Spotlight on Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario


This lovely city, pronounced soo-saynt muh-ree, sits on the St. Marys River between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. The Soo is actually one of the oldest settlements in all of Canada, established by French Jesuits in 1668, later to become an important fur trading post. If you find yourself exploring Northern Ontario, or looking for a day trip across the border from Michigan, here are a few choice attractions.

Queen Street is a charming stretch of mom-and-pop shops and picturesque old buildings. There are big malls nearby, but you’ll have more fun visiting these independent businesses in the historic downtown district. Check out the clothes and accessories at Phat Closet, the knitting supplies and Scandinavian baked goods at Shabby Motley, or have a cappuccino with your hair products at Mane Street.

The Sault Ste. Marie Museum is housed in the beautiful old post office, and focuses on local heritage, marine history surrounding the Great Lakes, the building itself (dating back to 1906), and more. This museum may feel a bit obscure for those who aren’t history buffs, but it gives real context to the city, and it’s conveniently located right downtown. Admission is CAD$6.

The Agawa Canyon Tour Train offers a one-day scenic trip along rivers and lakes, through the thickly wooded Northern Ontario wilderness. The floor of the Agawa Canyon is your ultimate destination, 114 miles north of town. The CAD$90 round-trip ($110 in the fall) begins in Sault Ste. Marie at 8am, returning at 6pm.

Lake Superior Provincial Park, about 90 minutes north of town, has dramatic cliffs and beaches, and the fall foliage blooms bright. Old Woman Bay has great views over the pristine blue Great Lake, which is massive enough to feel like a small ocean. Admission ranges from CAD$5.25 per vehicle for under two hours to $14 for the day or more for a camping permit.

What’s your favorite thing to do near Sault Ste. Marie?


About Author

Sarah is the North America Editor for Go! Girl Guides and she wrote the New York City guidebook. Raised in rural Texas on mesquite barbecue and barrel racing, Sarah lived in Indiana for two years before moving to New York by herself. Some of her favorite experiences in North America include snowmachining outside of Anchorage, exploring Caladesi Island off the coast of Florida, touring a Cold War bunker in West Virginia, watching the sun set over Chicago from Lake Michigan, and taking an overnight train from Montreal to Halifax.

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