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Here's what they're proposing for our downtown plaza (7 images)

Cost for the project was initially estimated at $6.6 million, but final calculations have yet to be made

Sault Ste. Marie City Council will receive an update next week on the multi-million plaza planned for the downtown block bordered by Spring, Queen, Brock and Bay Streets.

The presentation by Colin Berman, a landscape architect and principal with Toronto-based design and planning consultant Brook McIlroy, will include renderings of the project.

City officials hope construction of the plaza can begin in May 2021 and completed during the fourth quarter of that year.

COVID-19 permitting, the plaza would be used for community gatherings starting in the spring of 2022.

Renderings to be shown to City Council on Monday include a large skating rink/ water park area, stage, play area, dynamic lighting, fire pit, skate change room and a building for an ice resurfacer and mechanical equipment, outdoor farmers' market and a mound constructed of local sandstone with an integrated water spray.

The project, initially priced at $6.6 million, is intended to be a signature, year-round public space for the Sault's downtown.

Other projects studied by Brook McIlroy in preparing its initial concepts for Sault Ste. Marie include:

  • Prince Arthur's Landing in Thunder Bay
  • Market Square in Guelph
  • Riverwalk Commons in Newmarket
  • Pat Bayly Square in Ajax

"Our concept celebrates the dynamic St. Mary's River rapids, using their form as inspiration for the plaza design, with shapes, patterns and storytelling with the space," says the consultant's description of the project.

"Importantly, the story of Baawitigong and the Anishinaabe people will be expressed to ensure indigenous people cared for and understood this place long ago."

Mill Market is expected to move to 73 Brock Street, adjacent to the new plaza.

City officials have applied to federal and provincial sources for funding for the downtown plaza.

The city's share of the project cost was initially estimated at $3.2 million, although final calculations haven't been made.

Monday's City Council meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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