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The Visionary — Paul Larocque

Illustration by Edward Juan.


“I really love being part of the greater sound.”

Paul Larocque’s enthusiasm for arts education is infectious, with Arts Umbrella, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Chor Leoni’s MyVoice program among the benefactors of his endless drive.

“I’m very passionate about providing profound life experiences for children through high-quality arts education, so they can learn to live creative, authentic, and courageous lives.”

Originally from Toronto, Larocque majored in film theory and communications at the University of Windsor before coming to Vancouver in 1995 as Arts Umbrella’s Director of Special Events. After moving on to serve as the Director of Programming, he helped start the Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach program, focused on “helping young people find their voice,” before moving on to his appointment as Associate Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Of his involvement in planning for the gallery’s new building, Larocque affirms, “It’s such an important project. I learned so much.”

In 2016, he rejoined Arts Umbrella as President and Chief Executive Officer and got to work. His vision for Arts Umbrella, which is “to see it entrenched in the community for many generations of young people, recognized around the world for what it has accomplished, and seen as a model for other communities,” has led him to expand the organization’s facilities on Granville Island. He’s also orchestrated programs with Metro Vancouver school boards, community centres, and neighbourhood houses to ensure that no child is denied access to the arts because of cost.

Larocque’s other great passion is Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, with whom he has sung baritone since 2004.

“I really love being part of the greater sound, that combined voice. It’s very inspirational.” Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 10.17.41 AM


Jerry Wasserman is an actor, critic, emeritus
professor of English and theatre at UBC, and
editor of Modern Canadian Plays. He is editor
and producer of