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The Sault wants to be Ontario’s mountain biking capital

City planning to build 75 kilometres of high-quality trails
The Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp. has received $500,000 from FedNor to develop 75 kilometres of mountain bike trails. On hand for the March 4 announcement were (from left) Travis Anderson, the city’s director of tourism and community development; Mayor Christian Provenzano; Sault MP Terry Sheehan; and Paul Skeggs, vice-president of the Sault EDC. (Supplied photo)

Sault Ste. Marie is looking to make the city a hot spot for mountain-biking enthusiasts, with plans to develop 75 kilometres of high-quality, multi-use mountain bike trails.

FedNor announced $500,000 for the initiative, being developed by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, on March 4.

Funding for the project comes from the Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF), which supports Canadian businesses and organizations seeking to create, improve or enhance tourism products, facilities, and experiences.

With the introduction of new bike trails, the city is hoping to develop additional tourism opportunities through all four seasons.

“Today’s announcement is exciting news. We look forward to building on the region’s natural assets and welcoming the world to our backyard,” Terry Rainone, chair of the EDC, in a news release.

“Our goal is to position Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma region as the mountain biking capital of Ontario.”

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In 2018, the Sault hosted the extreme, three-day mountain bike race Crank the Shield just north of the city. It returned in 2019, drawing 170 cyclists to the region.

According to the Ministry of Heritage, Tourism, Sport and Cultural Industries, in 2016, tourism activities in Northern Ontario accounted for approximately $1.9 billion in tourism spending.