Happy Tuesday! Hope you’ve recovered from “springing forward” and your week is off to a positive and productive start. Daylight Saving aside, the weekend was wonderful. Sunday was spent celebrating the first birthday of a bestie’s baby girl! Absolutely adorable. Approximately seventy family members and friends gathered together to shower the lucky little one with much love. Being in this environment, surrounded by so many children I might add, got me thinking and feeling very nostalgic. So, I’d like to dedicate this blog post to some favourite places/things I love about my hometown, Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario, to be clear. There’s also a Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan).
One of my fondest childhood memories involve weekends with my dad teaching me how to “pizza pie” on the Bunny Hill of Searchmont Resort (103 Searchmont Resort Rd). If you’re unfamiliar with the “pizza pie”, it’s basically snowploughing to brake and turn – when the tips of your skis point towards each other and the tails are pushed wide apart making what looks like a pizza slice. I remember taking those at the crack of dawn drives to the mountain, skiing with my dad for hours on end (oh those snotsicles!), only to end up completely happy and zonked out the entire way home. If you’re an avid skier and/or snowboarder then Searchmont Resort is a must while in The Soo. With a 750ft vertical, the mountain is quite an adventure! There are 18 trails of varying degrees of difficulty, with half of those being a kilometre or longer. AND, Searchmont isn’t just for winter warriors… It’s an ideal base for exploring the Northern Ontario wilderness in the summer and fall.
Another favourite spot of mine is simple, beautiful and very zen – the Waterfront Boardwalk. Located along the St. Marys River in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, it’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, bike ride or just to decompress and collect your thoughts. There are also informative historic plaques which share the story of the city’s past as well as observation and fishing platforms. Yes, you can fish right off the boardwalk!
Ever since I was young, I’ve had a fondness for parks and all they have to offer – swings and jungle gyms, botanical gardens, amphitheatres and of course the animals. Bellevue Park (Queen St. East at the bottom of Lake St.) is a special place. I remember spending many a time there with my family and friends enjoying picnics, celebrating special occasions, watching concerts, and being chased by the Canada geese (it was fun and terrifying at the same time)! Set along the shore of the St. Marys River, Bellevue Park has something for everyone and is not to be missed.
For those of you who have a serious sweet tooth, Frontier Village (1332 Great Northern Road) is THE place for you and your cravings. Memories of picking up a cone from The Big Moose Ice Cream Parlour still bring a smile to my face even now as an adult with a mighty weakness for salty snacks. Not only does the menu boast of 68 different flavours of ice cream and frozen yogurt but it also includes sweets such as peanut brittle, caramel corn, slushies, shakes and sundaes. If you’ve got more of a fudge habit, be sure to check out The Sweet Tooth Fudge Factory just a few steps away. They make over 50 different flavours of fudge! You won’t be disappointed. And although it’s a fudge factory, they also offer caramel corn, cotton candy and even chocolate and fudge dipped apples (for the health conscious!).
The Soo offers so much to see and do, but one of its more popular experiences is the day long wilderness excursion – the Agawa Canyon Tour Train (129 Bay St.). The train takes you 183km north of Sault Ste. Marie along fresh unspoiled northern lakes and rivers and through the magnificent rock formations of the Canadian Shield. During the ride, tour attendants share educational tidbits about our beautiful country and its history. The train continues to make its way 500ft down to the floor of the Agawa Canyon where you’ll then have a couple of hours to take in the breathtaking sights and explore. As you can imagine, there will be loads of opportunities to snap as many photos as your nature-loving heart desires, so be sure to pack a lot of film! If you’re ready to hop aboard one of North America’s most popular train tours, autumn is a perfect time as the fall colours are simply spectacular.
A warm and fuzzy adult memory I am blessed with is forever imbedded in the downtown sidewalk of my hometown – the Sault Ste. Marie Walk of Fame (Queen St., adjacent to the Essar Centre). It honours individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the community or have made significant achievements in their chosen field(s) of work. I’m so honoured to have been inducted in 2011 and to be included in such an incredible group of fellow Sooites. If you’re in the neighbourhood, come on by and say hi!
Thanks for letting me share just a little slice of The Soo with you. Until next time…
Keep it shiny,