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St. Joseph's Island

• Credit: Photography by Jake Cormier
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St. Joseph's Island

Fresh air and sweet treats just 1/2 hour from the city.

Relax, eat, have fun! Your St. Joseph Island day trip begins from your base in Sault Ste. Marie. Today you're going to step back in time, breathe fresh air, have a unique photo op, and satisfy your taste buds. This awesome Island excursion begins at Hilton Beach and ends at Richard's Landing following a circular route around the Island on Hwy 548.

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Your first stop after a coffee break in Hilton beach is 12 kms down the road at the ruins at the Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site. Here you have a chance to relive the activities leading up to and including the War of 1812. Beginning in 1796, Fort St. Joseph was the farthest West outpost in British North America. It was built to claim territory and prevent an attack from America.

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The Visitor Centre contains exhibits and a film to take you back in time and demonstrate what life was like at the Fort.

Who lived at the Fort? What did they wear in 1800? How many people lived at the Fort? Take a stroll through history and walk in the footsteps of Captain Charles Roberts who captured the American fort on Mackinac Island which began of the War of 1812. Now that you've exercised your mind and taken a stroll, you've worked up an appetite, which will be more than satiated at the next stop on your journey. It begins with birds chirping and the scent of wood fire, and ends with the most awesome flavour to cross your taste buds—found here, at Gilbertson's Pancake House.

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This fourth generation family business has been on the Island since 1936 becoming what is today, Gilbertson's Maple Products. On your guided tour, learn how clear maple sap is rendered down to produce a decadent irresistible condiment. The Pancake House is rustic and warm with an attractive gift shop where you'll find all the products to satisfy the maple fanatic in you. It's your turn to have a scrumptious plate of pancakes and maple syrup with your favourite sides.

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Sailor's Encampment is your next stop with excellent viewing points to watch freighters in the shipping channel. This popular location provides you with a fairly close-up view. You are within a few hundred yards of these massive machines, and have a unique photo opportunity to capture images of mighty ships like the Edgar B. Speer and Paul R. Tregurtha that are over 1000 feet long.

Carry on, to spend the remainder of your day in Richard's Landing. Stroll up and down the main street among the shops. Make your way down to the marina. Relax with your favourite beverage and stay for dinner overlooking the channel. Serving up Bison burgers and Pecan Encrusted Trout, the Lighthouse Grill is the place to finish your St. Joseph Island Tour.

While staying in Sault Ste. Marie, take a vacation within your vacation and drive the St. Joseph Island Tour. Come and discover what the Island is all about, the history, experience our towns, meet the friendly people. Learn, laugh, and enjoy!

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Directions: From Sault Ste. Marie, travel along Highway 17 East, then turn right on Hwy 548. It's approximately a 40-minute drive to get to St. Joseph Island.

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