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A Legacy to Remember – Helen Rice Retires as Manager of Downtown Association

By Katherine Weber

The Downtown is a place that showcases the deep roots and big hearts of our community. From the Halloween Parade to Vegas Night and the Christmas Tree Lighting, there are countless opportunities to gather in this unique section of the city. While many in our community work diligently to ensure the downtown is a place many want to return to, it has been Helen Rice who has devoted 17 years to help it grow into what we enjoy today. Rice will be retiring from her position as manager of the Grande Prairie Downtown Association this fall.“Our downtown businesses provide a one on one experience that is unique to our community,” states Rice proudly, adding that committed members are what make the Downtown Association so dynamic. “We are strong because of the 600 members who work to give the best of their businesses back to the community.”

Wholeheartedly invested in the development and invigoration of the downtown core, Rice has left a lasting impact on our City and in speaking about her work as manager of the Downtown Association, she says, “[T]here is a connection to this community that the business owners are deeply committed to. You won’t get that anywhere else”. Rice states that she is most proud of her advocacy for the Downtown area and partnerships that have formed during her time as manager. “Seeing everyone work together for a project that benefits us all has been truly great to see.” 

“I believe my legacy is the partnerships, friendships, and connections that formed during my time with the Association,” says Rice humbly. One project in particular that stands out to Rice as something she was proud to be a part of was the City of Grande Prairie’s 100th anniversary “Walk Down Memory Lane” commemorative project. Truly a work of Rice’s expertise at bringing people together, this project created opportunities for many different facets of our community to create something unforgettable. She spoke fondly of the camaraderie and lasting effects of that project on the City. “I will miss the friendships and connections that form during these projects very much,” states Rice. 

There is likely not a project that the downtown has undertook in the last two decades that Helen Rice was not instrumental in advocating for or bringing to fruition. Moving forward, Rice is hopeful and excited at the passing of her efforts to newly hired Wendy Bosch. “She is me 30 years ago,” chuckles Rice, adding she is confident that Bosch will continue advocating for community first and the strengthening of connections in our community. Rice’s dedication and pride in this city is unwavering even as she prepares to settle into a well deserved retirement. In discussion of her hopes for the future of the downtown she notes that a “deeper program, not a wider one” would continue to bring high quality services and events downtown. Our City is grateful for your tireless work and we thank you for a Downtown to be proud of. 


I believe my legacy is the partnerships, friendships, and connections that formed during my time with the Association


Take a tour of downtown Grande Prairie’s history with the Memory Lane website.  Built in collaboration with the Downtown Association to celebrate Grande Prairie’s 100th year, imageDESIGN was proud to have created this interactive website with the DTA.

Katherine Weber

Contributor: Katherine Weber

As a life long resident of Grande Prairie, Katherine is passionate about the people and stories of the Peace Country. After graduating from the University of Alberta, Katherine returned home to begin teaching high school. She sees writing as a way to tell the stories of her home to the world.