2024 Celebration of Amalgamation begins

Today, January 5th (2024), the municipality held a special Council meeting and reception to commemorate the inaugural Council meeting of the Town of Saugeen Shores held on January 5, 1999.

     Celebration cake

The event marked a major milestone with the kick-off the 25th anniversary of amalgamation with the gathering of community leaders from its past and present along with former Mayors, Councillors, CAOs and government dignitaries.  

          Mayor Luke Charbonneau joined by dignitaries and many community leaders, past and present                                                                                   For larger view, Click on Image

The meeting began with official Town Crier, Neil Menage, also a former Town Councillor, presenting his ode to Saugeen Shores’ amalgamation.

The meeting also included a blessing from Saugeen First Nation Elder Shirley John and remarks from dignitaries including OMAFRA Minister and Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson, and Pat O’Connor, Constituency Manager representing Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb.

For larger view, Click on Image

MPP Thompson thanked Elder John for presenting the Seven Grandfather teachings of the Ojibway people and went on to say that, “Everyone over the years who has provided vision, leadership and commitment to growing this municipality is just phenomenal. While we recognize the past 25 years, I sincerely look forward to seeing how Saugeen Shores leads by example as you continue to grow committed to community. This is a remarkable milestone that reflects vision and leadership of the present and past Councils and Staff in serving the community of Saugeen Shores.”

She pointedly expressed appreciation to staff given that her own mother had been a municipal Clerk/Treasurer for more than 30 years.  “I takes a lot of dedication on behalf of citizens who choose to put their hat forward to lead on Council, but also for Staff who gives direction to Council.”

Former Mayor Mark Kraemer in a virtual presentation with his grandchildren

Former Mayor, and first Saugeen Shores Mayor following amalgamation, Mark Kraemer spoke virtually offering his congratulations. “This is a significant milestone for the Town of Saugeen Shores. It’s hard to believe that 25 years have passed since we first occupied these Council Chambers and it is with much pride that I see what has become of the seed that some of us planted some 25 years ago. To the staff that were here at amalgamation, I extend to you my sincere appreciation for the incredible work that you did to create what is now the envy of Bruce County and, in fact, western Ontario, in terms of municipal success post-amalgamation.  I look forward to coming back and participating in the events planned this Spring and Summer.”

“Saugeen Shores is a perfect union – a combination of communities that intertwine, balance, and enhance one another”, said Mayor Luke Charbonneau. “The act of bringing together Southampton, Port Elgin and Saugeen Township has created a municipality that is much more than the sum of its parts.”

To read Mayor Charbonneau’s complete speech – CLICK HERE

(C)Mayor Luke Charbonneau joined by former Mayors (L)John Van Bastelaar              and Ken Dunlop (R) (absent is former Mayor Mike Smith)
     For larger view, click on image


On a lighter note, former Port Elgin Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the amalgamated Saugeen Shores, John Van Bastelaar, wore his ‘official’ suit from 1999 and was joined by wife, June, and daughter Kara – who is now Saugeen Shores CAO.



While all of 2024 is officially the “25th Anniversary Year”, the Town has chosen August 9th – 11th for the official anniversary celebratory weekend featuring many events including a street dinner and dance in Southampton, a pancake breakfast, family activities, local bands, a signature act (TBA), fireworks … and more. 

The Town has also announced a 25th Anniversary time capsule project. The Mayor and his family have generously donated a time capsule chest to capture local memories, photographs, and items commemorating the last 25 years.  

The municipality is inviting community members to submit their digital contributions online at www.SaugeenShores.ca/TimeCapsule between January 8 and July 15, 2024. As well, residents can bring physical items to the Saugeen Shores Chamber of Commerce (559 Goderich Street in Port Elgin) for donation, or for assistance with photographing/scanning. 

The Municipal Heritage Committee is inviting the public to learn more about the community by introducing two new driving tours that honour the 25th Anniversary.  

“We’ve created these tours to honour both the rich history of the former municipalities of Port Elgin, Southampton and Saugeen Township, as well as what we have achieved since amalgamation,” says Councillor and Committee Chair, Cheryl Grace. “We’ve used interactive maps to create something really special for residents and visitors to enjoy while learning more about the area.” 

The Borders Tour takes participants on a 70km drive that follows the borders of Saugeen Shores.  Along the way, participants visit points of interest that illustrate the Town’s vast cultural and environmental beauty.  The Better Together Tour is a 22 km drive that celebrates the Town’s achievements by taking participants to sites created since amalgamation in 1999. 

The meeting concluded with the singing of the National Anthem by Christine John in three languages – Ojibway, French and English.

For more information on the history of Saugeen Shores and amalgamation, visit www.SaugeenShores.ca/History.  

For more information on the 25th Anniversary of Saugeen Shores as well as anniversary projects, events, and sponsorships, please visit www.SaugeenShores.ca/25th.