Driven by her passion

Local entrepreneur Ida Albo receives award for work downtown and in the community

Ida Albo received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Winnipeg Alumni Association during fall convocation Oct. 21. Daniel Crump

From the halls of the University of Winnipeg to the limestone perches of one of Winnipeg’s most storied hotels.

Ida Albo has made herself a prominent member of Winnipeg’s urban and philanthropic community since receiving her economics degree from the U of W in 1981 and subsequently her masters in economics from Queen’s in 1982.

On Oct. 21, Albo received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the university’s Alumni Association during fall convocation ceremonies.

Albo, currently the chair of the Guardian Angel Benefit Committee for the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, co-owns the Fort Garry Hotel and Conference Centre with her husband, Rick Bel.

The couple also co-own the hotel’s associated Ten Spa and the recently opened Yoga Public.

Opened in early 2012, the inspiration for Yoga Public came from Albo’s fruitless search for a flexible studio that offered classes at convenient times for busy yogis.

“I started practicing yoga around the time we built the spa,” Albo said. “I just fell in love with it.”

It’s all about people. You can have an idea or a great vision but you need people to deliver and to understand that vision.

Ida Albo, University of Winnipeg alumna

Translating that love into a business was easy for the successful hotelier. As in all of her endeavours, whether philanthropic or economic, Albo’s decision to open the yoga studio was guided by a devotion to what she loved.

“When you’re passionate about something, you want to share it,” she said.

Her passion, however, is not limited to the practice of yoga. Albo is similarly driven by her dedication to the development of Winnipeg’s downtown neighbourhoods.

“I grew up downtown,” Albo said. “I’ve always had fond memories and a strong connection to it.”

Albo’s resume also includes serving as vice-chair at the Pan Am Clinic Foundation, as well as serving on the board of directors at The University of Winnipeg Foundation. Albo had been a board member for the Tourism Association of Winnipeg, the Canadian Tourism Commission, Health Sciences Centre Research Foundation, and Citizens Against Impaired Driving. 

In addition to her numerous other roles as a community leader, Albo demonstrated her interest in the direct enhancement of Winnipeg’s urban areas, serving as co-president of the CentreVenture development corporation: an advocate and catalyst for investment, development and economic growth in downtown Winnipeg.

The studio’s placement on Fort Street, as well as the downtown location of the hotel and spa, reflects Albo’s commitment to enhancing the wellness of Winnipeg’s urban area.

“It all has to do with wellness, that’s the connection,” she said.

Beyond her entrepreneurial merit and evident commitment to the community, it is Albo’s humility that distinguishes her as an alumna deserving of the University of Winnipeg award.

While thankful for the formal recognition of her work, Albo acknowledged those who have supported her, accrediting the success of her business ventures to her staff.

“It’s all about people,” she said. “You can have an idea or a great vision but you need people to deliver and to understand that vision.”

Published in Volume 67, Number 10 of The Uniter (November 7, 2012)

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