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Invest Sault Ste. Marie

Community Profile

Sault Ste. Marie waterfront

Sault Ste. Marie has a long and fascinating history as one of the oldest French settlements in North America and was at the crossroads of the 3,000-mile fur trade route, which stretched from Montreal to Sault Ste. Marie and to the North country above Lake Superior. This area was originally called Baawitigong, meaning "place of the rapids," by the Ojibwa, who used the site as a regional meeting place during whitefish season in the St. Mary's Rapids.

After the visit of Étienne Brûlé in 1623, the French called it "Sault de Gaston" in honour of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, the brother of King Louis XIII of France. In 1668, French Jesuit missionaries renamed it Sault Sainte Marie, and a fur trading post was established and the settlement expanded to include both sides of the river.

Modern Sault Ste. Marie was founded because of its strategic location in the middle of the Great Lakes. Its industrial history stretches back to 1894 when industrialist F.H. Clergue harnessed the hydropower of the rapids to establish an empire, including a steel company and paper mill. From this time, the community has emerged as a resilient one that enjoys its beautiful surroundings and position as a border community, situated on the international boundary between Ontario and Michigan.

From its rich history and quality-of-life benefits to its growing economy and competitive advantages for businesses, Sault Ste. Marie is a great place to live, learn, work, and play.

The Sault Ste. Marie area has a population of more than 125,000. The community is experiencing unprecedented growth as a result of economic diversification efforts and the city's numerous competitive advantages.

For a more detailed look at Sault Ste. Marie, download our Community Profile.

Also, visit www.welcometossm.com to learn more about Sault Ste. Marie and how you can achieve Work. Life. Balance in the north!


Located along the border of the United States and at the heart of the Great Lakes, Sault Ste. Marie is within 800 KM of over 60 million consumers.

  • 290 km northwest of Sudbury, ON
  • 560 km northwest of Detroit, MI
  • 650 km northeast of Milwaukee, WI
  • 680 km northwest of Toronto, ON
  • 760 km northeast of Chicago, IL
  • 800 km southwest of Ottawa, ON
  • 870 km northeast of Indianapolis, IN
  • 990 km northwest of Pittsburgh, PA


Sault Ste. Marie offers numerous cost benefits over business operations in larger cities. We offer quality talent and expertise at an affordable rate, low business operating costs and a low cost for land and real estate. We also have access to financial incentives and programs for new and existing clients. In 2016, Sault Ste. Marie ranked 10th globally out of 111 cities in KPMG's Competitive Alternatives study which examined competitive business cost structure.


Steel manufacturing and fabrication
Forestry/wood products
Lottery and gaming
Contact centre/IT support

Digital economy - ITC
Cleantech/Renewable energy
Advanced manufacturing

Major Employers
Algoma Steel (Steel manufacturing/products)
Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation
Agero Contact Centre (Roadside assistance contact centre)
Arauco North America (Forestry/wood products)
McDougall Energy (Oil & propane)
JD Aero (Aircraft maintenance)


Sault Ste. Marie is home to three government research facilities, amassing a concentration of forestry, invasive species and climate change research and expertise.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources operates its Ontario Forestry Research Institute in Sault Ste. Marie, which houses 50 specialized staff with expertise in a variety of forestry disciplines, such as ecology, silviculture, soils and hydrology, biochemistry, pathology, and climate change.

Natural Resources Canada operates another cutting-edge research institute, the Great Lakes Forestry Centre, which focuses on forest pests, climate change and forest fire studies, and forest ecosystem research.

The Invasive Species Centre is a hub for coordination and knowledge sharing between stakeholders to prevent, detect, respond to, and control invasive species that threaten Canada's natural ecosystems. The centre is a collaboration the Province of Ontario, Natural Resources Canada, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Canadian Forest Services and Canadian Food Inspection agency.


With the opening of the new $400-million Sault Area Hospital, the quality of health care in Sault Ste. Marie is among the best in Canada. Featuring an inviting, patient-centred environment, the state-of-the-art facility offers access to leading edge medical technology. 

Sault Ste. Marie is home to the Group Health Centre, Ontario's largest and longest established alternatively funded health-care organization, serving more than 60,000 Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District residents. The centre is a progressive, multi-specialty, ambulatory care health organization and is one of Canada's first consumer-sponsored health care facilities built with private funds donated by local union members.

With family doctors sometimes hard to come by, the Algoma Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic is a new primary health care delivery model in which Nurse Practitioners are the lead providers of primary health care. The Algoma Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, located at Sault College, has the capacity to take on 3,200 patients.


Sault Ste. Marie is serviced by three post-secondary institutions, with Algoma University and Sault College in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and Lake Superior State University just across the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. 

With a combined enrollment of over 6,000, Algoma University and Sault College are key contributors to Sault Ste. Marie's workforce. Both institutions offer a wide range of degree and diploma courses in disciplines, such as Digital and Graphic Design, Human Resources, Business, IT and Computer Science, Gaming Technology and Hospitality and the Culinary Arts.

Sault College and Algoma University generate over 1,200 graduates every year who are armed with the skills to succeed.

sault college
Sault College

Sault College transforms the lives of students through innovative education and training, including 33 diploma programs. Sault College grants Ontario College certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, graduate certificates, and degrees to its graduates.

The College is the largest deliverer of apprenticeship training in all of Northern Ontario. Educating over 2,300 full-time and 4,000 part-time students each year, Sault College has a significant economic impact on the community, with spin-offs in excess of $158 million. Over $1.8 million dollars in scholarships, bursaries and awards are distributed annually to students at the College. Located on the border to the United States and situated in the middle of three of the largest Great Lakes on the planet, Sault College is one of 24 publicly-funded colleges in the province of Ontario.

To learn more visit Sault College.



algoma u
Algoma University

At Algoma University an innovative, interactive learning environment serves a community of over 1,400 students. In addition to small class sizes, students benefit from undergraduate research opportunities, cooperative education, and international exchange programs.

To learn more visit Algoma University.






Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University

Lake Superior State University (LSSU), is a small public university in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, with an enrollment of about 3,000 students. With over 90 degree programs, LSSU offers students a wide variety of career paths including business administration, nursing, robotics, engineering and natural sciences.

To learn more visit Lake Superior State University.