Myron Kowalsky Park unveiled to remember longtime MLA and former teacher

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The Kowalsky Family unveiled the monument at Myron Kowalsky Park on Saturday afternoon.

The City of Prince Albert named the third park named after a prominent Prince Albert politician with the unveiling of Myron Kowalsky Park on Southwood Drive on Saturday.

Kowalsky was a long-serving Prince Albert Carlton MLA who passed away in June 2022. His daughters, grandchildren and wife Olesia Kowalsky were on hand for the opening.

Daughters Lara Kowalsky and Lisa Leis were honoured to have a park named for their father.

“Without getting too emotional. It is a humble honour to have this dedication to my dad and to acknowledge him as the great guy he was,” Lara said. “He did so much for the community (and) he dedicated his time.

“I was just thinking about him the other day. How did he find all the time to do everything?” she added. “Also, he was a great father. He was present for us. We had lots of family time.”

“It means the world to us because it would mean so much to him,” Leis added.

“It’s a special honour, a really special honour.”

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The members of the Kowalsky family pose with the monument at Myron Kowalsky Park after the unveiling on Saturday; (L to R) Lara Kowalsky, Anisha Zolty, Sam Wilkinson, Olesia Kowalsky, Lisa Leis and Wally Leis.

Son-in-law Wally Leis said that Kowalsky would not have expected the honour, but would have been grateful for the recognition.

“I think he would be so appreciative that it might inspire others,” Wally said. “His generation had a certain commitment to the community to make things better, and we were losing that a little bit…. He would see this as maybe (a way to) inspire the next round of folks to step up and give back.”

Longtime friends Ed Leason and Pat Leason read a brief history of Kowalsky’s life both as an educator and as a politician.

“It’s amazing how much the Leason’s remember about my dad,” Lisa Leis said.

Kowalsky was a teacher at both Riverside School and Carlton Comprehensive Collegiate before being the MLA for Prince Albert Carlton and winning elections in 1986, 1991, 1995, 1999 and 2003. He served as Government Whip in several committees and was elected as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in 2001. He was re-elected in 2004.

In 2001 he was elected as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and re-elected as Speaker in 2004. He was the Chair of the Standing Committees on House Services and Privilege and chaired the Board of Internal Economy of the Legislative Assembly. Kowalsky left office in 2007.

Throughout his career, he stayed involved in farming, teaching, and home construction and was a crop hail adjuster. Kowalsky was keenly interested and an advocate for the arts, with a special interest in drama and dance. He was a member of the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Prince Albert and according to Leason, was a member of the choir and peeled potatoes.

In teaching and political careers, Kowalsky visited Ukraine many times and observed the 2004 presidential election where he worked as an election observer.

“He was really a gentleman,” Lara said. “He was kind, compassionate and genuine.”

Emcee and Ward 5 Coun. Dawn Kilmer opened the ceremony by emphasizing the importance of Prince Albert as a gathering place. Coun. Darren Solomon and Counc. Dennis Ogrognick were also in attendance.

Former MLA Kevin Yates paid tribute to the influence of Kowalsky while he was an MLA and how he taught him to do the right thing, even if it was at the wrong time. Friend Ray Funk also spoke on Kowalsky’s influence on progressives in Saskatchewan by helping hold the group together.

Before family members unveiled the monument, Coun. Don Cody brought remarks on behalf of the City of Prince Albert, while Leis and Kowalsky spoke on behalf of the family.

The family thanked the city for honouring their father and said the gesture meant a lot to them.

“Big thanks to the City of Prince Albert. It’s everything because he loved P.A.,” Lisa Leis said.

The next park unveilings are for parks named for veterans on Sept. 9 and Sept. 10.