Mayor Catherine Seppala sitting for a painting wearing blue robes and a necklaceCatherine Seppala was born in Fort William in 1907, the twelfth of 14 children, and lived most of her life in her home town. In 1953, she ran for a seat on Fort William’s Council and was victorious. She served as a Councillor from 1954 to 1958, when she decided to run in the 1959 Mayoral election. Once again, the determined Seppala proved triumphant, winning the 1959 election and becoming the first and only woman ever to serve as Mayor of Fort William.

Seppala was involved in the construction of the Westmount Hospital, as well as the Neebing River Conservation project. She belonged to many volunteer organizations, including the local Canadian Red Cross branch, where her work was rewarded by Queen Elizabeth II. Seppala was actively involved in 16 different organizations at the height of her volunteering career.

In September 1961, Seppala was forced to resign due to illness. Fort William City Council chose John Oliver Booth as her replacement until the end of the year. Seppala passed away 14 years later in 1975 due to the same illness which had forced her resignation so many years earlier.

Born: 1907 in Fort William, Ontario

Died: July 4, 1975 in Thunder Bay, Ontario

Councillor: 1954-1958

Mayor: 1959-1960 (September 13)


Previous Mayor: Mayor Edward Gordon Carson

Next Mayor: Mayor John Oliver Booth


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