Sault Ste Marie Ontario is in the Algoma Region of Ontario and is the 'gateway' to the north-west's attractions.
It shares the St Mary's River and International Bridge with Sault Saint Marie, Michigan.
Both towns got their start during the period when this land was considered part of 'New France' and fur trading was the major industry, which makes 'the Soo', as it is known locally, one of the oldest european settlements in Canada.
The Soo is a good place to use as a base for exploring Ontario's north-west because it's a reasonable sized city, compared to the other towns in the north, with a lot of amenities.
Today, the Soo has a strong industrial base with steel making, manufacturing, forestry and paper making, and shipping all this up and down the Great Lakes providing major employment.
None of these need concern the vacationer too much because there's lots of natural Ontario left.
The city also has a strong tourism base both with local attractions, such as the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Museum (photo above), and Casino Sault Ste. Marie, and nearby attractions, like the pristine beauty of Pancake Bay, Batchawana Bay, and Lake Superior National Parks.
Other attractions in the city are Sault Locks, which can be visited by boat in the summer, the Art Gallery of Algoma, and, of course, the city is the setting off point of the Agawa Canyon train tours, which run all year round for enjoying the deep northern snow, the lush green of the canyon in summer, and, best of all, the Fall Colors trip.
Another attraction, one you might want to use to encourage your daughters or grand-daughters into an adventurous career, is the Roberta Bondar Pavilion and statue.
Roberta was the first Canadian female astronaut and also the first neurologist in space.
Roberta grew up in Sault Ste Marie Ontario and is, of course, the local 'heroine'.
Being a regional centre, the Sault Ste Marie Ontario is an important place for trading and the way we do that today is at the shopping mall. Station Mall, in downtown Soo, is one of the largest malls in Northern Ontario and has all the stores you'd expect. The downtown core is on the waterfront and features a boardwalk running along the riverside with, as you'd expect, restaurants to ease your walk and also art work, such as this moose and the fishing bears in the photo lower down on the page.
Historic Soo is represented by the Ermatinger House and Clergue Blockhouse National Historic Site, one of the two oldest stone buildings north of Toronto.
The blockhouse, below, gives a good sense of how hard you had to work to protect your property in those early days of the 19th century.
The house and blockhouse, as well as the surrounding gardens, are immaculately kept and interpreted by staff in period costumes telling the story of life on the frontier in the early 1800's.
OLG's Sault Ste Marie Ontario casino has over 450 slot machines (from 1 cent to $5) and plenty of table games, such as Blackjack, Roulette, and Texas Hold'em Poker. There's also a restaurant and bar.
Skiing in Sault Saint Marie Ontario means Searchmont Resort, just outside of town, for downhill skiing and snowboarding. More about Ontario skiing can be found on our Ontario Ski Resorts page.
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing is available at Stokely Creek Lodge (about an hour north of the Soo) and Hiawatha Highlands, about 30 mins north of SSM off the Great Northern Road.
And, of course, if you're visiting Sault Ste Marie Ontario for winter sports, don't forget the miles of snowmobile trails around the area.
And don't forget Ontario Winter Carnival Bon Soo, 'northern Ontario's largest winter carnival', for enjoying all the pleasures of winter in the snowy north. With a Polar Bear Swim in the frozen river, night time concerts, skating, laser show, horse-drawn wagon and sleigh rides, dog sled rides and helicopter rides, fireworks and much more, there's something for everyone.
In summer, the HUB trail provides a great way to get about the city (and surrounds) by bike, rollerblades, jogging or just plain old walking. The HUB includes the Waterfront boardwalk so it's easy to find and get started.
If you're into serious walking, the Voyageur Hiking trail runs from Manitoulin Island to Thunder Bay (600 kms), passing through the Sault Ste Marie area on its way. The route follows the way of the voyageurs, those early fur traders and explorers. It's a hiking trail in the warmer months and a showshoeing and cross-country skiing trail in winter.
Further along the riverside, and still within walking distance is the Algoma Art Gallery with its collection of Canadian and regional art, including works by the Group of Seven. If you like art, check out our page on Art Gallery of Ontario.
How to get to Sault Ste Marie: flying is quickest but to see the country as you go, drive on Hwy 17 (the Trans-Canada Hwy) from Sudbury or Interstate 75 from Michigan in the US.
And visit their website here.
And for a hotel in Ontario or anywhere else:
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