This walking tour showcases some of the exciting attractions to be found along Sault Ste. Marie's waterfront, including historic sites, museums, parks, public art, and much more!
This tour was created by Tourism Sault Ste Marie.
This project is a partnership with the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association, the Sault Ste. Marie Museum, and Tourism Sault Ste. Marie.
1. Agawa Canyon Train Tour Station
The start point for a Canadian Signature Experience, the Agawa Canyon Train Tour. A one day excursion through the Canadian Shield.
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This one-day wilderness excursion will transport you 114 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, over trestles, alongside northern lakes and rivers, through granite rock formations, and vast mixed forests of the Canadian Shield to Agawa Canyon. The floor of the Agawa Canyon, created over 1.2 billion years ago by the last ice-age that retreated 10,000 years ago. At Mile 114, you can experience the beauty up close. With graveled trails leading to several waterfalls or a breathtaking climb up over 300 stairs to the Lookout, 250 feet above the canyon floor.
2. Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site
The Sault Ste. Marie 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, used by recreational craft, is a great spot for boat-watching.
3. The Boardwalk
The Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Boardwalk stretches from approximately 2 km, connecting Mill Square with the Art Gallery of Algoma. It is one of the best spots for fishing within city limits. The boardwalk also includes several public art pieces. This first one are the Chimes, wind chimes fashioned from the horns of the M.S. Chief Wawatam.
4. Spirits Rising
A glass teepee, public art installation, embodying community spirit and unity.
5. William Henry Orazietti
William “Billy” Henry Orazietti and his twin brother Robert (Bobby) were born October 13, 1943 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Billy played hockey for the Junior Greyhounds. Orazietti was a national-calibre body builder in the early 1960s, becoming Mr. Canada for both the Junior and Senior levels.
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Dogs were always a big part of his life. He came up with the idea of tying their leashes to bicycle handlebars and later toboggans and letting them pull him along. He decided to get a dog sled and harness the dogs to the sled, soon realizing that he could enter his dogs into dog sled races. He trained with his dogs and by 1975 he felt that he was ready to enter races. He worked them towards the goal of entering the 1,165-mile Iditarod dogsled race in Alaska in 1992.
In 1994, a race in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula led to a horrible accident — one of the worst dog sled racing accidents in the Upper Peninsula’s 200-year history. Orazietti, an experienced and well-liked musher, became disoriented on the ice over Little Bay de Noc. After straying off course, Orazietti’s dogs ran off the ice into open water. He managed to free two of his nine dogs from their harnesses, but ultimately the cold water took the lives of Billy and seven of his dogs. In honour of Billy, his 1994 bib number, 11, was retired from the race.
6. Roberta Bondar Park & Marina
Provides year-round event space for festivals and markets under the large tent, which has become a symbolic landmark. The venue and park, named in honour of Canada’s first female astronaut, Dr. Roberta Bondar.
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In January 22, 1992, Dr. Roberta Bondar became the first Canadian Woman and world first neurologist in Space. Roberta Bondar is a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She served as Payload Specialist One (PS1), Science Detail, aboard the first flight of the International Microgravity Laboratory (IML-1). This Mission occurred aboard the Discovery, which was launched by NASA, named Mission STS-42. The Discovery successfully landed back on Earth on January 30, 1992.
7. Algoma’s Friendliest City Arch
The steel arch is one of the most visible ways that the City welcomes visitors. The original Welcome Arch was built in 1938. At the time, this area was the dock for the ferry that transported people between the twin Saults.
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After the International Bridge was built, the ferry service was discontinued. The arch was dismantled in 1964, but the sandstone cairns were left standing. The new Welcome Arch is a replica of the original. The arch now welcomes people to the downtown waterfront.
8. Clergue Park/John Rowswell Park
Clergue and John Rowswell Park serves as a social hot spot for activities, arts and festivals year round.
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Mariner’s Compass is a reflection of our waterways. The incline and of the railing mimics the bow of a ship. This focal point is used as a gathering place for ceremonies and celebrations.
The Sault Ste. Marie Library was established in 1896. It wasn’t until Canada’s Centennial in 1967, that it was relocated across from Clergue Park and renamed James L. McIntyre Centennial Library after the City’s reigning mayor.
Elsie Savoie Sculpture Park was named after a volunteer and supporter of the Art Gallery of Algoma. There are many steel sculptures located on the grounds encircling the Art Gallery of Algoma.
9. Art Gallery of Algoma
The Art Gallery of Algoma has a collection of over 5000 local, national, and international artworks. The gallery leads a variety of art classes and workshops for adults and children.
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The AGA is home to some of Canada’s best well known landscape paintings, created by The Group of Seven. Between 1920-1933, the group originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald and Frederick Varley and later, A. J. Casson, Edwin Holgate, and LeMoine FitzGerald. This iconic group painted many scenic landscapes in the Algoma Region.
10. Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre
The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre a.k.a. Bushplane Museum features Canada’s largest bushplane collection and Forest Fire Education. This waterfront hangar offers more than 62,000 square feet of interactive, hands-on aviation and forest fire exhibits. Visitors can climb aboard the aircraft, take the pilot's seat in a passenger plane's cockpit, and climb into the cargo holds of a real water bomber.
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The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre is proud to host an exclusive exhibit, sharing Dr. Roberta Bondar’s achievements. One of Dr. Bondar's projects was to conduct the Back Pain Experiment (BPE) aboard the IML-1. At the Museum, we house a variety of artifacts from her voyage, including the special gear she had to wear in order to conduct this experiment. In addition, the astronaut was allowed to bring two personal items with her into space: one was an RCAF flag, and the other was her "Flying Ferret" T-Shirt. This T-Shirt was printed with a variety of images and family members very special to Dr. Bondar, and it can be seen in many of the photos taken aboard the Discovery.
Entomica: Sault Ste. Marie Insectarium is also located inside the Bushplane Museum. It offers interactive and educational experiences with a variety of insect, arachnid, and other invertebrate species.
11. Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site
The Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site offers a year-round cultural attraction for residents and visitors to Sault Ste. Marie.
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The Site consists of an interactive Heritage Discovery Centre and two of the oldest stone buildings, located northwest of Toronto - the Ermatinger Old Stone House and the Clergue Blockhouse. The Ermatinger Old Stone House is restored to depict the domestic and professional life of Charles Oakes Ermatinger and other prominent residents and visitors of the House between 1808 and 1870. The Clergue Blockhouse, was relocated from the Old St. Marys Paper Mill site, where it served as the home of industrialist Francis Hector Clergue from 1894 – 1908, to the Ermatinger grounds in 1996. With its many exhibits and interactive features, the Heritage Discovery Centre makes history an engaging experience. The Post Gift shop has a variety of unique gift ideas.
12. Sault Ste. Marie Museum
The Sault Ste. Marie museum displays many artifacts and exhibitions that tells the story of our City.
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In May of 1906, a Post Office building was constructed in Sault Ste. Marie. The clock tower, one of the most impressive features of the Post Office, was completed at the same time as the rest of the building. The clock itself was not installed until 1912. The rough cut sandstone for the building was from the excavation of the Canadian Locks. There are more than 2,500 sandstone blocks in the building. The blocks are 18 inches thick and vary in size from 2 feet to 8 feet in length.
Not only did it serve as a hub for letters and special packages, but also an office for Customs Agents, Weights & Measures Agents, the Fisheries Officer, Indian Agent and Algonquin Rifles.