond 66 MLAs (and has been fixed at 58 members since 1995). As a result, even after those elections which yielded massive majorities (such as those held in 1982 and 1991) there has been plenty of space to seat all government members to the speaker's right.

The Institute for stained glass in Canada has documented the stained glass at Saskatchewan Legislature.[4]

The Saskatchewan Legislative Building is located at 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, overlooking Wascana Lake. Free tours of the facility are offered throughout the week.

Significance[edit]

The legislative building and its grounds were designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2005.[5] It is also a Provincial Heritage Property.[6]

Of historical significance, the table that was used during the meeting of the Fathers of Confederation in Quebec City in 1864 resides in the building's library, albeit with six feet of it removed. The Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories brought the table to Fort Battleford, which was the capital of the territory at the time. Six feet of the table length was removed from the middle so that it could be stored.

Trafalgar Fountain

Statues at Legislature[edit]

Statue of the Queen north of the building

There is an equestrian statue of Queen Elizabeth II and in the past was one of Louis Riel but it represented him nude and was removed on objection of First Nations people. On the eastern side of the building there is a fountain, one of two brought from London's Trafalgar Square, the other having been taken to Ottawa.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jackson, Michael D. (1990), "Royal Visits", in Cottrell, Michael, The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan, Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, retrieved 30 June 2009 
  2. ^ "Departments > City Clerk's Office > City Archives > Image Galleries > A View From Above > Downtown III: Spadina Crescent to the Bessborough > Note 45". City of Saskatoon. Retrieved 30 June 2009. 
  3. ^ "Saskatchewan assembly goes green, in carpet colour". CBC News. October 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-28. 
  4. ^ Stained glass at Saskatchewan Legislature http://stainedglasscanada.ca/site.php?site=174
  5. ^ Saskatchewan Legislative Building and Grounds National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  6. ^ Saskatchewan Legislative Building and Grounds. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 19 August 2012.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°25′57″N 104°36′54″W / 50.432426°N 104.615099°W / 50.432426; -104.615099

Preceded by
Tallest Building in Regina
1912-1927
53 m
Succeeded by
Hotel Saskatchewan