We woke to an absolutely gorgeous day - low humidity, much cooler temperatures, blue skies - makes me .
So off we went to the docks to take the 10 AM Soo Locks Boat tour. We had two great narrators on board who told us the history of the Locks and the two cities as well as stories along the way.
One of the many tug boats used in the lock area:
This platform is used to work on the boats as well as inspect the hulls. The whole thing goes into the water, the boats come in and are secured, then the whole platform comes out of the water.
My favorite building in the whole town:
So here is the scoop on the building:
The hydro plant is owned by Cloverland Electric Cooperative. The excavation of the hydro canal was completed in June 1902 and is approximately 2.25 miles in length from the headgates (intake) to the plant. It is approximately 24 feet deep and 200 feet wide at water level. The plant is constructed of steel and red sandstone. The stone was excavated from the power canal and each individual stone was hand cut to fit perfectly. The pillars between the windows were carved to look like lighthouses (see picture below). The plant is a quarter mile long, 80 feet wide and has seventy-four horizontal shaft turbines located on the generation floor level. The water, which flows down the power canal, drops through the gates in the turbines to make them spin. At peak operation, the plant discharges approximately 30,000 cubic feet of water per second - or about 13.5 million gallons per minute.”
How about those lighthouses in stone:
Coming into the lock area - MacArthur on the left, Poe on the right:
We are heading to the one on the left. The building on the left is the administration building. The lock master is located in the tower of that building. He controls the lock schedule:
In we go:
The water is raised 21 feet to the Lake Superior level:
And out we go:
Under the International Bridge:
Under the raised railroad bridge:
This is where we were last night watching the freighter pass:
The passage to Lake Superior is straight ahead (no, we didn’t go that far - ):
A HUGE freighter being loaded in Canada:
Check out this life boat. It is automatic. They load from up top, hit the release button and go down the chute. (Would love to just try it - . YeeHaw!)
We turned around and headed back along the Canadian side.
This is the Algoma Steel Plant, started in 1901, and is currently the second largest steel plant in Canada.
Finished steel rolls waiting for transport:
We headed into the Canadian Lock area. This the is railroad bridge - It swings away from the canal. The International Bridge is above the railroad bridge:
Going into the Canadian lock:
This little family followed us then entertained us as the water dropped 18 feet to the Lake Huron level:
The water is almost down:
And out we go:
The original Canadian Lock was opened in 1895. It was 900 feet long, 60 feet wide, and 18 feet deep on the Lake Huron level. In July of 1987, a 200 foot section of the south lock wall broke loose and shifted about four inches, causing the closure of the lock. In 1993, Parks Canada agreed on a Recreational Lock option of building a smaller lock inside the existing structure of the old lock. It was competed in the fall of 1997 and opened for navigation in May of 1998. The dimensions of the “New” Canadian Lock are 228 feet long and 54 feet wide.
The Canadian Lock was the first electrically operated lock in the world and that equipment is still largely used today.
We continued our journey past this moose:
And these condos - they have an incredible view:
On our way back to the dock - another large freighter coming up to Lake Michigan:
What a wonderful ride! They have a combination lighthouse and locks tour but it only happens on Wednesdays. We will not be here but I will put it on my bucket list for another time - .
We went back home for lunch then back into town to the Tower of History:
This tower is 210 feet tall and has five viewing areas. I did not get a picture of the tower but the views from up top were breathtaking.
The town - the locks are on the right:
The locks and the rapids:
The rapids were the main reasons the locks were built. Today the water over the rapids is controlled by a dam and the power houses.
The entrance to the locks:
And of course, that cool looking building:
What a great day!!
One thing I have not talked about is all the shipwrecks that took place along the Lake Superior coastline. We will be back to check out all of that some time in the future. But alas, we need to move on. Tomorrow we are heading south so stay tuned and enjoy today.