Honouring Al Osten


Al Osten was born in Saskatoon, SK on January 9, 1931, the seventh child of Aron and Bessie Ostrovsky (née Polsky). He was raised in Edmonton, AB where he attended the Edmonton Talmud Torah. Al celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at Edmonton’s Beth Israel Synagogue in 1944. Seventy years later, at the age of 83, he repeated the celebration at Temple B’nai Tikvah.

After high school, Al pursued his musical dream and became a member of The Rover Boys whose 1956 recording of Graduation Day made the hit parade as a US Top 20 Hit. Al toured North America with The Rover Boys and socialized with the likes of Tony Bennett, Paul Anka and Bobby Darren. The group also introduced Al to his lifelong business partner and friend, Buddy Victor.

Shortly after Al and Buddy moved back to Edmonton in the 1960s, Buddy heard about a new business enjoying much success in America and they acquired the Alberta and Saskatchewan franchises to Weight Watchers. That lucrative investment allowed Al and Buddy to support their passion for the arts by investing in Broadway shows, some of which became major hits.

Al grew up in a modest home, but his parents instilled in him the importance of family, community and tzedakah (charity). Having enjoyed much success, Al has increasingly concentrated on giving back to the community that has been so good to him. Before Buddy passed away last year, he and Al supported a broad range of health, recreation, social services and arts initiatives including: Al Osten and Buddy Victor Foundation (Calgary), Buddy Victor and Al Osten Foundation (Edmonton), the third floor of the Art Gallery of Alberta, and the Al Osten & Buddy Victor Alberta Tennis Centre. Al is particularly proud of the donation he and Buddy made to the Roozen Family Hospice Centre in Edmonton and he is now working on establishing a similar compassionate care facility in Calgary.

In the Calgary Jewish community, Al has supported Calgary Jewish Federation/UJA, Jewish Family Service Calgary, Hadassah-WIZO and the Beth Tzedec Congregation Jewish Film Festival, to name a few. Temple B’nai Tikvah has always had a special place in Al’s heart. A member of the congregation for 30 years, Al is a generous and consistent contributor to the continued success of the synagogue.
The Boilermaker’s Bash is our opportunity to say thank you to Al for his generosity, kindness, and friendship.

Want to send Al a note? Click here
 Click on the images above to listen to The Rover Boys