Shingwauk Residential School Circa 1950
Shingwauk Hall ca. 1950 from the Rev. Canon Harry Morrow fonds, SRSC, Algoma University

The Arthur A. Wishart Library moved to its current location in June 1989. The Library is named after the late The Hon. Arthur A. Wishart, LL.B., Q.C., resident of Sault Ste. Marie, Attorney-General of Ontario 1964-1971 and an outstanding friend of Algoma University. The Library is located west of the main campus building, Shingwauk Hall, and is easily distinguishable by its green roof. Access to and exit from the Library is on the Third floor connected to the main campus by a link.

The Library building was designed in 1988 by local architect Chris Tossell. His design draws on the historic elements of Shingwauk Hall, the University’s first building and site of the former Shingwauk Indian Residential School building constructed in 1935 and which was designed in the style of a late Elizabethan E plan residence. Specific design features also adapted the building to the northern Ontario winters . These include the steep roof pitches and the use of a durable but warm coloured clay brick. Distinguishing architectural features within the library include a skylight running the length of the ceiling of the main floor and many additional windows which provide a light, airy atmosphere and stunning views of St. Mary’s River, to the south, throughout the seasons.

Who Was Wishart?

The Hon. Arthur Allison Wishart, LLB, QC, CM (1903-1986) was a politician and cabinet minister in Ontario, Canada.

Arthur Wishart at Graduation. Sir Max Aitken in the background. Photo by Joe Stone.

Born in New Brunswick, Wishart got his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1930, and then practised in Windsor and Blind River. He served as mayor of Blind River before moving to Sault Ste. Marie in 1939 upon joining a law firm in the city. In the 1963 provincial election, he was elected the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Sault Ste. Marie.

He entered the cabinet within a year as Attorney General of Ontario under then Premier John Robarts. He served in that senior cabinet portfolio for seven years, and is credited with shepherding many important pieces of legislation, including the Legal Aid Act of 1966 and the Law Enforcement Compensation Act of 1967.  In early 1971, Wishart became Minister of Financial and Consumer Affairs under Robarts’s successor, Bill Davis, and served until retiring from politics at the 1971 provincial election.

After leaving politics, he served the province as chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and later of the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses. He returned to Queen’s Park in 1973 as a liaison between Premier Davis and the Progressive Conservative caucus.

Wishart was very active on the issue of franchises while he was Minister of Finance and Minister of Consumer and Commercial Affairs. He initiated the Grange Commission, an inquiry held into the financial abuse of franchisees by franchisors. The Arthur Wishart (Franchise Disclosure) Act, passed in 2000 was named in his honour.

Wishart was a supporter of Sault Ste. Marie’s local university, Algoma University, and in 1989 a new wing was built at Algoma to house the Arthur A. Wishart Library.

“Arthur Wishart has been a long-time advocate for Algoma University College and has served for many years as a trustee on its governing board. The naming of the Wishart Library today pays fitting tribute to a distinguished citizen of my community and this province.”

-Dr. Karl Morin-Strom, MPP Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Hansard, October 23, 1986.

In 1976, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Arthur A. Wishart at a desk