Jul 17, 2024

The civic centre of Saulte Ste. Marie honours the city’s multicultural population with the display of national flags. Photo by City of Saulte Ste. Marie.

It’s like a mini-United Nations at Sault Ste. Marie Civic Centre in Ontario.

Flags of different countries were residents of the multicultural city came from are flown at the seat of the municipal government.

For some time, the small but tight-knit Filipino community in Sault Ste. Marie had wanted to see their own flag unfurled at the civic centre.

Their wish received a boost on December 8 when Jason Gauthier, chief of the Missanabie Cree First Nation chief, announced that the First Nation is donating $1,000 toward the project.

According to a report by SooToday, a local online news outlet, Gauthier made the pledge during a Canadian Filipino community Christmas party held at the Marconi Multicultural Event Centre.

“Missanabie Cree will make sure the flag goes up... we’ll make sure that happens,” Gauthier said in the report.

According to the report, Roberto Rivera, a hospital worker who has lived in the city for 15 years, organized the gathering.

“The Sault is home to me now,” Rivera said in the SooToday report.

Reporting in September 2013, the same online news outlet recalled that the initiative to display flags was led by then city councillor Steve Butland.

“I think this is a project that keeps on giving, and this is an initiative that keeps on going,” Butland said at a ceremony that saw seven more flags added to the line-up.

The first group of 25 flags was raised in 2009.

“When you drive down Russ Ramsay Way you see these flags blowing and you can sense the pride,” Butland said in the 2013 report

At the time, Butland said that the flag of the Philippines could be added in the future.

In the latest SooToday report about Filipinos, the outlet quoted Rivera saying that there are over 100 people of Filipino descent in the city.

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