Historic Core Project at Sault Canal
By Alisha Rosset
The Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site began a multi-year, multi-phase visitor experience transformation project in 2017. The Historic Core Project aims to centralize, update, and expand interpretation, including bringing Indigenous voices to the visitor experience, and changing the way visitors move through the site.
From 2017 to 2021, staff at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal worked closely with Batchewana First Nation and Métis Nation of Ontario to develop a concept, outlining a path forward, and plan the first phase of the project, which included design, fabrication, and installation of a new Visitor Centre and exhibit space. September 2021 saw the first fruits of our labour, when the initial exhibits were installed in the recently restored Stores Building and Blacksmith’s Shop. The Stores Building and Blacksmith’s shop are now home to a new visitor centre, expanded gift shop, and interactive exhibit space. The exhibit shares the history of the area, beginning with Indigenous communities, who lived and fished along the St. Marys River. With a new lock model, the story continues and explains the significance of the canal in the development of Canada, as well as its importance to the manufacturing industry within Sault Ste. Marie. The new Visitor Centre and exhibits will open to the public for the 2022 season.