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Commercial considerations prevailed and the town's authentic development soon began as a collection of wooden shanties and tent shacks clustered around the site designated by the CPR for its future station, some two miles (3 km) to the east of where Dewdney had reserved substantial landholdings for himself and where he sited the Territorial (now the Saskatchewan) Government House.
before marching to the battlefield in the further Northwest – Qu'Appelle having been the major debarkation and distribution centre until 1890 when the completion of the Qu’Appelle, Long Lake, and Saskatchewan Railway linked Regina with Saskatoon and Prince Albert.
Recently older buildings have been put to new uses, including the old Normal School on the Regina College campus of the University of Regina (now the Canada Saskatchewan Production Studios) and the old Post Office on the Scarth Street Mall.
The Warehouse District, immediately adjacent to the central business district to the north of the CPR line, has become a desirable commercial and residential precinct as historic warehouses have been converted to retail, nightclubs and residential use.
The city is the second-largest in the province, after Saskatoon, and a cultural and commercial centre for southern Saskatchewan. The city is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Sherwood No. Regina was previously the seat of government of the North-West Territories, of which the current provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta originally formed part, and of the District of Assiniboia.
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.
By this time, Saskatchewan was considered the third province of Canada in both population and economic indicators.
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.