Parks Canada is in the midst of a five-year, $3 billion investment to support infrastructure improvements within national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas across Canada.
This historic investment supports conservation while promoting visitor experience and making our infrastructure safer and more appealing to visitors. When visiting the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site, you may encounter one or more construction zones or reduced services while we complete this important work.
Please plan ahead before you travel to avoid inconvenience. Consult the following list of current infrastructure projects at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal to see if any road or facility work may impact your trip.
Current infrastructure projects at Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site
Powerhouse water infiltration mitigation and structural stabilisation
Moderate visitor impact/temporary closure
This five year project aims to restore the structural integrity and protect the historic fabric of the building, by engineering solutions to the current water infiltration issues. To do so, the area to the west of the building under which lies the penstock, a long pipe and reservoir used to draw water into the building to formerly generate electricity, requires investigation and stabilisation. Over the course of the project, the building will also be restored to its original design to best interpret its historic function and significance. The surrounding areas including the wing wall stairs adjacent to the lock will also be restored as part of the project.
Visitors to the site will not be permitted to access the Powerhouse or its immediate vicinity while the project is underway, but the remainder of the site and the lock will continue to operate as usual. Please refer to our Facebook and Twitter pages for up-to-date information on project updates and restrictions to visitor access.
Superintendent’s residence rehabilitation
Minor visitor impact/temporary closure
This project will conserve and rehabilitate the historic building to prevent further degradation. The complete rehabilitation will include upgrades to plumbing, electrical, and windows as well as roof replacement and reconstruction of the verandah and chimney. Phase one, which began in May 2018 addressed the windows, roof, chimney, and verandah. Phase two has not yet been scheduled. This elegant Victorian home, built in 1897, previously housed site Superintendents and their families from the late 1890s until the 1980s. Today, the house is mainly used for wedding ceremonies and photography, educational programming, and special events. Regular programming and site rentals including wedding ceremonies and photography are expected to resume normally as of July 2019. For the most up-to-date information regarding rentals and photography, please contact Elia Marini at email@example.com or by telephone at 705-941-3278.
Emergency Swing Dam Improvements
Minor visitor impact
Renovations continue on the decking of the emergency swing dam.
For the past several years, the Emergency Swing Dam has not been operational due to safety concerns. The current project will improve the structural integrity of the asset through repairs to the decking, railing and concrete pads. The project began in the summer of 2018 and is scheduled to be completed end of May 2019. Visitors can still see the Emergency Swing Dam from a distance during the completion of this project.
The Sault Ste. Marie Canal Emergency Swing Dam was built by the Dominion Bridge Company in 1895 and is a cultural resource of national historic significance. This movable dam was a novel structure and owing to several innovative features, it soon became established as the design prototype and standard for its type. This cultural resource is valued for the innovative technology incorporated in its design and operation which proved effective during the accident of 1909. It was the only swing dam to be operated under extreme emergency conditions. It is also valued for its surviving original form, fabric and function, most of which are intact.