Safety Patrol

Image: Manitoba Calling, 1937

With automobile traffic on the rise in postwar Regina, Connaught joined three other schools in launching a pilot project aimed at protecting schoolchildren from the growing danger – and so, Regina’s first student safety patrol was born.

Starting in late 1949, 10 senior students were chosen by the school principal and trained by Regina police for the task. They were then ready to don a white Sam Browne belt, take up a yellow beaverboard stop sign, and halt traffic on Elphinstone Street and 13th Avenue to allow students to cross the streets safely.

Ken Zaren, who became captain of Connaught’s patrol during the mid-1950s, felt a strong sense of responsibility for the younger grades that crossed under his watch.“I remember thinking, ‘This is important. I’m looking after the safety of these little kids.’”

But even for those who didn’t earn the prestige (and badge) that came with being captain, being on the safety patrol was still a prestigious position, recalls former member Glenna Stoner.

“The vice-principal at that time was in charge of it, and he ran a very tight ship. It was very formal, militaristic.” The group marched to their posts in formation with their stop signs over their shoulders, and kept themselves closely synchronized thanks to whistled commands.

“He made sure we had a lot pride in what were doing,” Stoner says.

Today, 13th Avenue has become a busy thoroughfare of commuters heading to the Lewvan Expressway, making the Safety Patrol more important than ever. We can only wonder what kind of traffic will be directed 100 years from now!

The Connaught History Project is funded and supported by the Community Research Unit, Faculty of Arts, University of Regina.

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