Explore our 2022 Projects

CityStudio Sault Ste. Marie aims to create social innovators and change makers who will contribute on the ground in the city of Sault Ste. Marie.

These projects are crowd-based solutions designed and implemented by teams of students, city staff and community members.

Bi'Minowaaseyaa - Downtown Lightbox Project Part 2

How do we create safer spaces in the downtown core?

Term: Fall 2021/Winter 2022

Students: Irene Gray, Shemia Nelson, Desiree Watson and Helene Proulx

Instructor: Andrea Pinheiro

City of SSM: Virginia McLeod, Manager of Recreation and Culture

Course code: VISA3456 Visual Art Internship

The Algoma University Visual Arts Internship Program in partnership with Arts & Culture and CityStudio SSM have designed a public art project to enrich arts and culture within the city of Sault Ste. Marie, while also making the city safer.

Our goal is to support the local art community by installing artworks that enhance safety within public spaces. Working with the Sault Downtown Association and local businesses, light-box display cases will be installed within problematic exterior downtown city sites. These light boxes will display artwork that promote wellness as well as physically lighting up the area thus creating a safer environment.

Our initial artist’s proposal involves the work of a fourth year Visual Arts student; Shemia Nelson.  Her digital drawings of Anishinaabe children will be displayed downtown in the Bi’Minowaaseyaa light-boxes to portray a sense of hope for the future.

Downtown Revitalization Part 2

Marketing strategies to 'mix up' the downtown core.

Term: Winter 2022

Students: Matthew Budau, Victoria Fitzgerald, Mahak Syed, Riley Coulter,

Instructor: Dr. Jody Rebek

Partners: Tom Vair

Course code: ADMN4607

Fourth Year students in ADMN4607, Business Policy and Strategy, were given a brief of the City’s current downtown strategy. Students were asked to develop a marketing plan to discover different ways to approach challenges faced by the city. The city’s main goals included ways to encourage and attract more diverse businesses to increase the “business mix” in the downtown core, opportunities for foreign investment, and increasing traffic and accessibility.

In groups, the students continued to develop the strategies that they have created in part one. Students had the opportunity to collaborate with key community stakeholders to finish developing 3-5 streamlined strategies for the municipality to take.

The “Northern Waters Consultants” group focused on increasing public recognition of Sault Ste. Marie’s downtown as an eco-friendly, vibrant, welcoming, and most importantly safe place. The group aimed to do this through the following strategies:

  • The Development of Downtown Districts 
  • Eco-Streetscape which will implement a clean street project, a pathway lighting project and an e-bike share pilot.
  • Incite Buy-In program that will incentivize investment in both new residential opportunities and professional businesses. This will include a wage support program for businesses that extend hours of operation into the evening and a Residency Support program, that will support the development of new housing and implement strategies to reduce the food desert in the downtown core.
Voluntary Local Review

How aligned is Sault Ste. Marie with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals?

Term: Winter 2022

Students:  All students enrolled in CESD 2306, 3907, 4907

Instructor: Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone

Partners: Emily Cormier, Sustainability Coordinator

Course code: CESD 2306, 3907, 4907

Local and regional governments are increasingly engaging in such sub-national reviews of SDG implementation, also called Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs). While the VLRs hold no official status, the process of undertaking these sub-national reviews is providing multiple benefits to the entities engaging in them and to SDG implementation at large. Sault Ste. Marie is now undertaking the process to make our community more sustainable, liveable and more prosperous for all people.

Using the City’s Official Plan, thirty-two CESD students assessed the current position and planning of the City through the lens of one or more Sustainable Development Goals (or a subset of a Goal’s targets and indicators) to determine which national and international targets are relevant to Sault Ste. Marie, how the current planning direction of the Official Plan (Backgrounder) addresses any of the Canadian and international SDG targets, and to provide recommendations regarding what the City needs to do in order to make progress on the applicable targets/goals.

Their findings now form the City’s consideration of how and whether a more comprehensive Voluntary Local Review process will be undertaken.

The Stay Network - A Strategy to Reduce Youth Outmigration in Sault Ste. Marie

How do we reduce Youth Outmigration in Sault Ste. Marie?

Term: Winter 2022

Students: Lauren Moran, Olivia Pase, Kendall Mitchell, Carina Joneit

Instructor: Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone

Partners: Travis Anderson, Director of Tourism and Community Development

Course code: CESD3907/4907

Youth retention is essential to ensure population growth in a community – many Northern Ontario communities, including the City of Sault Ste. Marie is experiencing substantial growth of their senior population, yet the younger population is declining. The attraction and retention of youth is a critical component to developing a vibrant community. Sault Ste. Marie will experience a detrimental labour shortage in the coming years if we don’t start retaining the youth.

CESD students have proposed that the City establishes “The STAY” program, an apprenticeship intermediary for the city of SSM that allows young people to explore meaningful, paid employment beginning in grades 11 and 12 at local high schools. It is the goal of the STAY program to connect with local businesses, educational institutions and the City of Sault Ste. Marie to gauge the current needs of the labor market and prepare students to enter those positions. The overarching concept of an intermediary is to bridge public education with local industries to prepare young people for the world of employment in a very concrete and powerful manner.

Winter Arts and Culture Festival - A Proposal for a Winter Arts and Culture Festival

What are some ways we can build tourism in the Winter months?

Term: Winter 2022

Students: Josie Weir, Makayla Braganca, Stephen Hawkins

Instructor: Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone

Partners: Tourism Sault Ste. Marie

The proposed project is a winter arts and culture festival “Winter Moon”, with the goal of providing recreation and connection in the winter months that engages youth and exhibits Indigneous culture through interactive outdoor and indoor activities.

The proposed Winter arts and culture festival will be a 3-day Indigenous arts and culture winter festival each year in February. The festival will be a compliment to the Bon Soo festival as well as the annual Summer Moon festival in June. The event will feature a variety of activities to engage with the community. Below is a list of the planned activities.

  • Youth mural design creation workshops
  • Powwow and Drumming Circle
  • Indigenous craft show and workshops
  • Elder storytelling at various community spaces
  • Winter street party with outdoor catering
  • Student art contests focused on various SDG themes including Peace, Prosperity, People, Planet & Partnerships.
Feed Sault Ste. Marie

How do we support the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 to “end hunger, ensure food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture” in Sault Ste. Marie?

Term: Winter 2022

Student: Rakesh Maddikunta

Instructor: Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone

Partners: Pending (An extension of the VLR project)

Course code: CESD2306

The project’s primary objective is to provide nutritious and sufficient food essentials to low-income families, indigenous communities, and racialized communities through an easy and efficient approach.

The FEED (Food Essentials Effortless Delivery) project is an online application built using modern technologies which will provide easy and prompt delivery of food essentials to low-income families, Indigenous people, and residents within the city at their doorstep.

Implementing this project will result in a stronger reduction in hunger & food insecurity in the city. Our community will be more resilient if poor citizens receive the necessary help to become productive and positive contributors.

Creating Cross-Cultural Spaces

How do we make TopSail Island in Sault Ste. Marie more inclusive, safe and age friendly space?

Term: Winter 2022

Student: Megan Maguire

Instructor: Dr. Nairne Cameron & Kylee Adam

Partners: Virginia McLeod

Course code: GEOG2216

Students were tasked to complete a site assessment of an identified outdoor space within Sault Ste. Marie. The assessment would look at use/user, accessibility, amenities and furniture, accessibility, green environment, and local culture.

It has been suggested to the City of Sault Ste Marie to implement an accessible and culturally inclusive arbour that would have little to no environmental impact after its construction. The fire arbour provides a space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and community to gather, learn and practice ceremonies.

Re-Envisioning Summer Moon Festival

How do we reach a younger audience to increase visitorship to the Summer Moon Festival in Sault Ste. Marie?

Term: Winter 2022

Students: Amanjot, Gayathri Sasidharan, Heena, Navneet Kaur, Simarjot Singh, Vimaljit Kaur

Instructor: Kareem Roberts

Partners: Josh Ingram

Course code: ADMN4896

The summer moon festival is a local festival focused on large scale public art installations. As the local events landscape continues to shift the decision has been made to shift to a 3-5 day festival with a heavy focus on local indigenous offerings.

ADMN4896 Business Students were asked to do an assessment of the current programming and marketing strategy for the Summer Moon Festival in Sault Ste. Marie, then to provide recommendations and samples for future programming and branding to capture a younger audience. Two marketing campaigns were developed in order to run an A/B test to determine the best overall engagement, and similar multi-discipline/youth centered festivals were reviewed for similar content.

Revitalizing Bon Soo

How do we revitalize Bon Soo to draw in a wider demographic of tourists to SSM?

Term: Fall 2022

Students: Aaliya Patel Nur Mohammed, Ananth Ravichandran, Sayali Rohit Desai, Zakir Ahmed Mohammed , Arun Rajagopalan Nair

Instructor: Shahrukh Khan

Partners: Josh Ingram

Course code: ADMN2017

The Bon Soo winter carnival, now in its 60th year,  is seen as a local community institution with significant municipal importance. Large scale event popularity, within their life cycle, will ebb and flow based on changing demographics, repetitive programing, and/or lack of advertising and market research. In recent history staffing power, funding, as well as the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the scope and quality of this event. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie has been working alongside the Management of Bon Soo to reinvigorate the brand and festival programming hoping that this year will reestablish the festival solidifying a direction and growth strategy over 3-5 years.

Our students have come together to create an exciting plan to revitalize Bon Soo by incorporating a multicultural food and dance festival at the GFL Memorial Gardens. Details of the proposal are included in the video.

Waste Management App

How can we improve communication with the community about issues relating to waste management?

Term: Fall 2022

Students: Emma Ude

Instructor: Zamilur Rahman

Partners: Mike Blanchard, Spencer Lavergne

Course code: COSC 4086

The City of Sault Ste. Marie’s Communications and Waste Management department receives an overwhelming amount of questions in regards to waste disposal, waste collection, recycling, carts and more. The City is looking to establish a more user friendly and consolidated place for residents to get information on Waste Management. The app can feature information on hours of operation, waste collection calendars, appropriate waste disposal, community recycling centers and more. 

Upper year computer science student Emma Ude has worked alongside the Waste Management department and the Communications and IT team at the City of Sault Ste. Marie to establish a beta version available in IOS and Android of this app. Use the QR Code and instructions attached below to check out the beta version yourself!

Winter Tourism

How can Sault Ste. Marie strengthen winter tourism?

Term: Fall 2022

Students: Hunter Greer, Isabella Caruso, Mark Bonner, Bianca Liguori

Instructor: Dr. Jody Rebek

Partners: Travis Anderson, Alana Kenopic

Course code: ADMN4606

The Winter Tourism project was proposed to Algoma University business students to research winter tourism events and how we can grow our winter tourism going forward. We are a winter city – how do we leverage trends? What’s our core markets?  What markets could we attract?  How can we attract target markets to choose SSM as a Winter Destination in addition to locals? Where should we invest our development dollars? These are the questions that the City of Sault Ste. Marie is asking when it comes to Winter Tourism. 

Our group of students have identified three strategic goals in a business plan to answer these questions. 

  1. Engage with local downtown businesses and the Sault Downtown Association in celebrating winter through events and creating a visually and aesthetically pleasing atmosphere that celebrates various cultures in the city.
  1. Extend the successful skating trail in Clergue Park to trail from Northern Superior Brewery to The Machine Shop to create a unique experience for Northern Ontario and get local businesses involved.
  1. Partner with Destination Northern Ontario, collaborate with The Machine Shop and use their unique location for outdoor winter activities to attract tourists.

Their mission is to revitalize and expand the breadth of activities in the downtown and surrounding areas to create a desirable destination that attracts tourists in an economically sustainable manner.

Age Friendly Communities

How do we increase social participation with older adults after COVID?

Term: Fall 2022

Students: Mary Ogenyi, Alicia James, Taylor Chum

Instructor: Jodi Webber

Course code: SWRK3817AE

It has been identified that it has become increasingly difficult for older adults to leave the home to participate in social activities post-Covid-19. We are looking for the students to identify barriers that older adults are facing and suggest activities or strategies that we can put in place to increase social participation. 

Our social work students have come together to create a plan for how to increase social engagement of seniors and build an age-friendly community. The details of their plan can be viewed in the video above!

Watershed Remediation

How can we improve water quality and biodiversity in local watershed corridors?

Term: Fall 2022

Students: Shirisha Maharjan, Manish Kaur Nar, Stuart Ness, Caelan Hargis

Instructor: Elaine Ho-Tassone & Jonathan Lavigne

Partners: Emily Cormier, Vincent Latassa, Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority

Course code: BIOL 3396 – Labs A, B, and C

The CityStudio watershed remediation project will engage students over the course of three (3) semesters to identify, design and ultimately implement a watershed remediation project  in Sault Ste. Marie.  This project will set an example of watershed remediation that can improve water quality and biodiversity locally. 

The goal of the project is to identify a local watershed corridor and propose a remediation project (e.g. South end of Forth Creek near the Casino)  identify location, attributes (e.g. species that live there and species that could be added) that could reclaim the watershed (e.g., bioswale, what plants may be used to filter). Findings will be provided to the City in a report that outlines site attributes as well as high level insights on how we can move forward with a remediation project at this location.

 The project phases are highlighted below.

Phase 1 – Site Selection, Inventory and Needs Assessment (Fall 2022) 

Phase 2 – Project Design (Winter 2023) – intern Connor Acorn (confirmed) 

Phase 3 – Project Implementation (Summer 2023)

Phase 1 will be the core focus of this project for the Fall 2022 semester. This will lay the foundation for Phase 2 which is the detailed project design which will be completed by a co-op student in the Winter of 2023 and ultimately wrap-up with implementation and field work in the summer of 2023.


Entomica Bug Game

How do we engage Entomica visitors with a fun and educational game?

Term: Fall 2022

Students: Entire Class

Instructor: Miguel Garcia

Partners: John Dedes and Entomica

Course code: COSC 3036

Entomica is a not-for-profit charitable organization and insect-based science centre located inside the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. A variety of live exotic insects from around the world are displayed in beautiful living vivariums. 

The goal of the Entomica Bug Game project is to find a fun and unique way to spread the message and goals of Entomica Insectarium. Our computer science students have worked with faculty and Entomica staff to build their own beta versions of a video game that could be incorporated at Entomica to engage visitors and spread the positive message and information about insects. Game ideas included an adventure RPG that has visitors play as a pill-bug rebuilding their community after a flood, and a cockroach simulator that focuses on gathering food and exploring the bug’s environment while avoiding predators.