shoreLINES: Stories from our guides and guardians

Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site

By Elia Marini

Do you like getting your hands dirty? Have you wanted to start your own garden but lack the space, tools, or knowledge to do so? Well, the Sault Ste. Marie Canal has a great opportunity for you!

The Canal gardens have long been part of the landscape of the site. J.W. LeBreton Ross Superintendent of the Canal (1907-1936) was an ambitious man who wanted to transform the industrial landscape of the Sault Canal into a park-like setting for all to enjoy. Ross worked tirelessly on landscaping plans for the site—plotting where each tree, flower bed, and road would go. Trees, shrubs, and benches appeared on the property as early as 1902. By the 1920s the site employed three gardeners who worked to keep these gardens in tip top shape. The gardens reached their peak in the 1930s and were one of the city’s major attractions. For a number of years the American and Canadian locks maintained a friendly competition for the best gardens.

Today, the Sault Canal aims to keep Ross’ vision for a beautiful park-like setting alive. Although the gardens may not be as plentiful as they were in the 1930s they still maintain the same grandeur and commitment to beautifying the site which Ross envisioned 100 years ago! We are looking for individuals or groups of volunteers to come help us maintain these wonderful gardens so they may be enjoyed by all visitors. You can help with everything from planting, weeding, pruning, and watering of flower beds. No experience is necessary! You will work with our talented gardener who will teach you the ropes. If you are interested in this opportunity please contact us!

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