Monday, July 29th – Sault Ste. Marie to Bruce Mines (73 km)
0 km – Breakfast Location –Delta Hotels by Marriott Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Hotel–Algoma Ballroom West Centre
7 to 8 am
208 St Mary’s River Dr. Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 5V4
Enjoy breakfast on site at the Delta this morning! Be ready to join us for the official launch ceremony and start line!
Route note: At the end of River Rd, the route uses 400m of unassumed roadway and a narrow trail that runs parallel to Trunk Road, a busy regional road. Please dismount to use the paved boulevard.
26 km – Welcome to Garden River First Nation! – Ojibway Park, Home of Laughing Water Beach. [Map 2]:
2628 Highway 17B East. Garden River, Ontario P6A 7B2
Take in the soft sand and glinting water at the beautiful beach on the shores of Lake George.
Ojibway Park, Home of Laughing Water Beach, was set aside for the women and children of Garden River First Nation to gather traditional medicines during the early 1950s. By 1962, the park was opened to the general public and promoted as a family gathering place to enjoy the water, shoreline, camping and beautiful surrounding trees. Recently the park added to cabins for rent. It is an Indigenous owned and operated business.
28 km – Recommended Stop – Loon Dollar Monument and Lake George Marsh Boardwalk, Macdonald Meredith and Aberdeen Additional [Map 3]:
Take a moment to take a selfie at the Loon Dollar Monument created to honour local artist Robert R. Carmichael, who designed the first Loonie (Canada’s dollar coin). The giant Loonie is near to the entrance of the George Marsh Boardwalk with excellent views of the provincially significant wetlands and the lake where you may see windsurfers enjoying this popular spot. Public washrooms are available beside the Environmental Centre adjacent to the Boardwalk and the Loonie Park.
When in the village of Echo Bay visit the Village Bakery, Danielle’s Country Market, Lucey Loo’s and Bucci’s Place for a quick fuel-up!
Early settlers to Laird Township were drawn by the promise of rich agricultural lands. As you ride through Laird, you’ll see many century farms, farms that have been in the same family for at least 100 years. The Township is also home to the Superior International Motorplex a popular raceway located at the Laird Fairgrounds. Make sure to keep a keen eye open near Neebish Road as a herd of elk is rumoured to live in the area!
56 km — Lunch Stop & Optional Shuttle Point to St. Joseph Island – Johnson Farmers’ Market and Township Arena [Map 3]:
11:30 to 1:00 pm
1 Cameron St, Desbarats, Ontario P0R 1E0
Housed in a beautiful Mennonite constructed timber frame pavilion, the Johnson Farmers’ Market is a celebration of what’s local. Vendors are committed to sourcing produce and products locally. The Greenbelt Foundation is hosting your lunch today.
St. Joseph Island is renowned as one of Algoma District’s favourite cycling destinations, is one of the top producers of maple syrup in Ontario, and the 7th largest freshwater lake island in the world. Pick up the optional shuttle to St. Joseph Island to visit Richards Landing and Hilton Beach for a little retail therapy, a quick dip into the lake followed by a drink (ask for Northern Superior’s Red Maple) or ice-cream. Shop for puddingstone jewelry, pick up a bottle of the famed Gilbertson’s maple syrup, take a selfie at the Old Town Jail in Hilton Beach. Sample some of the Island’s 80 km cycling loop. Be sure to check out the plaques describing the Island’s history.
Optional Shuttle to St Joseph Island Schedule
Volunteers will help you load your bike on the truck taking bikes to St. Joseph Island. Be sure to fill your water bottle in Desbarats.
School bus shuttle departs Johnson Farmer’s Market and Township Arena for Richards Landing Marina, 1140 Richards St, Richards Landing, ON P0R 1J0.
End your afternoon at the marina in Hilton Beach where volunteers will load your bikes into shuttle trucks and you can catch the school bus shuttle to the Bruce Mines campground.
Trail Note: The WRT is working with the communities on St. Joseph Island and the Ministry of Transportation to have Great Lakes Waterfront Trail signs installed along the island and establish a connector route on the Island to Desbarats. Check out this article about cycling on St. Joseph Island.
74 km – “Suggested” Stop – Bobbers Restaurant and Bruce Mines Marina – Bruce Mines [Map 4]:
Honestly? It’s not really optional. If you’re on the North Channel, you need a slice of pie from Bobbers.
75km – Overnight Location – Bruce Mines Township Campground and RV Park [Map 4]:
1-15 William St, Bruce Mines, ON, POR 1CO
We spend the night amongst the old-growth pines in this secluded campground.
6:00 to 7:30 pm Dinner — Bruce Mines Community Centre – 9180 Highway 17 East, Bruce Mines, ON. Just a 7-minute (600 m) walk from the campground.
Volunteers from the Bruce Mines Royal Canadian Legion will run a cash bar, which opens at 6 pm. Dinner will be served at 6:30 pm.
Off-Bike Activities in Bruce Mines
- Explore the Bruce Mines Historic Mines Hiking Trail
- Tour the Simpson Mine Shaft historic site (closes at 4pm)
- Tour the Bruce Mines Museum (closes at 4pm)
- Sample a small mountain of lemon meringue at Bobbers
- Get some home-made ice cream from the Red House across from Bobbers
- Grab a coffee from Copper Bean Cafe featuring locally coffee beans from Superior Roasters and Copper Country Coffee Roasters. Order the Bruce Mines Fog– a Georgian Bay tea blend with vanilla and steamed milk.
- Those in need of a time-out can sit on the Liar’s Bench while they visit the Bavarian Inn
- Take in the sights at the Bruce Mines Marina and Park
- Grab a snack to go and prep a nightcap with a visit to Foster’s Fresh mart and the LCBO, both on Robinson Dr (both close at 6pm)
- Campfire? Yes please.
Copper mining in the mid-1800’s established Bruce Mines one of the region’s most significant towns. In 1857 Bruce Mines’s population (500) was larger than Sault Ste. Marie’s (400).
Settlers were drawn to the area by the stories of ‘native copper’ used and worn by the First Nations people, which then caught the attention of the mining industry. In 1847, the first Canadian commercial shipment of copper was exported from Bruce Mines. By 1876 mining was in decline due to poor ore quality, dropping prices, and a large cave, which finally closed the mines in the area. The locals who stayed after the close of the mines turned to farming and lumbering.
Take in a section of the Bruce Mines Historic Mines Hiking Trail to see what is left of the mines. For a guide to the Trail: http://www.brucemines.ca/mine%20trail.html
Partner Focus: About the Greenbelt
The Waterfront Regeneration Trust is proud to partner with the Greenbelt Foundation. Together we are creating a network of cycling routes throughout the Greater Toronto Bioregion and watershed to promote the protection and conservation of our Great Lakes coast and protected countryside.
The Greenbelt Foundation is steward of over 2 million acres of farmland and environmentally sensitive forests, green spaces, watersheds, urban river valleys and the moraines that provide clean water for over 6 million Ontarians. We help mitigate climate change, increase biodiversity and restore naturalised areas so they can do the work of keeping Ontario healthy. We have invested and leveraged $50 million into farming, environmental protection, tourism, recreation and, Indigenous-led initiatives to make the Greenbelt a great place to live, work, play and grow. A world-class model for preservation, Ontario’s Greenbelt is the largest of its kind and provides a template for Greenbelts all over the world.