Preserving Regina’s heritage and creating a new gaming facility
In the core of downtown Regina stands a piece of Canadian prairie architectural history. Formerly knowns as Union Station, the 1912 Tyndall stone heritage building was a station hall along the Canadian National Railway network. In 1996, the station was decommissioned, and the provincial government inaugurated a local casino in its place.
The casino hosts an average of over 20 million visitors per year, but the heritage building had not been improved nor renovated since its opening.
SaskGaming Corporation engaged us to design the entire casino that compliments a new brand for the building – providing a contemporary update to the interiors and attracting new visitors of a younger demographic who would appreciate a revitalized built environment.
Our design challenge was to create a high-quality gaming centre for local residents and visiting tourists, while preserving the character of the original building. The aim was to create an attractive interior space, without a boisterous ‘Vegas’-style solution that would be costly and impractical.
We respectfully managed limitations due to the heritage building’s significance. Historical components of the building, such as the train station clock, chandelier, departure and arrivals signs, and ticket purchasing booths, needed to remain untouched in the finished building.
Our commercial mixed-use team worked within a very tight schedule to design the space affordably, with extreme precision.
This project served as a wonderful opportunity to preserve a piece of Regina’s history, while creating something new and exciting for patrons to enjoy”.
We worked closely with a heritage officer of City Regina to establish a trusting relationship with our client and the community. Our respect for the building was clear, and our ability to cultivate strong trust with the heritage officer was pivotal to the project’s efficiency and creativity.
Our design was driven by history and preserving the ‘train station’ feel while incorporating new elements of design for the casino, contributing to the modernization of the building’s brand, and stimulating connections between old and the new.
Unlike a typical casino that features vibrant colours and over-the-top experiential elements, we opted for a subtle, classy, and toned-down strategy, similar to the interior of a contemporary club. This allows all gaming rooms to act as engaging background settings, rather than boisterous foregrounds.
A grand staircase in the central gaming area creates an elegant connection between the ground level and the second floor, offering additional spaces that feature games and entertainment.
We worked with a local metal fabricator to custom design ‘iconic’ metal light fixtures, which stand upon strategically placed columns in the centre of the space and act as multi-functional devices for holding various equipment.
Custom carpeting was placed on top of the original terrazzo floor finish to preserve the original heritage flooring.
We renovated the Union Station Restaurant & Bar, achieving an elegant upscale appearance and integrating the dining experience with the architecture’s history. The restaurant features a decommissioned Canadian Pacific Railway car, which is physically connected to the restaurant’s interior. Patrons can climb the rail car’s stairs and eat in the train’s former dining room.
Despite the challenges presented by a limited budget, tight schedule, and a heritage building constructed of fragile sandstone, our design has contributed directly to increased revenue by up to 10 per cent since the re-opening of Casino Regina. The Union Station Restaurant & Bar has been a stand-out success.
Our team has not only provided a contemporary interior that revitalizes the present, but one that celebrates an important piece of Regina’s history.
We have over 35 years of experience designing commercial mixed-use projects across Canada and internationally. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you with your commercial mixed-use project today.
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