In the 1990s a passionate group of historians called The Regina Ethnic Pioneers created a booklet that served as a self-guided walking tour of the Regina Cemetery. Their booklet primarily focused on pioneers and early settlers, including mayors, police officers and veterans.
A few years later a sequel to the book was published that focused on Eastern European and Asian immigrants. These included shopkeepers, entrepreneurs, church volunteers and community leaders.
The tour books could be purchased near the gates of the Regina Cemetery for $2 and were to be returned when the tour was completed. However, these books often weren’t returned. In time the books were relocated to the Riverside Cemetery Office, where they could be purchased and the money could go towards printing more of them.
In 2017, Kenton de Jong, a local history enthusiast used the books, as well as his own research, to revive the tours. To operate the tours, he partnered with Heritage Regina. He used the tours to raise money for a monument dedicated to the 330 victims of the 1918 Spanish Influenza. Through the walking tours, public donations and generous private donations, over $5,000 were raised for the monument. The Spanish Influenza Memorial was unveiled inside the Regina Cemetery on December 17, 2017.
In 2018 the tours continued, with Heritage Regina using the donated money to help fund their own community projects and historical events.
In 2019 de Jong decided to leave the Heritage Regina and operate the tours himself as Regina Cemetery Tours. However, the City of Regina issued various statements to cease the tours, stating that only Heritage Regina was allowed to operate the tours. As the 2019 walking tour season started, however, Heritage Regina decided not to continue the tours. Once again it appeared the tours and the stories would be lost to history.
Determined to continue the legacy of the tours, de Jong created Regina Cemetery Tours – The Game as a virtual representation of the original tours. This game offers the ability to share stories that would otherwise not be included in the physical tours. To preserve creative control over the game, de Jong chose not to include Heritage Regina in this project. Additionally, the City of Regina expressed displeasure in the game, stating it as “a private endeavor [sic] not sanctioned by the City”.
As a result, Regina Cemetery Tours would like to state neither Heritage Regina or The City of Regina support this game.