Day 35: Agawa Bay Campground to Sault Ste. Marie’s Velorution

Expect to see the word Algoma used frequently by business and government in this area. Although the origin of the word is disputed, many people believe that the word has been adopted by meshing “Algo,” from Algonquin and “goma,” from the aboriginal word meaning “sea.” This translates into “Sea of the Algonquins.”

As soon as you exit Lake Superior Provincial Park you will bike through the small town of Northgate. There is a small store here. Next you will enjoy a fast downhill into the settlement called Montréal River, which is centered on where the Montréal River empties into Lake Superior. There is a small campground just before you cross the bridge over Montréal River called Twilight Campground. This river generates hydro-electricity for residents in the area. Expect to see only a few gas stations before you arrive in Sault Ste. Marie.

Plan to stop at Pancake Bay Provincial Park and enjoy the wide, sheltered, sandy bay. From a viewing platform you can see the spot where the Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a storm in November, 1975. Camping is available here. Pancake Bay gets its name because Voyageurs used to stop here while en-route from Fort William to Montréal. They would have just enough flour to make pancakes before arriving in Sault Ste. Marie and re-stocking their supplies.

Just past Pancake Bay is Batchawana Bay Provincial Park. This park is a popular place for families to picnic. Camping is not available.

Your destination for the evening is Velorution Bike Shop in Sault Ste. Marie. Although I have visited a lot of great bike shops in Canada, Velortuion is undoubtedly the best in the nation. Next to the store is a small campground, where bike tourists can camp for free. Attached to their shop is a shower and washroom that you can access via a coded lock on the door. You can get any work you need done on your bike in the morning while you are packing up your tent before heading down the road. Call ahead to let staff know you are coming and to get the password for the shower area in case you arrive after store hours. Velorution is located on the north side of Sault Ste. Marie very close to HWY 17, so you will not have to head into downtown.

Sault Ste. Marie, population 74 948, is located on the St. Mary’s River, which separates Ontario from Michigan. You can cross the river into Michigan on the International Bridge into the town of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Sault means “waterfall” or “rapids” in pre-17th century French translating the name of this city to “St. Mary’s Falls.” This area was traditionally used by the Ojibwa as a place to catch whitefish.

The major industries in Sault Ste. Marie are steel-making and forestry.

Visit the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site where in 1895, this canal formed the last link between the St. Lawrence River and Lake Superior. Visit the Sault. Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site. In 1895 this canal formed the last link between the St. Lawrence River and Lake Superior. At the time it was the world’s longest lock and the first to operate with electric power.

Groceries and services are available near Velorution.

Kilometre Log
0.0Leave Agawa Bay campground heading south on HWY 17.
8.3Exit to Crescent Lake Campground.
9.3Exit Lake Superior Provincial Park.
17.4Montréal River.
18.4Twilight Campground.
18.6Cross over Montréal River.
60.4Pancake Bay Provincial Park.
70.7Batchawana Bay Provincial Park.
73.7Cross over Carp River.
81.8Chippewa Falls. View a cascading waterfall here.
111.4Blueberry Motel & RV Park.
120.8Intersection of HWY 17 & HWY 556.
128.2Enter Sault Ste. Marie on HWY 17 / Great Northern Road.
134.1Intersection of HWY 17 / Great Northern Road & Second Line E / HWY 550 (W) And HWY 17 / Second Line E (E). Turn left here.
134.5Intersection of Second Line E / HWY 17 & Old Garden River Road. Turn left here.
135.2Enter Velorution.

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