February Year in Review

Herald file photo. Charlie Conners and his sled dog team rush down an open trail during the first day of competition in the Prince Albert Winter Festival 10 dog event. Conners would go on to win the event. It was his first win since he began attending the Winter Festival dog sled races.

Prince Albert City Council passes a motion supporting a new Metis-Nation Saskatchewan development near the Alfred Jenkins Field House. The MN-S plans to construct a support centre and childcare facility on 26 acres of land.

The Saskatchewan Rivers School Division begins a new social media awareness campaign to stop attendance rates from falling. Education Director Robert Bratvold says sickness and illness aren’t the reason for the decline. Instead, he says habits from the COVID-19 pandemic have carried over. “We need to have a restart, a fresh start, for making sure people are coming to school as much as they need to,” Bratvold says.

The Prince Albert Council of Women announces that Community mental health advocate and former MLA Nicole Rancourt will be inducted into the Prince Albert Women’s Hall of Fame. Council president Chrissy Halliday says Rancourt has always been a strong voice for local women. “This year it was particularly difficult (to choose an inductee). We had some very, very excellent nominations,” Halliday says. “In the end, Nicole just won out.”

Former Prince Albert mayor Richard “Dick” Spencer passes away on Feb. 18, 2023 at the age of 92. Spencer was elected mayor in 1979, and served until 1988. He also served as an alderman from 1960-65, 1971-79, and 1991-94. Spencer was also a teacher and vice-principal at the Prince Albert Collegiate Institute, and served as a campaign manager for John Diefenbaker.

There are no injuries, but some extensive damage after the stables located behind the large barn on the Prince Albert Exhibition Grounds catch fire. Firefighters are called to the scene in the early afternoon on Feb. 19.

Prince Albert City Council accepts an offer from the Brar Investment Group to purchase 5.17 acres of City property for $1 million. The land is located at 800 28th Street West. Brar says they will build three 60-unit apartment buildings.

The YWCA breaks its fundraising record for Coldest Night of the Year thanks to a $25,000 donation from Malcolm Jenkins. Roughly 165 walkers from 26 teams help raise the rest. In total, the fundraiser brings in $95,000, well above their $70,000 goal.


Team Silvernagle, which includes lead Kara Thevenot from Prince Albert, earns the right to represent Saskatchewan at the Scottie’s Tournament of Heart in Kamloops thanks to an 8-4 win over Team Martin at provincial playdowns. They started the Tournament of Hearts with a win and a loss before dropping four straight games, and finishing 2-6. Although it wasn’t the result they hoped for, Thevenot said she was happy with their effort.

The Lakeland Wolfpack earn a silver medal while the Regina Vipers take gold in Division 1 as Prince Albert hosts the Special Olympics Saskatchewan provincial floor hockey tournament. Humboldt takes gold in Division 2, while The Lakeland Wild Ones take gold in Division 3.

The Prince Albert Ski League hosts its first Skills Demo Day at Little Red River Park. The event brings together a mix of local and out-of-town skiers who want to practice their skills, but aren’t ready for regular competition.

Jasmine Kohl commits to Lake Forest College in Illinois as a rare double-sport athlete. Kohl, who originally hails from Moose Jaw, joined the Prince Albert Northern Bears in 2020 while also playing softball back home during the summer. She committed to playing both with Lake Forest College, who play in the Mid-West Conference.

After 40 years of travelling to Prince Albert for the Winter Festival sled dog Races, Loon Lake’s Charlie Conner is a champion. Conner takes top spot in the 10-dog Saskatchewan Challenge with an aggregate time of one hour, 14 minutes, and 35.14 seconds. “It means a lot to me,” Conner says afterwards. “My family has been coming to this race for a long time. My dad raced here. We raced here as kids, (and) my kids were running one dog, three dog, and four dog.”


Herald file photo.
Guest curator Wally Dion sorts through 140 pieces delivered to the Mann Art Gallery for the 2023 Prince Albert Winter Festival Art Show and Sale.

Saskatoon-based artist K.L. Pavier takes home top prize at the Prince Albert Winter Festival Show and Sale for her sculpture, ‘untitled’. Pavier says she is surprised to win the award because this is her first time entering. “I’m just grateful for the show and the opportunity to display the work,” she says. “That’s what I was excited about and definitely winning was a huge surprise.”

Music lovers pack the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre to for Voices of the North at the Prince Albert Winter Festival. Organizers dedicate the show to the victims of the mass stabbings in James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, and their families. “We wanted to find a way to give back to them, life them up, and let them know in our own way that we’re thinking of them,” producer Sheryl Kimbley says. The list of performers includes James Smith Cree Nation’s Brandon Whitehead, who dons a “James Smith Strong” t-shirt on stage.