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Sault Sainte Marie (Ontario)

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Northern Ontario : Sault Sainte Marie
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Sault Ste Marie [1] is a city of approximately 78,000 people, located in Northern Ontario, Canada. Located directly across the St. Mary's River -- and the Canada/US border -- is its twin city, Sault Ste Marie, Michigan.

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

The history of the area involves a fascinating eclectic mix of cultures. "The Meeting Place" as it was once called, drew habitants from all over Europe and North American tribes. Sault Ste Marie was established in the 1600's as a fur trading post and later in the 1900's as a site for steelmaking.

Get in

By plane

Sault Ste. Marie Airport, (IATA: YAM, ICAO: CYAM), is located 20 km from downtown on the western outskirts. It is accessible by taking Second Line and turning south to Airport Road.

Airlines serving the airport include: Air Canada Jazz with frequent daily flights to Toronto-Pearson, Bearskin Airlines to Ottawa (via North Bay and Sudbury) and Thunder Bay, Sunwing Airlines (seasonally) to Cancun, Mexico (beginning December 17, 2008) and Varadero, Cuba (beginning December 19, 2008), and Transat Holidays (seasonally - operated by CanJet) to Cancun-Mayan Riviera, Mexico.

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. Taxi companies: Checker Cab - (705) 942-3600, 7500 Taxi - (705) 945-7500. Car rental is also available from major car rental companies with kiosks at the airport including: Budget, Discount, Enterprise, National, and Thrifty.

Also airports on the Michigan side: Chippewa County (IATA: CIU; ICAO: KCIU) and Sault Ste Marie Municipal (Sanderson Field; KANJ)

By train

Sault Ste. Marie is not linked to any other major city by passsenger train but is part of the Algoma Central Railway network operated by CN that provides passenger service north of the Sault to Hearst. This train makes all station stops and can drop off and pick up passengers at any point on the line for people heading to private camps, a wilderness lodge getaway, or to go fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, or ATVing. There is no food service aboard the train and customers are encouraged to bring whatever food they will need for the journey. Trains operate three times a week on separate summer and winter schedules. The train station is located at 129 Bay Street just west of the Station Mall with ample free parking for train passengers. For more information call the Algoma Central Railway at (705) 946-7300 or toll-free in Canada/USA at 1-800-242-9287 [2]. There are no convenient connections with VIA rail even though it crosses with the Canadian in Oba and the Lake Superior at Franz. There is a bus connection in Hearst to Cochrane for Ontario Northland trains. Local politicians are currently lobbying the government to reinstate passenger rail service between the Sault and Sudbury.

By car

Highway 17, which is part of the Trans-Canada Highway system, connects the Sault with Thunder Bay to the northwest and Sudbury to the east. 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, FL, USA. A new limited access truck route known as Carmen's Way (after the late MP Carmen Provenzano) provides easy access to main roads and Hwy 17. Plans are currently underway to connect Second Line to a new four-lane section of Hwy 17 that recently opened.

By bus

Greyhound Lines of Canada provide daily bus service from Sudbury/Toronto and from Thunder Bay/Western Canada as well as local service between the Sault and Sudbury and Thunder Bay. Terminal is located centrally in the downtown area at 73 Brock Street with shopping, hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions within walking distance.

By snowmobile

There are approximately 400 km of snowmobile trails in the Sault area and 1000 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. [3] to visit the Sault Trailblazers Snowmobile club website for more information.

Get around

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 Transit Services operates from a centrally-located 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 for all riders 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 $35. Monthly adult, student, and senior passes are available upon advance purchase. If paying fare by cash or multi-ride pass and you need to use more than one bus to complete your trip, you will need a transfer. Ask the driver for a transfer after you pay the fare. Be sure to request the correct transfer as you board the bus. There's also a request stop service for women travelling alone after dark in which the driver will let you off between stops at a driveway or entrance. To use it, you must notify the driver two stops in advance.

Para-Transit Service

Sault transit also operates a specialized para-transit service for passengers with physical disabilities who are either ambulatory or confined to wheelchairs. Passengers need to call 24 hours in advance to use this service. Fare is $2 for wheelchair passengers, dialysis patients, and their attendants. 40-ride punch pass is also available for $60 Same fare applies to all ambulatory passengers who qualify and their attendants. Contact the Para-bus operator at (705) 942-1404

By taxi

Taxi companies are Checker Cab (705) 942-3600, North South East West Delivery (705) 254-7343, and 7500 Taxi (705) 945-7500.

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 original 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; Art Gallery
  • Bushplane Museum -- [4]
  • Old Stone House
  • Boardwalk / Roberta Bondar
  • Locks -- [5]
  • Lock Tours -- [6]
  • Soo Greyhounds -- [7]
  • Dinner Theatre -- [8]

Along the waterfront in the City Centre are many historic sites and attractions


  • Bon Soo -- [9]
  • Skiing - Searchmont Resort, Buttermilk Alpine, Heyden
    • Searchmont
    • XC - Hiawatha
  • Snowshoeing
  • Golf - Crimson Ridge, Root River, Maplewood, Superior View, Queensgate Greens
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting/Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Hiking -- Voyageur Trail -- [10]
  • Swim -- beaches at Point Des Chenes, Harmony, others...
  • Essar Centre - New sports and entertainment complex downtown - concerts & events.
  • 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, located 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. Most popular times are in September and October when the fall colours are at their peak. Train has dining cars and dome cars in addition to regular coach cars.
  • Snow Train - Experience the winter wonderland of Algoma country from the warmth and comfort of a picture window coach. Train travels to Agawa Canyon Park at Mile 114 and takes a 20-minute stopover to prepare for the return trip back to the Sault. Passengers may not disembark from the train due to the deep snow and cold weather. Dining car service is available. Runs Saturdays from end of January to beginning of March.
  • Tour of the Line - Travel to the end of the steel 296 miles north at Hearst and see more of the rugged country past the Agawa Canyon. Unlike the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, this tour is on the regular passenger train. Passengers must provide their own food for the journey and there is a microwave and mini-fridge on the train. Also, passengers can bring coolers on board. Alcohol consumption is prohibited and the train is smoke-free. Restaurants in the Sault and Hearst also provide box lunches for the journey. This tour has a specially-priced return ticket that requires an overnight stay in Hearst and return to the Sault the next morning. Hearst accommodations are the customer's responsibility and they must be booked prior to the purchase of train tickets.
  • Canyon Combo - Check your luggage at the train station the day before you leave, which will be loaded into the baggage car of the regular passenger train. You will first board the Agawa Canyon Tour Train and you have two hours at Agawa Canyon Park before you board the northbound train to Hearst.
  • Wilderness and snowmobile adventures
  • Camp car and private car rentals


Casino Sault Ste. Marie is a charity casino located downtown near the Station Mall and close to the International Bridge that is operated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission and Northern Ontario's first full-time casino. It features a 35,000 sq. ft. (3,252 sq. metre) gaming floor with 450 slot machines and 21 gaming tables along with a 100-seat restaurant and bar. By law, you must be 19 years of age or older to enter. This casino attracts many visitors from USA due to the lower drinking age (19 as opposed to 21) and that the Canadian government does not tax gambling winnings.


  • Algoma University
  • Sault College


  • Major Employers: Essar Steel Algoma, St Mary's Paper, Tenaris Algoma Tubes, OLG (Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation), Ministry of Natural Resources, Sault College, various call centres)
  • Sault Ste Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC): Catylist for IT jobs in the region. [www.ssmic.com], [www.itssm.com]


  • Station Mall
  • Downtown
  • Cambrian Mall
  • Golden Mile
  • Farmer's Market
    • Corn
    • Maple Syrup



  • Taste of Scandia - Scandinavian cuisine: bakery and restaurant.
  • Frenchie's Fries
  • Paesano's
  • Muio's - www.muios.com[11]. Since 1961, Muio's has been home to family dining in the Soo.
  • Ernie's Coffee Shop - a great family tradition continues - inexpensive, great and the portions are very generous
  • PERFECTO PIZZA - Pizza, wings, more.
  • GUS'S PIZZA - Pizza and more
  • HUNTER'S GRILL - Hunter's Grill is easy to find on Gore Street, near Queen. Serves burgers, fish and chips and more
  • MARY'S DINER - Good coffee and good food since 1948
  • Mrs. B's - Downtown, tradition and great pizza
  • ZIO'Z CAFE - serves up a wide range of Italian favourites... pizza and more
  • MZ. VICKIS EXPRESS - Sandwiches to go and more
  • Bali Restaurant - Indonesian and Chinese Cruisine Restaurant


  • Swiss Chalet
  • Boston Pizza
  • Caseys


  • Gigi's Bistro & Pizzeria , - A Refreshing Dining Experience at an authentic Italian Bistro in Sault Ste. Marie conveniently located in the city centre, on Great Northern Road, across from the Cambrian Mall.!
  • Fratelli's Kitchen & Pizzeria , - A homestyle crust and pizza sauce topped with the best quality products awaits you at Fratelli's!
  • Blueboy Restaurant, - serving the best & biggest Pazerotti's in town!
  • Joey Calzone's Italian Eatery, although the Soo has an overload of Italian Restaurants, this is "NOT JUST ANOTHER ITALIAN RESTAURANT". The fun atmosphere is created through the colourfully decorated walls and great staff.
  • Uncle Gino's
  • Hard Wok Cafe - (formerly Purple Lantern)
  • Dock's Riverfront Grill (89 Foster Dr, 705-256-6868) Waterfront restaurant serving American cuisine, along with pool and late night dancing
  • Aurora's West Side - Italian. Good meals, not very expensive.
  • Mrs. B's - best pizza in town, secret recipe, authentic
  • Service Grill & Sidetrack Lounge - Pizza and sport's bar/lounge
  • Gino's Family Restaurant(Great Northern Road)-Best Steakhouse in town!
  • North 82 Steak & Beverage Co (82 Great Northern Rd, 705-759-8282) Specializes in steaks and prime rib.
  • Cochs Corner- days inn . a classic pub with great options for every taste and a large selection of draught beer
  • Bali Indonesian Restaurant - Sometimes hard to notice from the outside, this family run restaurant has a great atmosphere, friendly staff, and excellent food.


  • Vincenzo's Ristorante & Bar - Situated in the heart of Sault Ste. Marie, Vincenzo's has been serving superb Italian and Canadian cuisine since 1968.
  • Solo's Trattoria - Step into Solo's, enter a delightfully unique dining experience in downtown Sault Ste. Marie.
  • A Thymely Manner- 531 Albert Street East, 705-759-3262 one of best home style restaurants in Ontario(rated as such)
  • Gran Festa Ristorante (180 Bay Street, in Quality Inn), 705-945-9322) Named one of the best places to eat in Canada by Ann Hardy's Book "Where to eat in Canada" Black Angus steaks and prime rib, seafood, pasta, ribs and chicken.
  • Amici Ristorante - the service is great and it has all the Italian staples.
  • Cesira's Italian Cuisine (133 Spring Street, 705-949-0600) Established in 1972, they server over a dozen handmade pastas, including gluten-free options.
  • Arturo's - 113 Gore, 705-253-0002)Classic Italian faire in an elegant but cozy atmosphere
  • Panna - Eclectic and expensive. Does theme nights (greek, sushi, indian, etc) Best new restaurant, modern, dark wood floors
  • Giovanni- the Giovanni's menu is a reflection of southern Italy, with richly flavored sauces, homemade pastas, steaks, and BBQ back ribs that people rave about being the best in the city or country!


  • Sportscenter - Sports Bar & Grill. - See U Betcha, but smaller and more pub-ish.
  • Service Grill & Sidetrack Lounge - Pizza and sport's bar/lounge
  • Studio 10 - Adult entertainment.
  • Loplops - 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.
  • Bottoms Up Lounge - Across from the Steelback Centre and just upstairs from Vincenzo's Restaurant, stocked with domestic & imported beers, premium liquors and the Sault Ste. Marie's largest selection of martinis (99 and counting!). Promises a warm and inviting atmosphere for meeting with clients, unwinding after a long day or enjoying a night out with friends. Open Tuesday through Saturday at 7PM. Often live music on the weekends of an eclectic variety.
  • Top Hat - 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.
  • Docks - Large, sometimes very busy with a lineup. Three sections: Restaurant, billiards, and dance club. Billiards area has live music on weekends, while the restaurant section is closed early (10PM-ish). On the river a five minute walk from the Queen St core.
  • Reggie's - Country bar. Older clientele. Restaurant is open during the day. Known for its burgers.
  • Canadian - Split into two sections, dance club downstairs, pub/lounge upstairs. Mixed clientele, with the downstairs bar catering to the younger crowd. Thursdays usually very busy.
  • Smack Daddy's - Small sports bar. Busy after soccer, softball, hockey, etc games with teams coming in. Large covered & heated smoker's patio. Adjacent to the Canadian on Pim Street.
  • Roosevelt Hotel - "The Rosie" - Local watering hole in the West End. Well kept, cheap beer. Live country music.
  • Steamy Bean Cafe (sometimes live music and lots of yummy goods), also sells fair trade organic whole bean and ground coffee
  • Smokeys -Smokeys BBQ Pit & Patio, the largest outdoor patio in northern Ontario.


The corner of Brock and Wellington has a sweet Bed and Breakfast.


  • HI-Sault Ste Marie, Algonquin Hotel, 864 Queen Street East, +1 705 253-2311, [12]. Beds start at $23 per night.
  • Motels up and down the Golden Mile (Great Northern Road)
  • Sleep Inn
  • Super 8
  • Howard Johnson


  • Great Northern Hotel and Conference Centre-Hilltop location,Largest Hotel in the city, Largest Conference facilities in Northern ON; Only full service hotel with continental breakfast included; Only outdoor pool and indoor pool with 5 1/2-story water slide, sauna, and fitness center,Bistro Lounge, free wireless; Enviromentaly minded with superior customer service, recipient of Mayors Award
  • Holiday Inn - on the river, walk the boardwalk and you are right downtown and apparently lots of awards to staff for excellent customer service
  • Water Tower Inn - indoor/outdoor hot tubs, wading pool with waterfall, pool, Casey's Grill|Bar and The Pub
  • Bay Front Quality Inn - 2 million dollar renovation completed summer of 2008 - home of the award winning Gran Festa Ristorante


  • Cell coverage
    • Telus, Bell, Rogers, T-Bay Tel; no Fido/Microcell digital coverage
    • No coverage north of town! - Very limited in even in north end of city limit (5th Line)
  • Library: wireless internet access

Stay safe

  • Property crime: Do not leave your bike unattended - it will be stolen!


Get out

Routes through Sault Sainte Marie
Thunder BayLake Superior Provincial Park  W noframe E  → Jct 108 (to Elliot Lake) → Sudbury
END  N noframe S  Sault Ste MarieDetroit

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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