Wednesday , 19 January 2022

Fine Arts Society moves out of the Lyle Victor Albert Centre

The Bonnyville & District Fine Arts Society packs up from the Lyle Victor Albert Centre to their new home, the “Pop-Up Lyle Vic,” at Notre Dame High School in May.

It was a sombre day for the Bonnyville & District Fine Arts Society as they packed up and removed the marquee from the building known as the Lyle Victor Albert Centre.

They are now on the move to their temporary home at Ecole Notre Dame High School.

President of the Fine Arts Society, Patricia Perry, remembers how the building got its namesake.

“The reason we named the center after Vic is because he won the 1982 Alberta playwright competition, around the time we were beginning to build the building,” said Perry.

“We thought what better role model for there to be for the young people in Bonnyville than to name the building after someone who has – at a young age – already achieved success in the field of the arts as a playwright. We were thrilled when he accepted our request.”


Lyle Victor Albert was there for the occasion and remembers when he heard that the society wanted to name the building after him.

“Back when I was approached that they wanted to name the building after me, I was fully humbled and I wasn’t quite sure I deserved it – I still don’t. But I took it with as much grace and gratitude that I have for this building because going to school here and joining the drama club, this is the place that started my interest in theatre and the arts. It’s what helped me make it a career.

“It’s the people that make the Lyle Victor Albert Centre. This is just a shell. Even though it will be missed, I know it find a new home and a new life someplace else,” said Albert.

The building will be a part of Bonnyville Composite High School’s modernization and will either involve a full tear-down or major facelift.

Perry said the list of successful musicians who’ve walked through the Lyle Vic’s doors, like Clayton Bellamy, Brett Kissel, and others is something the Fine Arts wants to roll over into their new location.

“This building in a town, when we came here less then 5500 people, has produced two Juno award winners, many CCMA prizes have been given to them, we have a Canadian fiddle champion, who as Brett Kissel put it in talking about the importance of the building, said it was a place where people who wanted to pursue a profession in the arts could cut their teeth. That’s what this building has been and we want that to continue in our new building,” said Perry.

The Fine Arts Society has held several benefit shows and concerts in the past year to raise money for a new theatre. In the meantime, they’re preparing to move into Notre Dame.

They have Bill Bourne scheduled to play in the fall, a blues show on the way, and are looking to put one on soon for up-and-coming talented kids.

“We’re overwhelmed thinking about the love of the arts over the years in Bonnyville. I’m heartened to know it will continue”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.