Leo Mascioli and his Empire celebrated with dedication and plaque unveiling

North Bay, ON – September 6, 2016 – Considered the social and business hub of North Bay for over 50 years, the Empire Hotel and its builder, Leo Mascioli, were recognized 88 years after its original opening during a special ceremony held earlier today.

“There are many ways that the Empire has helped shape, support and change our local history,” said Mayor Al McDonald, during the celebration.  “It’s important that this piece of our community’s heritage is not forgotten, and that our community is given the occasion to learn more about it and the man behind it.”

In honour of its founder, the library at the Empire Living Centre will now be known as the Leo Mascioli Library. Considering his interest in construction, it’s only fitting to build a library of knowledge where his legacy can live on.

“My grandfather was an inspiration. He was an amazing worker and work energized him,” said Sandra O’Grady, granddaughter of the late Mascioli.  “He created as he went: hotels, theatres, etc.  He was always wondering “how can I make things better”. It’s extraordinary to see his expertise appreciated and honoured.”

During the celebration the North Bay Municipal Heritage Committee also unveiled a commemorative plaque recognizing the history of the property. The plaque, part of the Committee’s Heritage Site Plaque Program that recognizes the properties, people and stories that make up North Bay’s heritage, is located near the corner of McIntyre Street and Fraser Street.

“The Empire was the social centre of North Bay life up into the early 70s,” explained Peter Handley, Chair of the North Bay Municipal Heritage Committee.  “Its significance to our community’s heritage is built greatly on the building construction, but also on the people – the actors, celebrities, politicians, and bands – that frequented it.  It’s truly part of our social fabric.”

Some of the former hotel’s history discussed by the plaque includes the construction of the building, the famous guests that once stayed at the hotel and its transition to a retirement community.

The Empire is the only structure in North Bay to be designated a Priority-One, the highest possible level of historical and architectural significance, and be part of the Heritage Site Plaque program.

The City of North Bay is a city of 54,000 people situated between the shores of Lake Nipissing and Trout Lake. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, North Bay residents, businesses and visitors can visit www.cityofnorthbay.ca