For those attending the WinnipegREALTORS® Citizens Hall of Fame induction ceremony last Friday, it was necessary to turn off McCreary Road onto Sam Fabro Way in order to enter Fort Whyte Alive. The turn-off was quite appropriate for the occasion, since Robert A. “Sam” Fabro was this year’s inductee into the hall of fame.
Fabro, who is the 40th inductee into the hall of fame, served as chair of the Fort Whyte management board for 20 years. Fort Whyte, which welcomes more than 100,000 visitors a year, contains 640 acres of prairie, lakes, forest and wetlands, and promotes awareness and understanding of the natural world and actions leading to sustainable living.
The Citizens Hall of Fame was established in 1986 by WinnipegREALTORS® to honour Winnipeggers who have made an outstanding contribution to the city’s quality of life and have brought recognition to the city. The first inductee was former mayor Steve Juba.
“We celebrate and salute a worthy recipient of our Citizens Hall of Fame medallion award,” WinnipegREALTORS® president Richard Dettman tolf the over 50 people at the special ceremony. “This year’s recipient sees his commitment to making our community a better place as a moral imperative.”
Inductees receive the bronze medallion in recognition of their service to the community and a bronze sculpture of them is installed along the Walk of Fame in the Formal Garden at Assiniboine Park to further acknowledge the inductees’ contributions. A bust of Fabro, by local artist Madeline Vrignon, was mounted on its pedestal the day after the official induction ceremony at Fort Whyte.
“I’m filled with humility receiving this award,” said Fabro. “There are many, many worthy people in this city who deserve this. We have a lot of great, great people in our city.
“I’m very appreciative of receiving this recognition,” he added.
Besides his work with Fort Whyte Alive, Fabro’s list of accomplishments include lending his time and expertise to the Misericordia Health Centre, Villa Rosa, the Manitoba Marathon, the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, the Manitoba Games, the 1967 Pan American Games and the Pan Am Games Advisory Committee (1999), Winnipeg Enterprises, the Kiwanis Club of Winnipeg, the Knights of Columbus, the Recreation and Parks Board, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Club and other Manitoba health organizations.
Some of the awards Fabro has received include the Order of Canada (1974) and the Order of Buffalo (1986).
He was inducted in Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame (1990) and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame as a builder member (1988), and received the Award of Merit from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1988).
Fabro was a member of the Winnipeg Rangers when they won the Memorial Cup as Canadian Junior Hockey Champions in 1941.
He was also an accomplished baseball and football player. Fabro had a start with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1942 before joining the Army.
The R.A. Fabro Scholarship was established in his honour at the University of Manitoba and is sponsored by the Manitoba Hockey Foundation and Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum.
“In our city,” said Mayor Sam Katz at the ceremony, “there are people who want to get things done, and then there’s those who say it can’t be done — the naysayers.
“Sam doesn’t worry about the naysayers, but gets things done.
“Here’s another individual who made such a significant contribution to our city that I can say I have the honour of knowing,” added Katz.
“What Sam has contributed to our city is nothing short of tremendous,’ said Harry DeLeeuw, a past-president of WinnipegREALTORS®, speaking on behalf of hall of fame committee chair, Rick Preston, another past-president of WinnipegREALTORS®.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to see the great success of the Citizens Hall of Fame,” said DeLeeuw. “The inductees are all wonderful people who are responsible for making Winnipeg such a wonderful place to live in.”
Katz said the hall of fame recognizes “people who genuinely care about our city — Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.”
In his private career, between 1937 and 1987, Fabro rose from salesman to chairman of the board with W.G. McMahon Ltd., which markets and distributes floor coverings.