To our fortune, the first full day with Tom had a forecast for rain! In light of that, we made the decision to stay one more night in Sault Ste. Marie. As it turned out, we didn’t have one drop of rain…which gave us a wonderful opportunity to explore the Soo Locks.
We bought tickets for the Soo Lock boat tour. We thought it would be a nice way to see the locks, but we had no idea that the ferry would actually pass through the locks! The locks, which are shared with Canada, connect Lake Superior with the other Great Lakes via the St. Mary’s River. At one time, Lake Superior flowed into St. Mary’s River in a 21 foot rapid that was 3/4 miles long. In order to get trade vessels through this area, the boats had to be unloaded and portaged around the rapids. The Soo Locks were built in 1855 to replace a small, earlier lock destroyed in the War of 1812. In its first year of operation, 27 vessels used the locks. Today, more than 10,000 vessels pass through the locks each year. Most of these are large freighters, some as long as 1000 feet. We had the best of luck to be there at the same time as the 2nd largest freighter in the Great Lakes was entering the locks.
It really was thrilling to enter the locks, have the gates close, and watch the water rise 21 feet. When we entered the lock, our view was of nothing but cement wall. But, as the water rose, land slowly began to appear, along with viewers who were stretched out along the park watching the process. People from the ferry, and from the park, began waving at each other. We had no idea they were there watching, so it was amusing to see it all play out in slow motion.
Once the lock was filled to the same level as Lake Superior, the gates were opened and the ferry moved out of the lock. We cruised the lake and made our return through the lock in Canada. Once inside this lock, the water was released, causing the ferry to fall 21 feet. Again, when the water level matched that of the St. Mary’s River, the gate was opened and we cruised out. Ken and I were so happy to have been able to ‘go’ to Canada, even if only through this short gesture of appreciation for our neighbors. A definite highlight of our adventure, the Soo Locks should be an absolute addition to one’s bucket list of lifetime must sees.
The three of us finished off our day with the boys exploring the Valley Camp Ore Freighter, and me walking through the River Of History Museum.
What a great day to spend a rainy day…that wasn’t!!
Soo Locks Ferry
Mesabi Miner Freighter – 2nd Largest Freighter On The Great Lakes
Mesabi Miner Entering The Locks
Our Ferry Entering The Soo Locks
Ferry Raised After The Lock Filled
Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge to Canada
Ore Freighter Coming Into The Locks From Lake Superior
Entering The Soo Locks In Canada
Cool Building Along The Canadian Locks With Pictures In Building
Canadians Walking Along The Locks As They Watch Our Ferry Enter
The Canadian Soo Locks – High On The Water
Another Floater Going Through The Locks
Gates Opening At Canadian Locks – Departing In Lower Water
View Leaving The Canadian Soo Locks
Canadian Coastal Boardwalk
Port of Sault Ste. Marie, Canada
Edison Power of Sault Ste. Marie…Still Running
Valley Camp Ore Freighter Museum
Sault Ste. Marie Architecture