SAULT STE. MARIE – The Sault Recreational Canal opened a bit late this year, but not the latest in its history. Still, the opening is welcome news for boaters seeking to travel between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. The canal is operated by Parks Canada.
“The canal usually opens on May 14,” said Rick Borean, Sault Ste. Marie supervisor of community services, recreation and culture division. “I was a bit surprised they didn’t let us open last week when the marinas were opened, but they had to wait for approvals from their end of things.”
This isn’t the latest the canal has opened to traffic, however. “A few years ago it was closed for three or four weeks due to construction.”
The original Sault Ste. Marie canal and lock opened in 1895. A the time, it was the world’s longest lock and the first to be powered by electricity. The historic lock closed more than two decades ago, but the original lock gate machinery is still in use today in the new lock system and interpreters/guides are usually on hand to share the canal’s history history.
Constructed within the original historic lock chamber, the recreational lock opened in 1998 and is available for all pleasure watercraft from kayaks and sailboats to tour boats and yachts to make the transition from one lake level to the other.
The Sault Recreational Canal lock hours of operation are from 11 am to 7 pm, May 28 to June 17 and 9 am to 9 pm from June 18 to Labour Day. From September 7 to October 15 the locks hours will cut back once again from 11 am to 7 pm.
Boaters can hail the Canadian lockmaster VDX23 on VHF Channel 14 for lockage information and instruction.