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Sault Ste. Marie Canal, Sault Ste. Marie

4.5
#1 of 6 in Sightseeing in Sault Ste. Marie
Landmark Tourist Spot
The Sault Ste. Marie Canal is a National Historic Site of Canada in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Until 1987, the canal was part of the shipping route from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Superior. It includes a lock to bypass the rapids on the St. Marys River.The first lock was built in 1798 by the Northwest Trading Company. On July 20, 1814 an American force destroyed the North West Company depot on the north shore of the St. Marys River. Since the Americans were unable to capture Fort Michilimackinac, the British forces retained control of the Sault. The lock was destroyed in 1814 in an attack by U.S. forces during the War of 1812.In 1870, the United States refused the steamer Chicora, carrying Colonel Garnet Wolseley permission to pass through the locks at Sault Ste Marie. The Wolseley Expedition incident led to the construction of a Canadian Sault Ste. Marie Canal, which was completed in 1895.The construction of the canal and lock was completed in 1895. At that time it was the largest lock and first electrically operated lock in the world. The canal is about 1.6km long and originally the lock portion was long and wide.On June 9, 1909 the locks were seriously damaged when the Perry G. Walker, owned by the Gilchrist Transportation Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, crashed into the south main gate, forcing it back and allowing the force of water to push the north main gate over. The rush of water threw the Perry G. Walker back and carried two other ships downstream, one of which struck the south main gate, breaking it diagonally in two. The rush of water through the destroyed locks was stopped by activation of the Emergency Swing Dam, allowing repairs to commence. Amazingly, there was no loss of life or injury associated with this disaster, and repairs required only 12 days, with the bridge reopening on June 21, 1909.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
151 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Very educational with lots of photos on placards and descriptions of how the locks were built, how they work, and about the big accident in 1909. We watched a Tour Boat "lock through", only 8 minutes ...  more »
  • a great place to wander the river watch tour boat traverse locks,ride bicycle and relax with the view of water tour various buildings at the locks  more »
  • What a great place to go for a walk and check out some history. They need some kind of ice cream parlour. Good place for a pic nic  more »
Google
  • Very nice park. Nice trails on the islands with some boardwalks. The lock is also cool to see. Pet friendly as well.
  • Had a great time. This is a good place to visit if you want to hold on to what is left of our past. The only way to keep our future !
  • Pretty interesting to watch a ship go through. You'll know how a lock works when it's done. Nearby historical displays are worth it. But no food or shopping if that's your thing.
  • Bugs were a bit bad when we were there and it was under restoration/construction but it was a nice quick visit and we got to see a boat use the locks
  • Exceeded my expectations! Well worth it! You learn about the history of the area as well as how the locks work!

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