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

Monday, September 14, 2020

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. 
 
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