The demolition of the Lyle Victor Albert Centre, the longtime home of the Bonnyville District of Fine Arts Society, began on Tuesday and for those involved with the Society it’s a bittersweet farewell.
“I’m sad to see it go,” says Society president Patricia Perry, “but I’m also thankful for the memories it’s provided to the community. We’ve had some very talented people come through and get their start there.”
The reason for the Lyle Vic’s demolition was to make way for a new gymnasium at Bonnyville Centralized High School, part of a long modernization process with several delays that began in late April.
Although the Society has currently set up shop in Notre Dame High School, Perry says it won’t be their future home, with plans to build an entirely new theatre using funds saved in the bank.
The society is also looking at applying for provincial programs to get the project off the ground, however, these plans are currently in their infancy.
These funds were raised through various means including golf tournaments, a play written by Lyle Victor Albert, the theatre’s namesake, and different efforts from the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
Concerts featuring local talents such as Clayton Bellamy and the Road Hammers, Brett Kissel, the Kehewin Dancers, Canadian fiddle champion Daniel Gervais, and rock band Mumbo Jumbo, have been big fundraisers.
The theatre hosted the Rockin’ the Blues show in 2019 as its final performance.
Perry thanked Bonnyville citizens for supporting the Society and the Lyle Vic throughout the years, which she called “a community effort”, as well as giving particular thanks to George Baker, whom she described as instrumental to helping the Society settle into the theatre.