Stunning Stella the Sturgeon is home at last

Sturgeon Falls Beautification Group head Gayle Primeau (far right) welcomes artist Laval Bouchard and wife Fran from Massey, Ontario to show off the newly mounted ‘Stella the Sturgeon’. The huge metal sculpture of a sturgeon fish was created by Bouchard and purchased by the committee to be showcased permanently in downtown Sturgeon Falls.

Gayle Primeau and the Sturgeon Falls Beautification committee have landed a big one! Finally, Stella the Sturgeon has been mounted right in the middle of town along King Street, and the huge metal sculpture has never looked better. On Monday, Oct. 25, Laval Bouchard, the metal artist from Massey who created the piece, and his wife Fran came for a visit to Sturgeon Falls to see where his big fish was finally installed. Not given to a lot of words, Bouchard indicated he was pleased with the results. “I’m glad it went somewhere. I was worried about it.”

Gayle Primeau, on the other hand, bubbled over with enthusiasm for the signature piece that is now right at home. “It’s even nicer than I thought it would be!” Stella the Sturgeon had a serious facelift with some powder coating and paint to protect her from decay, and a bit of new welding to mount her properly. Regarding the alterations, Primeau said, “There really was no choice. Initially I was against it, until I started to talk to people about powder coating and rusting. If I had left that fish the way it was, eventually it would have rusted, with little holes appearing. Derek [Lefebvre of North Bay Powder Coating] was the one who took it aside and powder coated it.”

Stella the Sturgeon was purchased and paid for entirely by private donations. Primeau explained that a couple of local people had seen the big metal sturgeon while driving through Massey on holiday. Both independently contacted Bouchard to find out how much he wanted for it. One fine day in 2020, Gayle Primeau and her husband Stuart Seville were entertaining some friends, two other couples, and they began to talk about acquiring Stella. “Initially there were three couples. We each put in $500 for a security deposit to make sure she wasn’t sold.” The other two couples were Ken and Shirley Perrin and Dan and Cynthia Roveda. Then Gayle got together with the Sturgeon Falls Beautification Group, who were enthusiastic about the purchase, and went onto social media to do a bit of fundraising to get the $5000 together to purchase Stella.

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