Community Memories – The Paper Mill Structures: Symbols of Vision and Innovation.


A project funded through the Virtual Museum of Canada.

The sandstone structures of the former St. Mary’s Paper Company are at the heart of the Mill Square redevelopment, the Canal District in the west end of downtown Sault Ste. Marie. As the district grows, the beautiful structures are being given new and exciting purpose, becoming architectural centerpieces. Already the home of The Machine Shop and The Algoma Conservatory of Music, the buildings are no longer antiquated structures in an industrial operation.

Destination North, in association with the Virtual Museum of Canada, has created an exciting online history project celebrating the industrial heritage of Sault Ste. Marie. The Exhibit focuses on the construction, use, and significance of the heritage structures that were previously part of St. Mary’s Paper. It also follows the story of Francis H. Clergue, the St. Mary’s founder who transformed late 19th century Sault Ste Marie through his vision and industrial innovation.

The Paper Mill Structures: Symbols of Vision and Innovation

The exhibit is rich with historical images, compelling text, video and voice recordings. One group of former workers, who still reside in Sault Ste. Marie, began meeting to share memories and preserve the history of their factory. A multi-generational group, their stories span decades. Through their collected oral history, they hope the industrial heritage of the site can be preserved long after their numbers have dwindled.