Sault Ste. Marie 2 – Michigan

September 5, 2010

My last post was all about Kettle and nothing about Sault Ste. Marie.

I just didn’t feel comfortable talking about a place I didn’t know how to pronounce.

I was initially pronouncing it (in my head) “Salt Saint Marie.” But then I saw that the town had a nickname of “Soo” – clearly a clue for people like me. But I wasn’t sure how to pronounce “Soo.”  I was guessing “So Saint Marie”.

But then I heard the guy on the radio. It’s pronounced “Sue Saint Marie.”

Having established its pronunciation, I have chosen 3 additional things to tell you about Sault Ste. Marie.

1. Half the city is the U.S. and half is in Canada. The two sides are divided by the St. Mary’s river and connected by the International Bridge. I believe they pronounce the city’s name the same way on both sides.

2. Sault Ste. Marie has locks. Lake Superior is a bit higher than the other Great Lakes, and the adjustment takes place along a stretch of rapids at Saulte Ste. Marie. (“Saultes de St. Marie” is old French for St. Mary’s Rapids.) Locks are cool. You’d think that the process of moving a ship from a body of water at one level to a body of water at a different level would require something really complicated. But locks are actually quite simple. Unfortunately, if I were to try to describe how they work, they would sound complicated. So I will just tell you that the locks at Sault Ste. Marie are called “The Soo Locks” and that they are the busiest canal in the world, as measured by tonnage.

3. Sault Ste. Marie has an unfortunate structure called the Tower of History. It was created with some religious goal in mind, but it looks like we let the Soviets build us a tower to watch over Canada. Despite all that, I paid the $6 and took the elevator to the viewing area. It’s fun to look across a river into a different country.

There’s more I could tell you about Sault Ste. Marie, but  that would be more than three things.

On the logistics side, Kettle and I spent two nights at a motel (it rained most of the time), and we did some provisioning. For produce, I had to settle for a normal supermarket, but I was able to stock up on nuts and dried fruits at a cool little health food store.

See you in Canada.

The Soo Locks

Across the street from the Soo Locks

Oh, Canada

Oh God, protect us from Canada

Fruit Stand

One Response to “Sault Ste. Marie 2 – Michigan”

  1. Bill L Says:

    That tower is definitely beyond hideous. It looks like something out of Half Life.

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