Regina Tornado
Legacy Project Maquettes

The 1912 Tornado
June 30th, 1912, was a hot and muggy Sunday afternoon in Regina, Saskatchewan. Many people were out enjoying the decorations that had been placed around the city in preparation for the July 1st Dominion Day Celebrations.    At 4:50 that afternoon, a deadly tornado formed 11 miles south of the city.    The path of the tornado travelled through Wascana Lake, before heading downtown directly north on Lorne Street through Victoria Park, where it severely damaged three churches and destroyed the new telephone switchboard building.    It then continued over the rail yards where it destroyed a newly constructed brick roundhouse and several warehouses and homes in the district directly north of the railway tracks before continuing 8 miles out to the prairie.

While the storm lasted only an estimated 3 to 8 minutes, it killed 28 people, injured over 200 and left 2500 homeless.    It caused tremendous property damage as it cut a swath three blocks wide through the length of the young city. It is estimated that it reached an intensity of F4 on the Fujita Tornado rating scale, with windspeeds reaching 420Km/ hour. It remains infamous for being the deadliest tornado in Canadian history. The property damage from the storm was 1.2 million dollars.

In the aftermath of the tornado, Regina residents showed great community spirit and the clean up was started as quickly as the storm left the city. Survivors dug through the rubble, and a local scout troop organized a whistle communication system by spreading out across the damaged area. Damaged buildings and infrastructure were replaced. Citizens of Regina took pride in the orderly recovery and rebuilding of the city after the storm. One hundred years later, our sense of community pride and prairie spirit is still evident.

The murals and sculptures will follow the path of the tornado that swept through Regina in June of 1912. The works of art, and related signage, will recall scenes of the devastation and emphasize the rebuilding and community spirit that evolved out of this disaster. The community will be reminded of this transformative event in our city's history, and how early residents of Regina dealt so positively with this incredible challenge.



Artwork: Platonic Shelter

Michal Bartosik holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Toronto, and has also studied abroad at the Politeknika Krakowska, Wydzial Architektury (Krakow, Poland). He has shown in numerous galleries in Toronto since 2004, and in 2011, won a Best of Canada Design Award for best new product for his Dominion Lamp.

Artist Statement
The Platonic Shelter is as much a commemoration to the forces of natural disaster as it is an example of a collective will to build. It embodies the delicate balance between devastation and renewal and exemplifies our predominant role in this cyclical process as the makers of shelter; a role the settlers of the prairie heartland understood all too well. The proposed sculpture is a typological exercise which attempts to reconstitute the ruin into edifice, and conversely to edify the ruin. It consists of six identical pitched roofs which symmetrically rotate around the shelter's emptied centre.



Artwork: Prairie Strength

Ms. Kowalchuk has a strong design background and a passion for creating whether it is sculpting, painting or building, and through the years she has developed those skills and applied them to her career as Architectural Technologist at P3 Architecture.     In her spare time Andrea studies to be an Architect, and also enjoys working on personal art projects as well as her new home just outside the city.    Andrea Kowalchuk has called Regina home since the day she was born, and although she enjoys traveling to other places, will always remain a Saskatchewan girl.

Nicole Kell is a born and raised Regina girl with an international education background.    She did 2 years of Fine Arts here at the U of R, then headed out East to Halifax completing her Bachelors in Architecture at Dalhousie. Afterwards she spent a few years working and traveling, settling in the Netherlands to complete her Masters in Interior design and a Post-Masters Design Lab dealing with gypsy culture and habitat in Hungry.    She is back living in Regina and working at Number Ten architectural group.

Artist Statement
Our sculpture is trying to animate the proposed park, sparking intrigue and inviting residences to interact with it. The tornado-like sculpture is made of rotating aluminum disks that will turn, becoming animated with the wind. Creating a musical tune as they spin and clash. The mist during the day will cool off the passersby, enthuse running children and create a visually pleasing effect for drivers. At night a glow from within will depict a circle of people to symbolize the strength of Regina’s community in times of need. The sculpture can help, as the aftermath of the Tornado did, to connect the community in this developing area.



Artwork: 1912 Regina Tornado

Cara De Gennaro was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan where she continues to reside today.    She graduated from the University of Regina in
2007 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, Visual Arts – majoring in Painting. She has also studied Jewelry and Small Object Design at the Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, British Columbia. While on travels in Mexico, Cara attended a Jewelry/Silversmith course in San Miguel de Allende. Having a love for many areas in the art world, her inspiration to paint has always been rooted from nature and the landscape that surrounds her. The spirit of Cara’s memories and experiences allow her to represent visually the beauty of nature. Cara’s work has been shown at the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Fifth
Parallel Gallery and many alternative gallery spaces around Regina. Cara’s passion for the arts is what motivates her to continue to be an active artist in the community.

Artist Statement
My paintings are the expression of my energy and connection with the earth. The process of painting is about the physical aspect of applying layers of thick textures and washes becoming a symbol for growth and time.    I have spent most of my life in the prairies and have been naturally drawn towards painting landscapes, primarily the prairies.    Several years ago I was inspired to paint a tornado after seeing a photo from the 1912 Regina Tornado.    It was a natural disaster that ravaged Regina yet sparked the community spirit to rebuild the city. My inspiration has been to capture the grandeur and beauty of such a devastating event.



Artwork: tornado squiggle

Rob Bos graduated with a BFA (distinction) from the University of Regina in 2003. Afterwards, he founded and directed Art Projects Gallery, which ran for 3 years hosting over 40 shows. Bos is a recipient of the BMO 1st Art Award for a work in his graduation exhibit, emerging artist award at the Regina Arts and Business awards, in addition to receiving grants from the
Saskatchewan Arts Board. In 2009, Bos went and completed one year of an MFA at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago, promptly returned to Regina to work at OSAC. He is returning to finish September 2012.

Artist Statement
The written line destroys the blankness of a page, creating meaning as lines loop around to create symbols we can understand and read.    When mistakes happen, the line can turn into a scribble an attempt to obscure that which was being put down.    I look at these destructive gestures not as a negation of meaning, but rather as marks that speak in an abstract form – holding an excess of meaning beyond the word that was written and crossed out. For my project, I will use cut  aluminum as the “line” of a simple scribble sourced from a tiny drawing enlarged to the scale of the wall.


Artwork: Destruction and Rebirth

I have extensive experience managing projects across the United States and abroad. I have completed large scale projects for commercial clients including a 365 foot long mural commissioned by the Forbes Company in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. I also have experience working with public agencies including the Chicago Public Art Group, Indianapolis Arts Council, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, The Village of Oak Park, and The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. This past November I travelled to Nagpur, India to complete the largest mural in the city on the facade of a government building on behalf of the non-profit “Ayuda Shilp”. As part of a team with nationally recognized sculptor Rebecca Thompson I have recently been selected to create a large scale sculpture for a roadway project in Tucson, AZ that is anticipated to include aluminum, glass and solar lighting elements. Other projects I have completed include diverse media including steel, aluminum and glass mosaic.

Artist Statement
The Regina Tornado of 1912 Mural Project is a unique opportunity to engage the community with unique, bold and thought provoking art. Using my skill as a large scale representational public artist I would transform any of the proposed mural locations into a dramatic canvas that will serve as an icon for the community which will honor the past and pay tribute to those who have served to renew the area.    The murals depict a large map of the devastated region as well as images of post-destruction Regina. A swirling tornado is seen on the left portion of the mural. On the right, there will be multiple representations of uplifting renewal scenes. This will include two interlocked hands, people working (carpenter and an architect), blue prints, and graphic images of gears. The overall feeling of the mural will be one of hope and togetherness.


Artwork: Merit Badge

Laura recently moved back to Saskatchewan from Toronto to take on the role of Artist in Residence Coordinator for the 100th Anniversary of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building. She is a multi-disciplinary visual artist who incorporates a wide variety of materials and techniques in her artwork and community-engaged projects. She has also worked as resident artist with the Jeux du Canada Games in Regina, Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, the City of Lloydminster’s Barr Colony Heritage Cultural Centre and was Head of Props with Regina’s Globe Theatre for 5 years.

Artist Statement
Merit Badge pays homage to the spirit and resiliency of the citizens of Regina who rallied to rebuild the community following the enormous devastation caused by the tornado. One hundred shovels represent the huge undertaking of rebuilding the city and the ‘roll up your sleeves attitude’ that I saw in so many of the archive photos. The buildings are placed in a circular formation representing community renewal and suggest many of the actual buildings that were damaged or destroyed. I was also moved by the Regina Boy Scouts connection to the disaster and the shape of the artwork references a Boy Scout badge.



Artwork: Ghost

Originally born in Watson, SK, Jesse MacDonald attended the University of Regina graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Drawing. He has since been awarded the BMO 1st ART! award for emerging young artists and exhibited his work in the Mackenzie Art Gallery as well as the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto. Jesse is currently living and working in Regina.

Artist Statement
Long after a building or a person is gone, their ‘after presence’ remains. The structure proposed will pay tribute to both of those losses. The crumbling façade of the sculpture commemorates the deconstruction of the physical from the natural force that occurred. The “light cube” represents the rebirth and after presence of both the lives lost and buildings lost. The
glowing light of the sculpture will represent the haunting of the Warehouse District, both ethereal and material. That light will also provide an association with the future of the neighborhood as it continues to develop and advance.



Artwork: Rising from the Ruins

Grant McLaughlin is a Saskatchewan based artist whose giant murals and monumental sculptures have dotted Western Canada for over twenty years. A graduate of the Alberta College of Art and University of Regina he has spent his adult life either teaching art or creating art.    His awareness of the interconnections we have in life- with people, their heritage, our natural and man-made environment, are all important elements in his work. His detailed, often humorous, paintings and drawings, both large and small, express his natural curiosity and love of the prairies

Artist Statement
At the time of Regina's tornado, many of the city's' citizens originated from other countries and provinces, and the records of that time show their Canadian determination to come together, to survive and rebuild their lives on the prairies. Even those who had lost all material possessions would stop work for a second to have the moment, likely the most impacting in their lives, captured on film for all time. It is that type of "postcard" moment I am creating along with emphasizing the physical and mental strength needed to rise from the ruins.


Artwork: The Terrible Tornado

My site responsive art practice engages the landscapes and histories of mainstream Canadian nationhood. This work evolves through theoretical inquiry and contemporary intermedia art (installation, media, performance and engaged practice). I have an active professional practice and have exhibited work across Canada and the United States. I have taught at University of Regina and First Nations University of Canada and have developed creative residencies in Regina, Vancouver, Kingston and New York. I have an MFA in Visual Arts from U Regina and am currently a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen's University.

Artist Statement
The Terrible Tornado activates the words of Regina tornado survivors in the city site that withstood the disaster. Echoing the style of early 20th Centure building advertisements in the layered and ghostly iterations which exist in Regina today, descriptive eye witness accounts of the tornado are brought forward into the specific city site. This palimpsest engages the people and places that survived the tornado and highlights their cumulative and continuing presence within the fabric of the contemporary city.



Artwork: Redline

Lionel Auburn Peyachew, BFA, MFA is an Assistant Professor in the area of Indian Fine Arts at the First Nations University of Canada. Peyachew attended the Alberta College of Art and Design from 1977- 1979.    In 1998 he completed his undergraduate degree from the University of Lethbridge. In 2000 Peyachew graduated with a MFA from the University of Calgary. Peyachew is a Chippawa, Cree from the Red Pheasant First Nations. Peyachew is a faculty member of the First Nations University of Canada where he teaches sculpture, traditional Indian art and Indian art history.

Artist Statement
The concept called “Redline” reflects the tornado that wreaked a deadly path through the down town core of Regina in 1912.  Although the spiral concept reflects the fearsome tornado, the spiral also reflects progress, rebirth, growth, direction, awareness and development, principal criteria in the concept.  Historical accounts have portrayed the tornado as a dark and green wrath of destruction.   The black interior in the sculpture can then represents fear, sadness, remorse, anger, destruction, mourning and death. The green in contrast represents preservation, restoration, life, nature, fertility, growth harmony and well-being. The Redline is the trail of destruction that wreaked havoc with anything that crossed its path. The Redline is conceived at the base of the structure and meanders its way up to the top of spiral. The piece can also act as an informative commemoration to give awareness of the areas that were affected by destruction that the tornado inflicted in 1912.



Artwork: Dynamic Persistence Between Earth and Sky

Perin Ruttonsha aspires to draw on the capacity of the arts as a tool for analysis and invention, and a bridge between the real and imagined. Her practice spans creative production, strategic design management, research and teaching. This has included facilitating collaborative creative processes
such as: examining the psychosocial implications of open-heart surgery in an
installation of poetry, photography and sculpture (through Ryerson University
and Toronto General Hospital); leading cross-sectoral design workshops on
themes of urban sustainability (through the Institute without Boundaries; and, guiding children in crafting an earth-plaster fort (through Art City in St. James Town). Ruttonsha completed an Honours B.A in the Fine Art Studio/Applied Studies Cooperative program at the University of Waterloo, and an O.C.G.C in Interdisciplinary Design Strategy at the Institute without Boundaries. She has taught fine art and design at elementary to postgraduate levels.

Artist Statement
It only takes a moment for the winds to change — to shift with such force that, in that moment, it is futile to resist. Thus, one surrenders, often finding oneself leveled: awestruck by the immensity of the phenomena at work; vulnerable in a place that now seems foreign; and, grateful for the chance to begin anew.    To commemorate the 1912 Regina Tornado, Dynamic Persistence Between Earth and Sky conveys the universal experience of confronting a turbulent situation, submitting to it, and within this, finding renewal. Three abstract compositions represent a progression from chaos to stillness to restoration. These are framed by a horizontal stretch of earth and sky, as a symbol of the community’s resiliency despite changing circumstances (and, also alluding to the vast landscape of the prairies). Overall, the divided linear form is reflective of a timeline (or a slice of history).    The piece is intended to remind us of the transience of life - how, in a moment we can be leveled, and asked to start again.


Artwork: Whirling Debris

Emersen Ziffle, who designed the sculpture, is a Regina native whose extensive art background has kept him busy as a make-up FX artist.    Although his main focus is making magic for film and television, he also does extensive work designing, illustrating, and fabricating.    Laurel Bailey and Brian Kirby are the co-founders of Silver Fox 3D Studios Inc. Laurel has a degree in Visual communications and has been working with foam related artwork for 11 years.    Silver Fox is a business that specializes in sculpture enlargements and displays.    Laurel and Brian are always looking for innovative ways to produce art, and have effectively integrated 3D paintings as a key element of Whirling Debris.

Artist Statement
Whirling Debris is stories and impressive moments that happened as a result of the 1912 tornado. The images swirl around with random lengths of angle iron in a precarious fashion to suggest the awesome power of Mother Nature. This piece breathes life into a historical event that has otherwise existed in black and white photographs and newspaper clippings. Using a graphic novel style mixed into 3d relief panels this sculpture makes a century old event palatable to a modern audience.



Michal Maciej Bartosik - Platonic Shelter

Laura Hale - Merit Badge

Augustina Droze - Destruction and Rebirth

Jesse MacDonald - Ghost

Barbara Meneley - The Terrible Tornado

Grant McLaughlin - Rising from the Ruins
Perin Ruttonsha - Dynamic Persistence Between Earth and Sky

Lionel Peyachew - Redline

Rob Bos - tornado squiggle
Andrea Kowalchuk / Nicole Kell - Prairie Strength

Emersen Ziffle / Laurel Bailey / Brian Kirby Whirling Debris

Cara De Gennaro - 1912 Regina Tornado


Adjudication Committee

Dr.Curtis Collins - Dunlop Art Gallery

John Hampton - Neutral Ground Contemporary Art Forum

Marian Donnelly - Adjudication Committee Facilitator
Michelle LaVallee - MacKenzie Art Gallery

Jennifer McRorie - CARFAC Sask


The Regina Tornado Legacy Group Inc.

The Regina Tornado Legacy Group Inc. is an incorporated non-profit corporation that was created specifically to commemorate the 1912 Regina Tornado. The founding partners of the organization are the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District, the Regina Warehouse Business Improvement District, and the Regina Plains Museum.