The calendar tells us that spring has sprung, but if you live in the eastern half of the country, you know we’ve been living through something of a Modern Ice Age. In the coming weeks, an annual rite of passage (literally!) will take place and Sault Ste. Marie is offering ring-side seats. Come see a spectacular battle as Great Lakes cargo ships and ice breakers take on the forces of nature on the St. Marys River.
Photo Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers
On March 25th the Soo Locks will open for the season, connecting Lake Superior to the rest of the Great Lakes. That, however, will require vessels to conquer a barricade in the form of a 45-mile river system that is covered in a continuous sheet of ice.Beyond the river, most Lake Superior ports are still packed with ice.Duluth, Minnesota has experienced one of its top 4 worst winters in history.
Photo Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers
If you’ve never seen an ice breaker at work; or have never seen a snow-encrusted freighter; or have always wanted to join the celebration of welcoming the first ship through the Locks – this is your year. From 9am – 3pm on March 25, the Soo Locks Visitors Center will be open with hot coffee and a chance to see the Soo Locks in rare form. Traditionally, this is the day we will welcome the first ship through the Locks, but the exact day and time of arrival is always unknown until a day or so before. Monitor our Facebook page for updates on the exact time of arrival.
Let’s be honest – you’ve had enough of shoveling and ice and freezing temperatures. Come help us cheer on the icebreakers and send old man winter packing!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve sometimes perused museum exhibits or historic homes and felt like I should tip-toe through the location. Don’t make any noise. No sudden moves. It’s probably self-induced, but I feel like I’m in a library and someone might “shush” me at any moment. I’ll go one step further and say sometimes my attention span can be a little, shall we say, limited.
All of this is my not-very-brief way of saying that performances make museums and historic places come alive for me. Every summer, thousands of visitors feel the same when they visit the John Johnston House on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-2pm. That’s when local singer/songwriters Dave Stanaway and Susan Askwith give small, intimate concerts and bring history to life with their voices and their guitars. The performances are included in the price of admission to the historic homes and are offered through July and August.
Susan Askwith & Dave Stanaway
Of course, you can have the best of all worlds. You can tour the homes on Historic Water Street at your leisure and combine that with a Tuesday or Thursday concert. These important buildings – John Johnston house, Bishop Baraga house, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft house and the Kemp Coal Office – have distinctly different exhibits and each tells a unique story. The homes are open 7 days per week from Noon-5pm through Labor Day. The price of admission grants you access to the four buildings and is $3 for adults, $2 for children, $8 for a family, and $15 for a season pass.
During a six-day period later this month, as many as eight Tall Ships are expected to sail the St. Mary’s River at Sault Ste. Marie, including transit through the famous Soo Locks.
Like a parade passing by our front door, these spectacular vessels will travel from a variety of locations between the dates of July 19 and July 25 en route to a gathering in Duluth, MN. Visitors lucky enough to stake out a spot at Alford Park, the Soo Locks observation platforms or dozens of other prime viewing points in the area will get quite a show.
At least three ships are expected to stay in the area on the Canadian side for three-days: the Flagship Niagara, the Pride of Baltimore II, and the Privateer Lynx. These vessels are part of a Tall Ships 1812 Tour happening throughout Ontario. (That’s one of the perks of visiting a border town – you can enjoy events on both sides of the bridge!) The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario event is July 19-21.
Pride of Baltimore II
As for the additional Tall Ships, we unfortunately can’t pinpoint the exact date or time they’ll pass Sault Ste. Marie. But we know this for a fact – while waiting to see a Tall Ship, you’re certain to see tugboats, barges, lake freighters, and a variety of other fascinating boats that will keep the waterways hopping and very watchable.
Gone are the days when videotaping your favorite summer vacation involved a heavy camera of questionable quality and actual tapes. The word “videotaping” hardly even applies anymore. Instead, many of us have a digital video camera – either as a feature on a smart phone or as part of our digital camera.
What is the best part of the evolution of video? We think it is YOUR ability to enter contests, like this one that will focus on capturing your best day or favorite activity in Sault Ste. Marie.
Let’s face it – the advent of the Internet has illustrated how fun, kooky, and downright creative everyday people can be. Who needs a millionaire producer or a carefully-honed script? When people are having fun in a beautiful destination like Sault Ste. Marie – compelling video is only the press of a button away.
The Sault Area Convention & Visitors Bureau wants you to be involved at several levels. Not only can you submit up to 5 videos for the contest, but you also get to help in the voting process by lending your “like” to entries of your choosing on the “I Love Sault Ste. Marie” facebook page. Contest entries will be uploaded by the participant to their own YouTube or Facebook account and then linked to the “I Love Sault Ste. Marie” Facebook page to be eligible for any of the prizes.
Let’s talk about prizes – specifically $750 for first place, $250 for three 2nd place finishers, and $100 for two 3rd place winners. It’s like having someone pay for your camera and your fun!
The hardest part of this video contest? Figuring out which of these great activities you’ll focus on for your video. But don’t forget – video content must focus on those activities within the Sault Ste. Marie city limits. Remember – you can submit up to 5, so try your hand (or your camera) on several!
Be sure to read the rules for entry and then immerse yourself in Sault Ste. Marie. We can’t wait to see you on video!