‘Everyone’s best friend’: Chris Saumure named Smiths Falls’ Citizen of the Year

Chris Saumure named Citizen of the Year
Chris Saumure receives a standing ovation from attendees at the Smiths Falls Golf and Country Club after being named Citizen of the Year. Photo credit: Saumure Group of Companies Facebook page [facebook.com/saumuregroup].
Posted on: June 6, 2024

Chris Saumure has been named the Citizen of the Year during an evening of fellowship at the Smiths Falls Golf and Country Club Monday, June 3. 

Hosted by the Smiths Falls Kinsmen Club and the SFGCC, Saumure, president of the Saumure Group of Companies was recognized by his family, friends and peers. 

The Dr. T.O. Ashwell Memorial Award — Citizen of the Year — is given to an individual (or couple) who has demonstrated significant contribution within the Town of Smiths Falls through outstanding dedication, service and involvement. This award recognizes a local resident who is a community builder, contributing to the enrichment of the social, cultural or civic life that has a positive impact on his/her fellow citizens and the community.

Mayor Shawn Pankow said Saumure has made “unparalleled contributions to the Town of Smiths Falls. Through his unwavering commitment to community, business acumen, and family values, Chris has left a lasting mark on our town, where he has spent the majority of his life.”

Saumure considered running for council in the last election, but decided to step aside, recognizing that his role as a developer provided a greater opportunity to benefit the town, the mayor noted. 

“His philosophy centers on finding solutions and making things happen, rather than merely questioning possibilities,” the mayor said. “This proactive approach has been instrumental in driving numerous projects and initiatives.” 

One of Saumure’s earlier contributions to the town was the redevelopment of the former Smiths Falls high school into 43 residential apartments, and also houses the Gymnastics Club, Rideau Childcare, Lanark County Mental Health, and the Rideau Community Health Centre, showcasing his dedication to creating multi-use spaces that serve a variety of community needs.

In 2013, Saumure acquired the former Hershey plant, which was pivotal in allowing the initial development of what ultimately became Canopy Growth at a time when they lacked financial backing.

“Chris has been instrumental in addressing the critical need for housing here with the building of over 200 apartments and affordable housing projects,” Pankow said. “Chris has also been instrumental in ensuring that Smiths Falls will now have transitional housing — a project that will save lives. Because of this project, homeless people will be able to find a safe space, and begin to rebuild.”

The Saumure Group of Companies purchased Willowdale, the former long-term care home in town, which will be opening this year to help provide housing to more than a dozen people with precarious housing situations in Lanark County. 

Saumure also helped build the grandstand at Smiths Falls Town Hall. He volunteers on a number of boards, (including the chamber of commerce and police services), and has been the major sponsor at events large and small, prioritizing children’s charities. 

“One of Chris’s favourite unannounced projects is the creation of the annual Santa Claus float — a beloved tradition, embodying the spirit of giving. He is a huge supporter of The Perth and Smiths Falls Hospital Foundation and proudly supports the Smiths Falls Rideaus hockey team. He is the first person to lend a hand, send a team of men, and without his dedication many projects and events would simply not be possible,” Pankow said. 

Chris Haines, vice president of the Saumure Group of Companies, said he has known Saumure for over 17 years and can “begrudgingly say that he is my best friend … He’s everyone’s best friend.”

“Believing in the principle that success should be shared, Saumure consistently supports local contractors and trades to boost the economy. He is always ready to lend a hand whenever someone is in need, exemplifying his deep love for Smiths Falls and its residents.”

Further driving Saumure’s commitment to better the town is his love for his family.

He and his wife Pam have raised their three daughters here, and now have the joy of watching their three, soon to be four, grandchildren grow up here.

“Chris hides behind his humble nature, but today we get to celebrate the good deeds he has dedicated his life too,” Pankow noted.  

“This is only a snapshot into the illustrious career Chris has experienced in business and in community.”


According to files from the Smiths Falls and District Chamber of Commerce, The Saumure family has been doing business in Smiths Falls for over 40 years. 

Starting at the family kitchen table, Guy and Carol Saumure’s vision for their company continues to be, “Building our community stronger with every project.”

Employing 100 hardworking local staff, they understand and appreciate the impact that buying local has on the community. Not only does it support local workers and businesses, it also promotes community programs. 

Most of the Saumure Group of Companies’ contractors, trades and partners are local. They’ve relied on Rideau Home Hardware and Healey Glass to bring so many of their projects to fruition, enjoying lunch meetings at Boston Pizza and CCs on the Rideau, too. 

The Saumure Group of Companies’ passion for community is clear as they have been involved in so many iconic Smiths Falls projects. 

After 42 years, this company is proof that community growth and development doesn’t mean losing that family-centric small-town charm.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News