LANDAU RETIRES — Saskatchwan’s provincial landau, escorted
by the RCMP Musical Ride, takes a last turn around the Queen Elizabeth
II Gardens before being retired. (Flegel photo)
Queen Elizabeth II Gardens reopen
By Frank Flegel
REGINA — The provincial landau, accompanied by the RCMP Musical
Ride, took its last turn around the Saskatchewan Legislative Building
August 12 as part of the official reopening of the revamped Queen Elizabeth
The iconic horse-drawn carriage has served in several capacities since
about 1905 when it was purchased by George Brown who, five years later,
became Saskatchewan’s Lieutenant Governor. It stayed with the province
after his departure until 1945 when the government of the day decided
to close Government House as the residence of the Lieutenant Governor
and its assets were scattered through auction.
The carriage, however, was saved and put in storage by the RCMP. Restored
in 1970, it served briefly before being placed on exhibit. With the opening
of Government House Museum in 1980 it returned to service for official
occasions. It has transported kings, queens, princes, high government
officials and even movie stars. It now sits as a permanent exhibit in
Government House Museum.
“It’s old and susceptible to the environment, rain, and increasingly
difficult to repair,” said Chad Debert, Government House assistant
manager. “The museum staff decided to place it on permanent display
to protect the heritage.”
The landau carried the official party for the reopening of the Queen
Elizabeth II Gardens on a bright, warm Sunday afternoon. Members of the
musical ride trotted in front of and behind the landau as it pulled up
in front the of the Legislative Building across from the gardens.
Governor Solomon Schofield, government Minister for Parks, Culture and
Sport Kevin Doherty, Legislative Assembly speaker Dan D’Autremont
and city counsellor Michael Fougere all praised the revamped gardens
and Wascana Centre Authority’s
director of operations Ken Dockham, who designed and oversaw the project.
Schofield, D’Autremont, Doherty and Fougere wielding hand snippers
in a co-ordinated move simultaneously cut the ribbon opening the gardens.
The gardens were re-named The Queen Elizabeth II Gardens in 2005 when
the statue of Her Majesty atop Burmese, her favourite mount given to
her by the RCMP, was unveiled on the occasion of the province’s
The gardens contain new lighting, paved walkways, benches of Tyndal Stone — the
same Manitoba stone used in construction of the Legislative Building — and
new landscaping, all to highlight the floral beds. Six information panels
describing the Queen’s six visits to Saskatchewan line the walkways.
“The renovations cost $1.2 million and from design to official opening
took about 18 months,” said Wascana Centre Authority executive
director Bernadette McIntyre. “Ken Dockham began the design last
year and construction started May 1, this year and he oversaw the project.”