Over the next five years, Parks Canada will invest $3 billion 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 or driving through 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.
Infrastructure projects at Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site
Superintendent’s residence rehabilitation
Moderate 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. Phase one, beginning in May 2018 will address the windows and roof. This elegant Victorian home, built in 1897, previously housed the site Superintendents and their families from the late 1890s until the 1980s. In recent years, the house has been used mainly for wedding ceremonies and photography, educational programming, and our annual Heritage Teas. Visitors can expect that the Heritage Teas and other activities in the immediate vicinity of the house will be put on hold until the project is complete. Education programming and site rentals including wedding ceremonies and photography will continue in a different venue, beginning in the 2018 season.
Powerhouse water infiltration mitigation and structural stabilisation
Minor visitor impact/temporary closure
This five year project will restore the structural integrity and protect the historic fabric of the building. The design of water infiltration management will also be completed during this project. In order 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 generate electricity, requires investigation and stabilization. The building will also be restored to its original design to best interpret its historic function and significance. The surrounding area including the wing wall stairs next to the lock will also be restored as part of the project.
Emergency Swing Dam Improvements
Minor visitor impact
The Sault Ste. Marie Canal emergency swing dam was built by the Dominion Bridge Company in 1895 and it 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 its innovative technology incorporated in the design and operation of the dam which proved its effectiveness during the accident in 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 is intact.
For the past several years however, the dam has not been operational due to safety concerns. The 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 in early 2019.
Stores building structural stabilizations
This building was in critical failure and this project addressed urgently needed structural stabilization. The project included removal of hazardous materials from the interior, stabilization of the foundation, and preparation of the building for public use. The project is complete, and the building will be used for programing in the 2018 season. In the long term, the goal is to open the building to the public featuring new visitor experience activities and programs.
Entry road reconstruction
This project included the design and repaving of the entry road that was beyond its life cycle. It included improvements to storm drain, road bed, road surface, curbs, walkways and surrounding landscapes. The work for this project was completed in the summer of 2016. Visitors are now able to enjoy a newly paved road and expanded parking lot, as well as new sidewalks and improved lighting.
*Please note: This is not an exhaustive list of infrastructure projects underway at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site. Only projects that may impact visitors are listed.