Ron Irwin, the former mayor of Sault Ste. Marie who later served as a federal Liberal cabinet minister, died Saturday at the age of 84.
“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,” current Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano said in a statement.
Irwin was the city’s mayor from 1972 until 1974 and later served as the member of parliament for Sault Ste. Marie from 1980 to 1984 and again from 1993 to 1997. During his second tenure as an MP, he was a member of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s cabinet.
After retiring from Parliament in 1997, Irwin served as Canada’s ambassador to Ireland and consul-general in Boston.
“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,” the statement from the city read.
In September, Sault Ste. Marie’s city hall was renamed in honour of Irwin, who was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1975.
The city said in its statement that flags at city facilities will be flown at half-mast to commemorate Irwin’s contributions to the city.