Sault Ste. Marie City Hall renamed in honour of former Mayor Ronald A. Irwin

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Irwin Plaque

Sault Ste. Marie, ON – A dedication ceremony marking a name change for
Sault Ste. Marie’s City Hall was held today in honour of former Mayor Ronald A. Irwin.
In recognition of his record of public service and his contribution to the community and
the country, the City of Sault Ste. Marie has renamed its City Hall to the Ronald A. Irwin
Civic Centre.

The Honourable Ronald A. Irwin served as both a City Councillor and as Mayor when
key decisions were made to move forward with the waterfront redevelopment and the
relocation of City Hall to its current location. Further, he was the Mayor in 1974 when
construction of City Hall was finished and the building was opened to the public. In the
context of these considerations, a committee of Council was formed in 2020 and
unanimously determined that the Civic Centre was the most appropriate choice to
commemorate Mr. Irwin’s contributions to the community.

“In the 70s, Sault Ste. Marie was commencing urban renewal, with a concentration on
the waterfront,” states former Mayor Ronald Irwin when reflecting on the current location
of City Hall. “I remember that from Clergue Park, looking westerly, the waterfront was a
mix of industrial and commercial uses. I spent the mayoralty campaign carting a foam
model from meeting to meeting, doing my best to convince people of the waterfront’s
potential. On January 8, 1973, I contacted all former mayors still living, Jim McIntyre,
Alec Harry and John Rhodes. We went down to the old ferry dock site and turned the
sod. Getting City Hall to the waterfront was only the beginning.”

Born in Sault Ste. Marie in 1936, the Honourable Ronald A. Irwin C.M., LL.B., Q.C.,
P.C., records a lifetime of public service as the only political leader to have served as a
school board trustee, City Councillor, Member of Parliament, Privy Councillor,
Ambassador and Counsul General. From 1993 to 1997, he served the country of
Canada as the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Canadian
Ambassador to Ireland (1998–2001) and Counsul General of Canada in Boston (2001–
2005). He was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1984 and from 1993 to 1997.

“Ron Irwin has a long and impressive record of serving both his community and his
country,” said Mayor Christian Provenzano. “Wherever he was and whatever he was
doing in his many roles, he represented the best qualities of our community: hard
working, resilient and determined. The rededication of City Hall in his name is a fitting
tribute to his legacy and his contribution.”

Locally, Irwin served as Mayor of the City of Sault Ste. Marie from 1972 to 1974, prior to
which he served as an Alderman of Council and School Board Trustee. Irwin was made
a Member of the Order of Canada in 1975 and awarded the Sault Ste. Marie Medal of
Merit in 1999.

“Over the years I have been fortunate to have served Sault Ste. Marie and Canada in
many capacities,” adds Irwin. “Perhaps the answer to why seek public office is as
simple as that. The reward is in the doing.”

The City of Sault Ste. Marie congratulates the Honourable Ronald A. Irwin on his many
achievements and for providing a vital role in the City’s ongoing expansion and
continued growth.

1 COMMENT

  1. I knew Ron in high school, but have not lived in the Soo since I left for college in the 50’s. He has had quite a career, and the honour he received is well-deserved.

    Could you provide me with his email address? I would like to send him a personal note. I appreciate confidentiality’s that you must respect, but hope that he would authorize you to forward it.

    Thank you for any assistance you may be able to provide.

    Alan Cameron, SCI 1956

    Reply moderated

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