Image of the City of Regina

Selby, William John Percival

Boy Scout Leader, Government Employee, First White Boy Born in Regina

William John Percival Selby was the first white male born in Regina. Selby would later make a great contribution to the city of his birth by helping to bring the Boy Scouts to Saskatchewan. He was widely regarded as "The Father of Scouting in Saskatchewan."

William Selby was born on May 25, 1883 to Lieutenant-Colonel and Mrs. John W. Selby. He was the second white child born in Regina and the first male. (Regina Rowell had been born in December of 1882.) William Selby's childhood home, which stood on the corner of Lorne Street and 11th Avenue, was one of the very first buildings in Regina and was built using all handmade nails. The Selby family was very involved with the Anglican Church and the Selby house served as a meeting place for Anglican congregates to plan their new church. These plans eventually came to fruition when St. Paul's Anglican Church was built. The Selby family returned to Ontario in 1900, when William was just 7.

William Selby never forgot the town of his birth, however. He returned to the city as an adult and became an important part of the Boy Scouts organization. It was Selby who organized the Coronation contingent of Boy Scouts in 1911 that sent 36 local Boy Scouts overseas to the event. He formed the province's first Boy Scouts troop in 1912. By 1917 he was working full-time for the organization, a career that would eventually span 35 years. He shepherded 25 Saskatchewan Scouts to Britain for the world jamboree in 1929. He also received the Silver Wolf Award, Scouting's highest decoration, from Lord Baden-Powell (the founder of the Boy Scouts).

After his retirement from the Scouts, Selby worked for the provincial government in the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Publications. He also volunteered for 36 years at St. Paul's Church, which his father had helped found. He died in 1945 at the age of 62.

William Selby's contributions to the City of Regina have been recognized by naming 2 streets, Selby Crescent and Selby Place, in his honour.