A Guide to the Miss Marie Lock Boat Tour in Sault Ste. Marie

Discover this historic boat tour in the Soo this summer. Here's everything you need to know to plan your trip!
the vessel Miss Marie sailing through the Sault Locks on a sunny summer day.

Please note: The Canadian side of the Sault Locks is closed until around August 2024 due to construction and improvements on the waterfront. The Miss Marie is operating with an amended route through the U.S. side of the locks. Contact the tour for more details. 

The place we know as Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario wouldn’t exist without water: Indigenous people have gathered since time immemorial at Bawating (the “place by the rapids”), and settlers followed their lead in establishing cities on the Canadian and U.S. shores of the St. Marys River. The waterway itself spills out of Lake Superior in a dramatic 6-metre (20-foot) cascade that spans the international border, then it flows smoothly through islands and merges with Lake Huron. Locks were constructed in the 1800s on the Michigan and Ontario sides of the border to make navigation possible for large vessels. Today, the locks remain integral to the St. Lawrence Seaway, giving passage to many freighter ships each day.

You can experience these engineering marvels on a Sault lock tour aboard the Miss Marie. This comfortable passenger boat makes multiple daily departures from the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront spring through fall. Visitors and locals alike will appreciate a different perspective on the city, with unique views of the waterfront and downtown core, and also a better sense of the scope of Sault Ste. Marie—as it rests before natural backdrops of water, forest and rugged Canadian Shield hills. Of course, the locks are the main attraction: passengers of all ages will be amazed at the human ingenuity behind these “aquatic elevators” and how they facilitate navigation. Purchase your tickets to the Miss Marie Sault Lock Tour today. 

About the Miss Marie: Wrap-Around Decks, Scenic Views, and Friendly Service

The vessel "Miss Marie" loading passengers at its port. The sun is shining and people look content as they crowd on.
A busy day for the ever-popular Miss Marie. // Photo credit Miss Marie Sault Lock Tours

The Miss Marie Lock Tour boat is a 70-foot, double-decker vessel with a capacity of 100 passengers. It arrived on the St. Marys River in 2022 by way of Toronto’s Harbourfront, where it previously served as a tour yacht on Lake Ontario. True, it’s not the original Chief Shingwauk, which countless longtime Sault Ste. Marie residents will remember from elementary school class trips. But the Miss Marie carries on the tradition with a modern vibe: it’s capacious, seaworthy and comfortable, with wrap-around decks for viewing the historic locks and waterfront areas, along with indoor spaces to take shelter from inclement weather. 

Although large waves are unlikely on the sheltered waters of the St. Marys River, passengers with a history of motion sickness may wish to prepare accordingly for their voyage. The crew also recommends wearing casual or athletic shoes (as opposed to heels) for better grip on deck. Lock cruises feature locally catered foods (at additional cost) and a cash bar. 

Where Does the Miss Marie Sault Lock Tour Embark?

the ship "Miss Marie" docked near Roberta Bondar Park; a large white boat docked on green-blue lake water next to two tall-peaked tent pavilions that peek up above the trees. The sky is a clear, sunny blue.
The Miss Marie docked at Roberta Bondar Marina. // Photo credit Miss Marie Sault Lock Tours

The Miss Marie embarks from the Roberta Bondar Marina on the waterfront in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, located at 65 Foster Drive. On-site parking is available. The marina is located next to Roberta Bondar Park, a community space celebrating Sault Ste. Marie native Dr. Roberta Bondar, an astronaut, physician and landscape photographer who holds the distinction of being Canada’s first woman in outer space. The site is easily recognizable by its impressive large awning shelter, which hosts concerts and community events.

Where Does the Miss Marie Lock Boat Tour Go?

A small girl looking over the metal railing of a ship as it enters the Sault Locks, filled with shining blue-green water under a blue sky. the Sault Locks opening to let a ship through, as passengers on the ship stand at the railing to watch. It is a sunny summer day and the water in the lock is reflecting the very blue sky.
Navigating the locks: water allowed into the lock raises the vessel so that it can pass the rapids of the St. Mary's River. // Photo credit Miss Marie Sault Lock Tours (left), Carol Serpa (right)

The lock tour boat passes through both the commercial locks (used by freighter ships up to 300 meters (1,000 feet in length) in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and the recreational lock at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada. (The Canadian lock will be closed for construction for most of the 2024 season.) Boating through these “aquatic elevators” that make navigation possible across the Great Lakes is truly a unique experience. You get a better sense of the huge volumes of water exchanged when you’re floating inside the lock. You may also get to share the larger American locks with a massive freighter, en route to or from ports on Lake Superior.

Along the Sault Ste. Marie lock boat tour you will get a different perspective of the city’s waterfront, learn more about how it has changed over the years, and leave with an enhanced appreciation for the role of the St. Marys River in shaping the development of the “Twin Soos”.

When Do the Miss Marie Lock Boat Tours Run?

The Miss Marie, docked under grey clouds.
Private charters are available aboard the Miss Marie for parties and events. // Photo credit Miss Marie Sault Lock Tours

Sault Ste. Marie lock tours aboard the Miss Marie run from mid-May to mid-October, with departures at 10 AM and 1 PM, rain or shine. Be sure to arrive 30 minutes early for boarding. Watch the Miss Marie's website for a schedule of select evening sunset tours through the summer months. All tours are approximately two hours in length. Private charters are also available for larger groups, such as wedding parties, family reunions or staff events. Contact the tour operator for more information.

How Much Does the Miss Marie Lock Boat Tour Cost?

Standard Miss Marie lock tours in Sault Ste. Marie cost $48 for adults, $35 for seniors, $16 for children aged 5 to 12, and passengers aged four and under are free when accompanied by adults. The vessel has a capacity of 100 passengers. Passports are not required. You’re advised to book your tickets in advance, especially for weekends and special evening cruises. Group discounts are available if you book in advance. Tickets are exchangeable but non-refundable, and you must contact the operator at least 10 days in advance to change a reservation. Buy your tickets here.

More Frequently Asked Questions About the Miss Marie Sault Lock Boat Tour

Do they serve alcohol on the Miss Marie?

Yes! The vessel is licensed—visitors can purchase both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on board.

Will there be audio commentary with information about the boat?

Yes. There is audio commentary that provides a narrative of Miss Marie's history as well as local landmarks and information about the locks. 

Are discounted tickets available for the Miss Marie?

Yes. Discounts are available if you purchase an Agawa Canyon Tour Train ticket. For group discounts please email info@saultlocktours.ca

Is the Miss Marie available for private charters?

Yes. The boat can be chartered for larger groups, such as wedding parties, family reunions, or staff events. Contact the tour operator for more information.

Are there any special events or sailings on the Miss Marie?

Yes. In the summer there are theme nights including sunset cruises. See the website for details. 

Please note: The Miss Marie is not wheelchair-accessible and pets are not allowed on board.

More Things to Do in Sault Ste. Marie

Miss Marie lock tours depart from downtown Sault Ste. Marie, where you’ll find a wide array of places to stay, eat, drink and enjoy other activities:

  • Rooms at the Delta feature incredible views of the St. Marys River, located a short walk from the Roberta Bondar Marina.
  • Before your Sault lock tour check out The Breakfast Pig on Bruce Street for the Soo’s best breakfast.
  • Pho Max offers the Sault’s best Asian cuisine on Albert Street.
  • Queen Street Sault Ste. Marie restaurants include Tandoori Gardan for authentic Indian food; Peace for upscale dining; Ernie’s for homemade burgers and unique specials, and the newly established Ojas for Sault Ste. Marie’s only plant-based menu.
  • Relax on the patio at Northern Superior tap room and sample classic local beers; Outspoken Brewery offers a lively vibe at its Queen Street location; and Mane Street Co. features a cafe, lounge and patio with specialty cocktails and craft beer, as well as a salon and spa.
  • Be sure to plan a visit the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Museum and Entomica Insectarium, family-friendly downtown attractions featuring interactive exhibits with vintage Canadian aircraft and a unique hands-on science museum in the same venue.
  • The downtown Soo Market is open on weekends and features locally grown foods, handmade crafts and food trucks.
  • Take another day to ride the famous Agawa Canyon Tour Train for incredible views of Sault Ste. Marie’s rugged Northern Ontario surroundings.
About Conor Mihell

Conor Mihell is an award-winning environmental and adventure travel writer based in Sault Ste. Marie. Read his work in the Globe and Mail, Explore, Cottage Life, Canoe & Kayak, ON Nature, and other magazines and newspapers. He's been a sea kayak guide on Lake Superior for close to 20 years, and has paddled from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay. 

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