Hometown Tourist: Freighter Valley Camp

If you’ve taken a trip along the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie, chances are you have spotted the Freighter Valley Camp.

But have you ever wondered what it was like to be onboard?

Hometown Tourist takes us to a decommissioned freighter that now serves as a museum for maritime history.

“The museum ship valley camp is a freighter that was decommissioned in 1966,” said Soo Historic Sites curator, Paul Sabourin.”

For 49 years the Valley Camp shipped thousands of tons of coal on the Great Lakes and now visitors can feel what it was like to work on board.

“All of the cabins and all of the lodging of the crew is on top deck here you have access also over to the pilot house which is up on the bow and you can view in the captains quarters the guest quarters,” explained Sabourin.

Inside you can feel the immensity of the cargo holds and see displays that depict maritime history.

Exhibits include a more than 400-year-old dugout native canoe and two lifeboats from the Edmund Fitzgerald.

“It’s eerie but then also unique because there’s no other place that you’d be able to see that particular concept of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” said Sabourin. “The opportunity to be able to see the lifeboats that are there. One and a half lifeboat, a full lifeboat of number two washed ashore while lifeboat number one was ripped in half floating upside down.”

Aquariums with Great Lakes fish and more ninety other displays give you a full scope of life on the Great Lakes.

“The children love to see all of the trout and the bass and the various fish that are in the aquarium and there’s also an interactive area where they can be a captain or a wheel man,” said Sabourin.

“A ship lover, also known as a boat nerd, if you’re a boat nerd this is the place to be when you’re in Sault Ste. Marie,” adds Sabourin.

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