Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hat to GPK Virtual Trip

Hi Marston

report # 63

Its snowing and the temperature is struggling to get to zero. I'll hang around for a few days and decide if there is any hope of getting any more cycling in.

IN the mean time I'll check out the Queen City

Surely a place that started off being called " Pile of Bones" and ends up being called " Regina" or The Queen" has got to have some interesting stories.

First, where did all the bones come from? You can see in the picture there were lots of them. This is a pile 40 feet in diameter and 6 feet high. The natives caught buffalo and after taking everything that was useful, dumped the bones on the banks of the Wascana ( Cree for Bones) Creek. European hunters were next and with their 44 cal lever action rifles, the piles got bigger faster.

In 1883 it was recorded they sent 20 tones of buffalo meat east and also got $15,000.00 for the bones. It was being used for cutlery handles, fertilizer and refining sugar. So the place was already attracting enterprise while it was yet a sea of mud and bones.

Then along came Edgar Dewdney, a cabinet minister in Macdonald's government. He was appointed Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories and at the same time the Indian Commissioner for those very territories. One of his brilliant moves was to change the territorial capital from up at the Battlefords to a new location.

Yep, Pile of Bones got the new title. This wasn't just because Old Edgar had such a passion for bones, but also because he had some property where he had an inside track so to speak about where the railway would likely to be built.

The railway at that point was in Fort Garry ( Winnipeg) and ready to shoot straight as an arrow to the Kicking Horse Pass in the Rockies. About that time, the North West Mounted Police who had their headquarters in Fort Walsh, also anticipating the arrival of the railways, decided to move up to Old Pile of Bones so they could have the rapid deployment capability provided by the railways, at their disposal..

What with all this nobility hanging around, the old name was hardly sufficiently respectable. Over in London on the other side the Atlantic where all great discussions about Canada were made, Pile of Bones was about to be renamed Regina, after Queen Victoria, by the Queen's own daughter Louise and a province was named after her Dad, ( Albert ). For such brilliant thinking, she got a Lake named for her just west of Banff, Alberta. Ah, I bet you thought there never was a period in Canadian history when government was worse than it is today.. Wrong again, me lad.

More later


Doug G

Thanks Doug

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