Sault Ste. Marie Canal, Sault Ste. Marie

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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Sault Ste. Marie Canal Reviews
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  • October 3, 2017
    If youve never seen a lock system before its nice to see how the boat get from one lake to the next, and theres a great walking path that takes you to White Fish Island. Great sights and Great walk.  more »
  • September 28, 2017
    Watching the locks at work and you can do several times in a day is a real experience considering the level difference of lake Superior and Huron. take walk to the tails in the islands and its a real ...  more »
  • September 23, 2017
    we really enjoyed this walk. We walked from the Delta along the boardwalk to the canal-great views. It was free and we got to see how the locks worked. A few boats went through so we saw it in action....  more »
Google
  • June 7, 2017
    Very nice park. Nice trails on the islands with some boardwalks. The lock is also cool to see. Pet friendly as well.
  • May 21, 2017
    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 !
  • May 30, 2017
    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.
  • July 4, 2017
    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
  • June 15, 2017
    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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Where to stay in Sault Ste. Marie

Like most smaller border cities between Canada and the USA, Sault Ste. Marie caters primarily to visitors in transit. The town's accommodations work mostly for one-night stays, with a selection of budget and mid-range motels and motor inns along Queen Street East, just shy of the border. A similar selection of basic accommodations lines Great Northern Road--the main artery out of town to the north--and Trunk Road, which heads northeast.
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36 days in Ontario BY A USER FROM INDIA November, kids, culture, outdoors, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, kids, culture, outdoors, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 13 days in Northeastern Ontario BY A USER FROM CANADA November, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 23 days in Ontario BY A USER FROM INDIA December, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 4 days in Canada & United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 1 day in Sault Ste. Marie BY A USER FROM CANADA October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Sault Ste. Marie BY A USER FROM CANADA December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Orillia & Sault Ste. Marie BY A USER FROM CANADA October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Sault Ste. Marie BY A USER FROM CANADA October, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Sault Ste. Marie BY A USER FROM CANADA October, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Sault Ste. Marie BY A USER FROM CANADA October, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 4 days in Sault Ste. Marie BY A USER FROM CANADA October, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 3 days in Sault Ste. Marie BY A USER FROM CANADA October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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