The Hotel is In the Mix


I am just assuming, but where there is smoke there is fire. With the overhaul of the former St. Mary’s Paper site via the addition of the Machine Shop, Mill Steakhouse, The Boiler Room, Ice Cream shop etc, it was only apparent that SIS Group owner Tony Porco had a vision………and it’s coming to fruition.

Recently the provincial government announced that they will allocate $5 million dollars Tony’s way in his endeavour to relocate the Agawa Canyon Train station. Word actually got out last year but it wasn’t supposed to. A conversation I had with someone close to the source, told me that the info slipped out and wasn’t supposed to be known until further due diligence had been done. (Grants/Funding Applications etc)

Anyway, it looks like it is full steam ahead………(hmmm, maybe relocate the “abandoned” M.S Norgoma to site as well) and the discussions, tendering, etc will begin if they have not already.

I have to applaud the forward thinking that will bring much-needed traffic to the once ghost town at the end of Huron St.

The view from the International Bridge coming into Canada has been an eyesore during the St.Marys Papers’ tenure, and certainly after, but with the money that has been poured into (the site)  and with certainly more pouring into the redevelopment, it will only be a positive for the travelling eyes memories of their initial greeting of Canada.

Now getting back to the hotel; these are just my thoughts as I haven’t heard anything, but my guess is that it would be a no brainer and I’m sure it’s in the works sometime down the road.

With the relocation of the train station and the $ Millions $ of dollars, the summer/fall colour train brings in each year,  a full-service hotel only feet away from disembarking off the train would only make sense.

Currently, The Quality Inn enjoys preferential treatment of sorts considering its location, but with greenery, parks, steakhouse etc, just steps away………….and off the beaten path, I can see $225 standard hotel rooms EASILY reserved during the peak periods without hesitation and as quickly as they are available.

Don’t forget,  a good majority of the passengers that that take the train for the summer and fall colour run are from the US where they get more bang for their buck.

As important as the product is, the strong US dollar (economics) is,……… it’s also about “location, location, location” in my opinion.

To be quite frank, Tony will enjoy a “baby” monopoly of sorts; in that just by advertising, “only feet away from the train station, the Francis H. Clergue Hotel and Suites offers you” ….. would be just as natural as a paddle in a canoe or a  string on a violin.

Anyway, I think the vision by Tony is great for our community, and I am not joking about the boat. How spectacular would the Norgoma look anchored on land somewhere near the hotel, train station, Machine Shop etc?  More than a few necks cranked to the right from oncoming traffic into our fine country will be had. You can probably throw in a few car accidents as well.

On another note Tony, make it a hotel with an indoor water park; this will ensure high occupancy during the winter months….for locals and tourists alike.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts.

Thanks for reading,

Ernest Skinner

Previous articleJOHNSON, Gerald Robert
Next articleCanadian peacekeepers evacuated injured French counter-terror troops in Mali
Ernest Skinner
Ernest Skinner was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie and attended Humber College after high school. He has a passion for other cultures and has travelled throughout Mexico and many South American countries. He has written many articles over the years that deal with events happening here in Sault Ste. Marie and around the globe. Ernest has interviewed many rock and roll musicians including, Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy.Dio.Whitesnake, Quiet Riot), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger). Adrian Vandenberg (Vandenberg, Whitesnake, Moonkings), Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot), David Ellefson (Megadeth), Sass Jordan, Lee Aaron, John Corabi (Motley Crue/Dead Daisies), Geoff Tate (Queensryche) Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest), Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner) and many more. Reading about ancient civilizations, world politics, and mysteries of the unknown are also defining factors that are his general makeup. Outside of being serious, he has a bright sense of humour that was moulded from shows like Seinfeld & The Simpsons. Ernest is a freelance writer.


  1. Thanks for reading Steve; with the millions that would be spent on a hotel, I think the added bonus to include some water slides etc would only enhance the property that I think will be built. I have not inside info on this; it’s just an educated guess. Having said that, Saultites spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year first converting our weak dollar to US and then spending it at the Great Wolf in TC, or Avalanche Bay (Boyne, MI). If we would advertise as properly as the Americans do and let them know how powerful their dollar is, we could lasso them in. I know for a fact that many Americans are unaware of their dollar and it’s strength. The hotel could also reap in revenue from locals during the down season with the Waterpark draw. Thanks again for reading and feel free to Share this piece.


  2. You need something to bring them in. Waterpark? Winter swimming is fine, but for an actual waterpark, you need an outside draw as you are competing with other communities province-wide, and even a little into Michigan. But you need to bring them in. The Norgoma as a restaurant ship might be something. Think Capt John’s on the Toronto waterfront back in the day. Imagine serving up whitefish and other locally caught food. Other attractions too, the Russell Brothers tugs and what not. Make it distinctive and interesting.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here