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Date of Passing: Jan 11, 2022Send Flowers to the Family Offer Condolences or Memory
It is with profound sadness we announce the sudden passing of Vince Fontaine on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. Vince would like us to say he was 59 (but he was 62).
A proud member of Sagkeeng Anishinaabe First Nation, Vince was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a city and community he loved and nurtured.
Alongside his brother and sisters, Vince grew up in Elmwood hanging out with his best cousins, Alvin and Lionel, connections that remain strong to this day.
Vince's passion for music began at a young age when his sister, Shirley, gave him his first guitar that he took to naturally and proficiently.
Vince was a much beloved musician, producer, festival curator, and mentor. Vince has been celebrated many times over for his creative direction of multi-award winning band, Eagle & Hawk, and his talented collective, Indian City. Vince's career was abound with awards and recognition, and he remains one of Canada's most important Indigenous composers.
Vince's true passion and legacy lies in his ability to build bridges between people from all walks of life through his music and craft. Vince believed in, and was committed to, Reconciliation.
On any given day, Vince could often be found at the downtown YMCA playing racket ball with his longtime buddies; having tea in the backyard of Frank and Collette's; visiting his beloved mother, Nora; eating cinnamon buns with his cousin Phil; in the studio with his friend Chris; rehearsing and playing with his musical family; or checking in on friends and family throughout the day.
Vince's love for music was only outshone by his love and devotion to his family, friends, and community. He was so proud of his family, and in particular, his children, whom he often called his "genius kids." Vince was the connecting nucleus for the Fontaine family and played a fatherly role in the lives of his nieces and nephews.
Vince was predeceased by his father Henry (Manish); his sisters, Sharon, Shirley, and MaryCarole; and nephew Chauncey.
Vince will be incredibly missed and his memory held dearly by his mother Nora (Nan); his wife and partner of 36 years, Dodi; his children, Aleah, Gabrielle, Joe, and Lacey (Raine, Rylan, Presley, Noah, Lachlan, and Oaklen); his brother, Larry; his nieces and nephews, Nahanni (Jonah and Niniichaanis), Tonya (Dylan and Ashten), Talia, Shauna (Ethan, Davin, and Lyla), Naomi, Robert, Justin, Zeb, Zal, and Zoe; his siblings-in-law, Steve and Nancy, Faith and Randall, and all of the Bell family.
A Celebration of Life will take place on Sunday, January 16, 2022, at the Oodena Celebration Circle at the Forks from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Bear Clan Patrol and/or Broadway Neighbourhood Centre.
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jan 15, 2022
Condolences & Memories (10 entries)
I was only ever able to spend brief moments talking to Vince, in the course of interviews or encounters at music gatherings, but you only needed a minute to feel that he had accepted you as a friend. I was fortunate enough to have an hour of his time last month to talk about the Code Red album, of which he was very proud. He also told me about how happy he was with the success and brilliance of his children. I am so sorry to see him go, but his light remains bright within us all. - Posted by: Paul Corby (Friend) on: Jan 21, 2022
I was the drummer in the "house" band at Pony in Grant Park and every so often Vince would come down and sit in with the band. I always looked forward to playing with Vince he was a fabulous guitar player. He'd look over at me when we were playing and smile and we'd always connect and I knew we were in for a good time both on stage and for the audience - I'll always cherish those times! I was so sad to hear of his untimely passing - my deepest condolences to his and friends. Greg Black. - Posted by: Greg Black (Fellow Musician) on: Jan 17, 2022
I had the fortune of working with Vince over 30 years ago, and at that time well before Eagle & Hawk was realized, I remember even then he was discussing with me his intentions for what would become his legacy. Unfortunately we had lost touch over time. Rest easy Vince. - Posted by: David (Bandmate) on: Jan 17, 2022
I met Vince only once, but I never forgot him. I was around 11 and my older brother played hockey for Chalmers C.C. and one day came home with Vince who he introduced as a teammate. He seemed to tower over me and he had this huge smile and big laugh. He made me feel important, not like a pesky little sister. I never did see him again, but I never forgot how kind he was, even as a young teenager - he was special. Then, in the summer of 2014 I had just arrived at Ottawa airport, riding the escalator down to the baggage area and there in front of me was Vince (Vincent is how I recall my brother introduced him?) Fontaine! I wanted to approach him and tell him that I never forgot his kindness and how happy I was to see his success; the Universe had rewarded him, but I was too shy. To the Fontaine Family, imagine how many people like me Vince touched with his kindness, I'm just one. I am truly and deeply saddened for your loss of Vince; the world will miss him. May he rest in peace. - Posted by: Simone (blessed to have met Vince) on: Jan 17, 2022
Vince and his Mom, Dad, his brother Larry (who we called Bob), his sisters Shirley, Carol, and Sharon were our next door neighbors on Harbison Avenue in Elmwood. We were all little kids but I remember the wiener roasts etc. that we all attended and put on by our parents. great memories and great times. Very sorry to hear of Vince's passing my sincere condolences to his wife and family. Ken Collins - Posted by: Ken Collins (Friend and neighbour) on: Jan 16, 2022
Our family sends our sincerest condolences to Joe and his family. You are in our prayers. - Posted by: Lauren and Joe And Caitlin and Antoniochilelli (Friend to son Joe) on: Jan 16, 2022
Are hearts are heavy at South Beach Casino for the sudden loss of Vince. He was such a talented musician and amazing gentleman with a heart of gold! We are honoured to have all the wonderful memories of time together with him and his band mates which we will hold on to forever in our hearts. His legacy will continue to live on. - Posted by: Karen Anastasio (Friend) on: Jan 15, 2022
Dodi and family, I was shocked to hear on television of Vince's passing. It is so difficult to find words of comfort during a time like this. But I just want you to know that I am keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. I pray that you will find comfort in knowing that Vince and his music has touched the lives of so many people and in so many ways. My deepest sympathy. Linda - Posted by: Linda Landiak (Friend and old neighbour) on: Jan 15, 2022
My memories of my uncle will remain in my heart always. He is on his new journey now in heaven. - Posted by: Niomi (Niece ) on: Jan 15, 2022
I met Vince through his cousin Alvin. I used to pick up Alvin and go for a hamburger or watch some event when he was around 14. Vince would some time come along. I remember picking up Vince with Alvin on Mountain Avenue at his family apartment and he was so proud of his new guitar and showed it off to us. I have only seen him a couple of times since those early years but followed his career. He was a great kid who turned out to be a great adult. So sorry to hear of his passing. - Posted by: grant (old acquaintance) on: Jan 15, 2022
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