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Sault Ste. Marie is a city of approximately 72,000 people (2021), in Northern Ontario. It is the beginning and end point of the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. Directly across the St. Mary's River -- and the Canada/US border -- is its twin city, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.



The twin cities of Sault Ste Marie (Ontario) and Sault Ste Marie (Michigan) straddle the international border between Canada and the United States of America; they are connected by a bridge across the St. Mary's River.

International Bridge

The area boasts rugged shores, sandy beaches, untouched forests, winding rivers, and two Great Lakes.

  • 1 Ontario Travel Information Centre, 261 Queen St W (turn right immediately after crossing the International Bridge and clearing customs). Daily 9:00AM-5:00PM. Brochures and information about the region. Also restrooms, a water fountain, and a bicycle repair station.



The history of the area involves an eclectic mix of cultures; once called "The Meeting Place", it drew inhabitants from all over Europe and from North American tribes.

The Ojibwe First Nation (Indigenoys) people called this area Baawitigong, meaning "place of the rapids." The rapids long represented an obstacle to voyagers heading westward to Lake Superior; since at least the era of the French coureurs du bois, traders needed to portage here. In the 1600s, Sault Ste. Marie was established as a fur trading post. From 1668 to 1817, Sault Ste. Marie was a single settlement on the St. Mary's River in North America's Great Lakes region from 1668-1817. Later, it was divided by the establishment of the Canada-US border to form the twin cities.

In the War of 1812, while the city was still a single settlement, it was a strategic point on the frontline due to its control over access to Lake Superior. Later in the 1800s, canal locks were constructed on both sides of the boundary to bypass the rapids. During the 1900s, Sault Ste. Marie was a site for steel making.

Today, Recreational craft and tour boats in the area use the Sault Ste. Marie Canal, on the Canadian side of the border. Large, ocean-going cargo vessels use the Soo Locks on the American side.

Get in


By plane

  • 1 Sault Ste. Marie Airport (YAM  IATA), 475 Airport Rd (take Second Line and turn south to Airport Road), +1 705-779-3031. Sault Ste. Marie Airport is 20 km from downtown on the western outskirts. Served by Air Canada, Bearskin Airlines and Porter Airlines. Flights from Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Toronto (both Pearson and Billy Bishop), all taking approximately 1.25 hours. There is no bus service from the downtown area to the airport. Taxis and limos provide flat-rate service between the airport and anywhere in the city; rides cost $45. Taxi: 7500 Taxi, +1 705-945-7500. Car rental is available from Avis and National. Sault Ste. Marie Airport (Q3912553) on Wikidata Sault Ste. Marie Airport on Wikipedia

Airports on the Michigan side include: Chippewa County (CIU IATA), served twice a day by Delta Connector, and Sault Ste. Marie Municipal (Sanderson Field, SSM IATA), a single-runway airport used by private aviation.

By car


Sault Ste Marie is a major stop along Highway 17, the southern route of the Trans-Canada Highway. Heading west from Sudbury, the highway traverses the northern shore of Lake Huron, reaching Sault Ste Marie in approximately 4 hours. Heading east from Thunder Bay, it follows the northern and eastern shorelines of Lake Superior, a spectacular drive that takes about 8 hours.

The International Bridge crosses the St. Mary's River and connects with the beginning of the Interstate 75 freeway in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, USA continuing further south to Saginaw, Flint, Detroit, and eventually Miami, Florida, USA.

By bus


By snowmobile


There are approximately 400 km of snowmobile trails in the Sault area and 1,000 km of trails in the Algoma district with connecting trails to Sudbury. Trails are maintained by the Sault Trailblazers Snowmobile club and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) and they operate on a user-pay system that requires users to purchase a trail permit. Official staging area is on the north side of McNabb Street one block east of Black Road.

Get around

Map of Sault Sainte Marie

Getting around is easy - you can walk, bike (if you don't mind getting clipped off by cars) or take the bus... it is a big town with a small town atmosphere. If you are driving, don't expect any traffic jams or road rage. This is a nice, relaxing place to be and it is very convenient to get around. Beaches, rugged outdoors and ski hills are less than 30 minutes away from the city centre.

By bus


Sault Ste. Marie Transit Services, +1 705-759-5438, . Operates from a central transit terminal at 160 Queen Street East at Dennis St. There are 8 regular routes running 19 hours a day, 7 days a week except statutory holidays: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. Cash fare is $2.85 for all riders (Dec 2018), and you must have exact fare as drivers do not provide change. Children 12 years of age and under ride free when accompanied by an adult; to qualify, children must be under 5 feet (150 cm) tall. You can also get a multi-ride pass with 20 rides for $45. Monthly adult, student, and senior passes are available upon advance purchase.

Bruce the Moose at the Waterfront Park

If paying fare by cash or multi-ride pass and you need to use more than one bus to complete your trip, ask the driver for a transfer after you pay the fare.

Request stop service, where the driver will let you off at a location along the route other than a bus stop, is available in the evenings -- either when the street lights turn on, or after 9PM, whichever is earlier. Speak to the driver a few blocks in advance, and they'll let you off as close as possible to your request, so long as they can stop safely. Exit via the front doors.

Parabus Service: Sault Transit also operates a Parabus service for passengers with disabilities. Trips on Tu-F are booked the day before; trips on Sa-M are booked by F 4PM. Same-day service is offered if scheduling permits. Call the Parabus office at +1 705-942-1404 to book a trip. Visitors are requested to call the Parabus office to make arrangements. Cash fare is $2.85; a 40-ride pass is also available for $79.

By taxi

  • 7500 Taxi +1 705-945-7500
  • Checker Cab +1 705-942-3600
  • Cruz Cab +1 705-450-2789
  • Union Cab +1 705-946-1300
  • Easy Cab +1 705-256-2222
  • Soo Yellow Cab +1 705-942-0005

If the driver was helpful to you, it is customary to tip the driver about 10% and a dollar per bag that they carry for you (not just unload). At the very least, you should round fares up to the nearest dollar.



On your visit you can walk to boardwalk along the river or take a Sault Locks tour to cruise the first canoe lock, the original Ermatinger-Clergue Old Stone House, Bush Plane Museum, the Sault Ste. Marie Art Gallery and Museum, and the Sault Ste. Marie Canal.

Sault Ste. Marie Museum in downtown Sault Ste. Marie
  • 1 Sault Ste. Marie Museum, 690 Queen St E, +1 705-759-7278. Tu-Sa 9:30AM-5PM. Museum of local history. Adults $8, students & seniors (55 & over) $6, children (5 & under) free, family (4 relatives) $20. Sault Ste. Marie Museum (Q2227540) on Wikidata Sault Ste. Marie Museum on Wikipedia
  • 2 Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, 50 Pim St, +1 705-945-6242. Mid-May to mid-Oct: daily 10AM-6PM; mid-Oct to Mid-May: daily 10AM-4PM. Features 29 planes including the 1st Beaver float plane produced. See the movie Wildfires!, a fire fighting adventure in 3-D. Flight simulator, fire tower, and children's centre. Closed Good Friday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Adult $13.50, senior $12.50, student $8, can $3. Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre (Q3274666) on Wikidata Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre on Wikipedia
Sault Ste. Marie Canal, with the International Bridge and rail bridge in background
  • 3 Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site. Daily 9AM-9PM. This canal once had the longest lock in the world and was the first one powered by electricity. It was built to allow ships to bypass the rapids. Visitor Centre, gift shop, washrooms, parking, walking and biking trails. Fat Bikes available for hourly rental (from $10/hr). Full guided site tours available. Sault Ste. Marie Canal (Q7427399) on Wikidata Sault Ste. Marie Canal on Wikipedia
  • Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site, 800 Bay St, +1 705-759-5443. Early Oct to mid-May: Tu-Sa 9:30AM-4:30PM; mid-May to early Oct: Th-M 9:30AM-4:30PM, Tu W 9:30AM-6PM. Many exhibits and interactive features in the Heritage Discovery Centre. 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 to the site in 1996, and served as the home of industrialist Francis Hector Clergue from 1894-1908. Adult $12.50, senior/child/student $11, children 5 & under free, family $30 (taxes included).
  • Boardwalk along the St. Marys River with lovely views of the rapids and lake steamers. Well-lit.
  • 4 Roberta Bondar Park, 65 Foster Drive. Named in honour of Canada's first female astronaut, Dr. Roberta Bondar. There is a statue of her. It is a waterfront event space for concerts and festivals.
  • 5 Art Gallery of Algoma, 10 East Street (on the St. Mary's River), +1 705-949-9067. Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM. Featuring local, national, and international artists, it holds a collection of over 4,000 works of art. Adults $7, students and seniors $5, children (under 12) free. Art Gallery of Algoma (Q4796828) on Wikidata Art Gallery of Algoma on Wikipedia
  • Soo Greyhounds, GFL Memorial Gardens at 269 Queen Street East. Ontario Hockey League/Canadian Hockey League major junior hockey team. Adult $21, senior/student $17.75, child $11. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Wikipedia

Along the waterfront in the city centre are many historic sites and attractions.


  • 1 Bon Soo Winter Carnival. early Feb. A ten-digit, diverse program of outdoor and indoor sports and activity events, and cultural activities including concerts, ice sculptures, and a polar bear swim. Bon Soo Winter Carnival (Q4941015) on Wikidata Bon Soo Winter Carnival on Wikipedia
  • Downhill Skiing - Searchmont Resort
  • Cross-country skiing - Hiawatha Highlands, Stokely Creek Lodge
  • Snowshoeing
  • Golf - Crimson Ridge, Root River, Maplewood, Superior View, Queensgate Greens
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting and fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Hiking -- Voyageur Trail
  • Swim -- beaches at Point Des Chenes, Harmony, others
  • The Memorial Gardens arena downtown hosts the local OHL hockey team during the winter, as well as concerts and other events year-round.
  • Horseback riding

Train tours

  • Agawa Canyon Tour Train - One of the most popular and scenic one-day rail excursions that takes visitors on a fully narrated tour non-stop to Agawa Canyon Park, 114 railway miles north of the Sault. There is a three-hour stopover at the canyon where there are hiking trails, a canteen, railway museum, and children's play area. This tour runs from mid-June to Mid-October (adult $100, senior $92, 18 and under $55 in 2020). Most popular times are in September and October when the fall colours are at their peak (and all tickets are $125 in 2020). Train has dining cars and dome cars in addition to regular coach cars. The train cars have big windows, comfortable seating, flat screen monitors with front of locomotive camera, and GPS-guided narration in five languages (English, French, German, Japanese, and Mandarin).
  • Wilderness and snowmobile adventures
  • Camp car and private car rentals


  • 3 Casino Sault Ste. Marie, 30 Bay Street West (near International Bridge), +1 705-759-0100, toll-free: +1-800-826-8946. Slots M-W 9AM-4AM, Th-Su 24hr; tables Su-Th 6PM-2AM, F Sa (6PM-4AM. Northern Ontario's first full-time casino features a 35,000 sq ft (3,252 m²) gaming floor, 450 slot machines, 21 gaming tables and a 100-seat restaurant and bar. By law, you must be 19 years of age or older to enter.



The main shopping street, Queen Street, has many independent shops, cafés and restaurants.

  • 1 Station Mall, 293 Bay St (two blocks south of Queen St). Movie theatres, liquor store, about 70 stores. Station Mall (Q14716294) on Wikidata Station Mall on Wikipedia
  • 2 Cambrian Mall, 44 Great Northern Rd. M-F 9:30AM-9PM, Sa 9:30AM-5:30PM, Su noon-5PM. 25 stores including Canadian Tire.
  • Mill Market (farmers market), 35 Canal Dr. W 11AM-4PM, Sa 8AM-2PM.




  • 1 Ernie's Coffee Shop, 13 Queen St E, +1 705-253-9216. Tu 11:30AM-3:30PM & 5-8PM, W Th 11:30AM-3:30PM & 5-9PM, F Sa noon-3:30PM & 5-10PM. A family tradition - inexpensive, and the portions are very generous.
  • Gino's Family Restaurant, 1076 Great Northern Rd, +1 705-759-8285. M-F 7AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-9PM, Su 9AM-9PM. Good steakhouse.


  • Aurora's West Side, 760 Second Line East and 300 Second Line West, +1 705-949-3000. Second Line East: M–W 11AM–9PM, Th 11AM–10PM, F 11AM–11PM, Sa 11AM–10PM. Second Line West: M–Th 11AM–11PM, F Sa 11AM–midnight, Su 4PM–10PM. Italian, pizza.
  • Fratelli's Kitchen and Pizzeria, 522 Great Northern Rd, +1 705-256-1313. M-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 11:30AM-10PM.
  • Mrs. B's, · 97 Great Northern Rd #3, +1 705-575-7522. M-Th 11AM–10PM, F Sa 11AM–11:30PM, Su 1–7PM. Good pizza, secret recipe. Burgers and wings, too.
  • North 82 Steak & Beverage Co, 82 Great Northern Rd, +1 705-759-8282. Daily 11AM–11PM. Specializes in steaks, seafood and prime rib.
  • Service Grill & Sidetrack Lounge, 319 Korah Rd. M-Th 11AM–11PM, F Sa 11AM–midnight, Su 4-11PM. Pizza and sports bar/lounge.




  • Loplops, 651 Queen St E, +1 705-945-0754. W-Sa 5PM-2AM. Art gallery & martini lounge. Has live music most evenings, typically of the folk and eclectic variety. Crowd is mixed and 'upscale' in comparison to most places in town. Not easily noticed from Queen street, park in back. One of the 'Core Four' within two blocks of downtown Queen Street. Always mixing it up with artists, wine/beer tasting events, live music... not to mention great drinks.
  • Sportscenter - Sports Bar & Grill, 624 Wellington St W. Th-Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 2-10PM, M-W 11AM-midnight. Smaller and pub-ish. (Try to ignore the smell.)
  • Top Hat, 654 Queen St E. Daily 5PM-2AM. Billiards, darts, general game room. Large area. Mixed ages, often younger (under 30). One of the 'Core Four' within two blocks of downtown Queen Street.
  • Reggie's West, 306 Korah Rd, +1 705-253-1411. Daily 11AM-2AM. Full menu available. Live music Thursday Friday and Saturday, Karaoke. Known for its wings and burgers.
  • Rockstar (Algonquin Hotel), 864 Queen St East, +1 705-253-2311. 11AM-2AM. Rock & roll attitude decorated with rock & roll memorabilia, live bands, DJs, large patio, mixed age, kitchen specializing in wings.









Mobile phone coverage


Mobile service from Sault Ste. Marie westward through Thunder Bay to the Manitoba border is operated by TBayTel. The rugged landscape of this area, combined with the significant gaps between towers, means that a signal is by no means guaranteed.

In Sault Ste. Marie, limited cellphone coverage can be expected outside the city centre, especially north (Fifth Line, Hiawatha Park) and west of town (Airport, Pointe des Chênes, Gros Cap). Coverage on Highway 17 north from Sault Ste Marie to Wawa is sporadic; huge areas have no coverage at all. Leave the beaten path (the Trans-Canada Highway or the few cities) and there's nothing. Much of the road to Wawa is parkland with few services of any kind.

Roaming is supported for clients of the three major Canadian 3G networks (UMTS/WCDMA on 850/1900 MHz). There is no 2G capability. While TBayTel advertises something it calls `4G` in limited areas, this is HSPA+ (a faster version of the 3G UMTS standard) and not LTE.

Unless your handset supports 3G/UMTS on the North American frequencies, you will get no service... not even to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Do not rely on having cellphone coverage on this route! Before heading out on this relatively remote section of highway, it is strongly recommended to carefully examine your cell provider's coverage maps and bring appropriate supplies for use if stranded by a breakdown.

Internet and Wi-Fi

  • Branches of the Sault Ste. Marie public library offer free Wi-Fi access.
  • Sault College and Algoma University provide free Wifi for guests on their campuses.
  • Customers of Shaw Cable from anywhere in Canada can take advantage of the numerous Shaw Go Wifi hotspots present in the Sault. Look for a ShawOpen SSID; after connecting, log in with your Shaw email address and password.

Stay safe



  • As a rule, the most pressing concern for travellers in Sault Ste. Marie is property crime. Violent crime is most prevalent between people who already know each other (e.g. organized crime; domestic violence); stranger-on-stranger violence is uncommon.
    • Do not leave any kind of valuables in your car. Thieves may break into your vehicle for a trivial amount of goods, causing much more damage than the stolen items are worth. If such items need to be left in your car anyway, at least conceal them.
    • Valuables to safeguard include not only cash, but also electronics (including cell phones and GPS systems), firearms, alcohol, tobacco, and medication. In particular, opioid pain medications are a common target for theft.
    • Do not leave bicycles unattended -- they will likely be stolen.

Winter driving


Winters in Northern Ontario are often severe, making auto travel in winter an unpredictable venture. Whether travelling locally or on the highways, one must be prudent, allow extra travel time, and be prepared to be flexible with one's travel plans. See the Winter driving topic for a general backgrounder.

Highway 17 North from Sault Ste. Marie to Wawa sits in a snowbelt and receives heavy amounts of snow every year. The prevailing westerly winds pick up moisture as they blow across Lake Superior, which then gets visited on the shoreline as lake-effect snow and snow squalls. As such, this section of highway is frequently closed in winter, sometimes for days at a time. Closures may occur because of crashes, because of whiteouts that reduce visibility to near zero, or because snow is simply accumulating too quickly for the snowplow crews to keep up.

Highway 17 East is also occasionally closed by crashes or inclement weather, though considerably less often than the northern route. To the south, into the United States, US-2 is sometimes closed, as is the Mackinac Bridge; I-75 is very rarely closed, though if surrounding roads are, travel on it may be inadvisable as well.



Go next

Routes through Sault Sainte Marie
Thunder BayLake Superior Provincial Park  W  E  → Jct Ontario Highway 548 SBlind RiverSudbury
END  N  S  Sault Ste. Marie, MIMackinaw City

This city travel guide to Sault Sainte Marie is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.