Sudbury

Sault city hall named after mayor Ron Irwin

City hall in Sault Ste. Marie officially has a new name.

Irwin, 83, pushed to build city hall near river to revitalize industrial land

The Irwin family, shown here, at the renaming of Sault Ste. Marie city hall. (Supplied by the city of Sault Ste. Marie)

City hall in Sault Ste. Marie officially has a new name.

Back in 1972, the big issue for voters in Sault Ste. Marie was where to build a new city hall.

Mayoral candidate Ron Irwin wanted to put it along the St. Mary's River, as part of a plan to rejuvenate the city's rusty industrial waterfront, while the other candidate warned that plan would see city hall fall into the river.

Voters elected to follow Irwin's vision, and almost 50 years later, the building is being renamed in his honour. 

In a ceremony Monday, Irwin, 83,  said the real credit goes to those who kept him dedicated to the cause. 

Keep your head down, I promise you'll get there

"My mom would say 'life is tough.' She said put your head down and keep going straight ahead. I promise you, you'll get there," Irwin said.

"Now, my name's on the building. Because I climbed the ladder," he said. "But in fact, it was her and all those other ones who were here before me. They brought that ladder. It was my wife who held it up so I wouldn't fall off." 

"So when you honour me today, you honour all of them, which I thank you."

Irwin would go on to be the city's member of parliament, served in the cabinet of Prime Minister Jean Chretien and was later Canada's ambassador to Ireland.

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