Heritage North

A taste of history right downtown.

Your discovery of Sault Ste. Marie would not be complete without a tour of the Ermatinger•Clergue National Historic Site. And now, your exploration will be more exciting than ever with the addition of the new Heritage Discovery Centre. With its many exhibits, extra space and technological features, this new attraction in the Sault promises to make history an engaging, interactive experience.

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The Ermatinger•Clergue National Historic Site includes the homes of two of our most famous residents: Charles Oakes Ermatinger, who lived with his family from 1814 to 1828 in the Old Stone House, a home that is now the oldest stone building northwest of Toronto; and Francis H. Clergue, a well-known industrialist who lived from 1895 to 1912 in the Clergue Blockhouse, originally a gunpowder storage building constructed by the Northwest Company. These two buildings will bring you back to a time of fur trading and family gathered around the fire, new industry, and possibilities. And, with this addition, your time at the Ermatinger•Clergue National Historic Site will not just be about observing history, but experiencing it.

These two buildings will bring you back to a time of fur trading and family gathered around the fire, new industry and possibilities. With this addition, your time at the Ermatinger•Clergue National Historic Site will not just be about observing history, but experiencing it.

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Ermatinger family

The personal history of the Ermatinger family is reflected throughout the house in rooms including a parlour for beading and children's games (used to entertain the family's 13 children!), and a dining room to serve their refined guests. The other purposes of the house, including as a court house, hotel, post office, and YWCA, are referenced throughout as well; however, one of the most exciting uses for the house is as the interactive exhibit it is now.

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Throughout the house, seasonal and ongoing activities will allow families to not only witness aspects of the lives of the Ermatingers, but participate in some of the activities they did. During the holiday season, for example, children can make gingerbread cookies, craft potato stamp paper bags to use as wrapping paper, and mix simmering spices. The featured activities awaken the senses and allow participants to experience our northern seasons in the same way as the original residents of the house.

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Open year-round

If you're looking to touch, smell, and taste history, this is certainly the place to be. Regular programming put on by the Ermatinger•Clergue National Historic Site allows participants to really smell the flowers and taste the blueberries. In spring or summer, the site offers "Lilac and Lavender" a Victorian tea, in August, the "Blueberry Festival," and, in September, a "Rendezvous" where you can witness war reenactors and hear the sounds of muskets. The Heritage Gardens around the property allow for Heritage Culinary Experiences when fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs are in season, so groups can gather around a hearty meal while gulping down history by the hearth.

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The Heritage Discovery Centre provides the space for an introduction to the site and a larger gift shop with additional mementos to remember your day. As well, with accessible washrooms and a larger parking area to accommodate bus tours, more people are able to indulge in history. Local visitors and out-of-towners alike can enjoy listening to and experiencing the stories that defined this city and, with the new building, everyone is welcomed to "Come and Discover!"

Other things to do and see in Sault Ste. Marie:

Mill Market
Entomica
Art Gallery of Algoma
Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre
Where to stay

About Christine Campana

Christine Campana is a Northern Ontario culture enthusiast and freelance writer. She enjoys writing about the Algoma District, especially the arts, cultural activities, and great events offered in our area. After finishing her MA in English Literature, Christine completed a year internship at the Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie & District, during which she learned more about arts and culture available in Sault Ste. Marie. For more information, Christine can be contacted at Christine.Campana@gmail.com.

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