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Sault Ste. Marie ( "Soo Saint Marie") (nicknamed "the Sault" or "the Soo") is a city on the St. Marys Rivermarker in Ontariomarker, Canadamarker. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudburymarker and Thunder Baymarker, with a population of 74,948. Residents of the city are called Saultites. With a mission established by French Jesuits in 1668, claiming of the area by Simon-François Daumont de Saint-Lusson, in the name of Louis XIV of France, and fur trading posts soon after, this was one of the oldest European settlements in Canada.

Sault Ste. Marie is bordered to the east by the Rankin and Garden River First Nation reserves, and to the west by Prince Townshipmarker. To the north, the city is bordered by an unincorporated portion of the Algoma District, which includes the local services boards of Aweres, Batchawana Baymarker, Goulais and District, Peace Tree and Searchmont.

To the south, across the river, is the United Statesmarker and the city of Sault Ste.marker Marie, Michiganmarker. The two cities are joined by the International Bridge, which connects Interstate 75 on the Michigan side and Huron Street on the Ontario side. Shipping traffic in the Great Lakesmarker system bypasses the Saint Mary's Rapids via the American Soo Locksmarker, the world's busiest canal in terms of tonnage that passes through it, while smaller recreational and tour boats use the Canadian Sault Ste.marker Marie Canalmarker.

The city's census agglomeration, consisting of the townships of Lairdmarker, Princemarker and Macdonald, Meredith and Aberdeen Additionalmarker and the First Nations reserves of Garden River and Rankin, had a total population of 80,098 in 2006.

Sault Ste. Marie is the seat of the Algoma District.


This area was originally called Baawitigong, meaning "place of the rapids," by the Ojibwa, who used the site as a regional meeting place during whitefish season in the St. Mary's Rapids. (The anglicized form of this name, Bawating, continues to be used in institutional and geographic names in the area.)
Sault Ste.
Marie Museum in downtown Sault Ste.

After the visit of Étienne Brûlé in 1623, the Frenchmarker called it "Sault de Gaston" in honour of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, the brother of King Louis XIII of France. In 1668, French Jesuit missionaries renamed it Sault Sainte Marie, and established a settlement (present-day Sault Ste.marker Marie, Michiganmarker) on the river's south bank. Both sides of the rapids became settlement related to a fur trading post, and the area became one of the oldest European settlements in Ontario. It was at the crossroads of the 3,000-mile Fur Trade Route, which stretched from Montrealmarker to Sault Ste. Marie and to the North country above Lake Superior. A mixed population of Europeans, Native Americans and First Nations peoples, and Métis lived at the village spanning the river.

The city name originates from Saults de Sainte-Marie, archaic French for "Saint Mary's Falls", a reference to the rapids of Saint Marys River. Etymologically, the word sault comes from an archaic spelling of saut (from sauter), the French word for "leap" or "jump" (similar to somersault). Citations dating back to 1600 use the sault spelling to mean a waterfall or rapids. In modern French, however, the words chutes or rapides are more usual, and sault survives almost exclusively in geographic names dating from the 17th century. (See also Long Sault, Ontariomarker and Grand Falls/Grand-Sault, New Brunswickmarker, two other place names where "sault" also carries this meaning.)

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario was incorporated as a town in 1887 and a city in 1912. The town gained brief international notoriety in 1911 in the case of Angelina Napolitano, the first person in Canada to use the battered woman defence for murder.

During World War II, and particularly after the USmarker was attacked at Pearl Harbormarker in 1941, concern turned to the locks and shipping channel at Sault Ste. Marie. A substantial military presence was established to protect the locks from a possible attack by Nazi German aircraft from the north. The new development of long-range bombers created fears of a sudden air raid. Military strategists studied polar projection maps which indicate that the air distance from occupied Norwaymarker to the town was about the same as the distance from Norway to New York. That direct route of about 3000 miles is over terrain where there were few observers and long winter nights.

A joint Canadian and US committee called the "Permanent Joint Board on Defence" drove the installation of anti-aircraft defence and associated units of the United States Army Air Forces and Royal Canadian Air Force to defend the locks. An anti-aircraft training facility was established 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of Sault Ste. Marie on the shores of Lake Superiormarker. Barrage balloons were installed, and early warning radar bases were established at 5 locations in northern Ontario to watch for incoming aircraft. Military personnel were established to guard sensitive parts of the transportation infrastructure. A little over one year later, in January 1943, most of these facilities and defences were deemed excessive and removed, save a reduced military base at Sault Ste. Marie.

On January 29, 1990, Sault Ste. Marie became a flashpoint in the Meech Lake Accord constitutional debate when council passed a resolution declaring English the city's official language and the sole language for provision of municipal services. The Sault Ste. Marie language resolution was not the first of its kind in Ontario, but because Sault Ste. Marie was the largest municipality to have passed such a resolution and the first to do so although it had a sizable Franco-Ontarian population, the council's action was very controversial. Many objections were raised by the French-speaking population.

The MS Norgomamarker, a Canadian passenger ship, is a museum ship in the Great Lakesmarker at Sault Ste. Marie.


The city has made a name for itself in steel-making, and Essar Steel Algoma (formerly Algoma Steel) is the largest single employer with 3500 employees at the main plant and approximately 553 (440 unionized and 113 non-unionized) at an adjacent tube mill operated by Tenaris. During the 1940s, the steel and chromium operations were of substantial importance to the war effort in Canada and the United States. Algoma Steel and the Chromium Mining and Smelting Corporation were key producers for transportation and military machines.

In the early 1960s and 1970s, Sault Ste. Marie was a booming town. However, as time passed and foreign imports became a vital reality of business success, the demand for the town's steel industry diminished. Within the past eight years, Algoma Steel (Currently Essar Steel Algoma) has declared bankruptcy twice and laid off large numbers of workers. Most recently, Algoma (Essar) was bailed out by the Ontario government, which promised interest-free loans.

Essar Steel Algoma is currently the most profitable steel company per unit on a global scale. The company experienced a swift turnaround in 2004 from its earlier financial troubles in the 1990s, largely due to the rising costs of steel and the high demand for steel in China. Denis Turcotte, CEO, was named Canadian CEO of the year in 2006 for his efforts. An offer to purchase ASI by the Essar Group (India) had been recommended by the ASI Board of Directors and was approved. The company was officially sold to the Essar Group in June 2007 for $1.6 billion.

Forestry is also a major local industry, especially at St. Mary's Paper which has been reopened as of June 2007 under new ownership. Also related to wood products is Flakeboard Ltd., which employs over 110 people in the community along with an adjacent melamine factory which manufactures products with Flakeboard's materials. Such examples of this are furniture and cupboards where a finish is added to the product. Together both of Flakeboard's factories employ about 150 people.

Furthermore, the business process outsourcing industry, with three call centres located within city limits employ about 2500 people. The largest employer of the three call centres is Sutherland Global Services. The call centre industry has become a large employer in Sault Ste. Marie which contributed to the economic turn around of the city in the late 1990s.

Another very large employer in the community is the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). The OLG has a corporate office located within the city on the waterfront and employs about 900 people in Sault Ste. Marie between the corporate office and OLG Casino Sault Ste. Marie. The prize centre used to reside within the city but was moved back to Toronto (York Mills) in 2000. Its role in Sault Ste. Marie has diminished, although only slightly; however, it is still the fourth largest employer next only to Essar Steel Algoma, Sault Area Hospital and the call centre industry.


Sault Ste. Marie is served by Highway 17, which is a segment of the Trans-Canada Highway in the region. The highway connects the city to Thunder Baymarker to the northwest and Sudburymarker to the east. The International Bridge also directs traffic from downtown to the beginning of the Interstate 75 freeway in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, which runs through Saginawmarker, Flintmarker and Detroitmarker before the Michigan/Ohio border (and eventually to Miamimarker, Floridamarker).

The International Bridge also directs traffic from the American side of the border via Sault Ste. Marie's new transport route that runs from the bridge to Second Line. This new limited-access roadway, known as "Carmen's Way" after the late MP Carmen Provenzano, will make it much easier for transport trucks to gain access to main roads. Planning is underway to eventually connect Second Line East to the new four-lane section of Highway 17 that recently opened east of the city.

The city also plays an inherited role in marine transportation, with the locks in Michiganmarker being an integral component of the St. Lawrence Seaway. However, the city also holds a small-scale lock which is used by small boats and other pleasure craft in the summer. Also recently opened is a multi-modal terminal designed to take advantage of the Sault as a rail, road, and water transportation hub.

Sault Ste. Marie is also served by Sault Ste.marker Marie Airportmarker and Sault Transit Servicesmarker. The city is no longer linked to any other major cities by passenger rail, but is part of the Algoma Central Railway network, which runs north from the city to the small town of Hearstmarker. In 2006 the city's Member of Parliament, Tony Martin, called for passenger rail service to be reinstated between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury.


Area tourist attractions include the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centremarker, the Sault Ste.marker Marie Canalmarker National Historic Site, boat tours of the Sault locksmarker (which connect Lake Superiormarker with the lower Great Lakesmarker), Whitefish Island, the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site, Casino Sault Ste. Marie, the Art Gallery of Algomamarker and the Algoma Central Railway's popular Agawa Canyonmarker Tour Train. Nearby parks include Pancake Bay Provincial Parkmarker and Batchawana Bay Provincial Parkmarker and Lake Superior Provincial Parkmarker. Winter activities are also an asset to Sault Ste Marie's tourism industry with the annual Bon Soo Winter Carnival, Searchmont Resort as a great ski and snowboard destination, Stokely Creek Lodge (cross country ski resort) and Hiawatha a nearby cross country ski trails. The city also hosts a large snowmobile trail system that criss-crosses the province of Ontario.

A new non-motorized HUB trail is being created around the city (20 km) so that walkers, rollerbladers and cyclists (snowshoeing and cross country skiing in winter) can enjoy the beautiful and convenient circle tour around town. The Voyageur Hiking Trail, a long-distance trail that will eventually span from Manitoulin Islandmarker to Thunder Baymarker, originated in Sault Ste. Marie in 1974.

The city is also home to the Station Mallmarker, one of the largest shopping malls in Northern Ontario.


Similar to many other Northern Ontario municipalities, Sault Ste. Marie's population has declined sharply in the 1990s and early 2000s, with many individuals migrating to larger cities in southern Ontario. Since the early 1990s, the city had dropped from 84,000 to 74,566 residents, but in the 2006 census the city's population grew very slightly to 74,948. The city's census agglomeration, consisting of the townships of Lairdmarker, Princemarker and Macdonald, Meredith and Aberdeen Additionalmarker and the First Nations reserves of Garden River and Rankin, had a total population of 80,098, up from 78,908 in 2001.

The population has now increased with the improving economic climate. Some employers are currently reporting labour shortages in several job categories.

The population under 14 still continues to be greater than those over 65 years of age.


Sault Ste. Marie was at one time a haven for Italianmarker immigrants. The city has a large concentration of ethnic Italians for a community its size. The city also has a significant First Nations population, with three reserves nearby.

Those who are of European origin constitute 91.6% of the population, including those who are of Italian, French, English and Nordic descent. Aboriginals or Native Canadians, constitute 7.8%, and those who are of Chinese, Asian, African, and Filipino ancestry make up the remainder of the population.


Christianity is the chief faith in the city, with Roman Catholicism being the largest denomination. This can be attributed to the large number of citizens with a traditional Italian-Catholic heritage. After Catholicism and Protestantism, those who identify as being non-religious make up the third largest portion of the city's population. The largest non-Christian religion is Buddhism numbering 126 members, with small communities of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs.


The Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie is run by a city council of 12 councillors (representing 6 wards) and a mayor. The most recent municipal election was held on November 13, 2006. The current mayor is John Rowswell, first elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2003 and 2006.

The city's crest contains the words "Ojibwa Kitche Gumeeng Odena" (from Ojibwe gichi-gamiing oodena) which means "Town by the large body of water of the Ojibwe" (or simply "Town by Lake Superior") in the Ojibwe language.

The city is served by the Sault Ste. Marie federal electoral district and the Sault Ste. Marie provincial electoral district. The boundaries of these two districts are not identical; the provincial district encompasses the city alone, while the federal district extends northerly to the Montreal River and east to Bruce Minesmarker and St. Joseph Islandmarker. The city's current federal Member of Parliament is Tony Martin, and its Member of Provincial Parliament is David Orazietti.

See also Neighbourhoods in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.


The city is home to Sault Collegemarker, a college of applied arts and technology, and to Algoma Universitymarker. While the vast majority of programs at Algoma University and Sault College are delivered on the respective campuses, both institutions also offer joint programs with Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. On June 18, 2008, Algoma University became an independent university, ending their longtime affiliation with Laurentian Universitymarker in Sudburymarker. A new school, Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig (University), is poised to launch as a federated school of Algoma University. It will offer courses in Anishinaabe culture and language.

Sault Ste. Marie is home to both the Algoma District School Board and the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board, and is part of the Conseil scolaire de district du Grand Nord de l'Ontario and the Conseil scolaire de district catholique du Nouvel-Ontario. It is also home to the following high schools:


The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds are the city's most recognized sports team having existed since the formation of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association in 1919. The Hounds won national championships twice including the 1993 Memorial Cup and the 1924 Allan Cup. The Greyhounds play in the Essar Centremarker, a state-of-the-art downtown arena that replaced the Sault Memorial Gardensmarker in 2006. The current Hounds have retired four jerseys since joining the Ontario Hockey League in 1972: #1 John Vanbiesbrouck, #4 Craig Hartsburg, #10 Ron Francis and #99 Wayne Gretzky.

Sault Ste. Marie also had a team in hockey's first professional league. The Sault Ste. Marie Marlboros or 'Canadian Soo' team played in the International Professional Hockey League from 1904 to 1907.

Sault Ste. Marie teams boast a number of Hockey Hall of Famemarker members including Sault natives Phil Esposito, Tony Esposito and Ron Francis, as well as Sault team members Paul Coffey, Bill Cook, Bun Cook, Wayne Gretzky, Newsy Lalonde and George McNamara.

National Hockey League All-Star Joe Thornton, who was born in London, ON, played his short OHL career as a member of the Sault Greyhounds. Marty Turco, who currently plays goalie for the Dallas Stars and Tyler Kennedy, centre for the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, are also from Sault Ste. Marie.

Former Greyhound player and coach Ted Nolan won the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL Coach of the Year in 1998.

The Sault has been host to many national and international sporting events including the 2003 Eco-Challenge North American Championship, an expedition-length (350–500 km) adventure race through unmarked wilderness by biking, trekking, paddling and using ropes.

Sault Ste. Marie was the host of the 1990 Brier, the Canadian men's curling championship. In 2010, it will host the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, which serves as Canada's women's curling championship. The local curling clubs are the Soo Curlers Association and the Tarentorus Curling Club.

The 2007 Sault Steelers captured the Canadian Senior Football Championship.

Walk of Fame

The Sault Ste.
Marie Walk of Fame marker for Francis H.

The Walk of Fame was created in 2006 as a joint project between the city of Sault Ste. Marie and its Downtown Association, and honours those from the city or the Algoma District who have made outstanding contributions to the community or significant contributions in their chosen field of work. Inductees are added on an annual basis.


Sault Ste. Marie is home to the Bon Soo winter carnival, held every February. The city also hosts the annual Algoma Fall Festival which draws local and international performing artists. The Kiwanis Community Theatre and the landmark Central United Church are used for the performances. Both venues hold approximately 1,000 people. The Art Gallery of Algomamarker features an extensive collection of local and international artist's work and presents regular exhibitions. Residents celebrate Community Day on the third weekend of July. The local Rotary Internationalmarker club organizes a three-day event called Rotaryfest.

It is also the birthplace of the first youth police cadet group in Canada: the Sault Squires Police Cadet Corps. The rock band Treble Charger was originally from Sault Ste. Marie.



Climate information is taken from the Sault Ste.marker Marie Airportmarker (YAM)

Average climate for Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Maximum daily temp. (°C) -5.5 -4.2 0.9 8.4 16.5 21.1 24.0 23.0 18.0 11.5 4.1 -2.2 9.6
Minimum daily temp. (°C) -15.5 -15.2 -9.7 -2.2 3.5 7.9 11.3 11.3 7.5 2.5 -3.1 -10.3 -1.0
Precipitation (mm) 71.3 41.1 60.1 68.5 63.1 78.4 76.8 84.7 96.5 86.7 85.7 75.9 888.7
Rainfall (mm) 7.8 4.7 28.0 50.5 62.5 78.4 76.8 84.7 96.2 80.3 50.7 13.7 634.3
Snowfall (cm) 81.7 42.8 34.8 17.4 0.5 0.2 6.2 38.6 80.8 302.9
Snow depth (cm) 35 40 28 4 2 15 10
Wind speed (km/h) 14.3 12.6 14.1 14.5 13.4 12.0 11.0 10.7 12.5 14.2 15.6 13.3 13.3

Extreme climate for Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Extreme humidex (°C) 31.6 37.3 40.9 42.9 42.7 39.5 33.2
Extreme maximum temp. (°C) 8.4 10.8 21.1 27.8 31.8 34.0 36.8 36.1 32.8 26.7 19.4 15.4
Extreme minimum temp. (°C) -38.9 -38.7 -35.6 -20.6 -8.9 -5.6 0.0 -3.3 -8.3 -10.0 -21.7 -36.7
Extreme windchill (°C) -44.8 -42.3 -38.4 -27.8 -10.0 -13.9 -29.2 -42.8
Extreme daily precipitation (mm/d) 32.5 61.0 37.8 41.1 116.6 77.2 43.9 89.8 71.2 44.0 50.4 37.6
Extreme daily rainfall (mm/d) 32.5 39.1 30.2 38.2 116.6 77.2 43.9 89.8 71.2 44.0 50.4 37.6
Extreme daily snowfall (cm/d) 30.2 61.0 27.7 27.0 10.2 21.1 2.1 12.6 37.0 48.1
Extreme snow depth (cm) 111 117 137 58 4 3 8 36 140
Extreme wind speed (km/h) 80 64 74 74 65 64 63 74 65 72 89 80
Extreme wind gusts (km/h) 107 100 100 102 89 100 109 98 94 105 119 98

Image gallery

Image:Secondhand.JPG| Second Hand WorldImage:Sault Ste Marie courthouse.jpg|Sault Ste Marie courthouseImage:Hiawathasault.JPG|Hiawatha: Kinsmen ParkImage:Muios restaurant.jpg|Muio's restaurant.
Established 1945.
Image:Old Stone House.jpg|Ermatinger "Old Stone House"
Built 1814-1823.
Image:Clergue Blockhouse.jpg|Clergue blockhouse
Built 1895.
Image:3soo1809 Soo Canada waterfront seen from American locks.jpg|Waterfront seen from the American Locks

See also


  1. Stats Canada 2006 Community Profile
  2. "Sault Ste. Marie - history", The North View, accessed 20 Dec 2008
  3. "Sault Ste. Marie - history", The North View, accessed 20 Dec 2008
  4. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: Angelina Napolitano. By Franca Iacovetta. University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2004. page accessed June 2008
  5. Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs, 1990, David Leyton-Brown (ed.), p.135. "On the language front, a major headache for the government began when the Sault Ste Marie City Council, under pressure from the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada, declared English as its official language."
  6. Crosswords: Language, Education and Ethnicity in French Ontario, Monica Heller, p. 79
  7. Crosswords: Language, Education and Ethnicity in French Ontario, Monica Heller, p. 80
  8. Sault Ste. Marie Transit
  9. Passenger rail service to Sudbury needed: Sault MP
  10. [1]
  11. Rotaryfest

External links

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