Sault, Soo, Sioux, or Sue… there are so many ways to spell Sault, but only one way to say Soo-Saint-Mah-Ree. The spelling is wrong, but it’s the only way to convey the pronunciation of our fine city.
Sault Ste. Marie was founded in 1668 by french missionary Father Jacques Marquette who named the area in honor of the Virgin Mary—the first “city” in the Great Lakes region. This is why the name is Sault Ste. Marie as opposed to Sault St. Marie. The feminine version of Saint is Ste. (Photo is from the River of History Museum)
The land changed hands many times from French to British and was finally claimed as a U.S. Territory in 1823. The Native Americans were here through it all, and long before, calling the area Bahweting or the gathering place.
The Soo Locks adopted the “Soo” spelling of the name making the use of “The Soo” a common name. Though not the official name you will find locals of the Upper Penninsula refer to the city as “The Soo” more often then Sault Ste. Marie.
If you feel it’s important to blend in when visiting the area, calling the city “Salt” Ste. Marie will make you stick out. To most locals the pronunciation is important; if you miss pronounce it they’ll politely correct you and move on. No big worry.
No matter how you say it, you really need to visit Sault Ste. Marie. When you do visit, be sure to take lots of pictures and share your Sault Ste. Marie experience on social media with the hashtag #ILovetheSoo.