6 Great Options On Rivers and Lakes for Canoeing, Kayaking and SUP

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.

St. Marys River

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.

Goulais River

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. 

Algoma Highlands

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.

Gros Cap

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

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.

Jarvis Canoe Route

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.

For more information about paddling in Sault Ste. Marie, visit our Watersport page. For information about paddling in Algoma Country click here!

13 culturally significant murals From LOCAL INDIGENOUS ARTISTS as well as artists from all over the world.

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

By Thomas Sinclair

816 Bay St

www.instagram.com/tsinclair76/

 

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. 

Battle for the Seven Clans
Battle for the Severn Clans

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.

BREAKTHROUGH

By Katrina 

826 Bay St

www.instagram.com/thibodeau_art/

Katrina is an established Canadian artist, and has been gaining traction internationally within the past year. With hyper realistic monochromatic and full colour portraits being her main focus due to the boldness and raw ability in allowing her to capture emotion, this artist’s talent is depicted on the canvas as she lets the art speak for itself to draw out deep emotion from her viewer. By leaving the background of her works predominantly untouched, it intends to draw focus onto every expression, no matter how subtle, hoping to impact the viewers in different ways.

“There was an array of different narratives that started running through my mind when I was met with the opportunity to create this mural. I wanted to portray something that would allow the viewers to look inward, and process different emotions while taking it in. Left side of the wall is bricks cracking and breaking off exposing a portrait of a women hidden behind. Right side of the wall is a hand reaching through to find beauty in the world. This piece encompasses the process leading up to a final breakthrough. Being on one side of a wall which is metaphorically representing the feelings and insecurities of loneliness and fear, all the while unaware of the positive outcome on the other side. Finding the courage to break down those walls we all carry within us is the first step in all forms of healing. As daunting of a leap as this may seem, the first step, and each one that follows will help uncover faith in a world where many walk in fear. This aspect is highlighted by what the woman is holding in her hand. Although she cannot see it, does not make it any less real.”

kat stare
Breakthrough
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Breakthrough

Northern Flight

By Alexander Bacon

816 Bay St (West Wall)

www.instagram.com/vizsla_bacon/ 

Northern Flight
Northern Flight

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.

Spirit Horse

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.”

Spirit Horse
Spirit Horse

Rolling Pictures Horse

By Jerry Rugg (aka Birdo)

498 Queen St. E

www.instagram.com/jerryrugg  

www.jerryrugg.com

Rolling Pictures 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.

Planta Muisca

By Daniela Rocha Moreno (musica)

80 March Street

www.instagram.com/_muisca_/

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.

Planta Muisca
Planta Muisca

Throw Kindness Around

By Annie King

421 Bay St.

www.instagram.com/anniekingartist/

Throw Kindness Around
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.

GIRLS IN STRAWBERRY FIELD

By Milkbox

78 Elgin Street. 

www.instagram.com/milkboxtheartist/

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Girls in Strawberry Field

Kayla Buium, the street artist known as Milkbox, is an illustrator and professional rollerskater from Toronto, Canada. She uses bright colours and rubbery characters to spread positive messages to her community.

The girls depicted are leading each other into a brighter, happier, loving future, which is related to what the foodbank is doing to the people of the community. The strawberry, which is grown in Northern Ontario represents the heart, the bear represents strength and courage, and this too mirrors the foodbank, which represents the heart and strength of the community

Ring Neck

By Rihkee Strapp & Mishiikenh Kwe ndizhnikaaaz.

345 Queen St. E

www.instagram.com/mishiikenhkweart

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.

Ring Neck
Ring Neck

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.

Phoenix Rising

By Darren Emond

350 Queen St. E

www.instagram.com/darrenemond5

Phoenix Rising
Phoenix Rising

“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. “

Sacred Story

By Thomas Sinclair

27 King St

www.instagram.com/tsinclair76/

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.

Sacred Story
Sacred Story
Sacred Story
Sacred Story

Tree of Life on The Rapids

By Patrick Hunter

298 Queen St. E

www.instagram.com/patrickhunter_art

Tree of Life of the Rapids
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.

Peace

By Katrina

250 Queen St E

www.instagram.com/thibodeau_art/

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Peace

Katrina is an established Canadian artist, and has been gaining traction internationally within the past year. With hyper realistic monochromatic and full colour portraits being her main focus due to the boldness and raw ability in allowing her to capture emotion, this artist’s talent is depicted on the canvas as she lets the art speak for itself to draw out deep emotion from her viewer. By leaving the background of her works predominantly untouched, it intends to draw focus onto every expression, no matter how subtle, hoping to impact the viewers in different ways.

“I believe peace in its truest form, comes from within. For this mural I wanted to take the opportunity to represent the name of the restaurant the mural is being painted on in a literal way. The global symbol of peace, representing freedom from judgement, exclusion and negativity, is understood regardless of what language you speak. If we collectively conducted our lives with this symbol in mind imagine what the world could be.”

Hockey Town

By Mark Grandinetti

216 Queen St

www.instagram.com/mancaveart/

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. 

Hockey Town
Hockey Town

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.”

Two Ships, Three Elks; There Is No Folly Of The Beasts Of The Earth, Which Is Not Infinitely Outdone By The Madness Of Men.


By Jean Paul

216 Bay St

www.instagram.com/jeanpaullanglois/

stare
Two Ships, Three Elks; There Is No Folly Of The Beasts Of The Earth, Which Is Not Infinitely Outdone By The Madness Of Men.

Jean Paul is a Métis artist from Vancouver Island, currently painting in East Vancouver. His work is informed by television and cinema, particularly Westerns, 70s sci-fi and Saturday morning cartoons. Using ultra-saturated colours, references to art history and well-worn cinema tropes, he seeks to understand the alienation to his own cultural backgrounds, both indigenous and settler. His work is an examination of his own life, through the reinterpretation of family stories using characters and motifs from the pop culture he was weaned on. The result is a very recognizable style of familiar figures in their own world of bright colours and flattened space.

The piece is inspired by some of the shipwrecks and landscape of Lake Superior, and the Elks… Jean Paul has a personal connection with Elks and has created many works of art that feature Elks including ‘War With The Elks’

Cultural Connections

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.

Cultural Connections
Sacred Story
Cultural Connections
Sacred Story