Welcome to Sault Ste Marie
'The Soo,' as it's commonly known, quietly governs the narrow rapids between Lakes Huron and Superior. Perched alongside the US border and the St Lawrence Seaway, the sleepy city is the unofficial gateway to the far-flung regions of northwestern Ontario. Originally known as Baawitigong ('Place of the rapids'), it was a traditional gathering place for the Ojibwe and remains a strong First Nations area today. French fur traders changed the name to Sault Ste Marie (soo-saynt muh-ree) or 'St Mary's Falls,' but don't expect to see any waterfalls today: they've been tamed into a series of gargantuan locks.
Let's face it, Sault Ste Marie is not the prettiest city. Nonetheless, the Soo is a friendly place and a logical overnight stop on Trans-Canada itineraries. There's a US border crossing here too.