By Conor Mihell
It’s no surprise that a community located in the heart of the Great Lakes would embrace all forms of paddlesports. Not only is Sault Ste. Marie the gateway city for some of the best coastal sea kayaking and wilderness canoeing in Canada, it also boasts amazing options for paddling minutes from downtown. Regardless if you’re passionate about standup paddleboarding, canoe tripping, sea kayaking, whitewater or recreational kayaking, there’s something for you in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Sault College Waterfront Adventure Centre is a community hub on the shore of the St. Marys River. Not only does the gorgeous facility feature a cafe with amazing views, the Waterfront Adventure Centre rents canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards to explore the historic waterway that has always been central to Sault Ste. Marie’s raison d’etre. Evening is the best time of day for a paddleboard tour on the St. Marys River. Head east (downstream), past the Pine Street Marina, hugging the shore to appreciate the wildlife-rich wetlands of Bellevue Park, watching for ducks, mink and beaver. Rounding the isthmus of Topsail Island provides a new perspective on the city’s most popular park. If you time it right you’ll be graced with a spectacular sunset over the International Bridge on your way back.
Thrive Tours, a local Indigenous nature-based tour operator, offers guided canoe trips from the Waterfront Adventure Centre. These beginner-friendly outings share the full story of how the St. Marys River has supported life since time immemorial.
A downriver trip on the Goulais River, located just north of Sault Ste. Marie, is a springtime rite of passage for whitewater paddlers. This section of river requires high water, and the section from Mountainview Lodge on Highway 556 to the Highway 552 bridge can be done in as little as 4 hours thanks to a steady current. It’s best to make it a day trip to enjoy the Goulais’s soaring, pine-clad hills and great wildlife, including moose, waterfowl and beaver. This section includes Class I and II rapids, as well as plenty of swift water, making it suitable for novice whitewater paddlers–just make sure you travel with companions and dress for cold water temperatures. Stay at the nearby Bellevue Valley Lodge and pack a lunch to enjoy on one of the Goulais’s many gravel bars. As water levels decrease in late May and early June this section is great for anglers, with abundant walleye and smallmouth bass, as well as the possibility of rainbow- and brook trout.
Forest the Canoe offer guided nature tours on the lakes and rivers in the area, as well as on Lake Superior.
You won’t find a more remote–and picture perfect–retreat than Norm’s Cabin, tucked away in the Precambrian hills of the Algoma Highlands, north of Sault Ste. Marie. This off-grid cabin is located in Goulais River, a half-hour drive north of Sault Ste. Marie, and is accessible only by food or mountain bike. Rental comes with access to a canoe, and the freedom to explore gem-like lakes atop the rooftop of Ontario. Norm’s is popular for couples, families and getaways with friends. Contact Blaq Bear Eco Adventure Routes to plan your stay.
The hamlet of Gros Cap at the end of Highway 550, only 20 minutes west of Sault Ste. Marie, marks the eastern terminus of Lake Superior. An official launch on the Lake Superior Water Trail (a segment of the Trans Canada Trail) includes an accessibility dock, outhouses, picnic area and kayak storage locker. Paddling west provides an immediate glimpse of Lake Superior’s rugged shoreline: you’ll encounter spectacular cliffs, gravel beaches and a vast, open horizon along the 10-km section to Red Rock. Be sure to check the weather conditions in advance; this exposed stretch of shoreline is suitable for experienced paddlers only, with sea kayaks, sprayskirts and safety gear to mitigate the risk of cold water.
Central Algoma is a bucolic landscape of maple, oak and pine forests and small inland lakes, just east of Sault Ste. Marie. There are several public parks accessible via Highway 638, a quiet secondary route between Echo Bay and Bruce Mines, with great options for canoeing and recreational kayaking on calm and sheltered water. Visit Old Mill Beach Park on Rock Lake to discover a family-friendly waterfront for swimming and quiet paddling at the mouth of the meandering Thessalon River; this area is especially attractive to birders and naturalists, with a wide variety of song- and shorebirds and aquatic mammals. The Central Algoma Freshwater Coalition has produced an adventure map highlighting paddling and other outdoor activities throughout the region.
It’s amazing to discover a quiet, scenic, wilderness canoe route on Crown land barely 30 minutes from downtown Sault Ste. Marie. The Jarvis Circle Route is a perfect long-weekend getaway for novice and intermediate paddlers. The journey begins at a small public launch on Northland Lake, located off of Highway 556. A series of rugged portages (watch for discrete yellow signs to mark most) links nearly a dozen secluded lakes with many options for primitive camping, including Jarvis, Reserve and Crooked lakes—all of which boast excellent fishing for trout. This is a great area to practice your canoe tripping skills and get a taste of the wilderness of Northern Ontario.
If the two buildings, the Old Stone House and the Blockhouse, could talk, they would tell stories steeped in adventure and intrigue about the rich and turbulent times of the fur trade; the aches and pains of early pioneer life and the development of industry along the St. Marys River.
Visit the Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site to take a trip back in time over 200 years. See how some of the earliest European settlers in Sault Ste. Marie lived. Learn about the war of 1812 through interactive displays. Take part in some great events throughout the year that will bring these historic buildings to life. Enjoy an interactive audio tour to help guide you through the site or sit in the 50-seat theatre to watch a 25 minute movie that introduces visitors to the history of the area, the historic on-site buildings and the people that lived in them.
Learn more about Sault Ste. Marie’s rich history on a tour of the Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site.
The Ermatinger Old Stone House has been fully restored to depict the domestic and professional life of Charles Oakes Ermatinger, a prominent business man who lived in Sault Ste. Marie from 1812 – 1828. Visitors can step back in time by walking through rooms recreated to resemble life 200 years ago. Fascinating pieces of information along the way will enhance the experience, such as learning about how, in the years after Charles Ermatinger had left, the house became a hotel, later a courtroom and also boarding house!
This iconic building dates back to 1819 when it was first build and used as a powder magazine. Later, at the turn of the century, Francis Hector Clergue added an upper level and converted it into a house with two bedrooms, a large living space, and the first indoor washroom. Visitors can tour through the building’s two levels getting another sample of historic Sault Ste. Marie life while learning more about Francis H. Clergue himself.
The War of 1812 was a 32-month long conflict between the United States and Great Britain fought in Upper Canada and Lower Canada. The Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site contains a fantastic, interactive gallery of the war that shaped the North America we know today. Learn why the war was fought, what was the outcome, what were the key battles, and who were the famous faces. Read about famous naval skirmishes, and check out the uniforms worn during the war.
A superb selection of souvenirs are available at the gift shop. This includes souvenirs from Sault Ste. Marie and Canada as a whole, a selection of Group of Seven merchandise and work by local artists including local Indigenous artists. The gift shop also sells seeds and produce from the garden! Come and check it out, you’ll find a variety of things and everything special about Algoma.
12 events are planned throughout the year. In June there is the fantastic Lilac and Lavender festival and Poutine Feast – 4 days of Poutine from 8 different vendors with live music and kids entertainments! This is followed by the Strawberry Festival in July, Blueberry Festival in August. September is a big month for events with Fall Rendezvous which in 2022 will include a harvest festival and well as the traditional reenactors on the front lawn. Other events are planned for October including Halloween House and Halloween on Queen. Check out our events page here or follow the Ermatinger Facebook page here for all the latest info!
In 2019 Sault Ste. Marie commissioned the creation of large scale murals by both globally renowned artists as well as exceptional talent within our own community. The next year local partners launched the inaugural Summer Moon Festival created to celebrate art and the many voices in our community.
Now in 2022, the Summer Moon Festival has grown to become an arts & music festival that not only includes real-time creation of large-scale public art, but also a pow wow in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day, live music performances as well as interdisciplinary artist workshops. Click here to learn more about 2022’s the Summer Moon Festival, happening June 21st – 25th.
Enjoy the murals year-round on a walking tour of Sault Ste. Marie with all the information below.
Battle for the Seven Clans
Thomas Sinclair is Ojibway from Couchiching First Nation. As a young boy, Thomas was mentored in the art of Woodland style by the late Isadore Wadow. Currently residing in Sault Ste. Marie, Thomas has found happiness in returning to these roots and sharing his art with the world.
The inspiration for this mural comes from the sacred stories passed down for generations through the Anishinaabe Indigenous Peoples. Stories of Aadizookaan, Tales of Nanabijou, and pictographs of the area. The mural features Mishipeshu which is a very prominent mythological water being that is featured in the Agawa Pictographs. Nanabijou was a shape shifter that is part human, bear, thunderbird, and plant.
In the creation story Nanabijou and Mishipeshu were battling one another for the seven clans and overall humanity. In the mural these incredible beings are powered by women on either side. The North wall features a woman with berries in her hair. She has a strawberry heart and is holding a bear cub and thunderbird nest. This woman represents the spiritual medicine. Mishipeshu is powered by a woman on the west side of the building. Her spine made of strawberry and also has a heart berry. Her hand is made of a vine that grows more Berries. Both of these women draw their strength from Mother Earth.
Known for his works lining the alleyways and streets of Toronto, Alex ‘Bacon’ Lazich began painting in the 1990s as a teenager. His work has evolved to deconstructing traditional graffiti spray techniques to create an abstract graffiti style while maintaining letter form.
This mural depicts a Canadian goose found in the Sault Ste. Marie area, painted in a kaleidoscope stained letter style of graffiti lettering, lines, shapes and shadows. The style of this mural is very modern, but is inspired by classic artists including impressionists and Old Masters. Bacon’s goal with his art is to make people smile and change the vibe of neighborhoods.
By Cindy Haat
848 Queen St (North Wall)
Cindy began painting professionally in the medium of oil on canvas following her university studies in fine arts. Photography and sketching have been the main tools used in researching and composing her artwork. Cindy currently enjoy the freedom of painting with acrylics and her work has been described as “…energetic, fearless, full of emotion”. She strives to be free and relaxed in her approach to the actual painting process and enjoys researching subjects and trying to capture the essence of people, animals, and places as vibrantly as possible.
Inspired by the animated movie ‘Spirit’. “When the kids were little we watched it over and over again. At the time I had been exploring Metis heritage through art, exploring Ojibway style woodland type of painting. The horse and sun and land are all connected as we are to Mother Earth. Bebezhigooganzhii is the Ojibwa word for horse.”
Rolling Pictures Horse
Jerry Rugg aka birdO is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. While his surreal geometric animals can be found on canvas, in digital print, and installation, birdO is primarily known for his large-scale mural work on walls and buildings around the world.
Painting on the side of the Rolling Pictures building, birdO reimagines the company’s horse in his unique surreal style. With a cohesive colour scheme and elements of motion, the large-scale galloping creature is impossible to miss. Painted within the eye of the horse is a reflection of the church on Spring St. in the Soo.
Daniela is from Columbia and was inspired by her homeland to paint a jungle theme with big bold graphics depicting nature and flowers.
A colourful magical jungle piece featuring Bachué. A mother goddess that according to the Muisca religion is the mother of humanity.
Throw Kindness Around
The Kindness Mural, a bold and graphic explosion of line and form, draws attention to the message to throw kindness around like confetti. Painted in the height of Covid-19 Annie was inspired to create a municipal landmark that sparks positivity and connection in isolated times.
Annie’s work melds the borders of drawing, sculpture and media installation, most recently exploring our interactions to the natural environment through observations of natural phenomena, and when she’s not doing that she paints pretty pictures of flora and fauna for no particular reason.
Rihkee Strapp is a two-spirited Métis of the Wolverine Clan and was born in the small Northwestern community of Red Lake, Ontario. They are a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice includes traditional woodland painting, installation, performance, and social practice. Growing up, Rihkee was inspired by their grandmother’s print collective by the Woodland artists of the Triple K Cooperative silk screen company, who came out of Red Lake.
Mishiikenh Kwe (Turtle Woman) is Anishinaabe (Ojibwe/Odawa) from the caribou clan, her community is Magnetawan First Nation. She grew up listening to stories from her grandmother who is an Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe language) teacher from Wiikwemkoong and draw most of my inspiration for paintings from those stories, thoughts and teachings I got from her and from ceremonies I attend.
Mishiikenh Kwe and Rihkee Strapp first began painting murals together at Nimkii Aazhibikong. Mishiikenh Kwe has always loved painting snakes because of her experience working in species at risk. While doing community outreach Mishiikenh Kwe noticed that lots of people expressed fear and dislike for snakes. Together the artists want to honour the snake and to build appreciation. Ring necked snakes are named for their distinct coloured pattern around their neck. This small local snake, if threatened will displays its bright underbelly to scare off predators.
“My work, and by extension, my life; has always been heavily influenced by horror, science fiction and comic books. When the owners of Outspoken brewery requested dragons burning down a city as their contribution to the downtown’s arts initiative, I got the call. My initial sketch was enthusiastically approved as it captured the 80’s metal album cover and post-apocalyptic feel that they were looking for. I don’t often get the opportunity to do commercial work that I can invest so much of my personality into; as a result, this has been amongst the more rewarding commissions of my career. I can only hope that the final product stokes the imagination and creativity of those who visit the terrace, enjoying a pint whilst bathed in dragonfire. “
Thomas Sinclair’s second mural is found opposite Outspoken brewery on Queen street. Its part of the story of Aadizookaan, sacred story. Normally the story is only spoken when snow is on the ground, or when the Pleiades is in the sky. Thomas believes it’s so important to share these stories, because we are losing so many of our elders and knowledge carriers.
Tree of Life on The Rapids
“Tree of Life on the Rapids” was created to make people feel good, and to remind the viewer that all things in this life are connected. It depicts the “Tree of Life”, an iconic symbol for many cultures, which Sault Ste. Marie is becoming a home for. Behind the tree is the sun, which provides the energy needed for everything here on earth relies. From the tree of life comes our food, tools we need, wood for our homes, and the fire we use to keep ourselves warm.
As your eye travels down the trunk, the roots remind us that we need a firm foundation so we can stay grounded in this life. Another essential part of our life is water, which roots will always seek. As your eye scans to the right you can see them transforming into the rapids that Sault Ste. Marie has long been known for. In the middle of this transition is the raven. Before the use of modern technology, they were used to carry messages over long distances. Using the raven as a symbol of communication, visually represents Village Media and their goal of conveying community news.
Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Mark Grandinetti is a local artist who primarily creates pop art pieces often featuring cartoon and comic book characters, as well as images and figures from sports and entertainment. Heavily influenced by street art, graffiti, and modern art, his work often employs bold colours and evokes a sense of nostalgia.
This mural is inspired by the Soo Greyhounds, who play hockey across the street from the mural. It’s a recognition of the impact of hockey in the town and Mark hopes the mural will be an inspiration to artists and hockey players alike.
The painting features former Greyhound stars including Wayne Gretzky, Joe Thornton, Matt Murray and Darnell Nurse, who not only went on to have illustrious careers in the NHL, but have also proven to be great ambassadors for the game. Greyhounds hockey brings people together and helps to create a sense of community in Sault Ste. Marie.
“Hockey is more than a game. In Canada, it is a way of life. It encourages us to be gracious in victory and defeat. It teaches us to stay humble and play hard and to never give up ever.”
Cultural Connections is a truly unique collaboration between three great artists. On the right hand side facing the mural is the Falcon. The Falcon is representative of the area.
In the centre is Peru’s art. Peru143 is an internationally recognized Peruvian-Canadian muralist. Rooted in Positivism, Peru’s work aims to heal and uplift people’s spirits by transforming neglected and often oppressive spaces into safe, playful, and imaginative worlds. He describes his style as “playful geometry”. “All my work revolves around one common purpose; to heal, inspire and uplift people’s spirits. I didn’t know what I was going to paint until the moment we were all staring at the wall together. I was given the word “Biindigen” which means “Welcome” in Ojibwe and ran with it. This was the most effortless collaboration I’ve ever been a part of with communication often reduced to a nod. I couldn’t be prouder to have worked alongside legends Bacon and QueRock on this magical mural. 3 guys, 3 days and over 300 cans. One Love.”
QRock’s mural is on the left hand side. It depicts a medicine wheel; seven grandfathers and the thirteen grandmother clan system. Lots of geometry in the painting is based off of the teachings. Medicine wheels is 4 directions, seasons, earth, wind, fire, water. Wanted to create those layers of sacred geometry, so that it gives you a visual healing effect.
The Bushplane Museum in Sault Ste. Marie is one of the Ontario’s top attractions. The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre (to use its full name) features a collage of attractions that suit all types of customers. Aviation enthusiasts will love the collection of vintage aircraft, families will find an educational and safe environment for their children to play and explore while an array of offerings is sure to entertain with something for everybody.
Here are some of top attractions and biggest reasons to visit the Bushplane Museum, in Sault Ste. Marie.
A staple of the Museum, the De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, is the museum’s iconic airplane. Visible within the first few steps of the doors, the Beaver glimmers in the light cascading in from the large hangar doors. In 1978 the Canadian Engineering Centennial Board selected the Beaver as one of, “Canada’s most outstanding engineering achievements of the 20th Century.” Beaver CF-OBS, the feature of the museum, was the second Beaver to come off the production line, and the second to ever be produced. With just over 1600 produced, the Beaver is a must see in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Canadair CL-215 is the largest aircraft in the collection and has a rich history in forest firefighting. This aircraft was sold to France and used in efforts in maintaining their forests. After being decommissioned due to reaching its maximum number of “in air hours” and also as a result of the aircraft’s exposure to salt water over time. It was donated to the Centre by the French and was delivered directly off-the-ship via the St. Mary’s River. It had to be reassembled in the Museum due to its massive size.
For those with little ones, the Children’s Learning Centre is a fantastic way to introduce your children to flight and the science behind it. With arcade-style game consoles, interactive displays, and separated real airplane cockpits the Children’s Learning Center provides hands-on learning experiences for children of all ages.
Entomica Insectarium, run under the professional direction of President Dr. John Dedes, is a new addition and instant favourite in the museum. The award-winning non-profit organization sets out to educate the public on the complexity and true beauty that their insects hold. This mission combined with their vibrant and outstanding vivariums and insects from around the world provide an interactive and fun learning experience for groups of all sizes, people of all ages, and everyone in the family. In this sensational setting you may have the opportunity to handle some exotic insects under the supervision of their knowledgeable “bug wrangler” staff.
…Like the Ranger Tower. Trek your way up the Ranger Tower to practice your fire spotting skills. A great vantage point of the exhibit space and a unique opportunity for a photo.
The KR-34 Centennial Restoration is another key exhibit and project underway at the Bushplane Museum. This plane in particular, C-FADH, logged over 1900 hours in its open cockpit form. Although the current restoration is for display purposes only, it is still being fully re-covered and painted. You may find volunteers hard at work while still taking time to answer questions about the project and chat. This restoration began in January 2021 and will take between 2-3 years to complete based on the overall condition of the aircraft. The museum’s goal is to have the restoration completed by 2024, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Ontario Provincial Air Service.
On the other end of forest firefighting endeavors would be the Museum’s Bell 47-D helicopter. It was first owned by Ontario Lands and Forests and was acquired in 1953. It was the first helicopter to be owned by a government agency in Canada and was donated by Canadore College in North Bay. It was used to spot and combat forest fires right here in Ontario.3. The helicopter was restored by CBHC volunteers after it was donated.
By Sault Tourism
Robertson Cliffs, just 30 minutes north of Sault Ste. Marie is one of best lookout hikes in Ontario. Views from any of the incredible lookouts stretch for miles out across Bellevue Valley, towards the Goulais River and as far as Lake Superior.
The Robertson Cliffs are located about 30 minutes north of Sault Ste. Marie, just east of the trans-Canada highway, highway 17. Click here for a Google Maps link to directions to one of the car park areas.
There are three parking areas at the trail heads, these are shown in the below maps.
The route to the top can take between 45 minutes and 2 hours depending on which trail you take, and then the same on the way back. So allow yourself at least 2 hours as a minimum.
It’s described a ‘moderate’ difficulty because there is some scrambling over rocks, small streams and occasion trees. Click on the below images to see some maps of the area.
There are 3 routes that will get you to the top. The Blue route is a 300 metre route that links up with the white route. It begins at the western parking lot.
The White route is a 2km, 45 minute route which begins at one of the two eastern parking lots. Well marked trails lead through the Great Lakes St. Lawrence forest before meeting up with the blue trail. Once the blue and white trail meet the trail does get a little steeper as it ascends to the lookout points.
The yellow trail is a longer 2.5km trek that takes you along beautiful waterfalls. Allow 2 hours for this hike to the cliffs.
There are 3 main lookouts with several others you can find along the way too. The views… judge for yourself.
By Sault Tourism
Witnessing summer’s deep greens change into an explosion of red, orange and yellow is one of the many perks of living in Ontario. There are plenty of places across the province that are perfect for watching the leaves change, but if you want to experience the season’s vibrancy in new and exciting ways, consider looking north of the GTA.
The region of Sault Ste. Marie (also affectionately known as “the Soo”) is one of Canada’s top five locations for fall foliage, according to Forbes. Think of a place where maple forests turn cozy shades of red, where you can lose yourself in the coast’s orange and yellow splendour, and where the vast multicolour landscape takes your breath away — this is Sault Ste. Marie in the fall.
But the Soo is more than just a pretty face. On top of being a magical spot in autumn, Sault Ste. Marie — which is just a one-hour plane ride or six-hour scenic drive north of the GTA — is one of Ontario’s most exciting outdoor adventure destinations.
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By Sault Tourism
Sault Ste Marie is well-known for its breathtaking beauty during the fall season. Nothing can compare to the vivid colours of the leaves, the numerous trails that can be explored, along with views that will never be forgotten that capture Mother Nature’s true-beauty. From mid-September to mid-October you can find so many ways to enjoy the best of fall in our northern community. In the meantime we have narrowed it down to the top five ways that won’t disappoint!
Come to Sault Ste. Marie and experience Ontario’s awesome fall colours as you’ve never seen them before!
This attraction is a long-time tourist favourite when it comes to seeing the fall colours in its prime. Hop on this day-long journey that starts in our Canal District and travels 114km into the Agawa Canyon; along the way you will be immersed by wilderness and its array of oranges, reds and yellows. Once you reach the Canyon you will get to walk around and explore various trails that will take you to beautiful scenic lookouts and various waterfalls where the Group of Seven once painted some of their iconic paintings. This can’t miss experience will certainly be one for the books!
To escape to this beautiful scenic lookout, you only need to travel about 20 minutes north of the City. This intermediate hike will not only get your blood flowing but will guide you through the colourful brush and trees. A helpful tip is to make sure you dress accordingly and be prepared to be in awe once you reach the top! When you have completed this 5km hike on Ila’s Trail, you will come upon the breathtaking fall scenery of the boreal forest. You will undoubtedly want to make sure you capture this view with a picture, as the vibrant colours will take your breath away!
You don’t have to venture far to experience what Fall is all about in Sault Ste Marie. Located just north of the city you will find bridges and paths in Kinsmen Park that will take you through a network of trails, such as the Crystal Creek System, where you will see Fall in all its perfection. You can also explore and visit Crystal Falls at one end of the park and then follow the trails to Minnehaha Falls at the other end.
Another must-do fall experience, are the Hiawatha Highlands via the Pinder System or Red Pine System, these pristine trails, whether traveled by foot or on wheels, will be certain to take your breath away and will surely have you wanting to catch all of the fall colours on camera.
Take fall in at its best right here in the heart of Sault Ste Marie! The John Roswell Hub Trail is a 22.5km trail that surrounds our beautiful city, with paved paths that you can walk or bike on. One of our favourite parts of the hub trail in the fall specifically, is the Fort Creek section. You can park at the Fort Creek Conservation Area and take the trail through the forest where you will come upon some incredible bridges that overlook the stunning ravine. This simple trail system is nice laid-back one hour walk from the Conversation Area to the Third Line section and back.
This beautiful gem of a spot will surely have you loving fall in all its glory. With beautiful walking/biking trails that take you throughout Bellevue park, and bringing you upon the St. Mary’s River where you will then find Topsail Island . Here you can explore the paved trail around Prince Island and take in the scenic views of the St. Mary’s river and marina. With the paths lined with trees and benches you can truly take in the crisp air and colours that fall has to offer at your leisure.
After a full day of fall colour watching it’s time to relax while eating supper at one of the many delicious restaurants in town. Finish off your day by watching the sunset over the St. Marys River and then get some well deserved rest at one of Sault Ste. Marie’s hotels.
After such a great day of family fun and activities, the whole family will want to come back and do it all again! Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place to see the fall colours.
By Sault Tourism
Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect destination for a weekend adventure. And now with the international border being opened to allow Americans to enter Canada as of August 9th, we wanted to remind our American friends of all the many things there is to see and do in our city. While you’re here, check out this article on what you’ll need to do before you to visit Canada.
Sault Ste. Marie is a city built for outdoor adventure with some of the best access to forests, waterways and rugged hills anywhere in the area.
Come and check out our incredible and expanding mountain biking in and around the city. The Hiawatha Highlands are home to a world-class mountain bike trail system – just a short ride from downtown. If you’re looking for more adrenaline, head to Bellevue Valley, where a 5km trail drops 200m into a beautiful valley of lush maple trees.
Being a city between two of the Great Lakes and on the St Marys River we know how to enjoy the water. From kayaking to canoeing and standup paddle boarding we have expert tour guides and outfitters ready to get you on the water this summer and fall. Our watersports webpage has all the info you need to get started.
Get that extra thrill for a limited time between August 7th and 15th by taking a high-speed adventure up and down the St. Mary’s river on board the Zodiac Hurricane. You can book a half day excursion or a 60 or 90 minute explore east or west from the city.
World famous and entirely unique, the Bushplane Museum is one of the biggest and best attractions in the region. Come check out this massive collection of classic airplanes (over 30 to be exact), interact with equipment and let the kids run around too. More displays have been recently added plus you can now see and hold some fascinating insects in the newly housed Entomica Insectarium; a variety of live exotic insects from around the world!
Blink and another patio has appeared downtown, that’s certainly what it feels like in Sault Ste. Marie these days. Come and have a craft beer and experience the warm atmosphere of Outspoken Brewing, Northern Superior Co. or The Whiskey Barrel to name just a few. Another addition to the downtown core is the stunning Broers Jansen which boasts an offering of wines made in-house, local craft beers, and a selection of hand-picked Scotch and Whiskeys from Canada and around the world.
Looking for a cool and quaint eatery? We have those too! Grab a bite at the Big Lake Cabin, the delicious Georgie’s Shawarma, or the colourful Ernie’s Coffee Shop. Incredible buttertarts at The Queen’s Tarts are hard to pass up too, especially the new Cheesecake and Whiskey Maple Bacon varieties!
Come for a stroll down Queen Street and see if you can find all 10 of our murals painted by an exciting mix of local Indigenous and world famous artists! It will surely be an inspiring stroll along the main street of our city.
For fans of the Group of Seven, Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place to base yourself. Visit a replica train carriage used to transport many of the artists around the region, and then go for a road trip up the coast yourself to see some of the inspiration behind many of the paintings. The Moments of Algoma website is a great resource.
Speaking of the coast, the rugged beauty of the Canadian Lake Superior coastline is a must-visit experience. With more trails to hike, coves to explore and beaches to stroll down than could be mentioned, it’s the perfect place to explore and get immersed in nature. Visit the Hike page of our website for more information.
While you are on on the Superior coast don’t forget to stop in at the Voyageur Lodge & Cookhouse for the fan-favourite apple fritters. This delicious dessert sells quickly so it’s suggested you get up there before 3pm daily, you certainly don’t want to miss out!
Fall is when the Soo comes alive because it’s when our forever-forests of Maple trees turn every shade of red, orange and gold. Take a hike to Robertson cliffs for one of the best views you’ll experience. A coastal drive will do it too, in fact just being in Sault Ste. Marie will help you experience a truly beautiful fall season.
Take a stroll along our beautiful boardwalk or around Whitefish Island for some fantastic views of the United States. The historic Sault canal are always frequented by smaller boats venturing to and from Lake Superior. Cross the canal and enter the picturesque and culturally significant Whitefish Island, where you’ll be just a stone’s throw away from home.
The Sault rapids that sit between our countries have some of the best fishing anywhere in North America. Check out our Fish webpage for a link to some travel inspiration or a list of expert guides.
By Tourism Sault Ste. Marie
Experience high calibre fishing in the legendary St. Mary’s Rapids, or fish year round for some of Canada’s most sought after species in the numerous lakes and rivers in the Algoma region.
Take advantage of this unique and historic fishing destination with local experts for a full or half day guided experience; all equipment and bait provided. Links to guides can be found at the bottom of the page.
Located in the downtown core of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, the St. Mary’s River is legendary for its annual runs of Steelhead and Atlantic Salmon. In the heart of the Great Lakes where Lake Superior flows to Lake Huron, this historic fishery is home to a vast variety of iconic Canadian species.
An original gathering place for the Anishinaabe peoples of the Great Lakes, this historic location is renowned in the fishing community. Accessible only from the Canadian side the rapids offer wadeable open river conditions that will challenge your angling savvy. Get your feet wet and test your skill where Lake Superior meets Lake Huron.
Target iconic Canadian species including Steelhead, Atlantic Salmon and four kinds of Pacific Salmon!
We take our fishing very seriously! Sault Ste. Marie is a year round playground for anglers of any skill. Your gateway to a unique guided adventure, experience fishing for some of Canada’s most iconic species in the numerous rivers available all over the Algoma Region.
Enjoy a fully equipped day of fishing action with a local expert and guide. Spin, troll, wade or shore fish the remote wilderness visiting one of the hundreds of tributaries in the Algoma Region. Distance to rivers can vary from 5 minutes to 2 hours in any direction.
Target various species including Bass, Walleye, Atlantic Salmon, Steelhead or Rainbow Trout.
Experience fishing the Great Lakes with your personal local guide. Fly fishing, spin fishing, kayak fishing or boat fishing are all available.
Fishing from the comfort of your personal boat or a beautiful northern shoreline, the options are endless. Offering year round, world-class freshwater fishing, accompanied by a vast wilderness and an abundance of wildlife; you won’t be disappointed exploring
the natural beauty of Algoma with one of Sault Ste. Marie’s top anglers.
Target the generous population of Trout, including Brook Trout, Lake Trout and Rainbow Trout or during specific times of the year, various species of salmon. Click here to read about fishing in Lake Superior Provincial Park.
Ice fishing is a true northern experience you can build an entire vacation around. Dress warm, pack for the day and snowmobile or snowshoe into a remote lake in the surrounding Algoma Region.
Take in the peaceful surroundings, winter scenery and wildlife, cutting through layers of thick ice from the comfort of a warm ice hut. Full gear provided with a local ice fishing guide.
Target various species including Trout, Panfish, Walleye or Northern Pike. Click here to read about ice fishing just north of the city.
Sault Ste. Marie has some of the best fishing guides in the business. Click below for more information.
By Tourism Sault Ste. Marie
During spring, summer or fall, hiking is a great way to explore the beauty of Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding area. Sault Ste. Marie is home to some of the best hiking in Ontario. Explore hiking trails to great Ontario waterfalls; hikes with great Ontario views; and trails to ancient historical sites. Here is a list of six of the best hikes around Sault Ste. Marie.
Duration: 1 hour
Google Map link here
Beautiful Bellevue Park is the perfect spot for a family to enjoy themselves at. Easy hiking trails and paths weave around the park and take you to the adjoining Topsail Island and Algoma Sailing club.
At seventeen hectares its Sault Ste. Marie’s largest park and is immaculately maintained by the city’s many gardeners. It consists of three large children’s playgrounds, a splash pad and offers a little over two kilometres of easy walkways, leading past floral beds, a display greenhouse as well as many other natural attractions. Feed the birds and watch the great freighters go by along the St Mary’s River.
The park is located in the heart of the city ample parking is available just off Queen Street East on the south east end.
Duration: 1-2 hours
Google Map link here
Hub Trail website here
If you are looking for a family-friendly hike in Sault Ste. Marie, then the Hub Trail is perfect for you. The trail as a whole is 22.5km long and circles the city but you can choose the section you want to hike.
The Fort Creek section is a popular route for hikers as it offers the beautiful scenery of the creek itself and many opportunities to spot all the amazing creatures that live there, including hawks, great blue herons, and monarch butterflies.
The paved trail is approximately 1.6 km and leads you over two picturesque bridges. Visit the dedicated Hub Trail website for more information to help you plan your hike.
Duration: 1 hour
Google Map link here
Choose Whitefish Island for a beautiful and well paced hike within the city limits. Parking and trailhead is located at Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site and you can access the Island across the locks itself.
Whitefish Island is a National Historic Site for Canada. It’s also a traditional territory and meeting ground of the Anishinaabe peoples of the Great Lakes due to the abundance of natural resources and fish in the St. Mary’s River.
This site is complete with an easy to follow trail system marked with informational plaques explaining the importance and historical relevance of the island. These trails will lead you through nature preserves right to the historic fishery of the St. Mary’s River Rapids.
Duration: 1-4 hours
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Google Map link here
Hiawatha Highlands and Kinsmen Park area has many loop trails that offers hikers choices of terrain, lookouts and varying lengths to suit anyone’s schedule and abilities. Walking beneath towering Pines and beautiful Maple’s, these trails are well signposted at each entrance and along the way. Descriptive name of trails including Beaver Loop Trail or Mable Lake Loop trail and some of these link up with the larger Voyageur Trail systems. For a downloadable map here. Or visit the Trailforks, Alltrails, or Voyageur Trails websites.
A highlight along in the Hiawatha Highlands area is the impressive Crystal Creek Falls. You can park at Kinsmen Park and take a two minute walk to the base, followed by a short climb up wooden steps to the top.
Duration: 3-4 hours
Google Map link here
The lookout from the top of Robertson Cliffs is fast becoming a must see for tourists and locals alike. Take a 30-minute drive north from Sault Ste. Marie where you’ll find parking and the trailhead 5km down Robertson Lake Road. For more information visit the Alltrails or Voyageur Trail websites.
The 5km hike through ancient forest is beautiful and the 150 metre climb / scramble up rocks can be challenging to some, but the view over Goulais River valley is well worth the effort.
The cliffs are part of the Algoma Highlands Conservancy who protect the area. Follow the white markings which will lead you to the top of the cliffs.
Duration: 2-3 hours
Google Map link here
The hiking trail offers an easy 2.5km hike to the upper falls, which starts in the parking area and follows the river upstream to the top of the main falls. The path continues alongside the river past the upper falls if you want to explore further.