Municipal Elections 2018: Ward Three Candidates


Get to know your candidates!

Here’s who is running for Ward Three in this year’s municipal elections.

Ward Three Candidates:

John Bruno


Born and raised in Sault Ste Marie, John is the second child of immigrant parents.  A graduate John Brunoof St. Mary’s College, he has a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Western Ontario and Algoma University College, a Bachelor of Education from Nippissing University and a Master of Education degree from Northern Michigan University.  He began his working career at Algoma Steel and the Sault Ste Marie Transportation Commission.  He later began his career as a teacher in 1982.  During his 37 year career in education, he was progressively promoted to vice-principal, principal, and ended his career as Superintendent of Education.  As an educator, he was actively involved in coaching various sporting teams at the schools.  He was President of the Catholic Principal Council and a Director of the Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers Association.  John was Chair of the Joint Staffing Committee and lead negotiator for OECTA and Principal/Vice Principal contracts.  He handled staffing, and labour-relation issues for all employees. In this capacity he worked with various Ministries including the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Labour.  As well, John has contributed to the community as a member of many boards, most recently, as Past Chair of the Sault Ste Marie Police Services Board.  In 1992, he received the Commemorative Medal, on the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada, in recognition of his significant contributions to fellow citizens, his community, and Canada.  John is married to his wife Cecilia and they have a daughter, Ida.

Why are you running?

Community involvement is something I value deeply and I want to give back to my community.  It is important to me that I continue to play a positive role in strengthening our city. Many local residents and businesses are struggling to afford municipal property taxes and more needs to be done to address the cost of delivering municipal services, creating jobs and improving the quality of life for all families.  I look forward to the honour and privilege to serve the residents of Ward 3 on City Council.

What are the issues you care about?

I want Sault Ste. Marie to prosper as a city and a community.  Too many of our young people are leaving to find career opportunities in other cities.  To do this, we need to ensure best practices in the delivery of all municipal services so that taxpayers dollars are well managed and spent and we need to work to create jobs and opportunities by making it easier and more affordable to operate a business in our city.  We need to work with existing businesses and we need to work to attract new businesses.

What strengths do you bring to the campaign/council?

As a leader in education, I am active listener and I aim to find a solution to the problem – this is what I have done throughout my career.  I will take your concerns with an aim to find a feasible solution and to make informed decisions for the benefit of our community.

Donna Hilsinger


Donna Hilsinger has over 40 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry and was General Manager of The Water Tower Inn in Sault Ste. Marie from 2000 to 2016.  The Inn will celebrate its 44th Anniversary this year and is considered one of the finest in Northern Ontario.  Very involved in her community across multiple areas, Donna has volunteered her time over the years in tourism, economic development, trail development, arts and culture, education, health care, child welfare, social services and LGBTQ advocacy.  She is a 2008 Northern Ontario Business Influential Women Award winner, Past Chair of the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie Management Board, Past President and Current Executive Director of the Algoma Fall Festival, Chairperson of the Sault Trails Advocacy Committee, Past Secretary of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, Board member of Destination Ontario, member of the Board of the Welcome Friend Association, member of the Regimental Senate of the 49th Sault Ste. Marie Field Regiment, RCA and current Chair of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Services Board. In 2012 Donna was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service and the Chamber of Commerce Athena Award.  In 2013 she received the Leading Women Building Communities Award from the Province of Ontario and in 2014 was awarded an Honorary Member of Algoma University and was the honoree at their annual John Rhodes Scholarship dinner.  In 2015 Donna was recognized both by the Chamber of Commerce and The United Way for outstanding contribution to the life of the community.  She is a passionate believer in the city of Sault Ste. Marie as the best place in Canada to live and work.

Why are you running?

I am a passionate believer in this city and what it can become in the future.  I am ready to put my passion to work in a new way.  I want to work on behalf of our residents and be part of making the Sault a growing Northern Ontario city.  The best way to have influence and affect change is to have a seat at the table.

My Vision for Sault Ste. Marie is of a growing, progressive and vibrant city, remarkably beautiful, where Quality of Life is at the forefront of our decisions.  If we want a city that people are going to move to and come to visit we have to differentiate ourselves.  Nature has naturally done that for us and we need to add to that.

I believe we need to aim higher, be more creative, be nimble and take calculated risks.  We can do much more to differentiate Sault Ste. Marie as a place of impeccable quality of life.  A city that one must visit – a city that one wants to move to and live in.

What are the issues you care about?

My major issues of concern are:

Economic Diversification, Growth and Jobs

I believe we need to continue to support our existing local businesses of all sizes and their efforts to innovate and grow their markets and revenues.  We need to diversify our economy by exploring and investing in opportunities in growing industries like clean tech, agfood, organic food and beverage, food tourism, social enterprise development and home healthcare.  These efforts will provide jobs for our current residents, for new residents who want to move here for our outstanding quality of life and give our youth a choice to stay and work in the Sault or return for work that will build their careers.

Plan for our Future

We need to update our official plan that will create a leading community of the future with best practice and the highest quality guidelines and standards.  Included in this is integrated transportation planning that builds what our residents want and what our future will demand for pedestrians, cyclists, transit, trails and vehicles, completely accessible to all.  We also need more affordable housing and improved mental health and addictions support.

A Vibrant Community

We need to continue what has been started and support an energized downtown and waterfront.  Let’s clean up and green up across the city so we showcase and enhance what Mother Nature gave us.

We should invest in tourism infrastructure that differentiates us, celebrates our Place and sells Sault Ste. Marie to increase overnight visitation.  We should invest in our arts and our culture that nurtures the souls of all of our residents and is a catalyst to increase tourism visitation.

What strengths do you bring to the campaign/council?

I have worked in our family business in the tourism and hospitality industry for over 40 years and with my experience I have a broad awareness of our community’s strengths and challenges.  Additionally, for many years I have volunteered my time and worked with various community organizations and boards and understand issues across multiple levels.  I feel that it is a responsibility as a member of this community to bring my knowledge, experience, energy and passion for the Sault to enhance our community services and be a part of positive and progressive improvement and change.

Judy Hupponen


Judy is a co-owner of North Star Travel and Tours, a full service retail travel agency operating since 2005. Judy has been in the travel industry in a Manager/Owner position for41years. Judy has traveled to 23 countries, including Africa, Sri Lanka and China to name a few. Judy is a member of Sault North Rotary Club and was named Rotarian of the Year in 2008.  Judy also served on the Board of Directors from 2008-2009. In 2017, Judy initiated the” Sault North Rotary Trip of the Month” fundraiser draw. As of 2017, the club has raised almost 400,000.00. Other fund raising initiatives that are near and dear to her heart is the “Ladies Night Out” Alzheimer’s Society fundraiser that she has supported since 2005. Another mentionable would be the “Around the World in 30 Days” fundraiser with the Sault Area Hospital Foundation. Other fundraisers include, Power of Pink Golf Tournament, United Way Golf Tournament, ARCH Golf Tournament to name a few.

Why are you running?

I have a genuine passion for this community and would like to help in any way I can to see it grow and prosper by creating an environment that would encourage growth and create jobs.

What are the issues that you care about? 

I want to ensure the pledges made by our new government are fulfilled as promised. The promise of provincial funding for more long-term care beds is important due to our ageing population. The promise of funding for Huron Central Rail infrastructure improvements is crucial to the survival of the service and I would like to see that followed through as well. Keeping taxes low, without compromising services, is an issue that I care about now and have cared about for the past three budgets. I would like to continue to work with fellow councilors on these issues and others that will have an impact on our municipality.

What strengths do you bring to the campaign/city council?

My 4 years’ experience on council will help me continue to make the best decisions on behalf of the residents of our city. My business experience as an Owner/Manager of North Star Travel and Tours has helped me understand the budgeting and finance component of my job as city councilor. I have been in the service industry my entire working career, and understand the importance of how a councilor can serve their constituents. My positive outlook has served me well in my business environment. I carry that same attribute while I’m wearing my councilor hat. My core values that I have essentially followed throughout my business career, honesty, hard work, confidence and perseverance guide me through decisions I have to make as a city councilor and have served me well.

If I’m fortunate enough to be re-elected, I would offer to serve on the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, and help in any way I can to support growth and future development, retain jobs and attract visitors. I strongly believe that we must do more to lobby the Provincial Government for funding to help us achieve our goals.

Winona Hutchinson


I was born in Toronto in 1967 and moved to the Sault in 1999.

Winona Hutchinson I’d been visiting the Sault every year of my life as extended family are Saultites.

I have a varied work experience beginning with graduating from Humber College as a Child and Youth Worker in 1989 and worked with Behavioral and Special Needs Youth for over 15 years.

Why are you running?

As a resident of Ward 3 the following three things are very important to me and others in our Ward.

What are the issues that you care about? 

1. Addictions

Because of my social services background I am deeply concerned as to the extent of our addiction crisis here in the Sault and I can no longer take a back seat. I need to be more vocal on behalf of the residents in Ward 3 and Sault Ste Marie on being proactive to bring in resources to help not only those suffering from addiction but also their families and communities.

This is not an isolated problem that is only found in one part of our city but a problem that spans across all boundaries.

It is also because of my background that I know I can be an effective resource in investigating and reaching out for those resources. I would be happy to roll up my sleeves and partner with our local agencies in finding those solutions for our city.

2. Business to the Sault

As a mother of four beautiful children and their families, I believe it will be through partnership with the Business Development Corporation and the city to present an attractive Sault Ste Marie for businesses to come here.

We need to bring business here so our youth can see a future for them and their families here. We cannot and should not rely on Essar Steel or the Tube Mill. More and more they are leaving to find work elsewhere and that needs to change. Further, after attending Premier Ford’s campaign here in town, I will be happy to keep the lines of communication open with Ross Romano and ensuring the promises made to Sault Ste Marie will be kept.

3. Transparency and Accountability

Although every member has said this as a platform I have yet to see it come to fruition to my comfort.

As a Council member I believe that is imperative that we are not only listening to the residents in our Ward but to also ensure that we in return pass on information to them to keep them informed.

As a representative I believe it is less about my individual wants and more about the needs of the Ward and our City. The Sault does need to move forward however, we also need to make sure it is done with fiscal accountability and transparency after all it is our tax money and every resident of Sault Ste Marie should feel confident that their city council is acting in the best interest of everyone.

What strengths do you bring to the campaign/city council?

Always striving for a challenge I changed fields and worked in International Tax for over 10 years. After the passing of my mother I returned to work in the Separate school board for a time and then branched out into Business and Managed a few retail stores. I am proud of the various positions I have held as it has given me insight into many situations that the residents of Ward 3 have and I can lend a perspective that I feel works towards solutions.

Matthew Shoemaker


Matthew was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie. Locally, he attended Notre-Dame-des-Écoles elementary school, St. Mary’s College high school, then obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History at Algoma University. At Algoma U, he was elected to the Student Union and was proud to participate in the pursuit of independence for Algoma University from Laurentian University.

After his undergrad, he attended the University of Ottawa where he obtained his law degree. At both AlgomaU and uOttawa, Matthew was the receipient of academic awards for high achievement in his studies.

Despite having gone away for school, he was intent on returning to Sault Ste. Marie upon completing his legal studies. Fortunately, he was able to do so when he was offered a position at the Wishart Law Firm, where he’s worked since 2012.  He’s committed to giving back to his community, and he ran for City Council so that more people can return home to serve the Sault in whatever capacity they are able to. Thanks to the residents of Ward 3, he was sent to the Council table, having been elected in Ward 3 with 2,705 votes. He’s grateful for this opportunity and works hard every day to satisfy the concerns of Ward 3 and the City at large.

He and his wife, Jenna, were married in 2015. In 2018 they welcomed their first child, Hudson, to the world. They live in the Sault with their West Highland Terrier named Maple.

Matthew is fluent in English, French and Italian.

Why are you running?

I ran in 2014 because I thought there was a lack of diversity of Council. We didn’t have anyone under the age of 50 on Council. I didn’t see many new ideas coming forward at Council. In the last 4 years, I’ve tried to change that. I have tried to bring a young professional’s perspective to Council decisions, and have tried to bring forward as many new ideas as possible. I still think Council badly needs this and that’s why I’m running again.

What are the issues you care about?

Making sure every tax dollar is well spent. I have spearheaded reviews of the City’s parking operations (saving $180,000 yearly), a 1-year staff wage freeze (saving $220,00 that year), a reduction in the size of Council (saving $55,000 annually) and many other initiatives. I want to keep pushing for paid staff parking, for tax increases at or below the rate of inflation, and for downtown re-development and beautification.

What strengths do you bring to the campaign/city council?

I will make sure I get to the most doors I can possibly get to in my ward, will push new ideas out, and will make sure that the issues people care about at their doorsteps are the ones I try to resolve if I’m lucky enough to be reelected.