John Kenneth McInnis (1854-1923)
Editor of the “Regina Standard”
John was born in Prince Edward Island. In the late 1870s he migrated west where he taught school. He became an agent for the Regina Journal. In 1891, he started the Regina Standard newspaper in direct competition to Nicholas Flood Davin’s Leader. He also opposed Davin in the federal election of 1896, losing by just one vote. Speculating that Regina would boom, McInnis acquired large land holdings on the north side of Regina, later occupied by the Imperial Oil Company.
He served on the city council for eight years and was mayor in 1899 (pictured below, third from the left). McInnis Crescent is named in his honour.
John was born in Strathalbyn, P. E. I. After completing his education there, he worked as a school teacher in his native province before coming to the West in the late 1870s. Upon his arrival in Winnipeg, he worked for a short time as a farm helper before accepting a teaching position in Portage la Prairie, Man. He later moved to Wolseley where he was appointed principal of the local school.
In 1890, John became a local correspondent for C. J. Atkinson’s newspaper, the Journal, which was in competition with the established Leader and its owner, Nicholas Flood Davin. In 1891, John purchased the Journal, and changed its name to the Regina Standard of which he was owner, publisher, and editor. The paper flourished and became Saskatchewan’s first daily newspaper in 1904.
John moved to Regina in 1891 and became involved in the affairs of the town and the province. In his on-going struggle to better the fortunes of farmers, he ran in the 1896 federal election as a Patrons of Industry candidate in the constituency of Western Assiniboia. His opponent was N. F. Davin. A bitter campaign ensued with both candidates leading at various times. Davin won the election by one vote.
From 1896 to 1898, John was a member of the town council and, in 1899, he was
elected as mayor of Regina. He served as an alderman for another eight years, the last time in 1922. Predicting that rising property demands would accompany the boom years (1900-1912), he purchased large acreages of land that, when sold, garnered a substantial profit. He was a staunch contributor, both financially and personally, to public life in Regina. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
This Scottish-Canadian was ideological, imaginative, thrifty and incurably romantic. John married Hannah Jane Carr (1854-1954) from Prince Edward Island in 1875. The couple and their seven children lived at 1503 Victoria Ave. when it was still a prestigious location. This 1907 house with heart-shaped gables was designated as a Municipal Heritage Property in 1984 and is one of the oldest and largest residential buildings in the area. John was worth 12 million dollars and owned six farms.