Skip to content

‘A Special Place’: New book about the Sault aims to help vulnerable population

Retired lawyer Frank Sarlo is donating sale proceeds from his new book toward helping city council tackle homelessness and addictions crisis
Frank Sarlo has written and released his book ‘A Special Place’ highlighting the qualities of Sault Ste. Marie and its people. Sale proceeds will go toward helping those facing addictions and homelessness.

Frank Sarlo is known for his love for Sault Ste. Marie.

Sarlo, who practiced law in the Sault for 40 years, has published his second book, A Special Place, highlighting the many assets the city has to offer, its people and how the community has survived through many challenges throughout its history.

The book’s release on Oct. 16 is timely, as the Sault could use some good news in light of recent tragedies and ongoing social problems.

Money raised from sales of A Special Place will go toward helping local people struggling with addictions and suffering from homelessness.

“I’m going to do whatever I can to raise as much money as I can, but as one person I can only do so much,” Sarlo told SooToday.

“It’s not going to raise a ton of money, but it’s a call to continue the conversation so we keep looking for solutions to these things.”

Sarlo said money raised from sales of the book will go to city council to decide where the funds can be best used in the campaign against addictions and homelessness.

“That’s going to be for our leaders to decide. We have a young mayor and young council of caring people and they’re attempting to put things together to meet those challenges,” Sarlo said.

“Something that I don’t think gets enough credit is our Social Services office. Their motto is ‘we care.’ Speaking with them, it convinced me that most of the people with Social Services understand the problems, that we have to change, we have to find solutions.”

Sarlo said he, like many others, hopes for a made-in-Sault Ste. Marie solution to the issues of addictions and homelessness.

“With the young leaders that we have today, our mayor and council and many others, there’s a lot of energy there to work on our problems and hopefully solve them.”

A Special Place is divided into six parts, each focusing on the Sault as a special place.

“In its pages we look at the spirit of place and how it’s provided us with a strong and unique personality, through its location and history, combined with special people.”

One particular section of the book highlights the Sault and area’s natural beauty and amenities, such as its waters, forests and hills, the Hub Trail, Hiawatha Highlands and many others.

The book reminds the reader of the city’s educational institutions, its many sports and recreation facilities, the boardwalk and canal district.

It tells the story of Algoma Steel’s survival through challenging times, PUC operations and the Sault Ste. Marie Airport’s successful transformation into the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation.

“Algoma Steel is the biggest example,” Sarlo said, recalling the early 1990s.

“I was the chair of a community committee that moved to save Sault Ste. Marie. Over 900 people came forward to volunteer for that effort and former Saultites in Ottawa made sure we would be heard by the government. At the time, the government was very conservative and they believed only the strong should survive so we lobbied the provincial government and the federal government, and we were able to change the government's mind and save Algoma Steel through employee ownership. The book tells the whole story of that.”

Another section of A Special Place looks at approximately 50 people who have come from the Sault and have achieved great things in a variety of fields, including Roberta Bondar, Ken Danby, the Esposito brothers and Ron Francis.

“I started writing it in February," Sarlo said.

"I didn’t have any real plans to publish it. I was really doing it to get an understanding of the spirit and soul of Sault Ste. Marie and by the end of it I had comments from over 30 interviews. I thought it was really important to get it out to the public because of the challenges we’re facing and to not forget all the blessings we have.”

“One of the things that came through loud and clear in the interviews was people saying we have strength and resilience, and when there’s a challenge or a need, people rally because we’re a caring community.”

A Special Place is Sarlo’s second book.

His first, Hound Town: One of the Best Hockey Towns Anywhere, was published in 2016 and examines the role the Soo Greyhounds have played in the community. 

A Special Place is available for purchase at Stone’s Office Supply, both Savoy’s Jewellers locations (at 290 Queen St. E. and Station Mall), First Impression, 45 Social, the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre and the Art Gallery of Algoma. 

One copy goes for $30 or 10 copies can be ordered for $250.

Buyers can also purchase a copy from Sarlo by email, with the order available for pickup at Stone’s Office Supply.

“It’s 100 per cent positive about the blessings that we have in Sault Ste. Marie,” Sarlo said.

“It’s a reminder for people that we’re going through some tough times and that we have some challenges but that the people of Sault Ste. Marie have always rallied to meet those challenges.”

What's next?

If you would like to apply to become a Verified reader Verified Commenter, please fill out this form.


Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
Read more