Want a more in-depth experience? Book a guided tour of the site with one of our expert Heritage Presenters and let us explain the inner workings of the lock and its machinery, walk you through our century-old heritage buildings and discuss the history of the site from its inception to its completion. Together, we will explore how this marvel of engineering evolved over the past century and highlight certain milestones and features such as the accident of 1909, the world's only remaining Emergency Swing Dam, the lock wall failure of 1987, and the role Parks Canada now plays in preserving and presenting this national cultural treasure.


Explore a marvel of 19th century engineering

Venture back a century or more and explore the historic Powerhouse building with its original 19th century machinery and discover the world’s only remaining Emergency Swing Dam, used in the accident of 1909.

Explore the 19th and early 20th century red sandstone buildings at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site that house some of the most remarkable examples of Canadian engineering. Listen as your expert Heritage Presenter explains the significance of the world’s only remaining Emergency Swing Dam which saved the day in 1909 when a ship rammed the lower lock gate. Learn how, despite the mayhem caused by the crash, the damage was controlled to a great degree by the dam. This meant that the Canal could be repaired and restored to use in less than two weeks.

Stroll the Canal grounds or have a picnic under a welcoming shade tree as you watch pleasure crafts passing through the recreational lock.

Mid-May to the Friday before the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday.


Tour the Islands with an Interpreter

Let one of our interpreters guide you on South St. Marys and Whitefish Islands as you walk the accessible trails to the world-famous St. Marys River Rapids. During your journey, you will learn about the history of the islands and this renowned fishery, see beaver lodges and dams, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of this green space in the heart of Sault Ste. Marie.

Mid-May to the Friday before the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday.


Geocaching 101

Curious about geocaching but aren’t sure where to start? Let one of our friendly staff set you off in the right direction with our Geocaching 101 program. Participants learn the basics of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and how to use a GPS receiver while getting started on their search for the first of many caches in the Parks Canada Northern Ontario Heritage Hide ‘N’ Seek Geotour. Each participant receives a no-charge GPS unit rental for the duration of the program.

Mid-May to the Friday before the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday.