The Assiniboia Club, 1882-

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The Assiniboia Club, 1882-

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The Assiniboia Club was originally founded in Regina, Saskatchewan as the Musical Club in 1882. The Club brought together eight local men, all who shared a love of music. The members met in a small room above a store located on the 1700 block of Broad Street. Looking to expand its membership, the Club held a meeting in May, 1883 which was met with great interest from other local men. The Club expanded and its name was changed to The Assiniboia Club. The Assiniboia Club's first president was Rt. Rev. Dr. Adelbert J.R. Anson, an Anglican bishop. Thirty-two members made up the Assiniboia Club in 1893, with annual membership fees set at twelve dollars for residents of Regina.

As membership grew, the Club moved four times between 1883 and 1893 to accommodate its larger membership and to offer a variety of activities. In July, 1912, the Club moved to its present location at 1925 Victoria Avenue. The Club's building was designed by local architects Storey and Van Egmond, constructed by Smith and Wilson Company. A full-time club manager and chef were hired as part of the staff of the new facility. A room within the club and a separate entrance were allocated for use by the wives of members. Four rooms were also furnished to accommodate boarders.

Like many other businesses and institutions, The Assiniboia Club prospered in good times and suffered setbacks during times of struggle. The two World Wars and the depression brought low membership numbers and fewer revenues, forcing the Club to adapt as best it could. The years after the Second World War, however, brought an increase in membership and the start of improvements and renovations to the club building that would continue on for several years. Membership fees also increased to compensate for the improvements being made to the Club. By 1950, membership stood at almost three hundred, with annual fees reaching one hundred dollars per member.

Renovations to the Assiniboia Club building continued throughout the 1960s. The Club added a variety of social events to its calendar, notably family dinners that included the wives and children of members. Membership increased to nearly five hundred members by 1970, the highest in the Club's history. Renovations to the Club's building also occurred in the 1980s.

Breaking from the long-standing, male-only membership of the Assiniboia Club, Dr. Roberta McKay and Lieutenant-Governor Sylvia Fedoruk were voted in as the Club's first female members in 1988.

An aging membership, increases to property taxes, the elimination of food and entertainment as business expense deductions from Income tax and a slumping economy led to declining membership in the early 1990s. The Assiniboia Club closed its doors on June 30, 1994. Local businessman and former Club member Gary Huntington purchased the building in 1996 and embarked on its renovation. The main floor of the building became Danbry's, a fine-dining restaurant. As well, Huntington leased the top two floors to the Assiniboia Club in an effort to resurrect the private club. Danbry's would act as landlord to the building and would provide food, beverage and other operational services to the Club. The Assiniboia Club and its building officially reopened in 1998 after four years of inactivity. The building's renovated space offers meeting rooms, dining rooms and lounges solely for its members and their guests.

The Assiniboia Club continues (2005) to attract membership from local business professionals as the longest-running private business club in the City of Regina.


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