Image of the City of Regina

Demetrius Woodward (1837-1919)

Regina's First Settler

This adventurer arrived in Regina in May, 1882. He immediately staked a squatter’s claim in what is now Dewdney Avenue and Albert Street and lands north of that location. He left a thriving store and farm in Saskatchewan to be a part of the opening of new lands in British Columbia.

Demetrius holds the distinction of being Regina’s first settler. Accompanied by his brother, Edwin, and a young man named Eugene Russle, he left Norfolk, Ont., in February, 1882, traveling by train, then by red river cart with a team of stout oxen. They reached Pile of Bones Creek on May 18. Staking squatters’ rights, they built a sod house that remained a landmark at the southeast corner of Albert Street and Dewdney Avenue for many years. He homesteaded in a place where, due to chance and circumstance, the politicians decided to build the city.

After setting up a farm in the late fall of 1882, Demetrius left Russle in charge of his land and rejoined his family in Norfolk County, Ont., for the winter. He returned to Regina the following spring; and in July, 1883, ‘Maggie’ Margaret Woodward (1844-1940), a native daughter of Ontario whose Irish parents and their five children were early pioneers of Ontario, joined Demetrius in their new home just north of the city limits at 560 Albert Street. His stake was located where the Northgate Mall now stands. Demetrius, an adventurer by nature, later sailed around Cape Horn to British Columbia where he acquired land before returning to Regina in 1910. He built a house in 1912 at 2259 Cornwall St.

Woodward Avenue is named after Demetrius.