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Experience Cultural and Historical Attractions in Algoma

Experience Cultural and Historical Attractions in Algoma

Visit these attractions to travel back in time and discover Algoma Country

There are endless ways to explore some of Algoma Country’s vibrant history. From its earliest beginnings, the region was home to Indigenous communities, later followed by early European explorers, fur traders, then settlers from different parts of the world.

The region is dotted with interesting sites that share our stories of people, places, industry, cultural heritage, military history, and all the things that make up the fabric of our life here. A visit to one of these heritage sites will bring you a better understanding of where we come from, and what makes Algoma so unique and such a special place to explore.

Each area attraction has policies and guidelines in place to protect the integrity of its exhibits and artifacts. Please follow all guidelines set out. In addition, we ask that you please adhere to the following:

  • Wear a mask in indoor public settings.
  • If you are sick, please stay home.
  • You may be required to wear gloves, please remember to bring some.
  • Practice proper hand hygiene: please wash your hands and use hand sanitizer as needed.
  • Please be kind and respectful.

We also encourage you to contact these area attractions in advance to learn of any additional guidelines before you visit.

Explore time: anywhere from 1 – 2 hours per site
Virtual Experiences: if you're not quite ready to explore Algoma in person yet, you're in luck. Many attractions are offering virtual experiences: videos, exhibits, trivia, facts, stories, and other interesting posts to keep you captivated until it’s time to welcome you back!

This national historic site is over 125 years old. The area where the canal was built is steeped in history, beginning with the Indigenous stories of fishing and trading on the shores of the St. Marys River Rapids. The canal itself opened in 1895 and was the world’s longest lock. It was the first lock in the world to use electricity and the last link in a Canadian navigation chain which greatly impacted Great Lakes shipping.

Walk or bike the Attikamek trail on South St. Mary’s Island, participate in the Heritage Hide ’n’ Seek Geocache Series, and watch the recreational watercraft lock through the canal.

Current Status: Open to the public, hiking trails, day-use area, public washrooms, visitor centre, gift shop, exhibits, physical distance, wear a mask indoors
Available: fat bike rentals
Hours of Operation: Open June 14 to October 8 – View Schedule
Social Media: www.facebook.com/SaultCanalNHS

Over the course of 45 years, the Art Gallery of Algoma has built a significant collection of over 5,000 pieces including artwork by members of Canada’s Group of Seven. The AGA curates interesting rotating exhibitions that will inspire you.

Current Status: Open to the public, washrooms, exhibit galleries open, gift shop open, view the outdoor sculptures, you will be greeted at the door by a friendly greeter, wear a mask indoors, physical distance, hand sanitizer available
Hours of Operation: Wednesday - Saturday, closed Monday and Sunday
Social Media: www.facebook.com/ArtGalleryofAlgoma

There is no better way to explore the history and adventure of flight and forest fire protection than with a visit to the bushplane museum. The museum is home to a collection of 24 vintage aircraft, forest fire protection exhibits, and other interesting artifacts you won’t find anywhere else. Climb to the top of the replica fire tower, experience the flight adventure simulator, or even learn Morse code messages in the 1940s ranger's office.

Current Status: Open to the public, washrooms, gift shop both on-site and online, vintage aircraft individually cleaned between visitors, wear a mask indoors, physical distance
Hours of Operation: Daily 10 am to 4 pm
Social Media: www.facebook.com/bushplane.museum

It's time to bug out! This unique insect-based science centre is located within the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre. The Insectarium is home to live, exotic insects from around the world, displayed in beautiful living vivariums all carefully and skillfully made by hand.

Virtual Experience: explore from home: www.entomica.com
Current Status: Open to the public, a bug wrangler will wave you in when it's your turn to visit inside the Insectarium, wear a mask indoors
Hours of Operation: Daily 10 am to 4 pm
Social Media: www.facebook.com/entomica

Known as "The Old Stone House," the Ermatinger-Clergue NHS is home to two of the oldest stone buildings northwest of Toronto: the Ermatinger Old Stone House, and the Clergue Blockhouse. Step back in time to the 1800s and learn about the life of local businessperson Mr. Charles Oakes Ermatinger. Visit Mr. Clergue’s Blockhouse to learn about this prominent resident who built much of the area’s industries. 

Virtual Experience: click here
Current Status: Open to the public, washrooms, must wear a mask, wear gloves
Hours of Operation: Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm, closed Monday and Sunday
Social Media: www.facebook.com/ErmatingerClergue

Many interesting artifacts and stories are awaiting inside the walls of this museum. Once the city’s post office, the historic red building now serves as a place to preserve the past for future generations. Each gallery is designed to share the city’s earliest beginnings, history, culture, military past, and there's even a sports hall of fame.

Virtual Experiences: click here
Current Status: wear a mask indoors
Hours of Operation: by appointment Tuesday - Saturday 10 am - 4 pm, closed Monday and Sunday
Social Media: www.facebook.com/saultmuseum

White River is the hometown of Winnie, the beloved bear who inspired the famous Winnie the Pooh stories written by A.A. Milne. The town has a rich railway history as it was founded by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The museum houses a variety of early CPR artifacts, as well as historical photos and interesting early household items. Learn about the true story of Winnie and Captain Colebourn, as well as the town’s connection to the Group of Seven.

Virtual Experience: Watch a film from 1914 of the real Winnie in her habitat at the London Zoo here.
Current Status: gift shop open, wear a mask indoors
Hours of Operation: Monday to Friday 10 am – 6 pm
Social Media: www.facebook.com/whiteriverheritagemuseum


Hearst Ecomuseum 

Hearst Ecomuseum

The building that's home to the Hearst Ecomuseum is one of the oldest houses in the community dating back to 1919. It was originally a family home, and later the first convent to house the Sisters of Perpetual Help. Today, the museum houses the historical, cultural, and natural history of this Francophone community. Visitors and locals can discover the community's heritage through three elements that shaped the town: religion, Francophone culture, and the forestry industry.

Current Status: wear a mask indoors, physical distance
Hours: 9 am to 5 pm
Social Media: www.facebook.com/EcomuseeDeHearst

Explore the story of Ontario's lumberjacks who for generations braved the cold of the North. These exciting tales are found at the Heritage Sawmill with exhibits, historical photos, and unique artifacts related to the large Hearst sawmills. Did you know that Constance Lake First Nation, Hearst, and Mattice-Val Côté are together recognized as the Forest Capital of Canada? This was in recognition of each community’s strong forest history and cultural legacy, their dedication to sustainable forest management, and collaborative efforts with all forest stakeholders.

Virtual Experience: View the photo gallery of historical photos from the comfort of your home: click here
Current Status: wear a mask indoors, physical distance
Hours: Monday - Friday 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday 10 am to 4 pm
Social Media: www.facebook.com/Place-du-march%C3%A9-de-la-scierie-patrimoniale-Heritage-Sawmill-Marketplace-386866508111761/

The Chapleau Museum in Centennial Park celebrates the township's railroad past and commemorates historical figures who helped to shape the history and heritage of this northern community. Notable exhibits include the Iron Horse #5433 a steam engine weighing 275 tons and measuring 95 feet long, monuments dedicated to railroaders and novelist Louis Hemon, the footprints of Lester B. Pearson, scale models of local landmarks, and a number of archives and historical photos.

Current Status: temporarily closed–see you in 2023

St. Joseph Island

St. Joseph Island Museum

StJoseph Island Museum

Did you know that this museum houses over 7,000 artifacts? This is an incredible collection celebrating 200 years of the history of St. Joseph Island. The museum is made up of historical local buildings: the United Church, the log cabin, the island's first schoolhouse, and the 1912 Kentvale General Store. There also is an enormous puddingstone onsite. Artifacts and relics have been generously donated by island residents and businesses. You will find historical photos, military artifacts, farm equipment, post office items, clothing, and more.

Current Status: Open to the public by donation, cash only, must wear mask and gloves when on a tour with guide
Hours of Operation: Wednesday - Sunday 10 am - 5 pm, closed Monday & Tuesday

Spend time touring the archaeological remains at Fort St. Joseph, the most isolated westerly outpost of British North America. Learn about the significance of the fort's many buildings as you stroll among the limestone building foundations. Marvel at the signature mysterious chimney–whose presence has still not been explained. There are four nature trails onsite to hike or bike. Did you know that Fort St. Joseph is federally recognized as a bird sanctuary? This is a paradise for bird watching. Visitors can participate in the Heritage Hide ’n’ Seek Geocache Series.

Current Status: Open to the public: trails, day-use areas, washrooms, parking, gift shop, exhibits, visitor centre. Wear a mask indoors and practice physical distancing.
Not Available at This Time: events & programming, children’s area, theatre
Hours of Operation: June 16 – September 30,  Wednesday - Sunday 10 am to 5 pm, October 1: Closed for winter
Social Media: www.facebook.com/FortStJosephNHS

The museum showcases local art and exhibits that share the history and culture of the community and residents of Blind River. 

Current Status: is currently located at the Blind River Marina Complex
Social Media: www.facebook.com/TVMuseum

Iron Bridge

Historical Museum

Huron Shores Museum

The Historical Museum is made up of two buildings: the Log House and the Tulloch/Carlyle House. The Log House dates back to 1879 and contains artifacts used by the farming community and loggers in the area. There are many interesting artifacts in the collection, once owned by the ancestors of local residents. The Tulloch/Carlyle House was built in 1880 and depicts the interior of a farm home with artifacts commonly used up until 1939. The site is also home to a seasonal farmers' market.

Current Status: temporarily closed–see you in 2023

The Heritage Park Museum gives a glimpse of what life was like for the early settlers and residents who resided in the area over 100 years ago. Artifacts housed in the collection depict the everyday lives of residents during this period of time. The buildings include a general store, chapel, blacksmith shop, and stables as well as early farming equipment. The grounds are a great place for a picnic!

Current Status: Open to the public, wear a mask, physical distance, use the hand sanitizer
Hours of Operation: Summer months Tuesday to Saturday - 10 am to 5 pm
Social Media: www.facebook.com/ThessalonTownshipHeritageAssociation

Bruce Mines

Simpson Mine Shaft

Simpson Mine Shaft

This waterfront community was home to Canada’s first copper mine. The Simpson Copper Mine Shaft is a testament to this crucial piece of Canadian mining history. The Bruce Mines produced the first hard rock copper in Canada in 1847. The Simpson Shaft was restored to demonstrate 1800s copper mining. Visitors will experience what mining on the shores of Lake Huron was really like. There is also a mining museum and gift shop.

Current Status: see you in 2023
Social Media: www.facebook.com/BruceMinesAndDistrictChamberOfCommerce

This unique building was built in 1894 and served as the Presbyterian Church until 1917. It has served as a post office, a scout and church hall, a schoolhouse, a library, and finally a storage house for local artifacts. Opened in 1961, the museum houses many items donated by local residents and is home to some star attractions: the 1876 Slot Machine, the Yakaboo Canoe, and the Victorian Dolls House.

Current Status: Open to the public, Monday - Friday 1 pm to 4 pm
Social Media: www.facebook.com/BruceMinesAndDistrictChamberOfCommerce

No matter where in Algoma Country you choose to explore we know you'll have an amazing and memorable experience. Learn more about planning your trip on the Algoma website.

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