Rail Travel and Tourism Opportunities in the North


From Sault Ste. Marie-Bawating, a historical landmark for Anishnabe (Ojibwa) and Missanabie (Cree) First Nations, French voyageurs, and English settlers alike, to Hearst, with deep-routed Francophone and First Nations’ roots, and every stop in between, Northern Ontario has a number of wilderness landscapes and cultural wonders to explore, made all the more accessible by train (Algoma Country, 2017). Whether you are looking for an exhilarating adventure, a little art history, or just to relax on the Northern Ontario shores – renewed rail service from the Sault to Hearst under Missanabie Cree First Nation leadership can satisfy the needs of all travel desires.

If you are passionate about the environment and protecting fragile ecosystems, train travel is the most environmentally responsible option for pursuing travel and tourism opportunities. With lower C02 emissions than air, car, and bus travel, as well as the preservation of natural reserves – as there is no need to further develop road networks with train use – rail service is a much greener option that driving in a car (UIC & CER, 2015, p. 45). Although trains do emit pollutants, the equivalent number of cars that it would take to transport the same number of people would increase that number by four times, as displayed below;

(Chart found at Blue&Green Tomorrow)

– And in fact, recent data is suggesting that cars may have a worse environmental impact than planes do! For more information on that, check out this article.

But in addition to getting to and from your destination in the greenest manner possible, tour operators along the rail corridor also offer a number of eco-friendly tourism opportunities, including canoeing, kayaking, ice-climbing, and paddling (CAPT, 2017). There are also activities you can pursue on your own, such as hiking, bird-watching, photography, and tenting. Eco-tourism and travel is a great way to immerse yourself in nature while also respecting the beautiful natural environment around you.

Adrenaline junkies, outdoorspeople, those who live and breathe the outdoors – yeah, this one is for you. Trekking, hiking, fishing, canoeing, and paddling are just scratching the surface of the adventurous opportunities that the North has to offer (Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, 2017). Winter opportunists, don’t fret. There’s always snow in the North to fulfill your snowmobiling, ice climbing, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing desires! Along the rail corridor, we have a number of tour operators who are eager to help you embark on your next bold undertaking – or even take part in it with you!

(Photo credit from Algoma Country)

As one of the oldest settlements in North America, Sault Ste. Marie-Bawating has a lot to offer our history, art, and culture buffs. Visiting the rapids on Whitefish Island will teach you all about how the Anishinabe (Ojibwa) who lived by the river based their livelihood off of fish and trade for thousands of years before colonization (Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, 2017). From there, Mask-Wa Oo-Ta-Ban will give you the opportunity to hop aboard and take a walk in the Group of Seven’s footsteps, exploring the diverse landscapes where they lived and painted (CAPT, 2017). Immerse yourself in the rich cultures and history of a Cree First Nation by checking out the Constance Lake First Nation Annual Pow Wow near Hearst (CLFN, 2010). Regardless of what your interest in Northern Ontario culture is, Mask-Wa Oo-Ta-Ban, the Bear Train, will not leave you short on options for learning a little (or a lot!) about what has shaped the peoples of this land, while also getting your creative juices flowing in the process.

(Photo credit from Algoma Country/Constance Lake First Nation)

So folks, there you have it, all the ways that passenger train service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst can boost tourism in Northern Ontario. For more information, email [email protected], or visit our web page here!

Algoma Country and the Algoma Kinniwabi Travel Association. (2017). Hearst. Retrieved from https://www.algomacountry.com/cities-towns/hearst/

Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT). (2017). Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains: Protecting and Enhancing Algoma’s Passenger Rail. Retrieved from captrains.ca

Constance Lake First Nation (CLFN). (2010). Constance Lake First Nation. Retrieved from www.clfn.on.ca

Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. (2017). The Sault. Retrieved from http://www.saulttourism.com/the-sault/

UIC, The International Railway Association & CER, The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies. (September, 2015). Rail Transport and Environment: Facts and Figures. 45. Retrieved from http://www.cer.be/sites/default/files/publication/Facts%20and%20figures%202014.pdf


  1. There are also many rock and ice climbing sites along the tracks
    Agawa canyon has over 135 separate ice climbs.
    Ice climbers have been visiting the Canyon since 1986 and 3 guidebooks have been published.

  2. Railroads cost millions to maintain and operate, many millions more than the train could ever bring in. This is why is was mothballed to start with and nothing has magically changed.

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