Tour Boat, train, trails and outdoor adventures aplenty. Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect Summer Destination

By Sault Tourism

Miss Marie Sault Lock Tours

Introducing The Miss Marie Sault Lock Tours Boat, which officially launches for its first full year in 2023!

The Miss Marie takes passengers on a 90-minute cruise up and down the picturesque St Marys River. Enjoy the downtown sights of both Canadian and US Sault Ste. Marie, then pass through both set of historic locks and underneath the spectacular International bridge. Wave to Lake Superior ‘lakers’ as well as pleasure boat riders on this famous waterway, or just can sit back and relax and take in the many sights of this beautiful boat ride.

Take a bucket-list train ride

The Agawa Canyon Tour Train is one of North America’s iconic train rides as well as being a Destination Canada signature experience. See the boreal forests, rivers, and waterfalls that inspired Canada’s most iconic artists – the Group of Seven. If traveling in latter part of summer, witness some of the most incredible colours as the maple forests create a stunning palette of reds, oranges and yellows. 

This year’s tour season will be from Aug. 3 through Oct. 15. More details on pricing and purchasing tickets can be found on the Agawa train website.

Discover Awesome new Mountain Biking Trails

Sault Ste. Marie is the best destination for mountain biking in Ontario. Discover trails for every age, ability or style from jump and flow trails to enduro-style trails carved out of the Canadian Shield. Come and see why Sault Ste. Marie is being called Ontario’s new bike town. 

Visit the Hiawatha Highlands, with over 40km of trails including 12km of newly built world-class trails — just a short ride from downtown. Visit out new Mountain Bike page for more info or check our out post on spending a weekend mountain biking in the city

Explore our incredible hiking, biking or paddling trails

Cradled by the ancient mountains of the Canadian Shield and the biggest fresh water lake in the world, Sault Ste. Marie is Ontario’s best Trail Town.
 
Hike trails that will lead you to incredible lookout vistas, or along the largest fresh water lake in the world. Bike on newly built mountain bike trails, or along some quiet yet beautiful gravel roads. Or paddle one of our many and varied waterways, from winding rivers to portage-friendly inland lakes, or course the Big Lake, Lake Superior. Whatever your own personal mode of transport is, be it foot, peddle or paddle, we’ve got a trail for you.

Enjoy The best Sandy Beaches In Ontario

Sault Ste. Marie has some of the best sandy beaches in Ontario. Our beaches are incredible! All around our city you’ll find perfectly beautiful, long sandy beaches with crystal clear water that are perfect for a swim, a play in the sand or just to relax and soak up the sun. Great beaches are just one reason Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place for a summer vacation.

Click here to check out 6 of the best sandy beaches in Ontario, all just a short drive from Sault Ste. Marie.  

Experience Lake Superior

Lake Superior is wild, rugged and beautiful. It can be angry and violent, it can be calm with glassy water reflecting a perfectly clear blue sky. The sunsets can be some of most beautiful anywhere, and the maple forests that hug the coastline put on a fall colour display of bright reds, oranges and yellows so spectacular you’ll be telling your friends for years.

A drive along the coastline from Sault Ste. Marie will let you experience all of this. Get out of your car, RV or motorbike at any of the many stops along the way. Fill your camera up with countless shots of this beautiful coast. Visit in spring, summer, fall or winter for a different experience each season. Be inspired by the incredible Lake Superior coastal drive from Sault Ste. Marie.

Visit The Bushplane Museum

The Bushplane Museum, or the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre to give its full name, is one of Sault Ste. Marie’s top attractions. Perfect for kids to learn about bushplanes, women in aviation, forest fire prevention, plus, kids can run around, climb into planes and have fun exploring. For adults, it’s a museum full of beautiful and fascinating aircraft that shows the important history of bushplanes in Ontario. 

Check out Entomica while inside the museum; a wonderful Insectarium where you can meet and hold some pretty interesting creatures!

Other cultural attractions include: Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site, The Sault Ste. Marie Museum, Art Gallery of Algoma and Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site

Immerse yourself In Indigenous Culture

Traditionally known as Bawating (“the place of the rapids”), Sault Ste. Marie is a place of cultural importance. Follow this long weekend itinerary to experience and learn about Anishinaabe culture in our city. 

Thrive Tours offer interpretive eco-tours offering a guided experience of vibrant celebrations of Indigenous life. Or if you are visiting in June, experience the Summer Moon Festival featuring real-time creation of large-scale public art, including works by Indigenous artists. 

Visit our Indigenous Tourism page for more info. 

Enjoy so many unique events

Sault Ste. Marie has so many fun events happening all through the summer. From the Summer Moon Festival to Rotary Fest and the much-loved Queen Street Cruise. Looking for a show or musical performance? Check out all the events listed at the Sault Community Theatre website.

For the outdoor adventure enthusiast we have the Salty Marie trails fest happening in July, or race in our Summer Strong Festival, which is a series of races over a weekend in June, including a Boston Marathon qualifier!

Stay up to date by visiting our Events page here!

Relax, Dine and Drink

After a day of adventuring you’ll want to refuel and recharge, and we have some great restaurants serving some fantastic food for any taste. From Syrian Shawarma to spicy Indian, delicious Italian or sizzling steak, the Sault has so many great restaurants

We also brew our own beer! Northern Superior and Outspoken offer craft beers with names including ‘Rabbit’s Foot’, ‘Maglia Rosa’ and ‘Gitche Gumee’. Great beers, great atmosphere equals great times. 

By Sault Tourism

learn about our City's connection to this famous group of Canadian painters

The city of Sault Ste. Marie played an important role in bringing together Canada’s greatest art collective, the Group of Seven. Smitten by the beauty of this region, the Group of Seven, traveled to the city many times, capturing the landscapes with their beautiful brush strokes. Their explorations always resulted in beautiful sketches and paintings. Some of which are indeed their most famous. Visit Sault Ste. Marie and learn more about this special group of artists.

Agawa Canyon Tour Train

Book your seat on the narrated, one-day, round trip Agawa Canyon Tour Train and you’ll pass several sites captured by the Group of Seven while marvelling at the rugged beauty of the Canadian landscape.

View scenes that inspired some of the most famous works of art from the Group of Seven including The Solemn Land (based on Montreal River Harbour) and Algoma Waterfall (based on Bridal Veil Falls), by J.E.H MacDonald. The original sketch of The Solemn Land, painted after MacDonald first visited the area in 1918, is part of the permanent collection at the Art Gallery of Algoma

When the train stops within the Agawa Canyon, hike towards Bridal Veil Falls where you’ll see the cascading tiers of water which inspired multiple sketches and paintings by members of the Group of Seven including Lawren Harris and the aforementioned J.E.H. MacDonald.

Group of Seven BoxCar

The” Soo”, as it’s known to locals, has embraced the regions “colourful” Group of Seven history, not only through the art in the gallery, but also embracing their rail history as well. For the artists and for you, Sault Ste. Marie will be the send off into the region. One hundred and one years ago, with no highways going north, the group utilized the railway, catching the train in Sault Ste. Marie.  Along this rail line they camped and paddled through the remote areas allowing them a feeling of peace and tranquility they could not find in the larger cities in southern Ontario. They came here to heal from the war and to try to make sense of the untimely death of their friend Tom Thomson.  But they did much more than heal, they found themselves, and their inspiration through the landscapes of this beautiful region. Much like the tourists of today, once the Group of Seven visited the first time, they came again and again.  

If you are riding the rails into Algoma on the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, your departure will be the beautiful new train station.  But whether you are riding the train or not, the brand-new train station, as well as the rail car #10557, are a must do stop!  The bright red boxcar was recreated for the documentary, A Painted Land, In Search of the Group of Seven, and remains on display outside the train station.  It is a perfect replica of the rail car that the Group called home many times through their travels in Algoma.  It’s a perfect photo op for the true Group of Seven fan. 

Art Gallery of Algoma

As you travel through Algoma Country, in search of the Group of Seven’s inspirations, you would be remiss if you did not start your trip by visiting the Art Gallery of Algoma. Located on the St. Marys River, the Art Gallery of Algoma is home to a diverse permanent collection of artwork – including original pieces by members of the Group of Seven. Find an interpretive panel in the Elsie Savoie Sculpture Park near the boardwalk. 

The Art Gallery of Algoma’s permanent collection includes numerous Group of Seven site specific sketches and studies. Shop for Group of Seven related books, gifts, calendars and memorabilia in the gift shop. Be sure to visit the Gallery’s website for ongoing and rotating Group of Seven exhibits

Embark on the Group of Seven Driving Tour

You can experience their travels on the rail, and travel along the coastline of Lake Superior by vehicle on Highway 17 North. Starting just outside of Sault Ste. Marie at Chippewa Falls, and continuing along Ontario’s most beautiful coast to Nipigon/Red Rock you will find many sites and interpretive panels that will tell more of the story of the Group of Seven in this region.  Don’t travel fast but rather enjoy, explore, and pause.  You will gain a better understanding of why this area was a favourite of the Group of Seven.

You will discover that today, this region remains rich in beautiful forests, crystal clear lakes, and rivers still filled with plentiful fish and game. This area is so lucky that so many vistas painted by the Group remain untouched today.  There is a sense of beauty and serenity here that one must truly experience, much like the Group of Seven did just over a hundred years ago. 

Remember, memories are made through a gathering of great moments, seven men captured their moments in Algoma, it is time to capture yours. Learn more about the discovery route here

Chippewa Falls, Trans Canada Hwy 17

Drive north of the city along highway 17 and you’ll reach Chippewa Falls, the halfway point of Trans Canada Hwy 17. Visit this waterfall along the Lake Superior Circle Tour where painter A.Y. Jackson sketched the rapids which became “Streambed, Lake Superior Country”. Chippewa Falls also inspired J.E.H. MacDonald to paint ‘Batchewana Rapid‘.

The falls can be seen from the viewing bridge near the parking lot. To hike alongside the waterfall, please proceed with caution as trails can be challenging beside this fast moving water. 

By Sault Tourism

 

How to Experience Ontario's Awesome Fall colours

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!

Robertson Lake
Robertson Lake

1. Ride The Agawa Canyon Tour Train

This attraction is a bucket-list adventure and a big 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!

2. Hike Robertson Cliffs

There are so many hikes in and around Sault Ste. Marie that it can be difficult to narrow it down to just one. But if you are only looking to do one hike, try the Robertson Cliffs lookout hike.

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!  

3. Hike or Bike Hiawatha Highlands / Kinsmen Park

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 new mountain biking trails located in the same area of the Hiawatha Highlands. Check out fall colours while you enjoy our new flow trails, berms, jumps, techy climbs and more. 

4. Check out Fort Creek Conservation Area on the Hub Trail

Enjoy 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.

5. Take a river cruise on the Miss Marie Sault Lock Tours

Another activity to do in Sault Ste. Marie is take a Sault Locks boat tour. They leave every day until the middle of October at 10am and 1pm. Click here for all the info. 

Want the expert touch? Go guided!

Sault Ste. Marie has excellent, experienced, informative, trained guides to help you get the most out of your time in the city. 

Take a day guided tour on the True North Adventure Bus and witness the fall colours you’ve seen on Instagram. Paddle on some of the most beautiful inland lakes in Ontario, and hike to one of best vistas for fall colours anywhere. The True North Adventure bus offers you these experiences. Experienced tour guides Forest The Canoe offer all day adventure tours to some of the most beautiful places in Ontario. Click here to read more. 

Go guided with Thrive Tours who offer fall colour hikes, as well as and canoe and kayak tours throughout the Algoma region. Red Pine Tours offer bike tours, Walk Among The Trees specializes in simple, 2- to 3-hour hiking tours sharing Indigenous teachings, culture, ceremony and language. Metis Tours shares Metis history in Sault Ste. Marie and Blaq Bear Tours do culinary and walking tours of the area!

How else can I experience fall colours?

Sault Ste. Marie is a great destination to experience incredible fall colours, with countless other ways to see spectacular reds, oranges and yellows. A scenic drive through the Bellevue Valley to Goulais River is a great way to some stunning colours. Or check out this blog post featuring 4 more ‘unknown’ spots

We hope you enjoy your time in the Soo! 🙂 

Bellevue Valley Road
Bellevue Valley Road

By Tourism Sault Ste. Marie

Sault Ste. Marie's Canal District is a newly restored part of the city that includes Restaurants, event spaces, the Train Station and more

Once a key industrial part of Sault Ste. Marie, the Canal District has been reimagined, restored and rebuilt to be one of Northern Ontario’s premier destinations for dining, entertainment and tourist attractions.

A new train station for the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, built in a style that compliments the historic surrounding buildings, is just one of exciting developments to have happened that has revitalized a key area of the city. There is also a microbrewery, four restaurants, a gelato mill, an outdoor adventure store complete with indoor climbing wall, an exhibit centre-gallery, an outdoor event centre and a rink!

Keep reading to find out more about this exciting destination in the city.

The Machine Shop's Restaurants

The Machine Shop boasts three magnificent restaurants as well as a top notch win bar.

The Mill Steakhouse + Wine Bar is fine dining at its best; 45 day aged AAA Ribeyes, 16oz New York Striploin, Prime Rib and all with fresh ingredients, in an elegant setting with superb service and friendly atmosphere.

The Boiler Room is an easy, family-friendly pizzeria, offering freshly prepared wood-oven pizza in a relaxed steampunk style restaurant. Next door to the Boiler Room is a The Steamfitters Lounge; a unique space where you can enjoy the wood-fired pizza menu that is also available for private functions of up to 60 guests. 

The Blockhouse Pub

The Blockhouse Pub offers great pub-grub, large portions and a full array of beer including locally brewed Outspoken, which is brewed on site. Stop for all day breakfast or come in for a grab and go panini from their delicious deli! 

The Gelato Mill and Starbucks Coffee

The Gelato Mill offers fresh Starbucks coffee, lots of snack options including freshly made pastries and of course a variety of gelatos.  

Create your own ice cream sandwich, indulge in a slushy, or stop by for a delicious treat and fresh cup of joe.

The Outfitters

The Outfitters is located inside the new train station building. It offers a wide variety of outdoor equipment and top brand clothing and accessories for your entire family – gear and clothing for adults & kids! You can climb our indoor rock wall or shop for a canoe, kayak or paddle board. Enjoy the amazing art by Indigenous artists Tomas Sinclair and John Laford.

The Train Station

A prominent feature of the Canal District is the newly build train station for the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. The station is open and tickets can be purchased while the train is running during the summer and fall months. 

The Rink

The Rink is a covered outdoor skating rink that is available for hire or for public skates during the winter months. During the summer the rink turns into an events space (see below for more info on that). Check out the Rink’s website here for all the information you’ll need on using the ice!

Lots of great events

The Canal District hosts events throughout the year from live music and comedy through to beerfest events, Christmas events and summer outdoor car shows and outdoor roadshows. Check out out the latest events here!

The Mill Market Farmers Market

The Mill Market Farmers Market is conveniently located just steps away from Canal District and Machine Shop. Grown, raised or crafted by Northern Ontario’s farmers, ranchers, fishermen, artists and artisans; Mill Market brings the best of our lakes, fields and forests to the heart of the historic Canal District in downtown Sault Ste. Marie. From farm to table, 

The Mill Market is open Saturdays year-round 9am – 2pm, and Wednesdays 11:30am – 2pm (June 29th through September 7th, 2022). Visit this website for more information!

Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site

Just a short walk or bike ride away from the Machine Shop and train station is the actual Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic site

The Canal, built in 1895, was the world’s longest lock, the first to operate using electricity and the last link in an all-Canadian navigational chain from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Superior. Today, the Canal is a great spot for boat-watching, picnics and a variety of other activities. Let a Parks Canada interpreter introduce you to the canal’s fascinating history, rent a Fat Bike, check out the new visitor centre.

For more information on the Canal District visit this website!

By Sault Tourism

 

7 Ways To Experience Fall Colours In Sault Ste Marie

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.

 

Click here to continue reading…

By Curiocity Staff

Remember the good old days of travelling? When a simple day or a weekend trip somewhere in Ontario was just a casual thing to do? We miss those days. Like, a lot. But instead of looking back, we’re choosing to look forward. There are brighter days ahead, when we’ll be able to travel once again. We’re crossing our fingers and doing our part to ensure that day is sooner than later. But in the meantime, while we’re stuck at home, we’re dreaming up our perfect post-pandemic vacation.

Here are 13 Ontario places we wish we could visit right now.

Click here to continue reading…

By Stephen Johnson

Trains, Trails, and Ancient Art

Driving cross-country and thinking of skipping Ontario? Here’s why you shouldn’t. This family found some fascinating roads into Canada’s past, and its rich natural beauty.

We recently took a family trip by car from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to our home in Ottawa. At first, I was nervous that the trip would be punctuated by continuous demands of “Are we there yet?” and hour after hour of uninspiring scenery.   

I could not have been more wrong. The scenery all along the route was quite beautiful. Things got jaw-droppingly gorgeous once we hit Rossport, Ontario. We were treated to kilometre after kilometre of landscapes that were straight out of a Group of Seven painting. Still more beauty awaited us in the Sault Ste. Marie area.

Our first stop of the day was at Aguasabon Falls and Gorge. We followed the trail and could hear the waterfalls before we saw them.
 
Click here to continue reading…

By Greg Smart

Ride the rails with the Agawa Canyon Tour Train

No visit to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is complete without a ride on the legendary Agawa Canyon Tour Train. It’s one of the most popular attractions in the region, and rightly so; it’s a conduit to one of the most beautiful and pristine natural wonderlands that you’ll find in Ontario, a vast wilderness that inspired countless masterpieces by the Group of Seven.

Your one-day adventure begins at the train station at 129 Bay Street in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, just steps from the Holiday Inn and Delta Hotel. Every day between Tuesday, June 20, and Sunday, October 15, 2017, the train departs from the station at 8 am and returns to the Sault at 6 pm.

Click here to continue reading…

By Greg Smart

It will take your breath away…

There are many ways to explore Northern Ontario. But one of the most unique (and fun) ways is certainly hopping aboard the fabled Agawa Canyon Tour Train.

This one-day rail excursion takes 114 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie into the heart of the Canadian wilderness — pristine lakes, rugged forests and granite rock formations unfold right outside your window. Many of these ancient landscapes inspired the works of Canada’s most celebrated artists, the Group of Seven.

The experience is enhanced with a GPS triggered tour narration available in English, French, German, Japanese and Mandarin, locomotive mounted cameras and flat screen monitors in all the coaches. A highlight of the tour is definitely the 90-minute stopover in Agawa Canyon Park.
 
Click here to continue reading…