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Find out why Sault Ste. Marie is your gateway to a welcoming Canadian lifestyle

Discover career opportunities, cultural connections, and a supportive community
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With a population reaching its highest recorded level in decades, it seems that Sault Ste. Marie's secret is getting out.

Sometimes overshadowed by larger Canadian cities, Sault Ste. Marie offers a unique blend of urban amenities and small-town charm. Forget the misconception of a remote, rural town. Sault Ste. Marie is Ontario's premier adventure town with easy access to some of the most beautiful landscapes and four seasons of hiking, biking and skiing trails. The city also has a thriving cultural scene, diverse shopping options, and three levels of educational opportunities – all with the welcoming embrace of a close-knit community.

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And the affordability factor sweetens the deal. Housing costs in Sault Ste. Marie are some of the most attractive in Ontario, making homeownership or finding a comfortable rental unit much more achievable.

But affordability doesn't mean sacrificing access to big-city amenities.

Sault Ste. Marie offers a variety of common retailers you might expect, including Winners, HomeSense, Walmart, Canadian Tire, and Sport Chek. You'll also find grocery chains like Metro and Your Independent Grocer ensuring convenient access to all your daily needs.

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Sault Ste. Marie gets its share of snow, but the city is built to handle it. The infrastructure ensures safe and clear roads throughout the winter. And the snow isn't a burden. Every year the city even transforms into a winter wonderland, perfect for creating lasting memories.

Plus, the city boasts a modern bus transportation system and scenic non-motorized trail system connecting the city, making it easy to get around and take advantage of all that Sault Ste. Marie has to offer.

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Thriving with a combination of convenient amenities, affordable housing, and a welcoming community, the city has attracted a wave of newcomers from other countries fostering a vibrant and growing tapestry of cultures to the community.

A surge in diversity fuels businesses and support systems for Canadian newcomers

The growing diversity in Sault Ste. Marie is evident in the exciting new businesses catering to these communities. Take Triple J African Market & Beauty Supply, for example. Owned by Dr. Ijeoma Omosede Oaikhena, who goes by IJ, Triple J offers a one-stop shop for authentic African groceries, beauty products, and cultural items.

What began as a home business in 2022 expanded to a physical storefront in October 2024. So much more than a retail establishment, it quickly became a trusted resource and an important cultural hub. "It is a cornerstone of the community, providing essential resources, fostering connections and enriching the cultural fabric of Sault Ste. Marie," says Dr. Ijeoma.

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Triple J offers a one-stop shop for authentic African groceries, beauty products, and cultural items

"The store also proudly serves as a vital resource and support system for newcomers to Sault Ste. Marie. We recognize the challenges of transitioning to a new community, especially for individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, and we have taken on a multifaceted role in facilitating their integration and success," says Dr. Ijeoma. "We are committed to ensuring they have a safe and comfortable place to call home."

Dr. Ijeoma volunteers as an intermediary for newcomers, using a network of community connections to help individuals establish financial stability and a sense of belonging. They strive to match newcomers with suitable job openings and assist those in need of housing to find suitable accommodation.

Building on this foundation of community support, let's turn to the story of Gaurav Khatri and his wife, Neetu Neetu

Khatri and Neetu moved to the Sault in 2019. They have since expanded their Indian grocery store business, secured permanent residency and purchased their own home.

The family-owned business has operated since 2022.

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“The business started due to a lack of availability of authentic Indian products in the area,” Khatri explains. “It meets the local need for a wide range of Indian ingredients, spices and specialty items.”

The communities they serve are diverse and inclusive, including the growing community of Indian and Filipino expatriates, and anyone interested in Indian and Filipino cuisine and culture. “Our customers come from all walks of life. We strive to create a welcoming environment that embraces cultural diversity and fosters connections among community members. Our goal is to serve as a hub where people from different backgrounds can come together, share experiences and celebrate the richness of Indian culture,” he says.

Since moving here, Khatri has noticed several changes. “One of the most noticeable changes is the increasing cultural diversity within the city. Over the years, I've observed a greater representation of people from different cultural backgrounds, including individuals and families from various cultures.”

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He has also observed a growing sense of inclusivity and acceptance within the community. “While every community has its challenges, I’ve seen positive strides being made towards embracing diversity and fostering a welcoming environment for people from all walks of life,” says Khatri. “As Sault Ste. Marie continues to evolve and grow, I believe that our diversity will be one of our greatest strengths, bringing us closer together and making our community a better place for everyone.”

“Many members of our community, especially those who are immigrants or expatriates, often feel a sense of displacement when they move to a new country. Having a store like ours means they have a piece of home right in their neighbourhood. They can find the same ingredients they grew up with, cook the dishes they love and share their culinary traditions with friends and family.”

People in the neighbourhood welcomed the store with open arms ever since it opened. “Many people have said how much they appreciate having an Indian grocery shop in the area since it meets a long-standing demand and makes it simpler for them to get the goods they enjoy. The community's support has been crucial to our success,” he says.

Beyond the boundary: How newcomers are building community in Sault Ste. Marie through cricket

Haroon Naseer Butt moved to Sault Ste. Marie from Pakistan in 2016. “The first thing I did was [want] to join a cricket club,” he says. “It was my gateway to be involved with the community and get to know others. Eight years down the road, I still see the same practice. Students, immigrants and newcomers from around the world look for connections, involvement and something that reminds them of their home, and the best way to do that is playing sports.”

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Sault Ste. Marie Cricket Club President, Haroon Naseer Butt

The Sault Ste. Marie Cricket Club celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2023. Butt is now the Chair of the organization. The club has close to 100 active and non-active members and two major hardball teams (the Sault Stormers and Sault X1). A third new team from the local university, Algoma University (the Algoma Thunderbirds) will be joining this year. The age range of members varies; typically, to play professional hardball cricket, there is an age range of 16 to 40+.

One of the biggest benefits of membership is that it is a way to connect with others. “Cricket is far more than just a sport. It brings people together; it teaches you team-building and so many other valuable skills,” says the Chair.

Members come from all over—from Canada, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Australia, England and the Caribbean islands.

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Having an organization like this to belong to and participate in has made a world of difference to its members. Says the Chair, “I have called this place home since I took my oath of citizenship last year. I started playing when I was a kid and so did most of our club players. Most players are staying in Sault Ste. Marie and not leaving for southern cities just because of the cricket club. They are connected in such a way that they do not want to leave.”

In the Sault, there is a lot of interest among students, immigrants, newcomers and locals who want to see, play and learn this exciting sport.

Sault Ste. Marie offers urban living minus the big-city price tag. Discover a city alive with cultural diversity, boasting the amenities you crave.