World renown sculptor Don Begg, of Studio West Bronze Foundry, is soon to receive Alberta's highest honour.

It was announced today he is among eight remarkable Albertans being named to the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2024.

"The Alberta Order of Excellence is an opportunity to celebrate the women and men in our province who have contributed so much for the greater good," states Lt.-Gov. Salma Lakhani in making the announcement. "While the recipients this year have made stellar contributions to many different fields, what they share is a dedication and commitment to service and leadership. May they inspire us all to build compassionate and thoughtful communities.”

Don Begg first studied bronze casting and sculpture in Alberta and California, followed by specialized training in monumental sculpture in New Jersey and New York. He has been sculpting at Studio West Bronze Foundry & Gallery since its establishment in 1970.

Don Begg

His body of work spans almost 55 years and can be viewed throughout Canada, United States, Germany and France. The Begg family's dedication to this fine art brings joy to millions around the globe.

We're fortunate to have several of their notable works here in Cochrane. Here are three of them.

Don and Shirley Begg sculptured the bronze statue best known as the "Chicken Lady" in the heart of Cochrane's Historic Downtown. It was created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Cochrane in 2003. 

In October 2017, a bronze sculpture of a World War One Canadian soldier created by the Beggs came to grace the revitalized community cenotaph.

Two years later, the sculpture "An Early Calf" was unveiled in front of the North Star Ford Cochrane dealership on River Heights Drive.

MORE ABOUT DON AND STUDIO WEST: Don Begg Bronzes Among Finalists for First Made-in-Alberta Awards

Also being named to the Alberta Order of Excellence are Will Ferguson, Calgary, Robert Foster, Edmonton, Catherine Fraser, Edmonton, Stephen Mandel, Edmonton, Kim Ruether, Fairview, Nancy Southern, Calgary, and Garnette Sutherland, Calgary

The investiture ceremony will be held in Edmonton in October. 

Don Blake and ShirleyDon and Shirley Begg with MP Blake Richards at yesterday's inauguration of the statue. (Photo/Blake Richards Facebook)

The announcement comes a day after he and his wife Shirley attended the unveiling of their Rifleman bronze statue at la Place des Canadiens in Bretteville-l’Orgueilleuse in France, near the beaches of Normandy. It was inaugurated by HRH The Princess Her Royal Highness Princess Anne in her capacity as the colonel-in-chief of the Royal Regina Rifles.

The eight-foot bronze rifleman is dedicated to the brave soldiers from the Royal Regina Rifles. The Rifles — formerly known as the Regina Rifle Regiment — were the first to storm Juno Beach on that fateful day and advanced further inland than any other Allied unit within the first 24 hours of the invasion, with 102 men losing their lives.

Regina Rifles statueThe statue while it was on display at the Saskatchewan Legislature before being shipped overseas.

“It’s a huge honour for us to commemorate in bronze, which will last for a thousand years, what those Canadian soldiers did to liberate France,” Shirley Begg told CTV News. “It’s an incredible honour.”