Government House, Regina, Saskatchewan: An Illustrated History

30 November 2016

Government House, Regina, Saskatchewan: An Illustrated History
by Edward Willett
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Keith Foster
$39.95 ISBN 978-1-927756-76-8

Government House, Regina, Saskatchewan: An Illustrated History by Regina author Edward Willett is a masterful work of art in both narrative and illustration, solid in structure, and powerful in its rendition.

It’s actually a revised and enlarged version of Margaret Hryniuk’s A Tower of Attraction, edited by Garth Pugh and published in 1991 for the 100th anniversary of Government House. That book is long out of print, and a lot has happened in the last twenty-five years – time for a new version for the 125th anniversary in 2016.

The Government House Historical Society, with its foresight to preserve its past for the future, undertook both book projects. Willett revises A Tower of Attraction, which covers the period up to and including the term of Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Fedoruk, using it as his launch pad and taking off from there. This book is as up to date as it can be – going through to August 2016.

In addition to interviewing the staff at Government House and the widow of former lieutenant Governor John E.N “Jack” Wiebe, Willett personally interviewed four of Saskatchewan’s recent Lieutenant Governors: Dr. Sylvia O. Fedoruk, Dr. Lynda M. Haverstock, Dr. Gordon L. Barnhart, and the current Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield.

Government House, Regina, Saskatchewan: An Illustrated History traces the humble beginnings of Government House up to the present. The first building constructed to house vice-regal residents in Regina was two miles from downtown. It was neither regal nor warm – in winter, water would freeze in the wash basin overnight.

A second, more elegant building was completed in 1891. Willett captures the highlights of both buildings and their residents, including Amédée Forget’s pet monkey, Jocko, and his French-speaking parrot, Coquette.

Overflowing with photos of Government House and its inhabitants over the decades, this highly visual coffee table book is stunning in its beauty. The black and white photos have a rich clarity and crispness. Combined with colour photos throughout, this book is a smorgasbord of images, both historical and recent.

This impressive hardcover book is based on rock-solid research. Its 352 pages contain an index, appendix, and notes of sources. By providing detailed descriptions of the furniture and rooms, it takes readers on a virtual tour of Government House.

In narrative and illustrations, Government House, Regina, Saskatchewan: An Illustrated History is a literary and photographic journey of Government House from its humble and unpretentious beginnings to the gem it is today. This is a book that not only belongs on every bookshelf in Canada, it’s a book Saskatchewan residents, and in particular Regina residents, would be proud to have gracing their coffee table.


Download the catalogue here.

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