Join us at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre for a Thrilling Day of Snowbird-Themed Fun and Entertainment!

By Sault Tourism

The world-famous Snowbirds, the Canadian Forces esteemed air demonstration team, are heading to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on Saturday, September 21st, and the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre is making a day of it!

Bushplane Days, the annual 2-day celebration, is hosting pre and post-show featuring Snowbird-themed entertainment, plus there will be a designated waterfront viewing area, so you can get front row seats to one of the most anticipated shows in Sault Ste. Marie!

In addition, you can experience the thrill of flying in the Snowbirds yourself via a new virtual reality simulator provided by VSB Foundation, which will be situated in the Museum all day Saturday and Sunday.

Finally, stick around after the show when the pilots will be back in town for an exclusive meet-and-greet at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.

The Snowbirds

The Snowbirds are the Canadian Forces esteemed air demonstration team and have been operating since the 1970s. They typically fly in formations of 9 aircraft with manoeuvres designed each season and approved by the Canadian Forces. The Snowbirds fly the Canadair CT-114 Tutor, a Canadian-built jet that was used by the Canadian Forces until 2000. The Tutor weighs approximately 7,170 lbs (3,260 kg) and is powered by a J-85 engine producing 2,700 pounds of thrust. Top speeds of the aircraft during the displays range from 100 to 320 knots or 185 to 590 km/h, and the planes fly as close as 1.2 metres to each other!

The Show

The airshow is scheduled to begin at 2pm and will be visible along the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront. The show is designated as a non-aerobatic display. Feel the rumble and immerse yourself in the thrill as the Snowbirds soar and swoop just 500 feet overhead, delivering an unforgettable airshow above the St. Marys River. The show is anticipated to be approximately 30 minutes overhead and will be accompanied by music and live commentary.

Local Connection

The Snowbird Boss (Lead Pilot) is Major Brent Handy, a graduate of Sault College’s aviation program. Major Handy succeeded into the role in of Snowbird 1 for the 2024 season and attended Sault College from 1996 to 1999. In addition, a second pilot flying Snowbird 9 Captain Patrice Powis-Clement, grew up on nearby St. Joseph Island and also graduated from Sault College’s Aviation Technology Flight program.

Major Brent Handy
Captain Patrice Powis-Clement

Saturday, September 21st, 2024

Day 1 of Bushplane Days is dedicated to celebrating aviation history, including the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Airforce with the Snowbirds airshow.  Activities throughout the day will be Snowbird-themed. Doors open at 10am with a variety of family-friendly activities including facepainting, crafts and fun with Entomica creatures.

New this year is the addition of a digital technology company VSB Foundation, who will be offering the very latest virtual reality flight simulator experience. Find out what it feels like to fly with the Snowbirds with this new, fully immersive experience that leverages the latest cutting-edge technology. The VR simulator, will put you in the (virtual) seat of a Snowbird aircraft and will be available at no additional cost, on a first-come, first-served basis during the day.

At lunch time enjoy food from the BBQ, listen to live music and enjoy a specially brewed ‘Tipsy Beaver’ beer by Northern Superior.

Then at 2pm, witness the specular aerial display of the world-famous Snowbirds in a designated, waterfront viewing area on the apron of the Bushplane Museum. Limited seating will be available.

The entertainment continues after the show with more live music, food and drink. At around 4.30pm, you can get a chance to meet the Snowbirds pilots as they head back to the city for an exclusive meet-and-greet at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.

Bushplane Museum
Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre
VSB Foundation
VSB Foundation's VR simulator
VSB Foundation
The pilot's view

Saturday Schedule

10am – Doors open, Bushplane Days begin! Crafts and games, axe throwing, face painting, Snowbirds virtual reality simulator by VSB Foundation

Noon (approx.) – BBQ, beverages and live music

2pm – Snowbirds Aerial Display!

4.30pm to 6pm (approx.) – Meet and greet the Snowbird pilots!

Other Viewing Options

With the airshow spanning the waterfront the best viewing locations will be from the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site all the way down to Bellevue Park. 

Clergue Park will host the Snowbird’s very own commentator stage. This commentary of the aerial display is a key feature of the Snowbirds routine and will be broadcast on a local FM radio station (to be confirmed closer to the time) so viewers can hear the show from all locations.

The Roberta Bonda Pavilion will also be a great spot to view the Snowbirds and the Miss Marie is running a special Snowbirds tour that day.

The Miss Marie

For a truly unique experience, board the Miss Marie Lock Tour boat for a special Snowbird themed charter on the water, directly below the airshow.  Departing at 1pm and returning at 3pm guests can enjoy a river cruise and airshow for $60 per person.  Limited tickets available.  Appetizers will be served and the charter is fully licensed. 

Visit for more information.

Downtown Parking

A map of downtown car parking areas is available by clicking here.

Sunday, September 22nd at Bushplane Days

Come down to the Bushplane Museum on Sunday where the fun continues. This year is the 100th anniversary of OPAS (Ontario Provincial Air Service) and there will be celebrations to honor this achievement. More details and exciting announcements to come!

Get more details here

Admission Fees to Bushplane Days

Admission is by donation. All funds raised support the Bushplane Museum’s programs, exhibits and services.

For more information about the Bushplane Museum (Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre) and Entomica, click the below links. 

Thanks to the Sault Ste. Marie Airport!

Thanks to the Sault Ste. Marie Airport, for hosting the Snowbirds, as well as providing logistical and technical support. “As the private owner and operator of the Sault Ste. Marie Airport, we see this as a gesture of support for our community and an opportunity to spark interest in aviation across all age groups. This event aligns perfectly with milestones in aviation history, making it especially meaningful for us.” Terry Bos, President and CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation.

From Powwows to Art and Places of Learning, Sault Ste. Marie is a city rich with Indigenous culture

Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place to spend some time together as a family. Also referred to as Bawating, meaning “place of the rapids”, the area is rich in Indigenous culture and history. From the whir of excitement at a local powwow to the somber history of the residential school system, there is so much for you to learn and experience together in Sault Ste. Marie.

Here are 7 ways you can experience Indigenous culture in the Soo:

Go on a Learn to Powwow Tour

Whether you’ve been to a powwow before or want to experience one for the first time, you will love the Learn to Powwow Tour with Thrive Tours. Your tour guides will start you off with an introduction, covering powwow history and etiquette, and explain how you can engage in the celebration as a non-Indigenous person. You will also learn the significance of the music and about the different kinds of dances. After your powwow intro, you will join your guides for the spectacular Grand Entry where you’ll watch the dancers enter the circle in their regalia and listen as the drummers echo the heartbeat of Mother Earth. To complete your experience, make sure to try some food, explore the vendors and maybe even join in during an intertribal dance!

Powwow at Sault Ste. Marie
The Powwow Tour
Powwow at Sault Ste. Marie
Brad from Thrive Tours explaining Powwow customs
Powwow at Sault Ste. Marie
All are welcome at intertribal dances

See the Indigenous Art Murals

As you make your way through the buildings and streets of Sault Ste. Marie, you will notice the many large murals painted throughout the city. Many of the murals you’ll find here have been painted by local Indigenous artists. This display of artwork adds a splash of color and vibrancy to the city that everyone in the family will enjoy! Each June, during the Summer Moon Festival, you can watch new murals being painted around the Soo and experience many other Indigenous arts & culture workshops, exhibits and performances.

Explore Whitefish Island

Grab your bikes or walking shoes and spend some time exploring the Indigenous history of Whitefish Island. Whitefish Island is a territory of the Batchewana First Nation and a National Historic Site of Canada. Plaques located around the island provide information about the history and significance of the area, dating back hundreds of years. Once home to many, Whitefish Island was a significant site for fishing and trading throughout history. Now, the island is a popular birding location and the well-maintained trails and boardwalks allow visitors to easily access and enjoy nature.

Paddle on the St Marys River

Get out on the river in a kayak or canoe with Thrive Tours. Your adventure begins with acknowledging the history of the land and showing respect to the water by saying “Miigwetch”, which means “thank you”. Next, you will receive instruction on paddling and water safety before getting in your boat and setting off on the river. Boats, paddles and life jackets are available for both adults and children. While on the water, you will learn about the history of the area and you may even be treated to a traditional song sung by your tour guide.

Canoes for Conservation also offer interpretive tours of the St Marys river in their popular ‘big canoe’. Dip your paddle into the famous Whitefish Rapids at Bawating, one of the most significant cultural gathering places of the Anishinaabe People since time immemorial. These tours are popular with groups and families and expert guides provide a rich description of the area. 

Take a Residential School Tour

The Shingwauk Residential School in Sault Ste. Marie was operational from 1875 until 1970. Join Thrive Tours to see the residential school grounds and buildings, now part of the Algoma University campus, and learn about the residential school system. You will hear about the devastation the system had on the Indigenous people in the not-so-distant past and the inter-generational trauma affecting communities and families today. If you are touring with kids, information is shared in a truthful yet age-appropriate way. Learn about what is being done for healing and restoration and what you can do in this process as an ally.

Hike to See the Agawa Rock Pictographs

Take a beautiful drive along the Trans Canada Highway to see the Agawa Rock Pictographs in Lake Superior Provincial Park. Located about 1 hour North of Sault Ste. Marie, this 0.5km loop trail will take you right along the shore of Lake Superior to the Indigenous archaeological site where you can see sacred Ojibwe paintings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The hike is rated as moderate, but some scrambling over rocks is required. To see the pictographs, you’ll need to walk out on a sloped rock shelf beside the lake. The views are definitely worth it, but please take caution as the rocks can be slippery!

Enjoy a Meal at Chummy’s Grill

After working up an appetite during your Sault Ste. Marie adventures, stop by Chummy’s Grill for a delicious meal. This local Indigenous-owned and operated family restaurant has a wide variety of delicious food available. The restaurant has a great kids menu and even has all-day breakfast (except Friday 4-8pm). While here, make sure you spend some time admiring the wood carvings located throughout the restaurant.

Now it’s time to get your family and come explore Bawating! With so many different ways to experience Indigenous culture in the Soo, you’ll want to keep coming back for more.

And read our blog post from summer 2021 about spending a day with the family in Sault Ste. Marie here!