Thunder Bay: Wikis


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Thunder Bay
—  City  —
Marina Park, and Downtown Thunder Bay North


Nickname(s): (The) Lakehead; TBay; The Bay
Motto: Superior by Nature / The Gateway To The West
Thunder Bay is located in Ontario
Thunder Bay
Location of Thunder Bay in Ontario
Coordinates: 48°22′56″N 89°14′46″W / 48.38222°N 89.24611°W / 48.38222; -89.24611Coordinates: 48°22′56″N 89°14′46″W / 48.38222°N 89.24611°W / 48.38222; -89.24611
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
Region Northwestern Ontario
District Thunder Bay District
CMA Thunder Bay
Settled 1679 as Fort Caministigoyan
See histories of Port Arthur and Fort William
Amalgamation 1 January 1970
Electoral Districts     

Thunder Bay—Superior North/Thunder Bay—Rainy River
Provincial Thunder Bay—Superior North/Thunder Bay—Atikokan
Government [1][2]
 - Type Municipal Government
 - Mayor Lynn Peterson
 - City manager Tim Commisso[3]
 - Governing Body Thunder Bay City Council
 - MPs Bruce Hyer (NDP)
John Rafferty (NDP)
 - MPPs Michael Gravelle (OLP)
Bill Mauro (OLP)
Area [4][5][6]
 - City 447.5 km2 (172.8 sq mi)
 - Land 328.5 km2 (126.8 sq mi)
 - Water 119.0 km2 (45.9 sq mi)  26.6%
 - Urban 179.7 km2 (69.4 sq mi)
 - Metro 2,550.4 km2 (984.7 sq mi)
Elevation 183 m (600 ft)
Population (2006)[4][5]
 - City 109,140 (Ranked 43rd)
 Density 332.3/km2 (860.7/sq mi)
 Urban 103,247 (Ranked 29th)
 - Urban Density 574.5/km2 (1,487.9/sq mi)
 Metro 122,907 (Ranked 31st)
 - Metro Density 48.2/km2 (124.8/sq mi)
 - Demonym Thunder Bayer
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code span P7A to P7G, P7J, P7K
Area code(s) 807
NTS Map 052A06
Website City of Thunder Bay
The Port of Thunder Bay, as seen from Hillcrest Park

Thunder Bay (2006 census population 109,140), formerly the twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur, is a city in and the seat of Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada. It is the most populous municipality in Northwestern Ontario, and the second most populous in Northern Ontario after Greater Sudbury. The census metropolitan area of Thunder Bay has a population of 122,907, and consists of the city of Thunder Bay, the municipalities of Oliver Paipoonge and Neebing, the townships of Shuniah, Conmee, O'Connor and Gillies and the Fort William First Nation.

European settlement in the region began in the late 1600s with a French fur trading outpost on the banks of the Kaministiquia River.[7] The city was formed in 1970 by the merger of the cities of Fort William, Port Arthur and the geographic townships of Neebing and McIntyre.[8] Its port forms an important link in the shipping of grain and other products from western Canada through the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway to the east coast. Forestry and manufacturing play important roles in the city's economy, but with their decline in recent years they are being replaced by a "knowledge economy" based on medical research and education. An example of this, is Thunder Bay being the location of the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute.

The city takes its name from the immense bay at the head of Lake Superior, known on 18th century French maps as "Baie du Tonnerre".[7] The city is often referred to as the Lakehead or Canadian Lakehead because of its location at the end of Great Lakes navigation.[9]



Before 1900

European settlement on Thunder Bay began with two French fur trading posts (1679, 1717) which were subsequently abandoned (see Fort William, Ontario). Permanent settlement began in 1803 with the establishment of Fort William by the Montreal-based North West Company as its mid-continent entrepôt. The fort thrived until 1821 when the North West Company merged with the Hudson's Bay Company and Fort William lost its raison d'être. By the 1850s the Province of Canada began to take an interest in its western extremity, largely because of a demand for mining locations on the Canadian shores of Lake Superior following the discovery of copper in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. In 1849 French-speaking Jesuits established the Mission de l'Immaculée-Conception (Mission of the Immaculate Conception) on the Kaministiquia to evangelize the Ojibwe. The Province of Canada negotiated a treaty with the Ojibwe of Lake Superior known as the Robinson Treaty in 1850. As a result, an Indian reservation was set aside south of the Kaministiquia River. In 1859–60 the Department of Crown Lands surveyed two townships (Neebing and Paipoonge) and the Town Plot of Fort William.

Another settlement developed a few miles to the north of Fort William with the construction by the federal Department of Public Works of a road connecting Lake Superior with the Red River Colony under the direction of Simon James Dawson. (see Port Arthur, Ontario) This public works depot or construction headquarters acquired its first name in May 1870 when Colonel Garnet Wolseley named it Prince Arthur's Landing. It was renamed Port Arthur by the CPR in May 1883.[10]

The arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1875 sparked a long battle for supremacy which did not end until the amalgamation of 1970. Until the 1880s, Port Arthur was a much larger and dynamic community, but the CPR in collaboration with the Hudson's Bay Company preferred east Fort William, located on the lower Kaministiquia river where the fur trade posts were. Further provoked by a prolonged tax dispute with Port Arthur and the seizure of a locomotive in 1889, the CPR relocated all its employees and facilities to Fort William. The collapse of silver mining after 1890 further undermined the economy of Port Arthur which entered a period of deep depression while Fort William thrived.

The 20th century

Thunder Bay Marina

Thunder Bay began a period of extraordinary growth in the era of Sir Wilfrid Laurier as a result of transcontinental railway building and the western wheat boom. The CPR double-tracked its Winnipeg–Thunder Bay line. The Canadian Northern Railway established facilities at Port Arthur. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway began construction of its facilities at the Fort William Mission in 1905, and the federal government began construction of the National Transcontinental Railway. Grain elevator construction boomed as the volume of grain shipped to Europe increased. Both cities indebted themselves by granting bonuses to manufacturing industries. By 1914 the twin cities had modern infrastructures (sewers, safe water supply, street lighting, electric light, etc.) Both Fort William and Port Arthur were proponents of municipal ownership. As early as 1892 Port Arthur built Canada's first municipally owned electric street railway, and both cities spurned Bell Telephone Company of Canada to establish their own municipally owned telephone systems in 1902.

The boom came to an end in 1913–14 aggravated by the First World War, but a war time economy emerged with the making of munitions and shipbuilding. The cities raised men for the 52nd, 94th and 141st Battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Railway employment was hurt when the federal government took over the National Transcontinental Railway and Lake Superior Division from the Grand Trunk in 1915, and the Canadian Northern Railway in 1918 which were amalgamated with other government-owned railways in 1923 to form the Canadian National Railways. The CNR closed many of the Canadian Northern Railway facilities in Port Arthur and opened the Neebing yards in Neebing Township in 1922. By 1929 the population of the two cities had recovered to pre-war levels.

The forest products industry has always played an important role in the Thunder Bay economy from the 1870s. Logs and lumber were shipped primarily to the United States. In 1917 the first pulp and paper mill was established in Port Arthur. It was followed by a mill at Fort William in 1920. Eventually there were four mills operating.

Manufacturing resumed in 1937 when the Canada Car and Foundry Company plant re-opened to build aircraft for the British. Now run by Bombardier Transportation, the plant has remained a mainstay of the post-war economy producing forestry equipment, then transportation equipment for urban transit systems such as the Toronto Transit Commission and GO Transit.

The expansion of highways beginning with the Trans-Canada Highway culminating with the opening of a highway linking Sault Ste Marie to Thunder Bay has significantly diminished railway and shipping activity. The St Lawrence Seaway has not therefore lived up to expectations. Grain shipping has declined substantially in favour of Pacific Coast ports. As a result many grain elevators have been closed and demolished, and the Kaministiquia River has been abandoned by industry and shipping.


Thunder Bay has become the regional services centre for Northwestern Ontario with most provincial departments represented. Lakehead University, established through the lobbying of local businessmen and professionals, has proved to be a major asset, reinforced by Confederation College. The same businessmen and professionals were the driving force behind the amalgamation of Fort William and Port Arthur in 1970.


Fort William as seen from the International Space Station, December 2008
McVicar Creek in winter.

The city has an area of 328.48 square kilometres which includes the former cities of Fort William and Port Arthur as well as the townships of Neebing, Ontario and McIntyre.

The former Fort William section occupies flat alluvial land along the Kaministiquia River which has a river delta at its mouth of two large islands known as Mission Island and McKellar Island. The former Port Arthur section is more typical of the Canadian Shield, with gently sloping hills and very thin soil lying on top of bedrock with many bare outcrops. Thunder Bay, which gives the city its name, is about 22.5 kilometres (14 miles) from the Port Arthur downtown to Thunder Cape at the tip of the Sleeping Giant.

The city reflects the settlement patterns of the 19th century. It is therefore highly spread out for historical reasons. Anchoring the west end of the city, the Fort William Town Plot surveyed in 1859–60 was named West Fort William (Westfort) in 1888 by the CPR. The land adjoining the lower Kaministiquia River became the residential and central business district of the town and city of Fort William. A large uninhabited area adjoining the Neebing and McIntyre rivers which became known as Intercity separated Fort William from the residential and central business district of Port Arthur. At the extreme east of the city, a part of McIntyre Township was annexed to the town of Port Arthur in 1892, forming what later became known as the Current River area.

Since 1970, the central business districts of Fort William and Port Arthur have suffered a serious decline as business and government have relocated to the Intercity area. There has also been substantial residential growth in adjacent areas of the former Neebing and McIntyre townships.


The climate of Thunder Bay and area is influenced by Lake Superior, which is especially noticeable in the city's north end, resulting in cooler summer temperatures and warmer winter temperatures for an area extending inland as far as 16 km. The average daily temperatures range from a high of 17.6 °C in July and a low of -14.8 °C in January. The average daily high in July is 24.2 °C and the average daily high in January is -8.6 °C. On January 10, 1982, the local temperature in Thunder Bay dropped to -36 °C, with a wind speed of 54 km/h for a wind chill temperature that dipped to -58 °C. As a result, it holds Ontario's record for coldest day with wind chill.[11] The city is quite sunny with an average of 2167.7 hours of bright sunshine each year, ranging from 283.4 hours in July to 88.8 hours in November, sunnier than any city in Canada located to the east of it.[12]


Thunder Bay is composed of two formerly separate cities, Port Arthur and Fort William, and both still retain a large amount of their civic identity, reinforced by the buffering effect the Intercity area has between them. Both Port Arthur and Fort William have their own central business districts and suburban areas. Some of the more well-known neighbourhoods include: the Bay and Algoma area, which has a large northern European population centred around the Finnish Labour Temple and the Italian Cultural Centre; Simpson-Ogden and the East End, two of the oldest neighbourhoods in Fort William located north of Downtown Fort William; Intercity, a large business district located between Fort William and Port Arthur; Current River, the northernmost neighbourhood of Port Arthur, and Westfort, the oldest settlement in Thunder Bay. Within city limits are some small rural communities, such as Vickers Heights and North McIntyre, which were located in the former townships of Neebing and McIntyre respectively.

Government and politics

Map of Thunder Bay's seven municipal wards

The city is governed by a mayor and twelve councillors. The mayor and five of the councillors are elected at large by the whole city. Seven councillors are elected for the seven wards: Current River Ward, McIntyre Ward, McKellar Ward, Neebing Ward, Northwood Ward, Red River Ward, and Westfort Ward.[14]

Thunder Bay is represented in the Canadian Parliament by Bruce Hyer and John Rafferty, both members of the New Democratic Party, and in the Ontario Legislature by Ontario Liberal Party members Michael Gravelle and Bill Mauro.

Thunder Bay's name

Thunder Bay's name is the result of a referendum held on June 23, 1969 to determine the new name of the amalgamated Fort William and Port Arthur. Officials debated over the names to be put on the ballot, taking suggestions from residents including "Lakehead" and "The Lakehead". Predictably, the vote split between the two, and "Thunder Bay" was the victor. The final tally was "Thunder Bay" with 15,870, "Lakehead" with 15,302, and "The Lakehead" with 8,377.[15]

City symbols

Sleeping Giant

A large formation of mesas on the Sibley Peninsula in Lake Superior which resembles a reclining giant has become a symbol of the city. Sibley peninsula partially encloses the waters of Thunder Bay, and dominates the view of the lake from the northern section of the city (formerly Port Arthur). The Sleeping Giant also figures on the city's coat of arms and the city flag.

Coat of arms
The Coat of Arms of the City of Thunder Bay, which incorporates features from the coats of arms of Port Arthur and Fort William.

The Coat of arms of Thunder Bay, Ontario is a combination of the coats of arms of both Port Arthur and Fort William, with a unifying symbol—the Sleeping Giant—at the base of the arms.[16]

Corporate logo

The city logo depicts a stylized thunderbird, called Animikii, a statue of which is located on the city's Kaministiquia River Heritage Park. The slogan, Superior by Nature, is a double play on words reflecting the city's natural setting on Lake Superior.[16]

City flag

Thunder Bay's flag was created in 1972, when mayor Saul Laskin wanted to promote the city by having a distinctive flag. The city held a contest, which was won by Cliff Redden. The flag has a 1:2 ratio, and depicts a golden sky from the rising sun behind the Sleeping Giant, which sits in the blue waters of Lake Superior. The sun is represented by a red maple leaf, a symbol of Canada. Green and gold are Thunder Bay's city colours.[16]

Sister cities

Thunder Bay has five sister cities on three continents,[17] which are selected based on economic, cultural and political criteria.


Labour force[18][19]
Rate Thunder Bay Ontario Canada
Employment 57.7% 60.8% 62.2%
Unemployment 7.6% 8.9% 7.7%
Participation 62.4% 66.8% 67.4%
As of: February 2009

As the largest city in Northwestern Ontario, Thunder Bay is the region's commercial, administrative and medical centre. Many of the city's largest single employers are in the public sector. The City of Thunder Bay, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, the Lakehead District School Board and the Government of Ontario each employ over 1,500 people.[20] Bowater Forest Products is the largest private employer, employing over 1500 people.[21] Other major employers in the forestry sector include AbitibiBowater and Buchanan Forest Products. Bombardier Transportation operates a plant in Thunder Bay which manufactures mass transit vehicles and equipment, employing approximately 800 people.[21]

Employment by industry, 2006[22]
Industry Thunder Bay Ontario
Agriculture and resource-based 3.6% 2.9%
Construction 5.4% 5.9%
Manufacturing 7.7% 13.9%
Wholesale Trade 2.8% 4.7%
Retail trade 12.7% 11.1%
Finance and real estate 4.2% 6.8%
Health care and social services 15.2% 9.4%
Education services 8.9% 6.7%
Business services 16.8% 19.7%
Other services 22.6% 18.7%

The rising cost of electricity in Ontario has threatened the viability of primary industries in the region, resulting in the laying off of workers at pulp and saw mills. The grain trade has declined because of the loss of grain transportation subsidies and the loss of European markets. The gradual transition from shipping by train and boat to shipping by truck, and the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement have ended Thunder Bay's privileged position as a linchpin in Canadian east-west freight-handling trade. As a result the city has lost its traditional raison d'être as a break-bulk point.[23] However, in recent years shipments through the port of Thunder Bay have stabilized, and remains an important part of the St. Lawrence Seaway.[24]

In an effort to rejuvenate its economy, the city has been actively working to attract quaternary or "knowledge-based" industries, primarily in the fields of molecular medicine and genomics.[25][26] The city is home to the western campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, the first medical school to open in Canada in a generation.[27]



Thunder Bay receives air, rail and shipping traffic due to its prime location along major continental transportation routes. Greyhound Canada provides coach service to both regional and national destinations, with the municipally owned Thunder Bay Transit providing 17 routes across the city's urban area. The city is served by the Thunder Bay International Airport, the fourth busiest airport in Ontario by aircraft movements.[28] The main highway through the city is Highway 11/17, a four lane highway designated as the Thunder Bay Expressway.

The city is an important railway hub, served by both the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railway. Passenger rail service to Thunder Bay ended on 15 January 1990, with the cancellation of VIA Rail's southern transcontinental service.[29]


Thunder Bay has been a port since the days of the North West Company which maintained a schooner on Lake Superior. The Port of Thunder Bay is the largest outbound port on the St. Lawrence Seaway System,[30] and the sixth largest port in Canada.[27] The Thunder Bay Port Authority manages Keefer Terminal, built on a 320,000 square metre site on Lake Superior.

Medical centres and hospitals

Thunder Bay has one major hospital, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Other health care services include the St. Joseph's Care Group, which operates long term care centres such as the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, and Hogarth Riverview Manor. The Northern Ontario School of Medicine has a campus at Lakehead University. The city is also home to a variety of smaller medical and dental clinics.

Population and demographics

Selected Ethnic
Origins, 2006[31]
Ethnic origin Population
English 34,360
Scottish 26,400
Canadian 24,650
Irish 22,260
French 21,165
Ukrainian 17,620
Italian 17,290
Finnish 14,510
German 13,090
Aboriginal 11,870
Polish 8,595
Swedish 5,580
Visible minorities 3,175
multiple responses included
City of Thunder Bay
Population by year[32]
1911 27,719
1921 35,427
1931 46,095
1941 55,011
1951 66,108
1956 77,600
1961 92,490
1966 104,539
1971 108,411
1976 111,476
1981 112,486
1986 112,272
1991 113,946
1996 113,662
2001 109,016
2006 109,140

According to the 2006 Census, there were 109,140 people residing in Thunder Bay on 16 May 2006, of whom 48.4% were male and 51.6% were female. Residents 19 years of age or younger accounted for approximately 22.9% of the population. People aged by 20 and 39 years accounted for 24.6%, while those between 40 and 64 made up 35.9% of the population. The average age of a Thunder Bayer in May 2006 was 41.7, compared to the average of 39.5 for Canada as a whole.[4]

Between the censuses of 2001 and 2006, Thunder Bay's population increased by 0.1%, compared to the average of 6.6% for Ontario and 5.4% for Canada. The population density of the city of Thunder Bay averaged 332.3 people per square kilometre, compared with an average of 13.4 for Ontario. The total population has been stagnant or declining since amalgamation in 1970.

A further 13,767 people live in Thunder Bay's Census Metropolitan Area, which apart from Thunder Bay includes the municipalities of Neebing and Oliver Paipoonge, the townships of Conmee, Gillies, O'Connor and Shuniah, and the aboriginal community of Fort William First Nation.[33]


Thunder Bay is home to 12,825 people of Finnish descent,[34] the highest concentration of persons of Finnish origin per capita in Canada, and the second largest Finnish population in Canada after Toronto which has 14,750 persons of Finnish origin.


In terms of Canada's official languages, 81.6% of Thunder Bayers speak only English, and 2.6% speak only French. Thunder Bay has one of the largest established communities of Finnish speaking people outside of Finland.[35] Other languages spoken in Thunder Bay include Italian and Ojibwe.


The 2001 census states that 82.0 per cent of Thunder Bay residents belong to a Christian denomination, 39.8% of which are Roman Catholic, 39.5% Protestant, and 2.6% other following Christian denominations, mostly Eastern Orthodox. Those who follow other religions make up less than 1% of the population, while the remaining 17.0% are non-religious.

Visitor attractions

Thunder Bay's main tourist attraction is Fort William Historical Park, a reconstruction of the North West Company's Fort William fur trade post as it was in 1815, which attracts 100,000 visitors annually.[36] The marina in downtown Port Arthur, an area known as The Heart of the Harbour, draws visitors for its panoramic view of the Sleeping Giant and the presence of various water craft. The marina also includes a lake walk, playground, harbour cruises, a children's museum, and a Chinese/Canadian restaurant. There are several small surface amethyst mines in the area, some of which allow visitors to search for their own crystals.[37] A 2.74 m (9 ft) statue of Terry Fox is situated at the Terry Fox Memorial and Lookout on the outskirts of the city near the place where he was forced to abandon his run. Other tourists attractions are listed below.

Hillcrest Park, looking south to Fort William.


Thunder Bay has 38 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 8 secondary schools, 2 private schools, and an adult education facility. The city also has several other private for-profit colleges and tutoring programmes. Post secondary institutions in Thunder Bay include Confederation College and Lakehead University.

The Lakehead District School Board is the largest school board in the city, with 22 elementary schools, 4 secondary schools and a centre for adult studies. The Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board is the second largest with 16 elementary schools, 3 middle schools and 2 high schools. Conseil scolaire de district catholique des Aurores boréales operates one elementary and one high school in Thunder Bay, and an additional six schools throughout the Thunder Bay District.


A Persian, local to Thunder Bay

The city of Thunder Bay was declared a "Cultural Capital of Canada" in 2003.[38] Throughout the city are cultural centres representing the diverse population, such as the Finnish Labour Temple, Scandinavia House, the Italian Cultural Centre, the Polish Legion, and a wide variety of others. Shags, a combination shower and stag held to celebrate the engagement of a couple,[39] and Persians, a cinnamon bun pastry with pink icing, originated in the city.[40][41] Thunder Bay is served by the Thunder Bay Public Library, which has four branches.

The arts

Thunder Bay Historical Museum

Thunder Bay is home to a variety of music and performance arts venues. The largest professional theatre is Magnus Theatre. Founded in 1971, it offering six stage plays each season and is located in the renovated Port Arthur Public School on Red River Road. The Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, which seats 1500, is the primary venue for various types of entertainment. It is the home of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, which has 30 full-time and up to 20 extra musicians presenting a full range of classical music.[42] New Music North is vital to the contemporary classical music scene in the city by offering intriguing and novel contemporary chamber music concerts.[43] Thunder Bay also has a large and extensive music scene, with concerts almost nightly in many venues.

The Bay Street Film Festival, established in 2005, is an independent film festival that features local, national, and international films with the theme of "Films for the People." The festival is held in early October at 314 Bay Street in the historic Finnish Labour Temple.[44] Thunder Bay is also home to the North of Superior Film Association (NOSFA). Established in 1992, the NOSFA features monthly screenings of international and Canadian films at the Cumberland Cinema Centre, with a spring film festival that attracts several thousand patrons.[45]

Museums and galleries

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery which was founded in 1976, specializes in the works of First Nations artists, having a collection of national significance. The Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, founded in 1908, presents local and travelling exhibitions and houses an impressive collection of artifacts, photographs, paintings, documents and maps in its archives.

Places of worship

St. Andrews Presbyterian Church

Thunder Bay has many places of worship supported by people of a variety of faiths, reflecting the cultural diversity of the population.[46] A sample:

  • Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church - Ukrainian Orthodox (716 Pacific Avenue). The original wooden church, built by Ukrainian Orthodox families in 1911/1912 was almost destroyed by fire in 1936. The current church was built on the same site, opening in 1937. It has decorative gold domes that are characteristic of Ukrainian churches of the Bukovina area, with Orthodox crosses atop the domes.[47]
  • Calvary Lutheran Church (Donald and Edward St) was established in 1958 as a mission congregation of the Minnesota North District. website
Hilldale Lutheran Church
  • Evangel Church - Pentecostal Church (1260 Balmoral St). Centre for the Regional Food Distribution Association of Northwestern Ontario. website
  • Hilldale Lutheran Church (321 Hilldale Rd). Offers services in both English and Finnish. website. The church has an intimate atmosphere and wonderful acoustics, and is frequently used for musical performances.[48]
  • Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (651 Beverly St). Founded in 1918, the church moved to its present building in 1991. The church is active in providing non-profit housing for needy families. website
  • Hope Christian Reformed Church (1315 Crawford Ave). Services are recorded so that anyone with an internet connection may listen. website
  • Kitchitwa Kateri Anamewgamik (451 Syndicate Ave N). Roman Catholic communal church geared to Native culture and teachings. A drop-in centre provides coffee and serves soup & bannock.
Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church
St. Patrick's Cathedral at the corner of Archibald and Donald
  • Saalem Church (21 Walkover St). Offers services in both English and Finnish. website
  • Shaarey Shomayim Congregation - Jewish Synagogue (627 Grey Street). This egalitarian community has the only mikvah between Winnipeg and Toronto.
  • Shepherd of Israel Congregation - Messianic Jewish (534 McLaughlin St). Affiliated with Evangelical movement.
  • St Agnes Church. Roman Catholic Church (1019 Brown St). Founded in 1885, the new St. Agnes Church and Hall was dedicated on June 6, 1982. St. Vincent de Paul Society operates a food bank out of this church. website
  • St Stephen the Martyr Anglican Church (494 Leslie Ave). Provides a food cupboard for the Current River area. website
  • St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church (226 Pearl St). Founded in 1872, the current building was erected in 1884. website
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral - Roman Catholic (211 Archibald St S). The old St. Patrick's Church was built in 1893. In 1963 it was replaced by the current cathedral on the same site. website

Sports and recreation

Thunder Bay's proximity to the wilderness of the Boreal Forest and the rolling hills and mountains of the Canadian Shield allow its residents to enjoy very active lifestyles. The city has hosted several large sporting events including the Summer Canada Games in 1981, the Nordic World Ski Championships in 1995, and the Continental Cup of Curling in 2003.

Recreational facilities

Thunder Bay enjoys many recreational facilities. The city operates fifteen neighbourhood community centres, which offer various sporting and fitness facilities as well as seasonal activities such as dances. The city also operates six indoor ice rinks and 84 seasonal outdoor rinks,[49] two indoor community pools and three seasonal outdoor pools as well as a portable pool and two maintained public beaches, several curling sheets, and three golf courses, among others.[50] Listed below are some of the city's major facilities.

Multi-use facilities

Municipal ice rinks and indoor pools

  • Current River Arena
  • Delaney Arena
  • Grandview Arena
  • Neebing Arena
  • Port Arthur Arena
  • Thunder Bay Tournament Centre (2 ice surfaces)
  • Sir Winston Churchill Community Pool
  • Volunteer Community Pool

Golf courses[52]

  • Centennial Golf Course (9 holes)
  • Chapples Memorial Golf Course (18 Holes)(Municipal)
  • Dragon Hills Golf Course (9 holes)
  • Emerald Greens Golf Course (9 holes)
  • Fort William Country Club (18 Holes)
  • Municipal Golf Course (9 holes)(Municipal)
  • Northern Lights Golf Complex (9 holes par 3/9 holes regulation)
  • Strathcona Golf Course (18 holes)(Municipal)
  • Thunder Bay Country Club (9 holes)
  • Whitewater Golf Club (18 holes)

Ski hills

  • Lappe Nordic Ski Centre
  • Loch Lomond Ski Resort
  • Mount Baldy Ski Resort

Sports teams

Club Sport League Venue
Fort William North Stars Ice Hockey Superior International Junior Hockey League Fort William Gardens
Lakehead Thunderwolves Basketball Ontario University Athletics C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse
Lakehead Thunderwolves Ice Hockey Ontario University Athletics Fort William Gardens
Lakehead Thunderwolves Volleyball Ontario University Athletics C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse
Thunder Bay Bearcats Ice Hockey Superior International Junior Hockey League Fort William First Nations Arena
Thunder Bay Border Cats Baseball Northwoods League Port Arthur Stadium
Thunder Bay Chill Soccer USL Premier Development League Chapples Park Stadium

Sport events

Thunder Bay 10 Mile Road Race



Thunder Bay has one daily newspaper, The Chronicle-Journal, which has a circulation of approximately 28,000 and has coverage of all of Northwestern Ontario.[53] There are two weekly news papers—Thunder Bay's Source, a weekly newspaper operated by Dougall Media, and Canadan Sanomat, a Finnish language weekly newspaper. Lakehead University has a student newspaper called The Argus, which is published weekly during the school year.[54] The Chronicle Journal publishes a free weekly called Spot every Thursday, focusing on entertainment. The city publishes a bi-monthly newsletter to citizens titled yourCity, which is also available online in a PDF format, by electronic subscription and RSS feed.[55] Netnewsledger is a daily updated website covering news and current events in Thunder Bay, which places emphasis on connecting politicians to their constituents.[56]


Three English language stations and one French language station supply Thunder Bay with free over-the-air television. Programming from the Global and CBC networks is provided by a locally owned twinstick operation branded as Thunder Bay Television, and the city receives TVOntario on channel 9 and the French CBLFT-TV on channel 12. CTV is now cable-/satellite-only in the area.

The cable provider in Thunder Bay is Shaw, although locally owned TBayTel, has been granted a license by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to compete in the cable TV market.[57] The community channel on Shaw Cable is branded as Shaw TV, and airs on cable channel 10.

WBKP-TV channel 5, the CW affiliate in Calumet, Michigan directly across Lake Superior is received in Thunder Bay, usually with a roof antenna.


Thunder Bay is home to 11 radio stations, all of which broadcast on the FM band.

There are four commercial radio stations based in the city — Rock 94.3 and CKPR 91.5, owned by Dougall Media, the parent company of Thunder Bay Television and Thunder Bay's Source, and Magic 99.9 and 105.3 The Giant, owned by Newcap Broadcasting. One additional station, Thunder 103.5, targets the Thunder Bay market from transmitters in Kaministiquia and Shuniah. The city receives CBC Radio One as CBQT-FM and CBC Radio 2 as CBQ-FM, at 88.3 FM and 101.7 FM respectively. The French Première Chaîne is available as a repeater of Sudbury-based CBON-FM on 89.3 FM. Lakehead University operates a campus radio station, CILU-FM, at 102.7 FM, and CJOA-FM 95.1 broadcasts Christian-oriented programming and is run by a local non-profit group.

Notable people

Thunder Bay has produced a wide variety of notable people. Some of the best known living persons include Paul Shaffer, bandleader on the American Late Show with David Letterman,[58] and recipient of the Order of Canada, as well as Bobby Curtola, an early rock and roll singer and one-time teen idol.[59] Both Shaffer and Curtola have Thunder Bay streets named after them. Another notable person in the music industry is keyboardist and songwriter Lauri Conger, a member of the Canadian band Parachute Club during the period of its greatest national and international success in the 1980s. Conger co-wrote most of their songs, including the well known "Rise Up". Longtime Downchild Blues Band musician, solo artist and multiple Maple Blues Award winner Gary Kendall is also from Thunder Bay.[60] Actor Kevin Durand also born in Thunder Bay. Notable athletes include NHL players Alex Delvecchio and brothers Jared Staal, Eric Staal, Marc Staal and Jordan Staal,[61] Olympic gold medalists Katie Weatherston and Haley Irwin, professional BMX rider and 9-time X-Games medalist Jay Miron.[62] Clarence Decatur Howe, originally from Massachusetts, moved to Canada in his early adult years and, as "Minister of Everything" played a major role in the economic development of Canada.[63] Bora Laskin, brother of the city's first mayor Saul Laskin, was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada from 1973 to 1984.[64] Elizabeth Lawrie Smellie was a nurse, and the first woman to be promoted to the rank of colonel in the Canadian army.[65]

Surrounding municipalities

Notes and references

  1. ^ City Hall, Thunder Bay City Council. Retrieved on 2 June 2007.
  2. ^ Municipal Code, by-law 218-2003. Retrieved on 2 June 2007.
  3. ^ Burkowski, Peter. "City appoints new city manager," The Chronicle-Journal (19 August 2008). Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  4. ^ a b c City of Thunder Bay, 2006 Community Profile. Statistics Canada. Retrieved on 2 June 2007.
  5. ^ a b Thunder Bay CMA, 2006 Community Profile. Statistics Canada. Retrieved on 2 June 2007.
  6. ^ The Port of Thunder Bay, The Transportation Sector. City of Thunder Bay. Retrieved on 30 November 2007.
  7. ^ a b Brief History of Thunder Bay – Fort William and the Fur Trade – The North West Company. Retrieved on 5 June 2007.
  8. ^ Brief History of Thunder Bay – Amalgamation. Retrieved on 5 June 2007.
  9. ^ Tronrud, Thorold J; Epp, Ernest A.; and others. (1995). Thunder Bay: From Rivalry to Unity - Introduction and Acknowledgements, pp. vii. Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society ISBN 0-920119-22-0.
  10. ^ F.B. Scollie, "Falling into Line : How Prince Arthur's Landing Became Port Arthur," Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society Papers and Records, XIII (1985) 8-19.
  11. ^ Ontario Region Winter Weather Factsheet, Environment Canada. Retrieved on 11 April 2008
  12. ^ Canadian Climate Normals, Thunder Bay A, Ontario. Environment Canada. Retrieved on 4 June 2007
  13. ^ "Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000". 
  14. ^ Guide to City Services, Municipal Government, Wards. Retrieved on 4 June 2007
  15. ^ About Thunder Bay, pp. 2. Retrieved on 2 September 2007.
  16. ^ a b c Thunder Bay City Symbols. Retrieved on 4 June 2007.
  17. ^ Thunder Bay Sister Cities. Retrieved on 11 August 2007
  18. ^ Labour Force Characteristics, Seasonally adjusted, by CMA. Statistics Canada. Retrieved on 13 March 2009.
  19. ^ Labour Force Survey. Statistics Canada. Retrieved on 13 March 2009.
  20. ^ Major Employer List - Thunder Bay, 2006 45kb. Retrieved on 2 September 2007.
  21. ^ a b Thunder Bay Top Private Sector Employers, Northern Ontario Business (May 2006). Retrieved on 4 September 2007.
  22. ^ City of Thunder Bay, 2006 Community Profile. Statistics Canada. Retrieved on 2 May 2008.
  23. ^ City of Thunder Bay, 2006 Community Profile Statistics Canada. Retrieved on 2 May 2008.
  24. ^ 56-Year Cargo Statistics, Port of Thunder Bay. Retrieved on 20 December 2009.
  25. ^ New Molecular Medicine Research Centre to be Headquartered in Thunder Bay, (6 September 2006). Retrieved on 4 September 2007
  26. ^ Genesis Genomics. Retrieved on 2 September 2007.
  27. ^ a b Thunder Bay Blends Old, New Industries, Site Selection (November 2005). Retrieved on 4 September 2007
  28. ^ TP 1496 Preliminary aircraft statistics 2006. Transport Canada. Retrieved on 2 September 2007.
  29. ^ Canada Transportation Act, 1990. Order Varying Certain National Transportation Agency Orders Respecting Railway Companies, SOR/89-488 S III 1. (2) (c). Retrieved on 5 June 2007
  30. ^ Port of Thunder Bay, official website. Retrieved on 2 September 2007.
  31. ^ Profile of Ethnic Origin and Visible Minorities for Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. Retrieved on March 13, 2009.
  32. ^ The People of Thunder Bay. Retrieved 1 September 2007.
    For 1911: Tronrud, Thorold J; Epp, Ernest A.; and others. (1995). Thunder Bay: From Rivalry to Unity. Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, pp. 59. ISBN 0-920119-22-0.
  33. ^ 2006 Census Population Counts by Municipality, Thunder Bay CMA. Statistics Canada. Retrieved on 2 September 2007.
  34. ^ Finnish population in Canada. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  35. ^ Thunder Bay Public Library - Community - Finnish Community. Retrieved 28 June 2008.
  36. ^ Fort William Historical Park, Planning Your Visit - Beginnings. Retrieved on 4 June 2007
  37. ^ Ontario Amethyst: Mining Ontario’s Amethyst Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. Retrieved on 4 August 2007.
  38. ^ Cultural Capitals of Canada 2003. Retrieved on 4 June 2007.
  39. ^ Seven Wonders of Thunder Bay, Shags. Thunder Bay Source. Retrieved on 11 June 2007.
  40. ^ Thunder Bay Food. Retrieved on 11 June 2007.
  41. ^ The Universal Cynic (26 June 2006) Lexicon of Yore. Retrieved on 11 June 2007.
  42. ^ Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved on 2 September 2007.
  43. ^ New Music North. Retrieved 2 August 2008.
  44. ^ Bay Street Film Festival. Retrieved on 2 September 2007.
  45. ^ NOSFA Website. Retrieved on 2 September 2007.
  46. ^ "Thunder Bay Community Information Database: Churches" Thunder Bay Community Information & Referral Center. Retrieved 3 Jan 2009
  47. ^ Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary City of Thunder Bay. Retrieved 3 Jan 2009
  48. ^ "Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra Brochure" TBSO. Retrieved 3 Jan 2009
  49. ^ City of Thunder Bay - Outdoor Rinks. Retrieved on January 2008
  50. ^ Thunder Bay Telephone (2007) TBayTel 2007–2008 Directory, Pages 56 to 58.
  51. ^ The Sports Dome. Retrieved 24 January 2008.
  52. ^ Golf Thunder Bay and Golflink - Thunder Bay, Retrieved on 2 September 2007.
  53. ^ Sudbury Star and Sault Star Part of Media Buyout. Netnewsledger, 1 June 2007. Retrieved on 8 June 2007.
  54. ^ The Argus. Retrieved on 8 June 2007
  55. ^ Your City, Thunder Bay. Retrieved on 2 September 2007.
  56. ^ Netnewsledger home page. Retrieved 20 January 2008.
  57. ^ CRTC Decision 2008-289 - CRTC. Retrieved on March 3, 2009
  58. ^ Paul Shaffer Bio at CBS - Late Show. Retrieved on 20 April 2007.
  59. ^ Curtola's Official Website. Retrieved on 20 April 2007.
  60. ^ See Downchild Blues Band; Kendall has also been honoured by the Thunder Bay Blues Society. See also Gary Kendall's Musical History;
  61. ^ Eric Staal at The Internet Hockey Database. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
  62. ^ Printable Biography of Jay Miron, All-American Talent and Celebrity Network. Retrieved on 2 October 2007.
  63. ^ Federal Experience. Parlinfo Parliamentarian file. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
  64. ^ Official Biography, Supreme Court of Canada website. Retrieved on 20 April 2007.
  65. ^ MacLean, Mary R. Colonel Elizabeth Smellie CBE, Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, Papers and Records, III (1975), 16–18 with reproduction of portrait by Kenneth Forbes on page 16.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Thunder Bay (disambiguation).

Thunder Bay [1] lies at the far northwestern point of the Great Lakes of North America, and is a transportation bridge between the rich agricultural Prairies of Canada and the Atlantic Ocean and the rest of the world. The population of Thunder Bay is 122,907 (2006 census).

Get in

Thunder Bay is on Trans-Canada Highway 11 and 17. From the east, it is a 7-8 hour (700 km) drive from Sault Ste Marie and from the west, it is a 7-8 hour (720 km) drive from Winnipeg.

Thunder Bay has not been served by passenger rail since 1989 due to a politically motivated right-of-way dispute between Via Rail and Canadian Pacific Railways.

Thunder Bay has an commercial airport that lies approximately 15 minutes west of the downtown center. There is one Transit bus that passes by every 30-40 minutes during the week and weekends. Hotel shuttles are also available for the Airlane Travelodge hotel and the Valhalla Inn hotel.

Get around

Thunder Bay isn't known for being a walkable city. This is largely due its Twin-Cities heritage which causes the city to be very spread out. Until 1970, the city was actually two separate large communities (Fort William and Port Arthur) separated by a swamp that has since been built up. City council seems to finally, in recent years, be developing the north end (Port Arthur) into an entertainment district with the Marina Park as its centrepiece, and the south end (Fort William) into a business district. Within each of these districts (North end and South end downtown cores) walking is certainly viable in the non-winter months. During the winter months, your face will freeze off.

As a result of this, your best way to get between these two zones is by bus. Up-to-date schedules are available on Thunder Bay Transit's [2] official website.

Alternatively, there are multiple taxi services.

The city is increasingly focused on expanding its network of bicycle paths as well. Transport by inline skates can work well on these paths, but sidewalks are often too mottled to afford any speed or efficiency on skates.

  • Take part in the Drunkinental Cup; it's a T-Bay tradition. Backyard curling bondspiel!
  • Raven Ecoventures, 807-933-5241, [3]. Take a guided wilderness canoe trip or ecotour in this land of lakes, trees and moose.
  • The area has a large Finnish population, so saunas are common and popular.
  • Fort William Historical Park, [4].

Enjoy a day at this large-scale reconstruction of an 1815 fur-trading post. Take a tour, visit the farm, observe historic tradesmen (blacksmiths, tinsmiths, canoemakers and more) at work, walk along the Kaministiquia River.

  • Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, [5].

Enjoy a hike along one of the beautiful trails at Sleeping Giant. Take Top of the Giant, a challenging 25km return (I think) trail to a spectacular lookout over Tee Harbour, Lake Superior, and a rugged cliff's edge. In March, Sleeping Giant hosts the Sibley Ski Tour[6], a Thunder Bay tradition.

  • Silver Islet, [7].
  • Kakabeka Falls, [8].
  • Take a walk around the harbour.
  • Visit the amethyst or agate mines.
  • Visit Ouimet Canyon and/or Eagle Canyon.

Walk across the suspension bridge at Eagle Canyon for beautiful views.

  • Drive west of Thunder Bay to Quetico Provincial Park[9] - some of the best canoeing in the world awaits!
  • You can also canoe on White Otter Lake, near Quetico and Atikokan. Visit White Otter Castle[10], a 3-storey wooden cabin single-handedly built by Jimmy McQuat on the shores of the lake. Legend is that Jimmy built it for his sweetheart and then got jilted. There is a walking trail from the castle area that leads to an abandoned WWII POW camp, but this has not been restored for tourists. Be careful of rusted metal and sharp edges in the camp.


South End

  • Norma Jean's Restaurant, 123 May Street South (1 Block from City Hall), +1 (807) 623-1343. Do you like Burgers, fries and milkshakes? It's all here, along with a few other dishes. Nothing will blow you away, but sometimes when traveling that's a good thing. A nice way to eat locally. ~$13  edit
  • Cronos Cafe, 433 Syndicate Avenue South (Two blocks south of Arthur St), +1 (807) 622-9700. 11AM-3PM. This is a greek restaurant that has strayed from a core-greek menu to include decent burger-and-fry combos. If you really want delish, get the Chicken Souvlaki with Fries or Greek Salad. They're light on the fries though, so you might want to ask them to double up. You should specify think for the milkshakes. Popular with highschool students and business people alike at lunch due to it's proximity to both a public and catholic high school as well as city hall and the civic centre. ~$12.  edit
  • Up In Smoke BBQ and Grill is a fabulous little Cajun gem. Take home a family pack, as it is both delicious and plentiful.

North End

  • The Hoito, 314 Bay Street (Northwest corner of Bay and Algoma), [11]. For a unique dining experience, visit Thunder Bay's famed Finnish restaurant, The Hoito. On weekend mornings, it is packed with locals of all ages, families and friends eating together, delicious Finnish pancakes. The Hoito is a beloved Thunder Bay institution! ~$11.  edit
  • Calico Coffee House, 316 Bay Street (Next door to The Hoito), +1 (807) 766-9087. Calico is a charming independent coffee shop next door to the Hoito, with fair-trade coffee and locally baked treats. ~$7.  edit
  • The Thai Kitchen, 36 Cumberland Street S (Nearby the Casino), +1 (807) 345-1707, [12]. The Thai Kitchen is easily Thunder Bay's best choice for Thai food. Originally only providing catering and special events food, the actual restaurant opened for the first time in 2007 and it is getting busier. If you want very reasonably priced food and you like Thai, this is the place. The husband and wife owners are friendly, both speak Thai (one is an immigrant from Northern Thailand) and it's hard to spend more than $20 per person and not feel like to over-ate! Showing up before the dinner rush (5-5:30PM) is a good idea on Friday and Saturday nights. You'll get more prompt service and the cooks will have more time to spend on your food. Most main dishes are $9 and come with rice or noodles. Try the Kaeng Penang (#33)! ~$14.  edit
  • Armando, 28 Cumberland Street North (Across from the Prince Arthur Hotel), +1 (807) 344-5833. Armando (the man) is an Italian-Canadian who hails from Naples. His family's italian eatery serves classics and does them well, and he'll even sing to you at your table. The prices have been increasing in recent years, but the quality is superb. Expect to pay about $45 plus drinks per person. There are several excellent dishes that are not on the menu. Of particular quality are any of their meats in the signature Sambuca sauce. Ask for veal or bison if available. The closest you'll get to Donatello in Bologna without leaving Thunder Bay. ~$45.  edit
  • Bistro One offers excellent fine dining.
  • Prospector, in downtown Port Arthur, is a good steakhouse.
  • Thunder Bay has a couple of sushi places: Wasabi and Sushi Bowl. They are tasty, but visitors from larger cosmopolitan centres or the coast will likely be disappointed as sushi is much more expensive than they may be accustomed to. Sushi is approximately twice the price here as in Toronto for example.
  • Thunder Bay is also famous for a unique pastry called a Persian. A Persian is similar to a danish with a mysterious pink icing. Some say the icing is strawberry, others say it is cherry, but it certainly is pink. Most people eat their persians just as they are, but for a special treat, have yours cut, buttered and grilled/toasted.
  • International house of tea, 899 fort william rd, 626-0130. Inviting Tea House, loose leaf tea fine friends supurb tea and a good book all signs of an abundent life!  edit
  • Steepers, 122 May Street N (Two blocks northeast of Victoriaville), +1 (807) 476-0698, [13]. A tea house.  edit
  • Try a remote, rustic wilderness cabin [14] powered by the sun on its own private lake and trail network to get a sense of the wild beauty of Northern Ontario.
  • Thunder Bay International Hostel, Longhouse Village, RR 13, 1594 Lakeshore Drive, +1 807 983-2042, fax +1 807 983-2914, [15]. Located 18 km east of the city. If travelling by Greyhound, tell the driver ahead of time to drop you off at the hostel; call Greyhound ahead of time to be picked up. Beds are $20 per night. Camping is $12 for one person or $19 for two people.
  • Sleeping Giant Guesthouse, 139 Machar Avenue, +1 807 683-3995, toll free +1 866 424-5687. Located on the north side of downtown Thunder Bay. Beds start at $21 per night.
  • Eldorado Beach on Lake Superior Bed and Breakfast, [16] located just east of the city, for those driving along highways 11/17. Full breakfast, family friendly, starting at $65 per night inclusive. toll free 866-205-0855.

Get out

Isle Royale, a wilderness park, lies within sight in Lake Superior. Commercial ferries from Grand Portage, Minnesota provide the nearest official access to the island, but it's accessible from Thunder Bay by private boat.

Routes through Thunder Bay
WinnipegDryden  W noframe E  Red RockSault Ste Marie
Fort Frances ← Atitokan ←  W noframe E  Red RockNorth Bay
ENDS  N noframe S  → Can-US border (becomes ) - Grand PortageDuluth
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun

Thunder Bay

  1. a town in Ontario, Canada
  2. a large bay in Canada

Simple English

Thunder Bay is the most populous city in Northwestern Ontario. Its population was 109,140 in the 2006 census. It used to be two cities called Fort William and Port Arthur. Thunder Bay has the second largest population in Northern Ontario, behind Greater Sudbury.

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