Continued impact of Margo Fournier celebrated in Margo Fournier Arts Centre dedication ceremony

Daily Herald File Photo The Prince Albert Children’s Choir recently performed at the Margo Fournier Arts Centre dedication ceremony, hosting their Spring Concert on Wednesday, May 22.

The Prince Albert Arts Centre is now officially called the Margo Fournier Arts Centre following an official dedication ceremony on Saturday which saw family members from around the country in attendance.

Fournier made numerous contributions to Prince Albert as a leader of the world-renowned Prince Albert Boys Choir, swim and dive coaching, and countless other endeavours.
In a press release, the City of Prince Albert said the renaming allows for continued recognition of Margo Fournier’s legacy to the to our City following the sale of the original Margo Fournier Centre to the Prince Albert Grand Council, Urban Services.
Willy Fournier, Margo’s oldest son, spoke on behalf of the family. Willy flew in from Montreal where he has lived since he was 14-years-old when he left to study music. He said the renaming was an acknowledgement of a woman who was beyond measure.
“Mostly she would look at people around her, especially youth, and say ‘this is what they seem to want to do’ and she could get them to do things that they never imagined they could do,” Willy said. “(It) built their confidence.”
Willy said Margo’s students took that confidence they developed through music and sports and used that in all areas of life.
“You see that in my brothers and you see that in the people that are in the family,” he said.
Willy currently works as a facilitator with First Nations communities on strategic planning and comprehensive land claims and business strategic planning. He said that his children have lived all over the world and are fluent in many languages.
“Pierre was one of seven masters in the world in fight choreography for a while Laurent is an outstanding musician here. It’s not only our family, there’s so many other young guys,” Willy said.
The emcee for the dedication was Mitch Holash, who is an alumnus of the Prince Albert
Boys Choir and more evidence of Fournier’s impact. He recalled being taken to an audition for the Boys Choir at what became the former Margo Fournier Centre on his first night in Prince Albert.
During the ceremony alumni of the Boys Choir stood and were recognized. Whether it was singing or sports, Willy said his mother always enjoyed working with groups.
“She didn’t enjoy, I think, teaching one-on-one as much as she enjoyed her group things— coaching swimming teams, coaching divers and the choirs and the productions they put on,” Willy said.
There were two entire rows of family members in attendance for the dedication ceremony.
Willy said his mother’s efforts have had a multi-generational impact.
“The kids and the guys in the city and the people that she coached or whom she was the director of the choir, their kids … they’re all pursuing things that they never thought they could do themselves before,” Willy said. “I think that’s quite an impact. The other thing about
Mom is that she never did anything for herself. She always was concerned about what she could do and how this would contribute to the community.
“For Mom, everybody was kind of part of the family and that was it was the same with dad. You could come and if you were friends of one of the children you were just part of the family,” he added.
Granddaughter Jacqueline Khan spoke on behalf of Margo’s grandchildren. She said that having the Arts Centre named after her grandmother captures the essence of Fournier in a building.
“For anyone to be remembered like that or for somebody to think to remember a person that is flattering in itself. That in itself is a tribute,” Khan said.
Khan said having the arts centre named after her grandmother brought joy because of what the building represents.
“The programming that the building offers, the people that you see come in and at the location of the building that it’s so easily accessible to everybody, it’s very much representative of Prince Albert,” she explained. “I think of the past as well as the Prince
Albert of the future of where we hold on to this historical element.
“It means a huge amount that they would name the building (after her),” she added.
Khan said that she has been doing programming in the Arts Centre for decades and enjoys seeing all the new workshops, courses, and events offered.
She added that her grandmother was multi-talented, and this building captures that spirit.
“There was the educator, there was the musician as my Uncle Willy talked about, there was the swimming coach. She was very multifaceted, and once again, that’s something that shows up with this building, the multifaceted programming that’s in it,” Khan said.
The dedication opened with a song by the Ironswing Singers. Elder Liz Settee said the opening prayer.
The Prince Albert Children’s Choir led O Canada, and Mayor Greg Dionne brought greetings on behalf of the City of Prince Albert. In his remarks he said that the renaming of the building was an easy decision for City Council in November 2023.
There was also a video tribute to Fournier made by Big Drum Media. When Fournier was inducted in the Prince Albert Arts Hall of Fame they did not have video tributes so this was made to alleviate that.
The dedication also featured performances by the Prince Albert Barveenok Ukrainian Dancers and the Prince Albert Children’s Choir, who are directed by Fournier’s granddaughter Megan Fournier-Mewis.
In tribute to the Fournier the Arts Centre opened with the many guilds and groups who use it doing demonstrations and displays.