advertisement

Many of Sault Ste. Marie's major attractions are concentrated Downtown, and maximize its relationship to the waterfront. Restaurants, bars, unique shops and professional business line the city's main drag, Queen Street. Additionally, there are day-trip attractions accessible by car or rail, located within several hours from Sault Ste. Marie. For a full experience of "the Soo," Canada's twin city of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, in the state's upper peninsula, full of maritime opportunities, a casino and restaurants.

Inside Downtown--The waterfront is crown jewel of Sault Ste. Marie. Visitors are entranced with the natural beauty -- the "naturally gifted city," as it's nicknamed -- and there are numerous accommodations and points of interest.

A good place to start exploring this beautiful city is at the Waterfront Boardwalk, along the St. Mary's River in downtown, and which stretches from the Great Lake Power Plant on Canal Drive to Roberta Bondar Park, and ends at the Civic Centre on Foster Drive. Cyclists, walkers, joggers, tourists, and fishing enthusiasts all vie for space on this expanse. Historic plaques along the way highlight the stories of the twin Saults -- that is, Sault Ste. Marie Canada, and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Take in the sights of boats passing by, the International Bridge connecting Ontario to Michigan, and the skyline. Observation and fishing platforms are located along the way.

Museum Ship Norgoma at Roberta Bondar Park and Tent Pavillion, Foster Dr. (tel. 705/759-5310; www.city.sault-ste-marie.on.ca/csd/reccult/pavilion.htm) is the last passenger vessel/ferry constructed on the Great Lakes. It is a huge landmark downtown and served the run from Owen Sound to Sault Ste. Marie from 1950 to 1963 and then served as an auto ferry until her retirement in 1974. It's now open for tours, which are guided and take about 45 minutes. The park includes a tent pavilion with a 350 foot backlit art mural, called Meeting Place. The park and pavilion host all kinds of entertainment, including concerts and festivals, and a farmers market operates from July through October on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. The Roberta Bondar Marina is located next to the tent pavilion and offers 38 slips and 450 feet of dock-face for those who would like take less traditional mode of transportation, perfectly applicable here, in this riverside city. In the summertime, the park is the site of a Salmon Derby and Festival. While you're at the park's tent pavilion, start your visit off with a trip around the city by water. Lock Tours Boat Cruises, off Foster Dr. (tel. 877/226-3665; 705/253-9850; www.locktours.com) is located right next to the tent pavilion. Get on board and experience the last sixteen "steps" of the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Seaway system, which connects Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world, with the Atlantic Ocean. Passengers can experience the 21-foot drop difference between the levels of Lake Huron and Superior and see Algoma Steel, the International Bridge, and the world's largest jackknife railway bridge on this two-hour tour. Tours run at least twice a day, rain or shine, and cost $24.50 for adults; $19.50 children 13-18; $12.50 for kids 5-12; free for children 4 and under. Lock Tours also operates breakfast and dinner buffet cruises from May 15 through October 15, ranging in price from $35-$54. All prices include tax.

Money Money Money: Spend Your Dough in Sault Ste. Marie--The twin Soos are both home to casinos, an undeniable tourist attraction. Casino Sault Ste. Marie, 30 Bay St. (tel. 800/826-8946) features 450 slot machines running from five cents to five dollars, and 21 table games. It is one of Canada's many charity casinos. Across the bridge in Michigan try your luck at Kewadin Casinos, 2186 Shunk Rd. (tel. 800/KEWADIN; www.kewadin.com). Kewadin also has a hotel, three different dining spots, and entertainment, including Dreammakers Theatre, which has seen the likes of Kenny Rogers, Smokey Robinson and Loretta Lynn. The Station Mall, 239 Bay St. (tel.888/277-6880, 705/946-7239; www.thestationmall.com) positioned right on the waterfront, is the largest mall in northeastern Ontario, with over 120 stores, including Sears and Zellers, an arcade, movie theater, food court, and restaurants. There's also a post office and currency exchange -- helpful for visitors.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.