West Nipissing hosting arena renaming ceremony

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On Saturday, July 30th, the Municipality of West Nipissing is hosting a ceremony to rename the Sturgeon Falls Arena in honour of Marcel and Jane Labbé. The event begins at 1 p.m., at the arena on 219 O’Hara Street, and all are welcome to attend.

The idea to rename the arena came about last fall when West Nipissing council voted in favour of the change. After Saturday’s ceremony, the arena will be known as the Marcel and Jane Labbé Arena.

Marcel and Jane Labbé moved to Sturgeon Falls in 1957, raised five children in town, and “became part of the community fabric,” the municipality emphasized in a recent release. Marcel was elected to city council in 1964 and he served 31 consecutive years. Jane was a teacher for 31 years, and both were involved in many community organizations.

See: West Nipissing honours Labbé family with arena dedication

They both “steadfastly advocated for recreational and social infrastructures for children and families,” the municipality explained, and they were instrumental in ensuring the first arena was built in 1964. Two years later, the Kinsman pool opened, and the couple helped get that off the ground as well.

Both worked diligently to raise money for the Marcel Noel Hall and did much to support other community projects. As the couple gave so much to the town, the family reached out to the municipality in February of 2021 to suggest the arena be renamed to honour the couple.

Council did not have a policy in place regarding renaming municipal buildings, but it liked the idea, so councillors and municipal staff went to work. At the end of August 2021, West Nipissing had its policy drafted, and by mid-September, councillors agreed the name change would be a fitting memorial.

Marcel and Jane Labbé made many “valuable contributions to the town of Sturgeon Falls,” said Mayor Joanne Savage, soon after council made its decision last fall. “They played a major role and contributed a lot of their time and energy for the betterment of the facilities that people are able to enjoy today.”

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca

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