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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One of the perks of living in Ontario is that this beautiful province can be enjoyed all year round. With an abundance of natural beauty and opportunities for adventure, there’s one question every Ontarian has to face — where should my next staycation be?
That being said, current restrictions are keeping us from going farther afield, and anyone itching to escape their surroundings and step into nature is encouraged to stay as close to home as possible. But when we are allowed to freely travel again and explore all Ontario has to offer, you might want to consider looking north.
Sault Ste. Marie (affectionately nicknamed “the Soo”) is the place to go for unforgettable experiences right in your own backyard.
Nestled in between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, the Soo is just an hour by plane from the GTA (or a scenic seven-hour road trip) and has something to offer every adventurer.
From camping and fishing to kayaking, biking and much more, it can be hard to know where to start. Arriving with a convenient three-day itinerary like this one will help you make the most of the Soo for when it’s safe to go exploring once again.
By Tourism Sault Ste. Marie
Do you fancy ripping around Lake Superior at speeds of up to 90 km/h in a military-style boat? Then look no further, your one-of-a-kind Ontario adventure starts here!
The “Superior Rocket” is heading to Sault Ste. Marie for a limited run series of high-speed adventure tours departing from downtown Sault Ste. Marie in August. This unique Ontario tourism attraction allows up to 12 passengers at a time to experience the thrill of 90 km/h speeds, skimming along the surface of the St Marys River and out to Lake Superior.
Check out these videos below for a taster!
Tell Me More About The Boat
The “Superior Rocket” is a 12 passenger, 30 ft Zodiac Hurricane 920. Zodiac is a trade name for a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) or Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB). The Rocket is constructed of aluminum and ringed with large air-filled tubes. Super-fast, lightweight, durable and incredibly seaworthy. Canadian forces and most militaries around the world use Zodiacs on their missions. Just think of James Bond.
When Is This Happening?
Tours will be available leaving from downtown Sault Ste. Marie from August 7th – 15th.
What Tours Are Available?
You can book a half day ‘Soo Rapid’ trip in the morning, or a 90-minute ‘Soo Locks Blast’ and 60-minute ‘St. Marys River Rip’ trip leaving at various times in the afternoon from 2pm.
Tell Me More About ‘The Soo Rapid’ Tour?
Departing each morning on the five-hour ‘Soo Rapid’ trip passengers can choose their own destination! With an experienced tour guide and an expert captain the Zodiac will either head west through the locks, past Gros Cap out into Goulais Bay, Lake Superior, or head east past Garden River to St. Joseph’s island or even as far as Bruce Mines. This tour is booked as a private group of up to ten people ride making the ‘Soo Rapid’ perfect for families, corporate team building or birthday parties! The cost is $1475 per boat.
Tell Me More About The ‘Soo Locks Blast’ and ‘St. Marys River Rip’ Tour?
Head west through the locks and up to Gros Cap and back with on the 90-minute ride Soo Locks Scramble, or pick the St. Marys River Rip for a 60-minute dash east and back. The costs are $99 or $75 per person respectively, or passengers can book the whole boat and receive a 10% discount.
How Can I Book?
Tickets are limited and are available on a first-come first-served basis. Visit the Sail Superior website here to book.
What About Covid?
Sail Superior follow strict guidelines sanitizing your seat and equipment before each trip. Passengers will be required to wear face masks. If you book the whole boat you can enjoy the ride within your bubble if you wish. The afternoon tours are booked by individual seat.
What About Bad Weather Or If I Can’t Make It?
Once booked Sail Superior will make sure you get a ride, but if there are any unexpected weather events such as thunder storms, Sail Superior will postpone your ride for your own safety. If you cannot make the ride you purchased, then try to offer your ticket to someone else because refunds are not possible.
You probably have lots more questions about food, the weather, group bookings, what to wear and more. Sail Superior are expert tour guides and know how to take care of people. Check out their FAQ here!
By Conor Mihell
With water all around, Sault Ste. Marie is one of the best places in Ontario to go paddling. The city is located in the heart of the Great Lakes, with pristine freshwater coastlines, wilderness lakes and rivers located within easy access. Great Lakes Superior and Huron offer some of the best sea kayaking in the world; the St. Mary’s River is a scenic and historic waterway flowing right through downtown; and Lake Superior Provincial Park offers excellent canoe tripping, backcountry angling opportunities and rugged Canadian Shield scenery. Whether you love sea kayaking, canoeing or standup paddle boarding, Sault Ste. Marie is an amazing destination for an Ontario paddling trip.
The Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy offers guided big canoe tours on the St. Mary’s River in downtown Sault Ste. Marie. No previous paddling experience is necessary to join a group tour in a safe and stable 26- or 36-foot canoe. Veteran paddlers will also relish the opportunity to step back in time and experience the watercraft used in the Canadian fur trade. Interpretive guides will share stories about the St. Mary’s River’s rich cultural history and wildlife. Group bookings are available for 1.5-, 2- and 3-hour tours.
Based just north of Sault Ste. Marie in Goulais River, Forest The Canoe provides guided interpretive in Lake Superior Provincial Park. This brand-new outfitter focuses on small-group tours that reveal the wonders of nature in Northern Ontario. You don’t have to be a veteran paddler to participate. Forest The Canoe provides inclusive wilderness programs for families and beginners, as well as rentals and logistical support for more experienced paddlers.
Naturally Superior Adventures in Wawa has offered guided sea kayak trips and certified instruction since 1994. The company specializes in Lake Superior sea kayak trips for all experience levels. Multi-day wilderness tours are offered in Lake Superior Provincial Park and Pukaskwa National Park—world-class sea kayak destinations located within a short drive of Sault Ste. Marie. The company also offers accommodations on Lake Superior, vehicle shuttles and canoe, kayak and paddleboard rentals.
Looking for a quick paddling trip in Sault Ste. Marie? Check out the Sault College Waterfront Adventure Centre on the St. Marys River. You can rent a canoe, kayak or standup paddleboard to explore the shoreline and get a new perspective of the city. Enjoy a coffee and baked snack when you’re done on the waterfront patio.
Joe’s Sports is a locally owned Sault Ste. Marie outdoor store that has recently invested in a fleet of canoes, sea kayaks and standup paddleboards with a plan to be able offer rental in 2022. Experienced paddlers can rent gear and set off on their own adventure, near or far.
Bring your canoe or kayak down to this new public dock! Complete with accessible transfer system, this new feature to the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront is located in Bellevue Marina and features user friendly technology suitable for all skill levels. The location is connected to a paved path leading from the car park for greater accessibility.
Standup paddleboards can use it too, just off to the side. Click on this link to view the facebook post, see more photos and join in the discussion!
By Conor Mihell
Put these routes on your canoeing bucket list
From half-day jaunts to wilderness expeditions, these rivers offer the very best canoeing, fishing, and rapids in Ontario.
Ontario has some of the best river canoe trips in the world. I’m especially fond of the wild rivers in Northern Ontario. As an avid backcountry canoeist, I sometimes worry that my bucket list may exceed my longevity. Here is a collection of eleven of my personal favourites in Northern Ontario.
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By Conor Mihell
As a medium-sized city located on the doorstep of rugged northern Ontario wilderness and the heart of the Great Lakes, Sault Ste. Marie is rapidly emerging as one of Canada’s best outdoor towns. Locals have always recognized the city’s adventurous charms, which include over 100 kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails at the Hiawatha Highlands and Stokely Creek Lodge (within a 30-minute drive of downtown); world-class fly fishing on the St. Mary’s River; incredible backcountry skiing at Bellevue Valley Lodge and Searchmont Resort (one of Ontario’s largest downhill ski areas); and easy access to long-distance canoe tripping on countless inland waterways and outstanding sea kayaking on Lake Superior. Sault Ste. Marie is a great place to go paddling in Ontario.
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By Peter Greve
Take a canoe trip along the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie
Water runs through us, around us, and in our homes. Love water. Respect water. Take care of it. Experience all this and more on the St. Marys River, a great place to go canoeing in Northern Ontario.
We are freshwater people. People of gaaming and people of ziibi. Water runs through us, around us, and in our homes. Water breaks before we enter the world. The Anishinaabe (original people) have many words for nibi, because it can mean many things to life.
In English, we have one word for water. Freshwater is sacred. It is something worth protecting. When the McGuffins, a charismatic, conservation-oriented canoeing couple, travelled the thousands of kilometres of Lake Superior shoreline, they also carried an important message: Love water. Respect water. Take care of it.
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