Visit our virtual timeline of significant events in the history of the stadium and stay tuned as we add content during the Farewell Season!
Mosaic Stadium History
The Saskatchewan Roughriders started playing as the Regina Rugby Club in the fall of 1910. Rugby football had started to become popular in Ontario and Quebec with the first Grey Cup being awarded in 1909 and popularity was spreading westward. In that first year it was thought that perhaps a larger number of teams would join to form a provincial league but that didn't pan out and only Regina and Moose Jaw were able to field teams. The first out of province teams would not join league play with Regina until 1936 although a couple of Winnipeg teams briefly joined the Saskatchewan teams for one year in 1928. Therefore, for the first twenty five years it essentially became an all Saskatchewan league called the Saskatchewan Rugby Football Union with varying teams from Regina, Moose Jaw and Saskatoon vying to be the Saskatchewan champions and then usually playing other western provincial winners to win the western Canadian championship. Starting in 1921, champions from the west and the east would meet most years to vie for the Grey Cup however some years resulted in no east-west championship game for varying reasons.
From 1910 - 1916, the Regina Rugby Club played their homes games at Dominion Park. This park was located on Broad Street between 6th and 7th Ave. It was built for baseball with a north facing 600 seat grandstand behind home plate and bleachers along the first and third base lines. This stadium was one of the very few parks suitable for the rugby club to play in as it was enclosed and had suitable seating for paying spectators. Another available place to play at the time was the grandstand on the exhibition grounds sometimes called Exhibition Park, which the team would play at in later years.
One of the interesting aspects of playing at Dominion Park was that the field lacked anything resembling dressing room facilities. Therefore the players would meet downtown at the YMCA and then a half hour before game time the team would walk the five or six blocks up Broad St. to the park. A lot of fans would walk to the games as well while others would drive. Another mode of transportation was provided when Regina Municipal Railway began operations in July of 1911 and began running streetcars up Broad St. Fans would hop on the streetcar and pay the five cent fare to go to the game at Dominion Park paying 25 cent admission to watch the Regina Rugby Club in action.
Interest was high right from the beginning with good crowds showing up at the games rain or shine. Games were played on Saturday or holiday afternoons usually starting at 3 PM or slightly earlier for games in November and lasting about two hours. Rarely, start times had to be adjusted to allow the visiting team to catch a train back home after a game.
Dominion Park was usually sold out for playoff games or exhibition games against travelling teams from other provinces. The Hamilton Tigers, a perennial powerhouse in the Ontario Rugby Football Union played Regina in an exhibition game in 1913 and 2000 people packed Dominion Park to watch the match in the rain. The game was played on Tuesday afternoon, September 23 to accommodate Hamilton’s travelling schedule playing on a weekday afternoon. Interest was so high that Mayor Robert Martin proclaimed a public holiday starting at 3 PM to allow for citizens to attend the game which Hamilton won 26-4. Even when the team played on the road for important playoff games, fans wanted to follow the action. On game days, fans would gather outside the Leader Building, home of the local newspaper, to get updated reports from the game through the newspaper’s wire services. This was long before modern communication devices, so following out of town games required some effort.
The Regina team wore purple and gold in the first year changing to blue and white in their second year and the red and black in their third year. They retained that colour combination until 1948 when they settled for the current green and white.
During the years the Regina Rugby Club played at Dominion Park, there were some changes made to it. The Regina cyclone on June 30, 1912 levelled the grandstand at Dominion Park. Regina City Council allocated $18,000 for repairs to the park and it was rebuilt. In 1913 the bleachers were moved closer to the field due to a common complaint from fans in the early years that they were too far away from the action.
World War I suspended play for two years in 1917 and 1918. During the Regina Rugby Club's hiatus, Dominion Park was demolished. The land that it had been on was sold to the T. Eaton Company and a mail ordering facility was put on that site in 1918. Also in this time period, two new adjoining parks were created on a two block piece of land between 9th Ave. and 10th Ave. and between Cameron St. and Retallack St. A realtor, John Marshall Young, had relinquished a parcel of land to the City with the understanding that it would become a recreational park. The City agreed and eventually subdivided the land into two parks. The field on the western block was called Park Hughes and used mainly for soccer. The eastern block was called Park de Young and used mainly for baseball. This land would become the site of the future Mosaic Stadium.
The first baseball games were played at Park de Young in 1918 by a city baseball league named Northside. Since this was a brand new venue, the local newspaper, The Morning Leader, provided directions to the park on May 27, 1918, "The (baseball) game will be played at the new park on Ninth Avenue between Retallack or Robinson streets. Fans can take the Red Line car, get off at Retallack or Robinson, and walk one block south." Park Hughes began to be used for soccer a short time after that and by 1920 the local soccer league was using Park Hughes regularly.
After WWI, the Regina Rugby Club returned to action in 1919. The club's venue choices were severely limited. Exhibition Park, used primarily for baseball was their only viable option. Its large grandstand had been rebuilt after a fire in 1917, accommodating over 5,000 paid spectators which was an important feature to the club. In May of 1919, the Regina Senators, a professional baseball team in the Western Canada league, had drawn 5,753 fans on opening day at Exhibition Park, smashing the record of most fans at a Regina sporting event. The major downside of Exhibition Park was the distance between the grandstand and the field which was inside the oval of the racetrack.
1921 was a pivotal year because Park Hughes was transformed from an open soccer field to an enclosed one, which enabled paid attendance which was not possible before. The impetus to create an enclosed field on that site can be attributed to a Scottish soccer club known as the Scottish Professional Team which was touring Canada in 1921. Local teams would play the Scottish team in soccer and the game in Regina was scheduled for June 6 of that year. The only problem was there was no enclosed soccer field with bleachers in Regina yet.
The Regina Amateur Football League which was a soccer league under the leadership of Price Hughes approached Regina City Council in March of 1921 to ask to lease Block 255 (Park Hughes) to the league for five years. The proposal was to enclose the field and put up bleachers in time for the Scottish team tour in June so that the gate revenues would help make the event a financial success. As this soccer game was considered “the biggest event in the history of Regina football” City Council approved the lease and Park Hughes got an eight foot wooden fence which enclosed the field with bleachers added soon thereafter in time for the Scottish soccer game. Park Hughes was now an enclosed facility capable of having paid attendance.
With these modifications done at Park Hughes, the Regina Rugby Club decided to start playing their home games there in the fall of 1921. However, it was a rainy fall, and due to the muddy conditions at Park Hughes, all but one game were played at the RCMP barracks which provided more favourable field conditions as it had a grass field. The only game played at Park Hughes that year was on October 15. Regina beat Moose Jaw 31-4 on what can be considered the very first game the team played on the present day site of Mosaic Stadium. Admission prices had risen to 50 cents.
Despite the changes made at Park Hughes, it was not ideal and spectator space was at a premium. The field had to be fitted into the area of one city block which ran north to south. Next to the field, there was only twelve feet available for bleachers, five rows high. Also, it was very prone to wet and muddy conditions that sometimes made it unplayable. The dirt field made for dusty games in the Saskatchewan wind or very muddy conditions when it rained. There was also no barrier separating the fans from the field. Scuffles amongst the players would often bring enthusiastic fans running onto the field to join the action.
In 1923 the Regina Rugby club made it to the Grey Cup for the first time ever. They defeated both teams from Winnipeg and Edmonton to advance to the championship game at Varsity Stadium in Toronto on Dec 1, 1923 against Queen’s University. Fans were very excited and wanted to keep up with what was going on at the Grey Cup. The Morning Leader sent a correspondent to travel with the team by train to Toronto, to provide updates on the game. Game day arrived but excitement soon turned to disappointment. The final score was 54-0 for Queen’s University.
The Regina Rugby Club was certainly a dominant team in rugby football. Despite losing all four games in 1910 against Moose Jaw in their first year, they were almost unbeatable after that. Between 1912 and 1921 the Regina Rugby Club were undefeated in 36 consecutive games. Later from 1926 to 1932 with the exception of the Grey Cup losses, the team was undefeated in another 36 games. Their Achilles heel was the Grey Cup games where they simply could not win. Besides 1923, they returned to the Grey Cup for five consecutive years from 1928 through to 1932 and again in 1934 losing each time. Coupled with the success of traveling eastern teams when playing western opponents in exhibition games, it was quite evident that rugby football was further along in eastern Canada and it would take many years for the western teams to catch up. It wasn’t until 1935 that a western team defeated an eastern team in the Grey Cup, with Winnipeg beating Hamilton 18-12.
The Regina Rugby Club came to be called the Regina Roughriders in 1924. An interesting fact is that they were not the first Regina sports team with that moniker. The Regina Rough Riders existed as a lacrosse team ten years earlier in 1914 and won the South Saskatchewan Lacrosse championship that year.
Regina's football team continued to play at Park Hughes through the 1928 season although there was one game on October 15, 1927 that was played at the exhibition grounds due to the wet field conditions at Park Hughes. Major changes to the stadium happened in 1928. The site was modified by removing the fence between Park Hughes and Park de Young and laying the gridiron field diagonally across the two parks. There was now a lot more room for bleachers. This provided welcome relief for the spectators as shown by this quote from The Morning Leader on Sept 18, 1928, “Park Hughes and Park de Young are being remodeled and the Regina rugby fans will be well looked after as far as seating accommodation is concerned. The fence between the two fields is being torn down and the playing field will run diagonally across in front of the bleachers in Park de Young.” The diagonal or NW/SE orientation is basically the same orientation of Mosaic Stadium today. They also put a low level fence around the playing field to discourage fans running onto the field.
Despite the changes, the Riders decided to move back to Exhibition Park in time for the 1929 season. The fact remained that Exhibition Park had a large permanent grandstand while Park de Young had only bleachers. Ticket prices in 1929 were at 75 cents. Again fans often complained about the stands being too far from the playing field. In 1930 the officials tried to alleviate some of the fans concerns by temporarily moving the playing field for games so it would be closer to the grandstand. They also removed the fence around the field that circled the race track. Roughrider officials were quick to point out that fans sitting in the grandstand were now a lot closer to the field than in the previous year.
Meanwhile a few blocks east, Park de Young and Park Hughes reverted back to being separate parks with baseball generally played at Park de Young and soccer at Park Hughes. It wasn't until 1936 when better bleachers were installed on the west side of the football field that capacity was raised to close to 5,000 which equaled the seating capacity of Exhibition Park. This persuaded the Riders to return back to Park de Young after leaving after the 1928 season. The team now had a place to call home for the next 81 years. Other changes included a new press box for the increasing number of newspaper and radio personnel. On the field, this was the first year the league became an interprovincial league with Calgary Bronks and Winnipeg Blue Bombers providing the opposition. The Regina Roughriders were no longer part of the Saskatchewan Rugby Football Union and, instead, became part of the Western Interprovincial Football Union (WIFU). Admission prices had risen to $1.
One of the new features of Park de Young was the floodlights which enabled practices and games to be played in the evenings. In 1936, Saturday home games at 3 pm were still the norm, but with the increasing number of games played, the season started earlier and earlier. The Riders played six regular season games in 1936 starting on September 12. In 1937, the Riders had two additional games to play and thus the season started Monday, Sept 6, the first ever Labour Day game.
At that time, Labour Day was filled with sporting activities of varying types. The Riders, wishing not to interfere with the other daytime sporting events of that day, decided to play their game at 8:30 pm that evening when they hosted Calgary. This would be the first ever Rider night game in Regina.
Up until 1946, Park Hughes and Park de Young continued to be operated as separate parks in the spring and summer, with soccer played on the former while baseball was played at the latter. In the fall it was transitioned into one park for football to be played. When football season started, a gridiron dirt field was prepared between the two parks. Topsoil was levelled and packed down to lay a dirt football field. The bleachers were moved to surround the field with the capacity approaching 5,000. The Roughriders played at Park de Young through the 1941 season and then played an abbreviated schedule during the war years through to 1945.
On May 31, 1946, the team officially changed its name from the Regina Roughriders to the Saskatchewan Roughriders to be known more as team representing the province than the city. However the name Regina Roughriders was so entrenched in the minds of people that the team was sometimes referred to as the Regina Roughriders for years to come.
When 1946 arrived, a new design for the two parks was introduced. The two parks were officially merged and called Park de Young. The park included both a baseball diamond and football field on the site. The configuration was not significantly different for the football field as it already spanned both parks, but the merging meant that baseball and soccer could no longer concurrently happen in the adjoining parks.
The revamping of the park included new turf in time for the 1947 season. The case for this change became clear on the afternoon of Monday, October 14, 1946. The day was very wet and cold with snow flurries and Park de Young was unplayable with all the mud and water on the dirt field. At the last moment, officials moved the game to Campion College on 23rd Avenue which was on the southern outskirts of the city at the time. That field was in only slightly better shape. The Campion field was not set up for paid attendance and only 200 hardy souls showed up to watch the muddy spectacle from the sidelines. The Roughriders estimated they lost $3,000 in gate receipts on that day which was the last time they ever played on a dirt field.
In 1947, Piffles Taylor, who was instrumental in the formation of football in Regina, died suddenly in May at the age of 52. At the time, he was president of the WCFU (Western Canada Football Union). In the memory of Taylor, Regina City Council decided to rename the park Taylor Field in time for the start of the 1947 season.
In 1948, a concrete grandstand was built on the west side accommodating 4,500 spectators. Prior to the merging of the two parks, the bleachers always had to be moveable to make room for baseball and soccer. Now with one park, the west side stands could now be permanent. The grandstand would be about 20 rows high with a press box. The east side stands continued to be moveable bleachers to allow for the baseball field to be used as the stands were situated in the outfield of the baseball diamond. These stands would continue to be configured like this until baseball was no longer played at Taylor Field starting in 1966. By 1949, the renovations were fully complete and the admission price was now between 50 cents and $3.
In 1954 new floodlights attached to towers were installed at Taylor Field illuminating both the football field and the baseball diamond. Despite the new lights, the lighting was less than ideal. When the television networks started televising games in colour in the late 1960s, night games from Taylor Field were kept in black and white due to the lack of suitable illumination. It wasn’t until more lights were added in time for the 1972 season that night games were shown in colour on the CFL TV telecasts from Regina.
From the late 1940s throughout the 1950s interest in attending Rider games was increasing at a steady rate. Attendance figures increased year after year as more and more people squeezed into Taylor Field with its limited seating. There were 4,500 seats on the concrete grandstand on the west side and a roughly equal number of seats in the bleachers on the east side. End zone seating allowed thousands more to watch games. In 1955, 16,052 people squeezed into Taylor Field to watch the Labour Day game against the B.C Lions which was an attendance record that lasted till the 1960s. This created a demand to have more sideline seats over and beyond the 9,000 seats currently in place.
Thus in 1958, the Riders approached City Council to ask for an extension onto the west side stands. The proposal was for a slightly tapered addition to the stands essentially doubling the number of rows on that side. The tapered alignment was necessitated by the space limitations of Cameron St on the west side and 10th Ave on the south side. This proposal was eventually approved and within a few years there were another 2,100 sideline seats added to Taylor Field. The east side bleachers virtually stayed the same as they had to remain mobile because they still doubled as the bleachers behind home plate and along the baselines of the baseball diamond.
1961 ushered in a new era where an interlocking schedule allowed league games between western teams and eastern teams in the CFL. For the Riders they would not only see the four other western teams playing at Taylor Field but Ottawa, Montreal, Hamilton and Toronto as well from the east. Ticket prices in 1962 had now risen to a top price of $5.50 per game.
Although the Riders had played a few Sunday games on the road in the early 1960s, it wasn’t until 1965 that the Riders played their first home game on a Sunday when on October 17 they played Winnipeg. For many years Saturday was the day they played football, then when the number of games was increased in the latter half of the 1940s they started playing on Mondays and later on in the 1950s they played on Fridays and more midweek games especially in the first part of each season. Now starting in 1965 Sundays became a popular day to play football.
1965 was also the last year baseball was played at Taylor Field. Baseball was no longer as popular as it once was and there were other facilities around the city where baseball could be played. The Regina Red Sox thus moved from Taylor Field to Mount Pleasant to play their games in 1966. This then gave the green light to change the east side bleachers into a larger, permanent grandstand. It was done in two phases lasting six years. The first phase in 1966 featured a grandstand from the south goal line spanning 80 yards to the north 30 yard line adding a net increase of 3,200 to the capacity of Taylor Field. The remaining part of the northeast sidelines still had bleachers. In 1972, these bleachers were replaced by a larger grandstand joining the rest of the east side grandstand thus adding an additional 1,500 seats, for a total of 23,000.
With the latest east side expansion, there was little room for further sideline additions within the perimeters of the four streets bordering the two block parcel of land Taylor Field was situated on. In 1977, predictions were made that the Riders would cease to exist within five years if further expansion was not undertaken. A proposal was put forward to put an upper deck on the west side stands which would increase the number of sideline seats by 8,000. Other components of the proposal were artificial turf, new press box, dressing rooms and offices, and a natural grass practice facility. This would require closing Cameron St. between 9th and 10th Ave. and 10th Ave just south of the stadium between Retallack and Cameron St.
Part of the City of Regina’s contribution to the project was $4.5 million. City Council wanted to borrow $4 million of this amount and went to the taxpayers for a vote on this proposal. On December 7, 1977 the vote took place and the funding proposal was passed with 59% of the voters in favour. It took well over a year for all the renovations to be complete, but the 1979 season dawned with a new upper deck and all the other amenities that were included with the proposal. A vast majority of the capacity of Taylor Field were now sideline seats. Also, all football operations were now under one roof at Taylor Field which was a major improvement from before. For example, in previous years the Riders’ dressing room was located at the exhibition grounds, thus requiring the players to take a bus to and from Taylor Field on game days. Those days were now gone.
No major changes other than artificial turf replacement occurred until 1995. That was the year Taylor Field hosted its first Grey Cup. Temporary end zone seating raised the capacity to over 50,000. Since the temporary seating was available part way through the season, a record attendance figure was registered on Oct 14, 1995 when 55,438 people packed Taylor Field to watch Calgary play Saskatchewan. That set an attendance record at Taylor Field that has yet to be broken. One of the legacies from the Grey Cup in 1995 included additional press box and VIP club seating which were built on both the west side and on top of the east side stands. After the Grey Cup, these areas remained and were used primarily for club seating.
At the start of the new millennium, further changes to Taylor Field occurred. With each of the Grey Cups held in Regina in 2003 and 2013, the stadium was expanded to accommodate a larger Grey Cup capacity. In 2006, Taylor Field was renamed Mosaic Stadium, after the Mosaic Company bought the naming rights to the stadium. In 2012, new end zone seating was put into place providing individual seats throughout the end zone. Also that year, it was announced that a memorandum of understanding was signed for the funding of a new stadium between the City of Regina, Province of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club. The new multi-purpose stadium will be known as Mosaic Stadium and will officially open in the summer of 2017.