Jane Labbé was surrounded by family and friends on Saturday, July 30th, when the Sturgeon Falls Arena was officially renamed in honour of herself and her late husband as the Marcel and Jane Labbé Arena. In addition, a commemorative plaque was commissioned to honour the herculean efforts the couple made over the years to secure recreational facilities for the people of Sturgeon Falls. Marcel Labbé died on November 11, 2020 at the age of 95, but Jane told the Tribune, “I know he’s here right now!”
Marcel Labbé served on Sturgeon Falls municipal council for 31 years, prior to amalgamation into the municipality of West Nipissing. Both he and Jane were engaged in numerous community efforts from the time they moved to Sturgeon Falls in 1957 as a young family. Between the two of them, they raised funds and championed the creation of the indoor arena, the recreational hall, the pool and more, while volunteering with Community Living, West Nipissing Child Care Corporation, Stepping Stones and West Nipissing Food Bank.
All their efforts focused on highlighting the needs of the community and then diligently working to raise both awareness and funds to make things happen. Marcel Labbé initiated a campaign for the arena, followed by campaigns to expand the recreational centre and add a pool. The campaigns sparked the imagination of the community, with school children sporting buttons saying “I need an arena”. The Labbés themselves contributed considerable funds.
Marcel and Jane Labbé not only left an enduring legacy for their children, but for the entire population of West Nipissing. WN Mayor Joanne Savage was on hand to honour both Jane, and the memory of Marcel, with a congratulatory speech and the unveiling of the commemorative plaque to be mounted within the building.