The Inauguration of a Streetcar System in Canada

July 28, 1911

In Canada, a new streetcar system was launched in Regina, Saskatchewan. A brief dedication ceremony took place at ten o’clock on that Friday morning, and then the first four electric streetcars of the system made their way through the capital city of Saskatchewan.

Hundreds of people lined up along the streets to watch these vehicles on the move. Those inaugural streetcars, carrying government and railway officials, traveled first to the nearby grounds where the world-class Dominion Exhibition would start in three days. The streetcars then proceeded along other completed portions of the fledgling transit network.

After the vehicles dropped off their passengers in the downtown area, Regina Mayor Peter McAra, Jr., announced that streetcar fares were suspended for everyone for the remainder of the day. By the end of that opening day, an estimated 7,400 passengers had been transported on the streetcars. 

The need for a streetcar system in Regina became increasingly important during the previous decade, with the city’s population mushrooming from 3,000 in 1901 to 30,000 in 1911. As with residents of many other communities both throughout Canada and elsewhere in the world during the early 20th century, the citizens of Regina viewed having a streetcar system as an unmistakable symbol of progress and modernization.

With a strong start on its opening day and during the Dominion Exhibition that soon followed, the Regina Municipal Railway initially proved to be a highly popular means of transportation. Within its first two years of service, the network nearly tripled the original six miles (10 kilometers) of track, operated with a fleet of 34 streetcars, and employed more than 150 people. The Regina Municipal Railway also expanded its operations to include picking up garbage and hauling freight.

In 1949, a major fire destroyed many of the Regina Municipal Railway’s vehicles. The surviving streetcars of the Regina Municipal Railway made their final runs the following year. At that time, the network was replaced by the still-existing Regina Transit System.

For more information on the Regina Municipal Railway, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regina_Municipal_Railway and http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/regina/north/transit.html#:~:text=The%20Regina%20Municipal%20Railway%20got,Store%20on%2011%20th%20Ave.%20.

Additional information on the history of transit services in Regina is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regina_Transit

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