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The Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site, with the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge in the background.
Approaching the open lock from downstream.

The Sault Ste. Marie Canal is a National Historic Site of Canada in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The canal is part of the shipping route from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Superior and includes a set of locks to bypass the rapids on the St. Marys River.

The first lock was built in 1798 by the Northwest Trading Company. It was destroyed in 1814 in an attack by U.S. forces during the War of 1812.

The construction of the canal and lock was completed in 1895. At that time it was the largest lock and first electrically operated lock in the world. The canal is about 1.6 km (1 mile) long and originally the lock portion was 274 m (899 ft) long and 18 m (59 ft) wide.[2] The locks stopped operating when they were severely damaged by ice in 1987. A new lock, built within the old lock, was opened in 1998 and is 77 m (252 ft) long, 15.4 m (50.5 ft) wide and 3 m (10 ft) deep.[3] The canal is used for recreational and tour boats; major shipping traffic uses the U.S. locks.

The Administration Building was completed in 1895 - 1896[1]

There are several heritage buildings on the site: the Administration Building, Superintendent's Residence, Canalmen's Shelter, Powerhouse, and Stores/Blacksmith Shop, all constructed from red sandstone dug up during the canal's construction. Most of the original machinery used to operate the lock is also still in place. Another unique feature of the site is the emergency swing bridge dam.

Guided tours are available in the summer only. The visitor centre is open year round.

See also

References

External links

Coordinates: 46°30′46″N 84°21′05″W / 46.51278°N 84.35139°W / 46.51278; -84.35139

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