Fort William was a city in Northern Ontario, located on the Kaministiquia River, at its entrance to Lake Superior. It amalgamated with Port Arthur and the townships of Neebing and McIntyre to form the city of Thunder Bay in January 1970. Since then it has been the largest city in Northwestern Ontario. The city's Latin motto was A posse ad esse (From a Possibility to an Actuality) featured on its coat of arms designed in 1900 by town officials, "On one side of the shield stands an Indian dressed in the paint and feathers of the early days; on the other side is a French voyageur; the center contains an [grain] elevator, a steamship and a locomotive, while the beaver surmounts the whole."
Fort William and Grand Portage were the two starting points for the canoe route from the Great Lakes to Western Canada. For details of the route inland see Kaministiquia River.
Kamanistigouian, as a place, is first mentioned in a decree of the Conseil Souverain de la Nouvelle-France dated 23 August 1681 instructing one of two canoes to make known the king's amnesty to coureurs de bois, although the Kaministiquia River is depicted on the 1671 "Carte des Jésuites" as "R. [rivière] par où l'on va aux Assinipoualacs à 120 lieues vers le Nord-Ouest."In late 1683 or spring 1684, Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, established a trading post near the mouth of the Kaministiquia River. French authorities closed this post in 1696 because of a glut on the fur market. In 1717, a new post, Fort Kaministiquia, was established at the river mouth by Zacharie Robutel de la Noue. This post appears on 18th century French maps by Royal hydrographer Jacques-Nicolas Bellin as "Fort Caministogoyan". The post was abandoned in 1758 or 1760 during the British conquest of New France.
The fur trade was quickly re-established with most people using Grand Portage. By 1784, Montreal merchants and their "wintering partners" had formed the North West Company (Nor'Westers). The North West Company continued to use Grand Portage as their centre of operations after the area was ceded to the United States after the colonists' victory in the American Revolution. Following the signing of the Jay Treaty of 1794 between Great Britain and the United States, which acknowledged American control of the area, the North West Company required a new midway transshipment point between their inland posts and Montreal. The partners needed to meet and exchange furs and supplies without being subject to American taxation.
In 1803, the Nor'Westers abandoned Grand Portage and established a new fur trading post on the Kaministiquia River on land acquired from the Ojibwe by written agreement 30 July 1798.The post was named Fort William in 1807 after William McGillivray, chief director of the North West Company from 1804-1821. After the union of the North West Company with the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) in 1821, the fort lost its raison d'être because most trade shifted to York Factory on Hudson Bay. It became a minor HBC fur trading post. The original site disappeared under development of Canadian Pacific Railway railroad tracks and coal piles in the 1880s. A replica of Fort William was built further upstream on the Kaministiquia River at Point de Meuron, a former military staging location named after Lord Selkirk's Swiss de Meuron regiment. It is now known as the Fort William Historical Park.
Two townships (Neebing and Paipoonge) and the Fort William Town Plot were surveyed in 1859-60 by the Province of Canada's Department of Crown Lands and opened to settlement. A large section of land adjacent to the Hudson's Bay Company post remained in dispute until 1875, when it was surveyed as Neebing Additional Township. Most land was acquired by absentee landowners, with speculation built on the decision of the new Dominion of Canada to build a railway to the Pacific to begin somewhere along the north shore of Lake Superior. The selection of the Fort William Town Plot (later known as West Fort) as the eastern terminus for the CPR stimulated development, as did the construction of the railway begun in June 1875. The federal Department of Public Works, and later the Department of Railways and Canals, took seven years (1875–1882) to build the Thunder Bay Branch from Fort William to Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Ontario Legislature incorporated the Municipality of Shuniah in March 1873. This early form of regional government comprised a vast area from Sibley Peninsula to the American border. For eight years the residents of Neebing and Neebing Additional townships battled Port Arthur residents for the Thunder Bay terminus. In March 1881, the inhabitants of Neebing and Neebing Additional petitioned the Ontario Legislature successfully to separate the southern townships from Shuniah and to create the Municipality of Neebing.
By 1883-84, the Montreal-based CPR syndicate, in collaboration with the Hudson's Bay Company, clearly preferred the low-lying lands along the lower Kaministiquia River to the exposed shores of Port Arthur, which required an expensive breakwater if shipping and port facilities were to be protected from the waves. The CPR subsequently consolidated all its operations there, erecting rail yards, coal-handling facilities, grain elevators and a machine shop.In April 1892, Neebing Additional Township and parts of Neebing Township were incorporated as the Town of Fort William. Fort William was incorporated as a city in April 1907. The City of Fort William ceased to exist at the end of December 1969.
Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye was a French Canadian military officer, fur trader and explorer. In the 1730s, he and his four sons explored the area west of Lake Superior and established trading posts there. They were part of a process that added Western Canada to the original New France territory that was centred along the Saint Lawrence basin.
Thunder Bay 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 municipality in Northern Ontario; its population is 107,909 according to the 2016 Canada Census, Located on Lake Superior, the census metropolitan area of Thunder Bay has a population of 121,621 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.
The Pigeon River forms part of the Canada–United States border between the state of Minnesota and the province of Ontario, west of Lake Superior. In pre-industrial times the river was a waterway of great importance for transportation and the fur trade.
The Kaministiquia River is a river which flows into western Lake Superior at the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Kaministiquia (Gaa-ministigweyaa) is an Ojibwe word meaning "where a stream flows in island" due to two large islands at the mouth of the river. The delta has three branches or outlets, reflected on early North American maps in French as "les trois rivières" : the southernmost is known as the Mission River, the central branch as the McKellar River, and the northernmost branch as the Kaministiquia. Residents of the region commonly refer to the river as the Kam River.
The Current River is a river in the City of Thunder Bay and Unorganized Thunder Bay District in Thunder Bay District, Northwestern Ontario, Canada. The river is in the Great Lakes Basin and is a tributary of Lake Superior. The river's name comes from the French "Rivière aux courants", referring to the river's currents.
Port Arthur was a city in Northern Ontario, Canada, located on Lake Superior. In January 1970 it amalgamated with Fort William and the townships of Neebing and McIntyre to form the city of Thunder Bay.
Fort William Historical Park is a Canadian historical site located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, that contains a reconstruction of the Fort William fur trade post as it existed in 1816. It officially opened on July 3, 1973.
Thunder Bay District is a district and census division in Northwestern Ontario in the Canadian province of Ontario. The district seat is Thunder Bay.
The Winnipeg River is a Canadian river that flows roughly northwest from Lake of the Woods in the province of Ontario to Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. This river is 235 kilometres (146 mi) long from the Norman Dam in Kenora to its mouth at Lake Winnipeg. Its watershed is 106,500 square kilometres (41,100 sq mi) in area, mainly in Canada. About 29,000 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi) of the watershed is in northern Minnesota, United States.
Grand Portage National Monument is a United States National Monument located on the north shore of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota that preserves a vital center of fur trade activity and Anishinaabeg Ojibwe heritage. The area became one of the British Empire's four main fur trading centers in North America, along with Fort Niagara, Fort Detroit, and Michilimackinac.
Thunder Bay is a large bay on the northern shore of Lake Superior, in Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) long and 22 kilometres (14 mi) wide. It is bordered to the east by the Sibley Peninsula at the southern tip of which is Thunder Cape, marking the entrance to the bay for ships approaching from the east. The mesas and sills on the peninsula are known as the Sleeping Giant due to their appearance when viewed from Thunder Bay.
Fort Kaministiquia, was a French fort located on the north shore of Lake Superior at Thunder Bay, Ontario at the mouth of the Kaministiquia River. It and Grand Portage to the west were the starting points of the canoe route from the Great Lakes to western Canada. See Canadian canoe routes (early). Details of the route can be found under Kaministiquia River.
Thunder Bay Transit is the public transit operator in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. It was formed in 1970, after the amalgamation of the cities of Port Arthur and Fort William and their respective transit agencies. Thunder Bay Transit is a member of the Canadian Urban Transit Association.
James Conmee was an Ontario businessman and political figure. He represented Algoma West from 1885 to 1902 and Port Arthur and Rainy River from 1902 to 1904 in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and Thunder Bay and Rainy River in the House of Commons of Canada from 1904 to 1911 as a Liberal member.
Thunder Bay—Superior North is a provincial electoral district in Ontario, Canada, that has been represented in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario since 1999.
Downtown Fort William, also known as Downtown Thunder Bay South or the South Core, is the urban core of the former city of Fort William, the southern half of Thunder Bay, Ontario. It is centred on Victoriaville Civic Centre, an indoor shopping mall and civic centre built as part of an urban renewal project in the 1980s. It is separated from the Kaministiquia River by the Canadian Pacific Railway line, and its topography is relatively flat.
William Alfred Preston was a Canadian politician, who served as a Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario from 1907 to 1911.
George Thomas Marks was a businessman and politician in Ontario, Canada. He was mayor of Port Arthur, Ontario from 1893 to 1899.
John McKellar was a businessman and political figure in Ontario, Canada. He was the first mayor of Fort William, Ontario, serving from 1892 to 1898.
This article covers the water based Canadian canoe routes used by early explorers of Canada with special emphasis on the fur trade.
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Fort William, Ontario .|