The Regina Cyclone of 1912
On June 30, 1912, at approximately 5 p.m., one of the most severe tornados documented in Canada struck the city of Regina. Rated as F4 on the Fujita scale (devastating, with winds of 331-417 km/h), the tornado – often referred to as the “Regina Cyclone” – formed about 18 km south of the city and travelled north, through several farmsteads before reaching Regina. Upon entering the city, the tornado tore through residential neighbourhoods, businesses, warehouse areas, and rail yards, resulting in 28 deaths, hundreds of injuries and $1.2 million in property damage (in todays money that would be the equivalent of $485 million dollars). The tornado travelled a reported 12 km further north of the city before dissipating.
In the aftermath of the Regina Cyclone, approximately 2,500 people were left homeless and many downtown buildings were damaged or destroyed, including the newly-built central library, the Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A., the Metropolitan Methodist Church, the Knox Presbyterian Church, the C.P.R. Freight Depot and the Telephone Exchange. Most of the city buildings and houses were rebuilt within the following year, though the loans taken out by the city and its residents to finance the rebuilding effort took almost 40 years to repay.