A visit to the Agawa Canyon was always on our “travel bucket-list” and that meant a trip to Sault Ste. Marie. I knew it would be special because it would our first trip to Northern Ontario. The planning process began with 2 simple questions…how would be get there & when could be go? Deciding on travel dates was easy but as soon as Tony found out how long the drive was he said “we’re flying instead”. Flying would get us there quicker which meant a lot more time to travel and explore over a weekend. Who was I to argue against more travel time?
As with all our adventures we recorded a video while in ‘The Soo’ for our Let’s Discover ON YouTube Channel:
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As you already know we chose to fly and an Air Canada flight from Pearson was the best option for us. We could have also flown with Porter Airlines from the Billy Bishop / Toronto Island Airport.
In case you’re curious the driving time from the Greater Toronto Area to The Soo, according to Google Maps, was 7hrs & 18mins or 696kms to be exact. This would be a great road trip if you have more than just a weekend to explore the area.
The first item on our agenda was breakfast. It was an early morning flight and we had plans to grab a coffee and bagel to go however we ran into fellow Travel Blogger, Travel Mammal, who was headed to New Brunswick. We lost track of time talking about our upcoming weekend travel plans only to realize that our flight was already boarding.
The flight was slightly over 1hr so a hearty breakfast was just what we needed. A quick online search lead us to The Breakfast Pig. The dining room was full when we arrived (always a good sign) and after a few minutes we were seated. The restaurant, owned by Angela, is very unique in that it both socially conscious about the pork products served as well as community minded through the use of local suppliers. Angela even has her own menu item “The Angela” (pictured below). It’s a vegetarian option that was never intended for the menu but when customers learned about it the demand and popularity grew so much that Angela had to add it on the menu. We were also treated to Belgian Waffles with Reese’s Pieces and a peanut butter drizzle. They were absolutely divine! (no picture…we couldn’t resist biting into them)
After a fabulous meal, it’s time to check out some of the city, so we headed towards the waterfront and came across the Mill Market.
Much to our surprise this building is also home to Entomica, Canada’s smallest science centre. Specifically, it’s an insectarium run by John Dedes and his dedicated staff.
We encountered all sorts of weird and wonderful bugs. Below is pic of Tony holding a ‘stick bug’ and the other is a type of preying mantis.
There’s some things in nature that are just so surprising, like the fact that scorpions can actually glow in the dark. They showed us a black scorpion that would turn a bright indigo colour under a UV flashlight.
Tony couldn’t believe that he would have a tarantula, named ‘Rose’ crawling on his arm that morning.
You’re going to have to watch our vlog to see our reactions to having these bugs crawling all over us. They even have a tiny species of preying mantis that looks like an orchid flower, it’s about the size of a fingernail.
Right next to the Mill Market is the Sault Ste. Marie lift locks. These locks are over 100 years old however with a few modern upgrades and keep the boats moving through Lake Huron & Lake Superior or vice-versa. It was awesome to see the fill and empty action of the lift locks.
Our second day in The Soo was spent driving along Hwy 17 which follows the Lake Superior coastline. One we got to Batchawana Bay, we stopped off for lunch at a well known spot, the Voyageurs Lodge & Cookhouse. Tony just had to try the fresh Lake Superior whitefish sandwich. It was delicious.
This restaurant is unique because it really reflects back on the past of the area, when voyageurs would use canoes to transport goods for trade through these waterways. The decor of the place is very rustic, and there’s several paintings that depict what a voyageurs adventurous life would look like.
The beaches around Batchawana Bay look like this:
Some have a finer sand, others have small smooth rocks. This would make an awesome beach day in the summer months.
The drive was amazing and is highly recommended for anyone who loves long drives with lots of scenic viewpoints along the way. The drive also gives an appreciation for the Lake Superior coastline including its various bays. The view, especially those on top of cliffs, with the vantage points of other smaller bays is spectacular. It’s even hard to describe and quantify the amount of natural beauty in this part of Ontario.
Time for a break, so we stopped at a local roadside attraction called Agawa Crafts and Canadian Carver. Both of these places are full of handmade goods, clothes, carvings, art, you name it, they got it. It’s a great place to get some souvenirs or gifts, OR a life sized carving of a bear. Either or really.
Our intention was to make it to Old Woman Bay however we ended our drive with a visit to the Agawa Rock Pictographs located in Lake Superior Provincial Park. The walk down to see the Pictographs was a physical downhill challenge however seeing this real-life piece of Canadian art history was all worth it.
These pictographs were drawn between 150 – 400 years ago by the Ojibwe people of the area. It’s believed that these symbols were very important to them. Some are mythical creatures, others are of canoes & animals.
Just a reminder, it’s not easy to get to area where you can view the pictographs. It’s a narrow walkway, on angled rocks, right on the shore of Lake Superior. If you can paddle in on a kayak or canoe, that would honestly be best. If you must walk in, take your time and don’t rush it. You can see how close the pictographs are to the waters edge in our vlog.
Our third and final day was spent aboard the Agawa Canyon Tour Train so read our dedicated blog post & see our video. This train ride is an absolute must if visiting The Soo so please, please, please set aside a whole day in your itinerary to see and experience it for yourself.
We sincerely hope that you get to see and experience everything we did and then some on your next visit to Sault Ste. Marie. It’s a beautiful waterfront city in Northern Ontario with a unique history and an amazing future.
Our Visit to Sault Ste. Marie was sponsored by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie however all opinions, recommendations & reviews are our own.
Have any photos or videos of your visit that you would like to share with us? Send them over to @LetsDiscoverON.