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Former Sault Mayor, MP Ron Irwin dies at age 84

Irwin served the city in many political roles including Mayor, as well as MP for Sault Ste. Marie for two terms
Ron Irwin and family
Ron Irwin and family. Photo supplied by the City of Sault Ste. Marie

Ron Irwin, who served in many roles on the political scene locally, federally and internationally, passed away today at the age of 84, the City of Sault Ste. Marie announced in a press release issued today. 

Irwin is the only local political leader to have served as a school board trustee, City Councillor, Member of Parliament, Privy Councillor, Ambassador and Consul General. He served as the MP for Sault Ste. Marie from 1980 to 1984 and again from 1993 to 1997.

During his time as Mayor, Irwin helped the city transform its waterfront from industrial use to a people-oriented place, including relocating City Hall to its current location.

The following is the full release from the city: 

The Honourable Ronald A. Irwin passed away today at the age of 84. Mayor Christian Provenzano, City Council and the City of Sault Ste. Marie wish to extend sincere condolences to his family members and friends, in particular his wife Marg, son Brady, daughters Toni and Nicole and eight grandchildren.  

“Ron loved Sault Ste. Marie dearly and he served it loyally for decades. On behalf of our community, I want to express my appreciation for his leadership and his incredible record of public service,” said Mayor Christian Provenzano. “Of Ron’s many impressive accomplishments, he was most proud of his family. I send our community’s deep and sincere condolences to his wife Marg, their family and his many friends. Ron will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by many.”  

Born in Sault Ste. Marie in 1936, Irwin holds an exemplary record of public service and community involvement. A leader and visionary, he is the only local political leader to have served as a school board trustee, City Councillor, Member of Parliament, Privy Councillor, Ambassador and Consul 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 Consul General of Canada in Boston (2001–2005). He was Sault Ste. Marie’s Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1984 and from 1993 to 1997.  

During his tenure as Mayor, Irwin helped the city transform its waterfront from industrial use to a people-oriented place, including relocating City Hall to its current location.  

Through his words and through his actions, Irwin helped shaped the community we live in. The results of his vision and leadership are visible to this day.  

On September 14, 2020, the City held a dedication ceremony marking a name change for Sault Ste. Marie’s City Hall to the Ronald A. Irwin Civic Centre in recognition of his record of public service and many contributions to the community and the country.  

Flags at City facilities will be flown at half-mast in recognition of his passing.