Coat of Arms
The official armorial bearings of the Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie were granted by Governor General David Johnston on March 20, 2015. The blazon (or description of the elements) was approved by City Council July 15, 2013.
The coat of arms and motto is a distinguished and official symbol of the City with an elevated status that sets it apart from other elements of the City's visual identity.
As a heraldic device it is intended for ceremonial applications only. Its use is restricted to key applications tied to the Mayor's office such as the Mayor's ceremonial stationery, Mayoral Chain of Office, proclamations, seals, selected souvenirs and executive gifts and the City's Medal of Merit medal.
Local artist Eva Pilar-Cass was contracted by the Canadian Heraldic Authority to create the artistic rendition.
The shield has yellow-gold side sections and a blue center section composed of a vertical stripe that angles out at the top and bottom. On the stripe section are two white chevrons pointing upwards, one above the other, with a whitefish above and a white lily flower below them.
The arms are in the colours of the city and the background of the design makes reference to its most famous feature, the historic lock gates of the Sault Ste. Marie Canal.
The shape refers to the narrowing of the passage of water through the locks, and it also resembles the cross section of a steel girder, thus alluding to the steel industry that was an important part of the city's history.
The whitefish is a species that has been found in great numbers in the Sault rapids.
The lily is a symbol of St. Mary and thus alludes to the city's name; it also makes reference to city's French heritage.
The Clergue Block House in Sault Ste. Marie, is set in place by a wreath of twisted cloth in gold and blue.
The Block House is a distinctive local building, and one of the oldest in the city. Originally a fur trade structure used by the Northwest Company, it was acquired and expanded by Francis H. Clergue, an American industrialist who developed the city's industrial base in the 1890s.
On either side of the shield is an Eastern, or timber, wolf in its natural grey colour, each holding the shaft of a hand crucible as used by steelworkers, in gold/yellow. They stand on a base of pine branches and gold or autumnal maple leaves, placed on white and blue waves from rapids.
The eastern or timber wolf is a powerful local animal known for its gregariousness. The crucibles, held by long shafts, are tools used by steelworkers to gather molten steel; as such, they provide another reference to the city's steel industry heritage.
The base marks the significance of the local forestry industry, with the white-capped waves a reference to the Sault rapids.
The maple leaves indicate the city's identity as a Canadian border municipality, their gold colour alluding to those in the coat of arms of Ontario.
This phrase "Ojibwe Gchi Gami Odena" in the Ojibway language appeared on the original emblem of Sault Ste. Marie. First Nations language experts confirmed the phrase to mean "settlement near the Ojibwe's big lake".
It appears that Sault Ste. Marie is the first municipality in Canada to incorporate a motto in Ojibway in its coat of arms.