Previous management plan implementation update

Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site

Management plans identify the long-term strategic direction and vision for Parks Canada places. Plans provide a framework for site management, aligning with the Agency’s mandate, vision and strategic outcomes. Management plans are guiding documents for decision-making and planning.

This annual update serves as a progress report to partners, stakeholders, and the public outlining our work in implementing the key strategies from the management plan over the last year.

2016 - 2017

Visitor Experience Enhancements
  • First annual Lock’s Big Picnic event launched with over 1700 in attendance.
  • Site interpretive plan developed for future use of buildings receiving restoration.
  • New community tent purchased and erected for visitor day use and programming.
  • Fat bike rental offer launched for visitors to explore the site in a new way.
  • Planning for Canada 150 celebratory events underway including two new events for 2017.
Infrastructure Improvements
  • Site entry road reconstruction and parking lot expansion complete.
  • Stores Building rehabilitation project progressing on schedule for 2017 completion.
  • Study to determine future work required to restore the Powerhouse complete.
  • Study and design to guide future work required to restore the Superintendent’s Residence complete. Exterior repairs to commence in 2017.
  • Relocation of on-site artifacts to Parks Canada storage facility for conservation.
Site Planning and Promotion
  • Management planning process underway. Consultation to begin spring 2017.
  • Increased awareness as more Facebook posts reached 22,393 users - up 290%.
Stakeholder Relations
  • Working to identify collaborative opportunities with Indigenous partners.
  • Signed new partnering agreement with Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority and renewed existing agreements with Sault Ste. Marie Horticultural Society.

2017 - 2018

Visitor Experience
  • First annual Parade of Paddles event took place on Canada’s 150th birthday.
  • Concept for future interpretive displays in restored historic buildings being developed.
  • New map created for visitors to promote trails on South St. Marys and Whitefish Islands.
  • Produced historic photo murals to be installed on upper motorhouse windows.
  • Visitation increased from 2016-17 as a result of Canada 150 celebrations.
  • Funds announced for Emergency Swing Dam restoration work.
  • Stores Building stabilization project completed.
  • Superintendent’s Residence veranda components rebuilt for future installation.
  • Powerhouse design complete. Construction to begin in 2018.
  • Funding secured to remove fuel tanks and storage shed near Powerhouse and remediate area for future installation of interpretive elements.
Site Planning and Promotion
  • Consultation with key stakeholders and Indigenous partners took place in 2017 and draft management plan was developed. Public consultation to take place in 2018.
  • Increased awareness as more Facebook posts reached 71,475 views - up 219%.
Stakeholder Relations
  • Finalized two partnering Memorandums of Understanding with local Indigenous partners.
  • Held joint security meeting with key stakeholders and law enforcement to make improvements to visitor safety and security at the Sault Canal and Whitefish Island.
  • Initiated partnering arrangement with Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site to collaborate on upcoming events in 2018.

2018 - 2019

Key Strategy 1: Infrastructure Improvements - The Foundation for the Future

This strategy is focused on rehabilitating and revitalising infrastructure to conserve the cultural resources and provide new experiences for visitors.

  • The Stores Building rehabilitation project was completed and the design for the building's interior is underway. Installation of new exhibits and displays will occur in early 2020.
  • Improvements to the Superintendent's Residence were completed including, a new roof, window repairs and chimney repointing.
  • Upgrades to Emergency Swing Dam in 2018 included new decking, and turntable repairs.
Key Strategy 2: Working Together with First Nations and Métis Partners

The intent of this strategy is to strengthen relationships with First Nation and Métis partners to better tell the entire story of the site.

  • Worked with Batchewana First Nation and Sault Ste. Marie Historic Métis to include Indigenous history in the design for new interpretive elements in the Stores Building.
  • Indigenous partners have joined the Steering Committee for the canal's 125th anniversary in 2020.
Key Strategy 3: The Gathering Place for History and Culture in Sault Ste. Marie

This strategy aims to enhance the experience at the site to increase visitation and create a vibrant community space.

  • Worked with Tourism SSM on travel media tours to attract international markets.
  • Implemented a plan to conserve Monarch butterfly habitat on South St. Mary's Island. 

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