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The Grand Algoma Drive: A Weekend of Wilderness

The Grand Algoma is a weekend getaway drive connecting both Lakes Huron and Superior and all the good stuff in between. This wilderness drive begins at the town of Thessalon on Hwy 129 in the Mississagi Valley, renowned for outdoor adventures like hiking, paddling and waterfalls.

A first stop can be Little Rapids General Store for tasty snacks. You’ll find a variety of cheeses, smoked meats, and other goodies to build yourself a charcuterie to enjoy in the wilderness. The route transforms before your eyes from rolling farmland to mountains, lakes, and trees. This area is connected to Canada’s Group of Seven: fellow painter and friend, Tom Thomson paddled the Mississagi River in 1912. Hike in Aubrey Falls Provincial Park to learn this story.

A hidden gem along Hwy 101 is Potholes Provincial Park between Chapleau and Wawa. This peaceful spot has “potholes” formed over 10,000 years ago by glacial meltwaters and water flows through these potholes today.

Once in Wawa, visit the iconic Wawa Goose Monument, enjoy some beach time at Sandy Beach, or visit Young’s General Store for homemade fudge, pickles, or Grammy Mae’s summer sausage. Kinniwabi Pines Restaurant is a good choice for dinner if you like a mix of Canadian and Caribbean cuisine.

The next day, savour a true taste of Algoma: wild blueberries. Shop for local blueberry products at Algoma Highlands Wild Blueberry Farm for jams, juice, or wine. Just a short drive through the farm is the road to stunning Magpie High Falls.

Wawa to Sault Ste. Marie is one of Canada’s Top Ten Drives. Follow the coastline of Lake Superior which has many ideal places for a leg stretch, swim, and scenic lookouts. One of our favourites: Old Woman Bay has a sandy beach and picnic area. Other stops you’ll love are Katherine Cove, Sand River Falls, Agawa Rock Pictographs.

Food Stops We Love on the Route: Voyageurs’ Lodge & Cookhouse for the best apple fritters on Lake Superior, Agawa Fish and Chips features local fresh Whitefish and hand-cut fries.

Sault Ste. Marie is home to craft breweries, farmers’ markets, and restaurants using locally sourced ingredients. The city has unique attractions like Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site to learn about our area’s fur trading history. Soar into adventure at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre. Connect Algoma’s landscapes to the canvas at the Art Gallery of Algoma which is home to a permanent collection of Group of Seven artworks. Or stroll the city’s downtown with a stop at the Sault Ste. Marie Museum before a bite to eat at one of many cafes and eateries.

Connect to our area’s roots with a leisurely stroll on Whitefish Island in the St. Marys River, traditional territory, and meeting grounds of the local Anishinaabe people. Access to the Island is through Sault Ste. Marie Canal NHS, once the world’s longest lock. Today, visitors love to visit for picnics, boat-watching, walk or cycle the grounds and islands.

These are just some of the things to do and explore on the Grand Algoma Drive.