Sault Ste. Marie’s 43-year-old water tower has had a facelift.
The 12-storey-high tower, built in 1969 and in service until 1991, has received a new coat of paint thanks to J.J. Hilsinger, the Sault businessman who owns the water tower and the adjacent Water Tower Inn, which takes its name from the landmark.
Calling it Northern Ontario’s “biggest, most unique and most historic billboard,” Hilsinger said the 100-foot-high water tower was refurbished in conjunction with the city’s 100th anniversary.
“It's been one renewal project after another in the past few years,” Hilsinger said in a statement. "We spent four busy years turning this place from one kind of an inn into another kind of an inn. We've renovated everything. It's been a very involved period. During the renewal phase, we put aside money to refurbish the tower. It's the city's 100th anniversary, so we thought, well, now’s the perfect opportunity as our contribution to the centennial.”
Hilsinger rescued the water tower from demolition when the city decided to raze the defunct reservoir in 2003, purchasing the water tower and the land on which it sits. The water tower was last resurfaced in 1985.
The Water Tower Inn was built in 1974 and currently houses 180 rooms and suites, a conference and meeting centre, two restaurants, and a recreation and fitness facility.
In addition to a new coat of paint, a computerized lighting system has been installed to showcase the tower at night.