Sault Ste. Marie is About to Look A Lot Different

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After a lengthy presentation from Travis Anderson, Project Manager of FutureSSM and Katie Elliott, FutureSSM Communications Coordinator and praises from Algoma U, Sault College, and the Indian Friendship Centre, City Council decided during Tuesday evening’s meeting to go ahead with the new plan to rebrand the city of Sault Ste. Marie.

Current logo

This rebranding – which FSSM has been working on for the past two years, getting input from community members and consultants – involves changing the city’s current logo (pictured right) as well as the tag line. The new slogan will read:

Work. Life. Balance. Where you belong. Biindigen (Welcome). 

Accompanied by the new logo (shown in the image at the top of this article), Future SSM is hoping this rebrand will both attract and retain newcomers – especially youth.

“The purpose (of this rebrand) is to capture energy of people living here,”  Elliot said. “It’s more than just a logo.”

Elliot went on to explain two reasons behind the rebrand:

  • To build up community pride and lift people up; and
  • To make the city stand out in a competitive environment – “The way we tell our story really matters,” she said.

Algoma University President Asima Vezina said the University team is excited for this “tremendous” opportunity to work with this logo, while also acknowledging that “change isn’t always easy for a community.”

“We (Algoma U) can work with this,” she said. “We can tie our marketing campaign in with what the city is trying to do.”

While most of the Councillors questioned the meaning behind the logo (“How can i tell the story if I don’t understand the circle?” said Coun. Bruni) and why more people in the community weren’t involved (it was advised against by consultants as too much of a focus group wouldn’t help narrow it down, said Deputy CAO Tom Vair), most of them were on-board for the branding strategy and trying to attract and keep young people here in the Sault.

Despite efforts from Coun. Shoemaker and Coun. Scott to defer the decision to a later date to allow for the chance to update the current logo and make it a contender, Council voted 6-2 in favour of the new rebranding strategy. Councillors Shoemaker and Scott voted in opposition, while Councillors Hollingsworth and Vezeau-Allen weren’t in attendance.

“No doubt it will take some time for myself and others to get accustomed to the new logo,” said Coun. Niro.  “This is not just about a logo it’s about a community telling our story and the platform around it and trying to attract others.”

“The logo doesn’t have broad community support and not my support,” said Coun. Shoemaker. “It doesn’t represent Sault Ste. Marie like the old one does. We should be updating the naturally gifted logo.”

“This is taking a big risk, putting ourselves out there, being proud and telling our story,” said Coun. Hilsinger. “It’s not about logos; it’s about telling a story – telling people work life balance is important, the three languages are to be proud of.”

“We have to do things differently; we are not growing,” she stated.

Mayor Provenzano mirrored Hilsinger’s sentiment, saying “we cant keep doing things the way we’re doing things. We need to develop the community and that means change.”

97 COMMENTS

  1. Colin Nelson: Good call. Just checked and it definitely looks very similar to designs on shutter stock. Plagiarism with just a few tweaks.
    I think we’ve been had.

  2. OMG !!! What a joke this new logo is !!! I’m not surprised the tax & spenders voted for this. I predicted that our taxes would go up by at least 3.3% this year and I predicted that our taxes would go up by that amount, at least 3.3%, for each of the next 3 years. For the record, I would have absolutely voted against this new logo, no questions asked !!! Good luck to all of us who pay the bulk of the property taxes in SSM. We’re in for a rude awakening with this liberal tax & spend council.

  3. It all makes sense now. All these yrs we the people of the Soo thought that good paying jobs attracted new people to move here, how wrong we were. All we had to do was change a logo. That being said now that city hall will be white in color maybe it should be painted in this ugly logo so those that voted for it can sit in it too. To the people who want to save the Norgoma get tour people togrther and paint it up like the logo how can they move it then without shooting themselves in the foot.

  4. Thank you Matthew Shoemaker, who actually listened to us citizens, who are vocally unsupportive of this new logo.
    Many conversations have occurred, Sault today polls etc and the results are pretty clear, we do not like the new logo.
    It’s sad that we voiced our opinion and they didn’t care, we are a democracy and these are our representatives, not dictators.
    What a sad city 🙁

    • It was pretty clear during Provenzano’s statement before voting, he didn’t care. Those in charge have never cared about the average citizen. Nothing has changed. Why do you think the city is getting worse and not better. If they chose to actually care then things might turn around.

  5. 5 million for a new train station at the machine shop ….when we have one ….and other tourist attractions ….why not take care of the ppl in the sault ..our mall is a attraction for tourists i know i go shopping when im out of town ….so sad ….and $600 thousand to revamp the downtown core

    • Not even a tourist attraction anymore, with Sears gone, Walmart, bluenotes and Suzy sheir leaving the only things that’ll be left is two car showrooms. Who knows, apparently the logo is going to be our saviour, maybe it’ll make stores move in. 🙄😔

  6. Okay, if we were going to change the logo at least make it something decent. I didn’t even realize that was the new logo until I read the article. It’s EXTREMELY boring!!! I like the flow of the letters in the logo we have now. If you want to change up colour, or font, or the picture that is in the background then go for it but this is a major downgrade

  7. What a crock and a waste of 100K that could have helped fix our main downtown bush access road.

  8. Waste of time and money, should have put whatever money was invested in this nonsense towards something worth while. I much prefer the old logo. When somethings not broke don`t fix it City Council.

  9. Thank you Shoemaker for voting against this. This is the worst log I have ever seen. (Thumbs Down to this Logo)

    • Been back to the Sault 3 years now. Not much has changed since I left in the late 70’s. A waste of money on this new logo as far as I am concerned. Really sad.

  10. I’m not 100% against the logo, I’m not particularly fond of it, it’ll grow on us. I’m 100% for the rebranding. I think this was done is a very Inconsiderate manner. I’m more frustrated that the community wasn’t consulted. You cannot give a list of 20 businesses and groups (all business or education related) and say that’s the community. It does not represent the community, it is a hand selected group, who most likely the project individuals knew and would have no problem getting on board. This process only further disheartens me in showing that only students, top business individuals, those connected to the project have voices worth hearing. Apparently the average resident is just here to pay for their projects and their salaries. Because I’m no longer a student, because I’m not part of a business group, my voice is not important. Going to council for approval with already having marketing items printed and being worn pretty much was a slap in the face to everyone opposed. Why council even bothered discussing the matter was a waste of time and energy because the logo was already being worn, legal was already looking into protecting the IP. It was a joke to even have a discussion, once we saw the shirts we knew it was a done deal. Another slap in the face to the residents. I think more people are opposed to the logo, more against the change, because it was another decision about our community without the community involvement. Not even a hey, here’s what we are working on, how would you like to have your say, opportunity.

  11. This is not a unique logo, simply go to any stock image website and you will find very similar logo marks available for anyone to use, it’s also similar to the CBC logo. It isn’t unique. The heads of the city want youth to stay or come back to the city; what is sad is that if you want to keep people in the city why would you even consider contracting business (marketing and branding firms) OUTSIDE of the city. If you want to keep residents from going out of town for jobs then provide opportunities in town to local residents, starting with such projects as this. You just did the opposite of your goal, you sourced out-of-town! Why say one thing and do another. Why has no one asked council or the edc or future ssm why they sourced outside of the community for a project aimed at keeping our youth, of building our community, of attracting people to the city when there are capable individuals locally?

  12. As person whom is from there, even though I barely tell people that and has worked on corporate logo’s, this does absolutely nothing and represents nothing that the Soo offers. If you’re trying to also represent our highly populated native culture in terms of healing and arts, then the best way to incorporate this would be to hire an actual native artist and let them rebrand the old logo using aspects of the old logo.

    Nothing in that logo screams native culture, healing or arts for that matter and I will reiterate, it does not represent anything the Soo has to offer.

  13. What frustrates me is that this logo is supposed to represent a gathering place, community, yet the community was not involved. Who were involved or part of focus groups were specific groups with links to the powers that be, not regular residents but business people or students. That does not reflect the majority of residents.

  14. The stupidity of this mayor and council knows no ends . Change for the sake of saying “ see I told you I’d bring change to this city “ . Never mind that it cost $100,000 and makes no sense whatsoever plus another $150,000 or so to change all the old logos around town . This mayor and council should resign in shame for stealing more hard earned tax dollars . Will ONNtv interview those that voted this abomination in ?

    • I’ll eventually get on board with the logo and the change. I just wish the city would change how they actually involve and reach out to residents. We live here, now. Before you do everything to get new residents, new business, maybe take care of those you already have first.

  15. Rebranding the city equals creating a logo that doesn’t make sense to most of the city? Maybe I need to move.

  16. Sorry… but why bother, why spend the money? We already have perfectly good logo. And also this logo is weird, like some kind of warped CBC logo. Spend the money elsewhere. Put it to some better use!!!

  17. It’s a circle, there’s an X, a bunch of K’s, and triangles, makes perfect sense! Lol.
    Junk! Nobody will ever recognize THAT monstrosity as a city logo.

  18. There were 17 overdoses in this city between April 29th to May 5th. We have horrible roads, students moving into the city just to get educated and have to move back out to find a job, emergency services that have no contracts.
    It’s a damn good thing we spent $100,000 to redo our logo and start building a brand, but what’s the brand going to be, “where you belong – for a short time?” Get real, people that are moving here aren’t able to settle and get comfortable, I know many people who have moved here, got a better offer so they uprooted and left, and yes I’m aware better offers happened everywhere and not just a Sault Ste Marie thing, but why are we so focused on branding a broken city? Why can’t we spend money on fixing the issues in the city and then brand afterwards? Wouldn’t it be more rewarding to fix problems first and then rebrand ourselves as a city that could see problems and make resolutions? (And not ones that end up back at a council meeting a month later)

    • Native Canadian, we are not American. And it is for Native healing and arts, although I am much more certain IF they actually let a Native person design it, it would’ve turned out much better!

    • Kurtis McDermid .ty….all in all changing our logo is just a big waste of money. put it toward getting the poison that is killing our loved ones off the streets.

    • I am not going to argue with you both about this, it is Native Canadian, we live in Canada, if you refer to the latter that Curtis speaks of then the correct term is Native America not American.

      Good luck with getting the poison off the streets there, won’t happen any time soon.

    • Laurie Rosario not into a pissing contest either so i put both to make everybody happy. thank you for being supportive about the drug crisis, i guess u haven’t lost a loved one yet

  19. Trash and unneeded looks like meth head came up with this . I think the citys brand is the very least the worries in this town . Seriously . Waste of time this is .

  20. Ate these councillors absolute total idiots ? What story does this logo tell other than welcome to kaleidoscope ville

  21. with all do respect who is running the city–mayor or tom and his gang –a lot of questions–if i get it others will in time

  22. 🤔hmm, yaaa??? With so many historical landmarks the Sault has to offer that could have been integrated within a logo…they settled on a crayon colored circle that looks like a 1st grader colored out of a coloring book🤔 way to go Sault Ste Marie…way to go!!😂

  23. Just leave it alone! There is nothing wrong with what we have?
    Does this city counsel have nothing better to do than worry about this trivial crap??
    Do they not have bigger agendas that can be discussed?
    Wow!

  24. What an absolute waste of money. And we get t-shirts before it’s approved? And the city lets us the public know on a Friday of the long weekend with 3 days to a vote? Amateur hour. Provenzano says we must think forward? How back-ass-wards is this process?

  25. I like the design, but it fails as a logo, especially one being used to represent a municipality. Unless the city’s new slogan is, “We’re different than all the other cities. Haven’t you seen the headlines?”

  26. If a logo needs to be explained it fails as a logo. This one does however have an optical illusion factor of ghostly yellow dots at some of the intersections which I guess is cool.

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