The city hosted a dedication ceremony on Monday afternoon renaming the Centennial Library in honour of former Mayor James L. McIntyre.
Mayor Christian Provenzano, City Councillors Paul Christian, Susan Myers, Sandra Hollingsworth, and Matthew Shoemaker, Chair of the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library Toni Nanne-Little, and members of the McIntyre family were in attendance for the plaque unveiling.
Renaming of the library is a tribute to the significant role that McIntyre played in serving the Sault community. McIntyre, who served as alderman from 1958-1959 and as mayor from 1960-1964, was instrumental in the building of the public library. To this point, Mayor Provenzano explained, “During his mayoral term, he identified the opportunity to fund the library, and he urged city council to support the opening of a new library that would meet the needs of a growing and changing community.”
And McIntyre managed just that. In 1967, the facility was opened with Centennial funding. Throughout his retirement years, he was a regular visitor to the library.
One of his fifteen grandchildren, Lauren Carter, told the audience gathered to recognize the contributions made by her grandfather that this library is more than just a home for books, “it is also a hub for community, learning, and empowerment. A place for people to dream, and discover their place in the world.” She continued, “This library played an important role in my grandfather’s life story, and not only because he was instrumental in this building’s development. He came here to quench his thirst, open his mind, and find ways to do more.”
Carter expressed her pride in having such an amazing role model to learn and grow from. Having gotten to know her grandfather very well at a young age while completing a biography project for school, she concluded, “He loved jazz and golf, Licorice Allsorts, and my grandmother’s date squares. He had a constant thirst for knowledge, the Globe and Mail, and at least one book always on the go, and an unshakeable civic duty that he carried out in ways big and small.”
Other contributions that McIntyre made to the Sault community include supporting the construction of the bridge from Sault Ontario to Sault Michigan, playing a role in the redevelopment of the waterfront, acquiring the Old Stone House property, and proposing the development of a new city hall. He also acted as the first Public Relations Chairman for the United Appeal and the Publicity Director for the Soo Greyhounds.
Outside of his professional life, he served as Director of the Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, and as a Chairman for the Community Chest. His commitment to the causes he was passionate about is evident, as he spent 53 years with the International Bridge Authority, 23 years on the Police Services Board, and 10 years on the General Hospital Board. As summarized by Mayor Provenzano, “The Sault Ste. Marie you see today was shaped by his service, and it is only fitting that the Sault Ste. Marie of tomorrow reflects the important role that he played in our community’s history.”
You can read or check out the plaque in McIntyre’s honour in the entrance area of the library. For more information on the library’s programs and resources, click here.