The city of Sault Ste. Marie announced the 2020 Medal of Merit winners.
This year’s winners are, in the individual category, the Honorable Ray Stortini, and in the group category, the Shingwauk Indian Residential Schools Center.
Full text of a press release issued today by Sault Ste. The Marie Medal of Merit selection committee follows:
The Sault Ste. The Marie Medal of Merit Selection Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Medal of Merit. This year’s recipients include the Honorable Ray Stortini (in the individual category) for his outstanding contributions to the community and the Shingwauk Residential Schools Center (in the group category) for its standard of excellence in a cultural or academic field.
L’honorable Ray Stortini
The deputy. Ray Stortini’s past civic activities include various board positions with Algoma Health Unit, Children’s Aid Society, Soup Kitchen, Ken Brown Recovery Home, and University from Algoma. He was a director of United Appeals Services and past president of the Sault Family YMCA and the St. Joseph Island Lions Club. He is also a life member of the Algoma Arts Council and the G. Marconi Society as well as a Sault Ste. Marie city councilor.
A retired judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Stortini holds a BA from the University of Western Ontario and a LL.B. from York University. He spent his early years as a worker in a steel mill, as a Great Lakes seaman for Canada Steamship Lines and as an insurance expert. After graduating from law school, he practiced general law and served as a special federal prosecutor, in addition to being the first regional director of legal aid. He was appointed a judge of York County (Toronto) in 1971, of the District Court of Algoma in 1976, then appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in 1990; a position he held until his retirement in 2004.
Notably, Stortini led a pro-bono project to save 300 members of the Batchewana tribe from deportation to Batchawana Bay.
An accomplished writer, Stortini published Only in Canada: Memories of an Italian Canadian (2006) and Act 1 of Arrow to the Moon, which was performed by Cree students in Sault Ste. Marie at the Prime Minister’s performance at the 1967 Canadian National Exhibition.
“For decades, the Honorable Ray Stortini has served our community in many capacities, and it is important to recognize and recognize that his contribution to our community goes far beyond his impressive professional accomplishments. Justice Stortini’s longevity of volunteerism and community service speaks volumes in Sault Ste. Marie’s best qualities and the Medal of Merit are a fair recognition of her service and commitment to our community, ”said Mayor Christian Provenzano.
Shingwauk Residential School Center
The Shingwauk Residential School site was the home of an Indian Residential School from 1874 to 1970. Through the efforts of local Indigenous communities and residential school survivors, the Shingwauk site has been transformed into a place of learning, commemoration and healing. As one of 14 remaining residential school buildings in Canada and one of the only former residential schools to be used as a university, the Shingwauk site is of national significance. It was the site of the first full-scale meeting of residential school survivors in 1981, and houses the oldest residential school community archives, with the award-winning Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall exhibit. It represents decades of sustained community resilience to ensure that the legacy of Indian Residential Schools is honored and remembered.
“Sault Ste. Mary’s efforts on the path to truth and reconciliation continue to be led by the local Indigenous community, with the Shingwauk Residential School Center providing a most important example of the importance of recognizing the difficult truths of our past and to commit to moving forward in a spirit of collaboration and respect ”, declared Mayor Christian Provenzano.
“I am pleased to see that the long-standing efforts of the staff, volunteers and leadership of Shingwauk Residential Schools Center and Algoma University will be recognized with the Medal of Merit.
The city of Sault Ste. Marie awards the Medal of Merit annually to individuals or groups who have achieved outstanding meritorious honors in athletics, culture or education, or who make extraordinary contributions to the community. A formal ceremony recognizing the achievements of the two recipients will take place at a later date.