Experience Cultural and Historical Attractions in Algoma
There are endless ways to experience some of Algoma Country’s vibrant history. The region is dotted with interesting museums, galleries and heritage sites that share stories of people, places, industry, cultural heritage, military history, and all the things that make up the fabric of 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 such a special place to explore.
Before You Go
- Each attraction has policies and guidelines in place to protect the integrity of its exhibits and artifacts.
- Visiting sites may take a few hours or more.
- Make sure to call ahead for hours of operation as some sites are seasonal.
Sault Ste. Marie & Area
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.
On-site: hiking trails, gift shop, fat bike rentals
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.
On-site: gift shop, outdoor sculptures, workshops and programming throughout the year
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.
On-site: gift shop, festivals and events throughout the year
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.
Social Media: www.facebook.com/entomica
Affectionately 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.
On-site: theatre, gift shop, festivals and events throughout the year, guided tours
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, and military past, and there's even a sports hall of fame.
On-site: gift shop in-person and online
Social Media: www.facebook.com/saultmuseum
Demonstrating strength, human perseverance, and resilience, this exhibition emphasizes the impact of Residential School systems across Canada on Indigenous children and families. Shingwauk Hall was first established in 1873 as a residential school for First Nations Children until its closure in 1970. The Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre is a cross-cultural research and educational project of Algoma Univeristy and the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association.
What to Know: Site tours must be booked 2 weeks in advance
SKG is a teaching and research centre of excellence in Anishinaabe education. One of nine Indigenous post-secondary institutes of higher learning that is legally recognized in Ontario and is home to the National Chiefs Library. SKG aims to educate and preserve the integrity of Anishinaabe knowledge and understanding by developing and providing authentic, academic programs and workshops reflecting the Anishinaabe worldview, ways of learning and knowing.
Social Media: www.facebook.com/Shingwauk
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.
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.
Social Media: www.facebook.com/EcomuseeDeHearst
Learn 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.
Social Media: www.facebook.com/Place-du-march/
The Conseil des Arts develops an interest in Francophone arts and culture in every art form and promotes the influence of French-speaking artists in Ontario. In addition to its annual program, events are held throughout the year like the Holiday Village, Music Festival, and Cabaret Queer.
Social Media: www.facebook.com/cahearst
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.
On-site: bilingual services, picnic area, souvenirs for purchase
St. Joseph Island
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.
On-site: events and festivals during the summer months, guided tours, children's activities
Social Media: www.facebook.com/stjoemuseum/
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.
On-site: programming, hiking trails, bird watching, gift shop
Social Media: www.facebook.com/FortStJosephNHS
Timber Village Museum & Gallery
The museum showcases local art and exhibits that share the history and culture of the community and residents of Blind River and immediate areas of the North Shore from Spanish to Dean Lake. The TVM Art Gallery hosts local displays of art and programming.
On-site: gift shop
Social Media: www.facebook.com/TVMuseum
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.
On-site: picnic area, Farmers' Market Saturdays in July and August
Social Media: www.facebook.com/experience.huronshores
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, stables as well as early farming equipment. The grounds are an excellent place for a picnic.
On-site: group tours can be arranged, annual Country Fair and Silent Auction
Social Media: www.facebook.com/ThessalonTownshipHeritageAssociation
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.
On-site: gift shop
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.
Social Media: www.facebook.com/BruceMinesAndDistrictChamberOfCommerce
From atop Fire Tower Road is the Fire Ranger's Heritage Centre. This cabin has been restored and was once the home of the tower watchman and their family during fire watch months. Visitors will love the 180-degree wilderness overlooking Elliot Lake and on clear days can see as far as Manitoulin Island. The site is also a satellite location for the Elliot Lake Museum.
Social Media: www.facebook.com/City-Of-Elliot-Lake-105226094874641
Located in the community of Echo Bay, the museum has 6 interactive exhibits each featuring historical items donated by area residents. While visiting the community, don't forget to take your photo with the Loon Dollar Monument. The monument is dedicated to Mr. Robert R. Carmichael, who was a resident and the artist who created the design for Canada's Loon Dollar coin.
Social Media: www.facebook.com/EkobaMuseum
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.