Ontario: #17 from Sault Ste Marie to Sudbury, Ontario



International Bridge at Sault Ste Marie (bring you rpassport)

Why travel between Sault Ste Marie to Sudbury?

This stretch of the Trans-Canada follows the St Mary's River from Lake Superior into Lake Huron, and then parallels the scenic 250 kilometer long North Channel, which separates Manitoulin Island (the largest island in a lake in the world) from the mainland. You cross several stunning northern rivers, pass through a few First Nations reserves, and see lots of great Canadian Shield geography. At Espanola you can take a detour south onto Manitoulin Island (see our Tours & Detours for details)

Here is the itinerary for the 301 km along Highway #17 from Sault Ste Marie to Sudbury:

BondarPavilion3.jpg At the end of the last Ice Age, Lake Nippissing was larger than all of the Great Lakes, and its melt waters flowed eastward via North Bay to the Ottawa River. As the land rose, without the weight of the now receding 2 kilometer thick ice sheet, the Ottawa River route was blocked and the modern south-flowing route via the Great Lakes began to form. Sand and silts of the former lake bottom, littered with "erratic" boulders and stones dropped by the glaciers and subsequent melt waters, were quickly overgrown with spruce.

The St Mary's River is the waterway that lets water from Lake Superior flow into the lower Great Lakes. There are great views along the waterfront, particularly at Bondar Park and at the International bridge. Travellers to/from the east, will not see St Lawrence shipping , since the freighters use the American Locks and travel south of Sugar Island, on the American side.

St Mary's River near St Josephs Island Desbarats is the access point for the very scenic St Joseph's Island. This 220 square mile island marks the northern terminus of the Niagara Escarpment (of which Manitoulin Island is also a part), It has a lake-moderated client, and has many trees and plants more common in southern Ontario, including maple and beech. Along the southern edge of the Island are prime lake freighter watching locations.

Loonie Memorial in Echo Bay Between Manitoulin Island and the north shore of Lake Huron is the North Channel. This was long home to a commercial fishery, centered around Thessalon and Blind River, until the opening of the Welland Canal caused the invasion of the parasitic sea lamprey from the Atlantic Ocean, reducing catches in the 1960s. The North Channel is still a recreational boating paradise, being protected from Lake Huron storms.

Bruce Mines was a copper mine that was active from 1846 to 1876. The town also has a colony of double-crested cormorants. Between Bruce Mines and Blind River are patches of fertile but poorly-drained clay coils, that attracted farmers in the early settlement days, but are beginning to revert to forest. The Mississagi River, once used for transporting logs from the forest to Great Lakes shipping at Blind River, is now dammed for hydro-electic power.



Blind River's Timber Village Museum Between Blind River and Massey, the lakeshore follows the Murray Fault, an east-west fracture running pretty-well parallel to the highway. This fault was filled in by gravel and silt during the Ice Age, providing a relatively flat surface for highway and railway lines. Unfortunately, a high water table (and an acidic one at that) have made the ground more suitable for swamp than for farming. Travellers will notice black spruce and alder trees in the wetter areas, with white pine and trembling aspen in higher areas.


Beaver lodge alnog the Trans-Canada
North Channel Sign at Espanola Serpent River has a brilliant azure blue colour, and can be seen from a rest stop beside the river. Elliott Lake (25 km up highway 108 from Serpent River) is a leading producer of radioactive uranium, from a mine that dates back to the 1950s, extracting the element form a quartz pebble conglomerate that was formed about 2-1.2 billion years ago.

From Espanola, home to a large pulp mill, travelers can access Manitoulin Island, which at 4112 square kilometers (1588 sq miles) is the larges freshwater island in the world. It is even home to the world's largest lake-on-an-island-in-a-lake in the world. Manitoulin was scoured clean by the Ice Age glaciers and has little arable land. The highway to manitoulin skips over a number of small islands. Highway 6 also connects to a ferry that connects Manitoulin Island to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula, which can be a scenic shortcut to southern Ontario or part of a "Great Circle Tour" around Georgian Bay.

Highway Notes

Starting the summer of 2010, the Garden River Indian Band, located just east of Sault Ste Marie, will begin charging a "toll" for a short stretch of the Trans-Canada to offset Ontario's adoption of the HST (harmonized sales tax) and the band's loss of exmeption from sales taxes. No rate has been set at this time.


Trans-Canada Highway Itinerary Map

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Next West: Wawa to Sault Ste Marie Next East: Sudbury to Mattawa
Sudbury to Parry Sound


Ontario Highways road condition reports for this segment.

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Major Interchange Highway 46 (Regent St) N into Sudbury, all services & hospital, and Highway 69 S to OPP, Parry Sound, Barrie, Toronto (Sudbury)  266.1 
Long Lake Rd S to Long Lake, N to Sudbury via Paris St (7 km) all services & hospital (Sudbury)  281.3 
Southview Rd (N) access to Sudbury, Jarvis Rd (S) to Long Lake (Sudbury)  261.8 
11  Fielding Rd (N) access to Fielding Park, Kelley Lake Dam Kantola Rd (S), Highway 17 "twinned" to W (Sudbury)  254.5 
13  Major junction Highway 55, Old Highway 17 (S) to Mikkola, N to Copper Cliff (Sudbury)  256 
15  Highway 24 to Black Lake Rd (S) services along Hwy 55, Main St (N) in Lively services (Lively)  247.5 
16  Santala Rd S to Service Rd, all services 267 
18  Highway 144 north junction, to Chelmsford (18 km), Dowling, Onaping, and north to Timmins 268.2 
29  River crossing 240.2 
32  Highway 55 (S) west access to Whitefish PP, Holiday Beach Campground, Whitefish Lake Indian Reserve 6 272.2 
32  Bay St, Highway 3 N to Fairbank PP, Highway 17 to east is "twinned" 241.7 
49  Lone Falls Rd (S) 207.6 
52  McDonald St (Nairn Centre)  238.4 
53  Spence St (Nairn Centre)  216.7 
56  Old Nairn Rd (N) 215.8 
61  River crossing, Rd to N on W side 202.1 
62  Jacklin Rd (S) 212.8 
64  Rest Area N side of hwy 237.7 
67  Levert Rd (N) 208.2 
69  Highway 6 Junction, town of Espanola 3 km Little Current on Manitoulin Island (53 km), via Whitefish River Indian Reserve 4 (Espanola)  205.7 
78  town of Webbwood, services both sides (Webbwood)  200.9 
79  Agnew Lake Rd, town of Webbwood (Webbwood)  199.6 
93.7  Birch Lake Rd (N) (Massey)  190.8 
94  River crossing (Massey)  177.1 
95  Highway 553 junction, town of Massey, N to Chutes PP, S to Indian Reserve Rd with east access to Sagamok Indian Reserve 5, Lee Valley Rd (Massey)  191.1 
97  Gage Rd (N), Government Rd (S) (Massey)  183.5 
107  Sugar Lake Rd (N), River Rd (S) west access to Sagamok Indian Reserve 5 217.6 
112  Water Falls Rd (N), access to Brookwood Brae Golf Course, all services (Spanish)  195.4 
115  Colonization Rd (S), town of Spanish, all services (Spanish)  179.8 
116  Johns St, access S to Spanish Marina (Spanish)  184.1 
122  Eastern boundary of Serpent River Indian Reserve 7 204.2 
124  Village Rd (S), east access to Serpent River Indian Reserve 7 (Cutler)  183.8 
128.4  Riverview Rd (S), east access to Serpent River Indian Reserve 7 210 
129  Rest & Picnic Area, S side of Hwy 182.9 
133.7  Riverview Rd (S), west access to Serpent River Indian Reserve 7 212.4 
134  Highway 108 (N) junction to Elliott Lake & Mississagi River Provincial Park, truck weigh station (S) (Serpent River)  209.4 
City of Elliott Lake, 42 km N of highway..

Elliot Lake Mining Monument and Memorial Park ..

Elliot Lake Nuclear and Mining Museum / Canadian Mining Hall of Fame ..

The Fire Tower Lookout and Heritage Centre, Elliott Lake..

village of Serpent River, part of Township of North SHore..
135.7  Sheppards Lane (N) 191.4 
136  Strawberry Hill Rd (N) and Martin Rd (S), shopping to NW, Campground to S overlooking Serpent River (Spragge)  182.9 
village of Spragge, part of Township of North Shore..
137  Spragge town settlement (S), Wagoosh Lake Rd (N) 192 
140  Spragge town rd, access to North Channel Yacht Club (S) (Serpent Harbour)  186.5 
North Channel Yacht Club, south of highway
143  Access to gravel pit to S 199.9 
144  Access to large quarry/mine to S 195.4 
148  Hwy 538 (S) 189.9 
152  Lauzon Village Rd (N) 187.1 
153  Boundary Rd (S), Hwy 538 (Algoma Mills)  188.4 
Lake to north of highway is Lauzon Bay, part of 7 mile long Lauzon Lake..

Lauzon Creek drops about 40 feet (12 m) form Lauzon Lake to Lake Huron...

Village of Algoma Mills, part of Township of the North Shore..

Lake Lauzon Beach to N of highway..
155.8  Highway turnoff / Rest area (no facilities) on S (eastbound) side 189.9 
159.3  Highway Turnoff/Rest Area (no facilities) on N (westbound) side 189.3 
160  Rue Oak (S), access to beach area 183.5 
162  Leacock St(N) (Blind River)  182.9 
Timber Village Museum, to NE of intersection, with Tourist Information...

Auberge Eldo Inn, just SW of intersection..
163  junction Hwy 557/555 (N), town of Blind River, river crossing (Blind River)  177.7 
dam in Blind River, just S of highway and railway crosing..

Blind River District Health Centre on Casusley St (Trans-Canada Highway)..

Town of Blind River..

all services in town..

A Taste Of Home B&B, just W of river..

Lakeview In, about 0.2 km E of river...

Old Mill Motel, just E of river..
164  Hanes Ave (S) access to marina (Blind River)  179.5 
skateboard park with various ramps, beside Marina..
165  Eastern boundary of Mississagi River Indian Reserve 8 (N) 176.2 
Huron Pines Golf Course just to S of highway..
168  Eldorado Rd (S), access to golf course 185 
169  Village Rd (N), services and access to Mississagi River Indian Reserve 8 (N) 185.3 
Macivor's Falls (rapids) just to We of highway..

rest area on E side of highway, river viewpoint on W side...
171  Rd with west access to Mississagi River Indian Reserve 8 (N) 181.4 
Mississagi River Indian Reserve 8, N side of highway..
173  Rd to N 182.3 
180  Old Mine Rd (NO 181.7 
183  Dean Lake Rd (W), bridge over river 182.3 
190  River crossing 182 
190  Highway 546 (N) Main Street. Town of Iron Bridge, all services (Iron Bridge)  182 
town of Iron Bridge..

highway 546, connects to #554(11 km) which connects west to Highway 129 N to Chapleau (216 km )..

Mississagi River Provincial Park, 76 km N of TCH, via #546. Canoeing, camping...
192  Bright Lake Rd (S) 210.9 
Blueberry Hill Motel & Campground..

Viking Tent & Trailer Park..
195  Delmar Campground (N side of hwy) 220.1 
passing Clear Lake on N side of highway (about 2.7 km long)..

Clear Lake Camp,on N side of highway..

Delmar Campground, N side of highway..
198  Melwel Rd (N) 211.5 
200  Pass between two large lakes (Day Mills)  201.8 
Bright Lake to the south. Lake is about 8 km end to end...

Basswood Lake to the North, about 14 km end to end...
201  Dayton Rd (S) 190.2 
204  Basswood Lake Rd (N) 213.1 
207.7  Brownlee Rd 235.6 
Brownlee Lake Park Resort and Campground, to N of highway..
209.3  Maple Ridge Rd (S), access to Thessalon Indian Reserve 12 212.1 
209.7  Livingston Rd (N) 205.1 
210  Livingstone Creek Golf Course to S 198.4 
211  Pine Ridge Rd (Thessalon)  195.7 
213  Walker Rd (Thessalon)  195.4 
217  Highway 129 (N), River St (S) to downtown, all services (Thessalon)  181.7 
Town of Thessalon, pop 1400, on both sides of highway..

Highway 129 north to Chapleau (220 km)..

Belle Isle Motel..
218  River Rd, S to downtown, all services (Thessalon)  182.9 
crossing the Mississaugi River..

Pine Crest Tent & Trailer Park..

Windmill Campground..

The Goode Knight Bed & Breakfast..

Mountain View Bed & Breakfast ..

Cedar Rail Ranch..

Carolyn Beach Motor Inn..

The Outpost Lodge ..

Limberlost Lodge..

The Old Homestead Bed & Breakfast & Pet Hotel ..

Thessalon Municipal Airport (CPL5), 8.5 km NE of highway..
219  Lakeside Dr (S) into Thessalon (Thessalon)  184.1 
222  Trunk Rd (S) 200.3 
230  Trunk Rd (N) , Perch Bay Rd (S) 204.2 
233.9  Waltonen Rd (S) 181.1 
234  Garden Bay Rd (S) 177.7 
235  Road Junction, Mine/Quarry to N and S (watch for trucks) 180.4 
237  Highway 638 (N) 182.6 
Highway 638 provides access to a number of communities, ending in Echo Bay just east of Thunder Bay...

Bruce Mines Campground & RV Park, off Williams St..
237.4  Taylor St, shopping (Bruce Mines)  179.8 
Access to Jack Point, in Bruce Bay. 1.7 km southeast from highway..
237.7  Cunningham St (N), access to Harbour (Bruce Mines)  179.2 
Towon of Bruce Mines..

Bruce Mines Museum, jsut S of highway..

Bruce Mines Marina, 0.3 km S of highway..
237.8  Crawford St, gas & stores (Bruce Mines)  180.1 
Bavarian Inn Motel and Restaurant..

Bruce Bay Cottages and Lighthouse Resort..

Steiger Farm & Guesthouse..

Three Oak Resort..

Mountain View Resort ..

Bruce mines has a Shell and an Esso gas station..

Bruce Mines has a general store, a grocery store, a bait shop, and several restaurants...
238  Bruce Bay St (Bruce Mines)  182.3 
Road south to French Island, McKay Island and lighthouse, 3 km S of highway..

Bruce Bay Cottages & Lighthouse, south of highway
241  Boundary Rd (N), Oak Bay Rd (S) 198.4 
243  Archibald Rd (S) 203.3 
246  Deplonty Rd (E), Cora Rd (W) 203 
249  River crossing, Town of Desbarats (Desbarats)  193.9 
crossing Desbarats River..

Town of Desbarats (town blog)..

Desbarats has one gas station in Hwy 17 E..
249  Mink Point Rd (Desbarats)  201.5 
256  Highqay t17winned to west of here 199.9 
257  Hwy 548 to S, access to St Joseph Island, communities of Richards Landing, Hilton Beach, Island Springs Golf Resort (St Joseph Island)  204.8 
St Joseph Island, 5 km S of highway which is Township of St Joseph..

Hilton Beach, 16 km S of highway, on St Joseph Island..

Richards Landing, 12 km S of highway, on St Joseph Island..

Island Springs Golf Resort, on St Joseph Island..

Puddingstone Place - St. Joseph Island..

Hilton Beach photos..

St Joseph's Island photos..
260  Bar Rd 189.9 
261  Town Line Rd, highway curves sharply 196.9 
264  Neebish Rd 197.8 
265  Pumpkin Point Rd (Laird)  217.9 
269  Calabogie Rd, airport access to W (Laird)  193.9 
270  River crossing 178 
272  Bar River Rd 180.7 
hamlet of Bar River, 6 km to E of highway..
274  Maple Leaf Rd 193.9 
Highway 17 is twinned (4 lanes) south of here for 14.5 km..
276  Watsons Rd 185 
277  Hwy 638 (Church St E) Junction, Echo Bay (Echo Bay)  178.6 
278  Crossing Echo Bay, eastern boundary of Garden River Indian Reserve 14 175.9 
Garden River First Nation, member of the North Shore Tibal Council..

Mamaweswen, Norh Shore Tribal Council web site..

Echo Bay is par of Lake George on the St Mary River, and marks the mouth of the Echo River...

The land to the north of the bridge is actually Baschine Island...
283  Echo River Rd, view to Squirrel Island (Canada) and the larger Sugar Island (USA) 178 
286  Gemba Rd 183.2 
287  Point Charles Rd (S), Jordan Mine Rd (N) 182.3 
287  River crossing 182 
290  Hiawatha Dr 182.6 
293  Western boundary of Garden River Indian Reserve 14 (Sault Ste Marie)  184.4 
Garden River First Nation, membeer of the North Shore Tibal Council..

Mamaweswen, North Shore Tribal Council web site..
293  New Highway 17 Bypass 183.8 
When completed, will pass to the north of the communities of French Bay and Garden Riber..
294  Trunk Rd & Fournier Rd, access S to Queen St, and S to access Rankin Location Indian Reserve 14 along St Mary River (Sault Ste Marie)  186.2 
Pine Grove Motel, to SE of intersection on south (eastbound) side of highway)..

Shady Rest Motel / Apartments, to SE of intersection on south (eastbound) side of highway)..

Shady Pine Motel, 0.4 km to E of intersection on S (eastbound) side of highway..
297  Trunk Rd & Boundary Rd, south to SSM Golf & Country club, N to access Rankin Location Indian Reserve 15D (Sault Ste Marie)  189.3 
Wellington Square Mall to SW of intersection..

Rankin Location Indian Reserve 15D, member of the Batchewana First Nation, to NE of intersection..

Sault Ste. Marie Country Club, 2 km S of highway..

Trunk Rd Motel, 0.2 km to E of intersection, on S (eastbound) side of highway..

Travellers Motel, 0.5 km to E of intersection, on S (eastbound) side of highway..

East boundary of City of Sault Ste Marie..

Sault Ste Marie photos..
297.1  Trunk Rd & Market St, Wellington Square Mall on S side (Sault Ste Marie)  190.2 
298.2  Trunk Rd & Black Rd, WB traffic can head N to bypass Sault Ste Marie, west to downtown, and International Bridge (Sault Ste Marie)  191.1 
Black Rd is the Highway 17 bypass around downtown Sault Ste Marie..

Holiday Motel, 0.5 km E of intersection on south (Eastbound) side of highway)..

Caswell MOtor Inn, 0.7 km E of intersection on south (Eastbound) side of highway)..
299.1  Trunk Rd & Lake St (Sault Ste Marie)  192.9 
Churchill Plaza to SW of intersection..

Algoma Unversity College), 1.7 km to SE of intersection, via Queen St..

Parkville Motel and Cabins, 1.5 km SE of intersection, via Queen St E..

Bellevue Park, with Zoo and Marina, 1.5 km S of highway..
299.7  Wellington St & Trunk Rd at Elizabeth St, Park on S side, Churchill Plaza on E site (Sault Ste Marie)  190.2 
Queen Elizabeth Park to SE of intersection, sports fields, indoor pool...

Lincoln Motel 0.1 km to SE of intersection..
300.1  Wellington St & Pine St, S to Bellevue Park (Sault Ste Marie)  189.6 
Bellevue Park & Bellevue Marina, 0.8 km S of highway..

Saut Ste Marie Armoury to NW of intersection..

Great Lakes Forest Research Centre, 0.6 km S of highway..
301  Great Northern Rd & Wellington St. west to downtown Sault Ste Marie, International Bridge, east to Highway 17,North to Wawa (Sault Ste Marie)  190.2 
Sault Ste Marie..

Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, 6 km SW of intersection..

Downtown Sault Ste Marie (ON) has 9 hotels... see listings..

International Bridge to Sault Ste Marie, MI (3 km to W of intersection)..

Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada, 3 km W of intersection..

Algonquin Hotel (Soo), 3 blocks S of intersection ..

Eastgate Hotel, 3 blocks S of intersection ..

St Christopher's Inn, 3 blocks S of intersection ..

Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, 0.6 km SW of intersection, via Bay St ..

Sault Ste Marie Museum, 07 km W of intrsestion, via East St. ..

Sault Area Hospital, 0.5 km S of intersection on Queen St..
2369.6  Lake George Rd, Airport access to W (Laird)  181.7 
Bar River Airport (CPF2) is a private airport operated by Springer Aerospace Ltd. 205 km W of highway...

Bar River Airport (CPF2) is a private airport operated by Springer Aerospace Ltd..

Laird International Raceway, stock car racing track, 0.8km to E of highway..

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