Downtown Waterfront

21.5 km Marker

The Rapids

Rapids · Rapides · Baawitigook

Fishing at the St. Marys River Rapids, ca.1901. Via Wikimedia Commons

Designated a Canadian Heritage River in 1992, the St. Marys River is the lifeline of Sault Ste. Marie. Since 2500 BC, its bounty of fish has provided an important source of food for Indigenous people.

Historically, this region was a natural place for marine travelers to rest because they had to carry their canoes and supplies over land around the rapids. This area was originally called Baawitigong, or “place of the rapids.” A shipping canal was later built to lift boats over the rapids.

To this day, the river remains a vital source of recreation, trade, and industry. For Ernest Hemingway, it was a favourite fishing spot. What do you love most about our river?

Challenge Yourself!

  • Test your knowledge

  • Question 1

    The St. Marys River links which two Great Lakes?

  • Question 2

    When did the Europeans arrive in this region?

  • Question 3

    Which building is sitting on top of the river with water flowing through it?

  • Question 4

    The Sault Ste. Marie Canal was once world’s longest lock.

  • Question 5

    People would cross the St. Marys River by ferry before the International Bridge was built.

  • Did you know?

    This is where the Robinson-Huron Treaty was signed in 1850.

  • You did great!

Think about it…

Can you imagine the rapids originally covering the full width of the river?