Sault Sainte Marie, ON


Located at the mouth of Saint Mary’s River, Sault Saint Marie was originally established by Jesuit missionaries in the 17th century. Saint Mary’s River connects Lake Superior to Lake Huron and has provided trade access between the United States and Canada for hundreds of years.  The combination of the native Ojibwa with the French and English settlers paints a unique and diverse cultural portrait for visitors.

Things To Do

Bush Plane Museum and Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site

The collections and exhibits of the bush planes tell the story of how these brave Canadians battled Ontario's many forest fires. At the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site, you'll find stone buildings and period gardens from the 1800's.


The city of Sault Ste. Marie was founded by the French in 1668, and is the oldest city in Michigan and third oldest in the country. Prior to European settlement native Indians have been familiar with this land for thousands of years.  The first European to step foot on this territory was French explorer Etienne Brule in 1622. Many French missionaries and fur traders followed and began to call the beautiful territory Sault de Gastogne.  It wasn’t until 1668, when legendary French missionary and explorer Jacques Marquette renamed this burgeoning European settlement Sault Ste. Marie, in honor of the Virgin Mary.  This was the first “city” in the Great Lakes region. In the 1700s, due to its prime location and abundance of natural resources, the French and British often fought over the land as well as the right to trade with Native Americans. In 1820, the Treaty of Sault was signed turning control over to the United States in 1823.  The word Sault is a French-Indian term for the rapids on the St. Marys River, where Lake Superior meets Lake Huron with a 21 ft. drop in elevation. This area is home to the “Soo Locks” which is an important trade route that enables ships to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes.

Learn More

Key Facts:

Sault Ste. Marie has a population of about 15,000, and is situated on the southern shore of the historic St. Mary’s River at the eastern end of Michigan’s spectacular Upper Peninsula.

Sault Ste. Marie, MI has a twin city located right across the St. Marys River in Ontario, CA.  The city is also named Sault Ste. Marie and the two are connected by the International Bridge.

The Soo Locks pass an average of 10,000 ships per year despite being closed during winter from January through March, when the ice shuts down shipping on the Great Lakes.

More tonnage is passed through the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie than the Suez and Panama Canals combined.

Sault Ste. Marie is home to the International 500 Snowmobile race,which was inspired by the Indianapolis 500 and draws participants and spectators from all over the U.S and Canada.


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