Downtown Waterfront

Side Route 21.0 km – 21.5 km

The Locks

Locks · Écluses · Gabaakogan

This shipping canal was built to bypass the rapids on the St. Marys River. It was the longest lock in the world when it opened to commercial traffic in 1895, but was shortened to a third of its original length when it was converted to a recreational lock in 1998. Peek into the motorhouse to see the mighty gears that still operate the lower lock gates. You can also wander the trails on South St. Marys and Whitefish Islands to learn about natural ecosystems, local history, and early Indigenous life.

Canadian Sault locks accident, June 1, 1909. 992.2-P123a courtesy of Sault Ste. Marie Public Library Archives

View from the International Bridge. Photo: Parks Canada / Scott Munn / 2014

Health Tips with Hearty Artie!

hearty artie

Remember to dress in layers in colder weather!

Challenge Yourself!

You may think you see three bridges at the west end of the canal but one is actually a dam. The orange Emergency Swing Dam is the only one of its kind left in the world! Read the panels near the dam to learn more about its history and the role it played during the accident of 1909.
  • Test your knowledge

  • Question 1

    What are the dimensions of the recreational lock?

  • Question 2

    What is the height difference between Lake Superior and Lake Huron?

  • Question 3

    Where did the beautiful stone used to construct the buildings come from?

  • Question 4

    How much does it cost to lock through the Sault Ste. Marie Canal?

  • Question 5

    What’s the big orange structure at the west end of the site?

  • Question 6

    When was the historic lock closed and why?

  • Question 7

    Does the Powerhouse still generate electricity?

  • You did great!