Sports zone dedication honours McNabb

Bright-coloured statues line the street Larry McNabb once called his field of dreams.

Larry McNabb’s grandchildren Bart Lawrence

Larry McNabb’s grandchildren Bart Lawrence

Bright-coloured statues line the street Larry McNabb once called his field of dreams.

They were unveiled Saturday to honour McNabb, a man who dedicated his life to helping his community.

During a special ceremony Saturday morning, a crowd of more than 80 people gathered to pay tribute to McNabb and declare the sports facilities along Third Street as the Larry McNabb Sports Zone.

McNabb died of pancreatic cancer on Christmas Eve.

Eleven sculptures were created to mark the zone and a special piece was created to represent McNabb watching over three youth playing sports.

Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan said McNabb was a unique man who contributed so much to thecommunity. He said many people have worked to find a respectful way to honour him and he believes McNabb would be pleased with the dedication.

“He truly believed that if you create the facilities we will keep kids off the streets and out of trouble,” said Ruttan. “Nanaimo is a much better place because Larry was here.”

Lisa McNabb gave a heartfelt speech about her father at the dedication, attempting to keep her emotions under wraps.

“One of our father’s primary goals was to leave this place a little bit better than he found it,” she said.

She said renaming the location acknowledges the contributions he made to the city.

Coun. Merv Unger said he was able to show a picture of the artists’ concept for the art pieces to his longtime friend before his death and McNabb was extremely honoured.

The sculptures also draws people’s attention to the area said Gary Patterson, arenas recreation coordinator for the city.

“They’re such beautiful pieces – very colourful but not ostentatious – very attractive conversation pieces that definitely draw people’s attention,” said Patterson.

The Larry McNabb Sports Zone stretches along Third Street where the Nanaimo Ice Centre, Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, Serauxmen Sports Fields and Serauxmen Stadium are located. The dedication consists of 11 statues, created by artists Victoria Drakeford and Ruben Galdames, which feature sports-themed figures.