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Rotary Welcome Cairns

Russ Ramsay Way, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, P6A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2005/10/17

looking north from the east side of Russ Ramsay Way; City of Sault Ste. Marie
Rotary Welcome Cairns, 2005
looking north from Russ Ramsay Way; City of Sault Ste. Marie
Rotary Welcome Cairns, 2005
looking north from the west side of Russ Ramsay Way; City of Sault Ste. Marie
Rotary Welcome Cairns, 2005

Other Name(s)

Rotary Welcome Cairns
Rotary Welcome Arch

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/07/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Constructed in 1938, the Rotary Welcome Cairns are the remaining sandstone cairns of the former Rotary Welcome Arch. They are located at the north end of Russ Ramsay Way, a street that currently provides access to the Sault Ste. Marie Civic Centre and waterfront and, in the past, the International Ferry Dock.

The Rotary Welcome Cairns have been recognized for their heritage value by the City of Sault Ste. Marie, By-law 2005-160.

Heritage Value

The Rotary Welcome Cairns marked the entrance to Sault Ste. Marie when the only access for vehicular traffic from the north, west and the United States was via the international ferry from Michigan. The Arch welcomed travellers arriving on the ferry to Sault Ste. Marie and the District of Algoma. Sponsored by the Rotary Club, it was designed locally by John Arthur Luxton who is also noted for having designed the original logo for the Sault Star newspaper and the Algoma Steel "A". Plaques on the cairns attest to the importance and significance of the remains as a once prominent entranceway. The construction of the Rotary Welcome Arch was supported by local businesses, such as Algoma Steel, who designed and donated the original steel arch. It was built with local materials.

The building of the International Bridge and the Trans-Canada Highway around Lake Superior removed the focus from Russ Ramsey Way and the Arch as the primary access point, and only the cairns now remain. The remaining cairns serve as a reminder of the former gateway to Sault Ste. Marie and the welcome that was extended to visitors from the west and the United States. They continue to be an important local landmark.

Sources: Sault Ste. Marie Designation by-law 2005-160; Rotary Welcome Cairns Designation Report.

Character-Defining Elements

Key character defining elements that illustrate the heritage value include:
- their original location close to the waterfront and the former international ferry dock
- local sandstone construction
- the plaques on the cairns noting the local designer, major contributors and the role of the Rotary Club




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Community Organizations

Function - Category and Type



Public Art or Furnishings

Architect / Designer

John Arthur Luxton



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Community Services Department, Recreation and Culture Division, City of Sault Ste. Marie

Cross-Reference to Collection

Sault Ste. Marie Museum; Sault Ste. Marie Public Library Archives

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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