St. Mary's Paper
St. Marys Paper Ltd. was a manufacturer of pulp and paper, with its mill located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. The mill was situated on the St. Marys River waterfront, just east of Essar Steel Algoma.
The pulp mill was originally established as the "Sault Ste. Marie Pulp and Paper Company" in 1895 by Francis Clergue. It was located on the site of a Northwest Company trading post that was established in 1874.
Clergue also incorporated the "Ontario Pulp and Paper Company" to operate a parallel mill for newsprint production.
Following the collapse of the Clergue industrial empire in 1903, it closed for several months before being operated in receivership until 1905. The Clergue companies became part of the Lake Superior Corporation in 1904, which arranged for the transfer of the assets of the Sault Ste. Marie Pulp and Paper Company to the Lake Superior Paper Company Ltd. in 1911. Lake Superior Paper amalgamated with Spanish River Pulp & Paper Mills in 1917, which operated the mill until the Abitibi Power and Paper Company purchased it in 1928.
The mill was acquired by St Marys Paper Inc. from Abitibi in 1984, for which loan guarantees were secured from the Government of Canada. St Marys Paper was controlled by a private investor, Dan Alexander, who arranged to invest heavily in a fifth paper machine.
St. Mary's Paper operated a supercalendar grade paper mill with three paper machines, with a total annual capacity of 240,000 tons.
It produced SCA premium, SCA and SCB paper grades under the trade names Sequence, Sequel and Synpress. Paper produced at the mill was primarily purchased by magazine publishers and large retail companies for high quality advertising inserts, flyers and catalogues.
Hard times and restructurings
St Mary's Paper, in common with the rest of the pulp and paper industry in Canada, had been facing many adverse economic factors in recent years, arising from international economic trends, provincial policies and changing technology. This resulted in three successive restructurings between 1993 and 2012:
- The company declared bankruptcy in April 1993 and was operated for several years by Ernst & Young. Belgravia Investments[a] purchased the mill in 1994 and made the facility viable with the assistance of the employees, the Ontario government and the Toronto-Dominion Bank.
- In October 2006, it filed for bankruptcy protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in Toronto. In June 2007, the mill was reopened under new ownership and began making paper again for its customers in the United States. However, pensioners saw their benefits reduced by 20%. In order to assure operations, St. Mary's entered into financing, supply and exclusive distribution agreements with International Forest Products.[b]
- Despite these efforts, which also included $25 million in startup funding from IFP and the Province of Ontario, the mill was unable to resume significant activity, and went idle once more in 2011. In December 2011, IFP applied to place the company into receivership, and a bankruptcy order was subsequently issued in June 2012. E&Y, acting as trustee in bankruptcy, reported that the realization of funds from the sale of assets would be insufficient to pay off liabilities due to the secured creditors. Acting as receiver, it proceeded to sell off all assets.
In 2013, the site was purchased by Riversedge Developments, a real estate developer which announced plans to convert the site into a mixed-use cultural and tourism hub through adaptive reuse of the most historically and architecturally significant buildings. Dubbed Mill Square, current plans for the site include the new home of the Algoma Conservatory of Music, a performance and arts venue, a bioenergy plant and Destination North, a cultural and tourism "hub" project that will incorporate interactive museum exhibits, a farmer's market and a new terminus for the Agawa Canyon Railway tour.
In 2015, parts of the area were purchased by The Tech including The Yard (outdoor music venue) and The Yard Locker.
- An Act to incorporate The Sault Ste. Marie Pulp and Paper Company, S.O. 1895, c. 118
- Martin, Carol (October 25, 2006). "St. Marys Paper is broke, seeks protection from creditors". Soo Today.
- "Pulp & Paper". Sault History Online. 2008.
- authorized by An Act respecting The Lake Superior Power Company and certain other Companies, S.O. 1903, c. 123 and An Act respecting Aid to the Algoma Central and Hudson Bay Railway and Associated Industries at Sault Ste. Marie, S.O. 1904, c. 19
- "St. Marys Paper Papermaking's 110 year relationship with the city of Sault Ste. Marie". Pulp & Paper Canada. April 30, 2005.
- St. Marys Paper Inc. Regulations, SOR/87-239
- "Pulp and paper woes reach far and wide". CBC News. September 1, 2009.
- St. Marys Paper Inc. (Re) 1993 CanLII 5451 at Appendix, 15 OR (3d) 359 (28 September 1993), Superior Court of Justice (Ontario, Canada)
- Martin, Carol (October 26, 2007). "St. Marys Paper retirees lose big". Soo Today.
- Ford, Miranda (December 24, 2010). "St. Marys Paper Corporation appoints International Forest Products Corporation as Agent for Restarted Mill" (Press release). Sault This Week. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
- Bellerose, Dan (January 19, 2012). "Court approval sought for sale of paper mill". Sudbury Star.
- "Designers hired for Sault redevelopment project". Northern Ontario Business. May 15, 2014.
- "Former Sault paper mill to get new life as bioenergy centre". Northern Ontario Business. November 2, 2012.
- Della-Mattia, Elaine (August 9, 2013). "Plans to create a northern destination at old paper mill to be revealed to Sault Ste. Marie council". Sault Star.
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