Lieutenant-Governor Dewdney had acquired land adjacent to the route of the future CPR line at Pile-of-Bones, which was distinguished only by collections of bison bones near a small spring run-off creek, some few kilometres downstream from its origin in the midst of what are now wheat fields.
There was an "obvious conflict of interest" in Dewdney's choosing the site of Pile-of-Bones as the territorial seat of government the lieutenant-governor and council governed by fiat and there was little legitimate means of challenging such decisions outside the federal capital of Ottawa.
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Regina grew rapidly until the beginning of the Great Depression, in 1929, though only to a small fraction of the originally anticipated population explosion as population centre of the new province.
Early planners took advantage of such opportunity by damming the creek to create a decorative lake to the south of the central business district with a dam a block and a half west of the later elaborate 840-foot (260 m) long Albert Street Bridge Wascana Centre, created around the focal point of Wascana Lake, remains one of Regina's attractions and contains the Provincial Legislative Building, both campuses of the University of Regina, First Nations University of Canada, the provincial museum of natural history, the Regina Conservatory (in the original Regina College buildings), the Saskatchewan Science Centre, the Mac Kenzie Art Gallery and the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts.
Thereafter, Saskatchewan never recovered its early promise and Regina's growth slowed and at times reversed.
In 1935, Regina gained notoriety for the Regina Riot, an incident of the On-to-Ottawa Trek.
Residential neighbourhoods include precincts beyond the historic city centre are historically or socially noteworthy neighbourhoods – namely Lakeview and The Crescents both of which lie directly south of downtown.
Immediately to the north of the central business district is the old warehouse district, increasingly the focus of shopping, nightclubs and residential development; in the 1930s, the Regina Riot brought further attention and, in the midst of the 1930s drought and Great Depression, which hit the Canadian Prairies particularly hard with their economic focus on dry land grain farming.
Subsequently, the rebellion's leader, Louis Riel, was tried and hanged in Regina – giving the infant community increased and, at the time, not unwelcome national attention in connection with a figure who was generally at the time considered an unalloyed villain in anglophone Canada.