Downtown or not downtown? that is the question

A SaultOnline graphic depicting what we believe the official downtown area is based on our research -

What is the downtown? If you were to define, in terms of recognizable and agreed upon boundaries, where it was, on a map, would you be able to do it?

During discussions on the removal of the transit station from the current Dennis Street location to the newly approved Huron Street location, both Councillor Rick Niro and Mayor Provenzano said Huron Street was still downtown.

With the importance of the downtown being emphasized in recent discussions, SaultOnline has discovered a policy brief, that states wherever the definition lies, it is important to our core.

“Downtowns instantly tell the state of a city, speaking volumes about the city’s economic health, quality of life, pride and history. A healthy, vibrant downtown reflects a healthy, vibrant community and can affect the city’s ability to attract new people and investment.”

With that in mind SaultOnline asked Mayor Provenzano what the official boundaries were for our city, defining what is considered to be downtown.

The proposed Bus Terminal Location falls outside even the city’s own definition of downtown is according to our research.

“Huron street would be the boundary of downtown by the City’s definition. We can’t confuse the downtown with the BIA and that sometimes gets confused,” said Provenzano. “The downtown Business Improvement Area is called the Downtown Association, so over time we’ve kind of come to associate the boundaries of downtown as the boundaries of the BIA. But, the City’s boundary of downtown on the west side is Huron Street.”

However, even including Huron street as the western limit of the official downtown, moving the Bus Terminal, which may be relocated to the west side of the street, still will place it out of the official downtown box.

Where do you feel the downtown ends? leave your comments and reasons below.



  1. A little out of my league but just have to point out. As a visitor in town i would say down town in Great Northern And McNabb to Great Northern
    and Third line. Seems where most of the businesses are booming.

  2. The debate goes on. I’ve worked in the City’s Planning Department for 39 years (1966 to 2003) and a guiding principle and Official Plan policy has always been to guide future land uses in a manner that strengthens the Downtown. The downtown should be the core of the community that includes the core of;
    government offices and facilities,
    head offices offices of local financial institutions,
    general office space
    retail activity
    This has been slowly eroded by individual decisions that that moved core land uses out of the downtown core. At the time these individual decisions were considered by politicians to be appropriate. Slowly and cumulatively these political decisions have eroded the downtown.
    To now lengthen the downtown westerly to Huron Street and move the Bus Terminal is one of those erroneous political decisions. I would suggest leaving it in its existing location or if it has to move put the terminal in front of City Hall and leave the Bus Garage where it is.
    Bill Wierzbicki

  3. Semantics.

    I considered the old hospital to be downtown.
    Wendy’s is downtown.
    West Side Cafe is downtown.
    Bushplane Museum is downtown.

    The bus terminal move is a big WHO CARES to me. You can get off the bus at the Mall or anywhere on Queen Street. Irrelevant where the actual terminal building is.
    Many cities our size have no terminal at all, just transfer points.

  4. Yes I grow up all my life in the Sault & East ST. & ending at Gore St. Is the downtown gore. This is not the Huron ST. Is not the proper location to put our bus terminal at the very least it needs to be were it is or very close to the same location it is now. It does not make any sense to move it further from were it is now. Pleas think about this. Arena, stores, mall & waterfront are all right there near the station now including some apartments buildings. It is in the best location now.

  5. Church to Huron, Wellington to the water, in the broad sense.

    In actuality, as to what people who live in the Sault consider downtown, Pim to Gore, Queen to the water.

    Yes, the bus barn is not “technically” downtown, I’ll agree that it is.

    Still not a good idea to move it and make it that much difficult for riders.
    Seriously. Rather than hopping on the his at the terminal and going to the west end/ p-patch, wherever, you need will need to ride it to the new terminal, wait, then get on another bus.

  6. Downtown starts at East and ends at GORE street. Huron street is is Steelton. Seriously? How does our city council not get this? They keep changing lines to suit their needs.

  7. Pim St to Gore St., there were no businesses on Queen St west of Gore until you hit the James St Area. Where the casino is located was Traders’ Metal, a cesspool of metal, oil drums, and other obnoxious products, a firehall was on Central St – now family occupied and an antique store that didn’t open until 1980s. The chrome plant and paper mill were next on Huron and Queen; and a hotel and housing on Huron and Cathcart; a street that doesn’t exist off of Queen was Hudson and that is where most housing started running west to the business district of James St., largely populated with housing and businesses owned by the Italian community.
    … and in the 1940s the city police would not even patrol west of Gore St. for more reasons than one…

  8. Gore to church. Anything further west is them just trying to spin their already decided plan. Those criminals don’t listen to what the public wants. Nobody wants the terminal on Huron st! Only the people that will make money off of it want that(and guaranteed some people on council are making a fortune). Just like Pointe Des Cheise

  9. I would say Huron to Church because the areas contained within those boundaries aren’t otherwise defined. West of Huron, south of Cathcart is clearly Jamestown, north of Cathcart being Steelton. East of church is the old hospital area/S.L.U.M., with North

  10. Who cares, there are hundreds of other businesses that are not downtown that are getting tired of the focus on the downtown core… maybe move the bus terminal up to great northern road to satisfy those businesses…. The facts were presented, the decision was made, MOVE ON…

    • THIS 100%
      The businesses outside of the downtown core represent many times more with regard to the SSM economy than all the downtown combined. The constant focus and favouritism of the dying downtown is a slap in the face of all the other SSM businesses that have been contributing to the economy.

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