Fort William Gardens

Last updated
Fort Williams Gardens
Fort William Gardens Logo.png
Fort William Gardens TBay.jpg
Location901 Miles Street
Thunder Bay, Ontario
P7C 1J9
OwnerCity of Thunder Bay
Capacity 4,680
Opened6 March 1951 (1951-03-06)
Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (2000-present)
Lakehead Thunderwolves (CIS) (2001-Present)
Fort William Figure Skating Club (Skate Canada) (1954-Present)
Fort William Canadians (TBJHL) (1951-78)
Westfort Hurricanes (TBJHL) (1966-72)
Thunder Bay Twins (USHL/OHA Sr. A/OHA Sr. A) (1970-91)
Thunder Bay Vulcans (TBJHL) (1971-73)
Thunder Bay Centennials (CAJHL) (1972-73)
Thunder Bay Westfort Hurricanes (CAJHL/MWJHL) (1972-75)
Thunder Bay Beavers (CAJHL) (1973-78)
Thunder Bay Kings (TBJHL) (1980-84)
Thunder Bay Flyers (USHL) (1984-2000)
Thunder Bay Hornets (TBJHL/MJHL) (1982-86)
Thunder Bay Thunder Hawks/Senators/Thunder Cats (CoHL/UHL) (1991-99)
Thunder Bay Twins (HNwO) (2003-04)
Thunder Bay Bombers (HNwO) (2004-06)
Thunder Bay Hawks (HNwO) (2007-08)
Thunder Bay K&A Twins (HNwO) (2008-11)
Arena Info

The Fort William Gardens is a multi-purpose arena, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. It opened in 1951.



The Gardens opened on March 6, 1951. The Fort William Canadians defeated the Fort William Hurricanes by a 4–2 score in the first game, which was refereed by Fred Page and with a paid attendance of 5,200 tickets. [1]

The isolation of Thunder Bay and travel costs have prevented the Gardens from retaining most teams.[ citation needed ] It hosted an NHL pre-season game in 1993 between the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals, and two pre-season AHL games in 2002 with St. John's Maple Leafs vs. Manitoba Moose, and 2 in 2003 with Manitoba Moose vs. Toronto Roadrunners.[ citation needed ]

The Gardens has hosted the 1975 Allan Cup, the 1988 Allan Cup, and 1991 Allan Cup, representing the Grand Championship of Canadian Senior hockey. The Gardens played host to the 1967 Memorial Cup series in which the Toronto Marlboros defeated the Port Arthur Marrs for the national junior hockey championship. The Gardens hosted the 1988 Air Canada Cup National Midget Hockey Championship. [2]


Since 2001, the Gardens has been home to the Lakehead Thunderwolves men's university hockey program, and a Superior International Junior Hockey League team. Previous tenants include the Thunder Bay Bulldogs, Fort William North Stars, Thunder Bay Flyers, the Thunder Bay Senators/Thunder Bay Thunder Cats, and the Thunder Bay Twins.[ citation needed ]

Major events

The Gardens has also hosted several national curling championships:[ citation needed ]

The arena has hosted Remembrance Day ceremonies, festivals, circuses and many concerts including such artists as The Beach Boys, Johnny and the Hurricanes, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, The Guess Who, John Lee Hooker, Burton Cummings, Roy Orbison, Celine Dion, Willie Nelson, Bee Gees, Rush, REM, AC/DC, Slade, Ted Nugent, Skid Row, The Black Crowes, Foreigner, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Black Oak Arkansas, Pearl Jam, Our Lady Peace, Nickelback and The Tragically Hip.[ citation needed ]


The Thunder Bay Community Auditorium (1,500 seated) competes for concert bookings.[ citation needed ] Lakehead University has proposed working with the city to build a new, larger arena and convention centre to replace the Gardens.[ citation needed ]

Thunder Bay City Council has agreed for the need for such an arena, but believes that the Gardens is still in usable condition. City council turned down the most recent proposal in October 2006. In February 2007, city council decided to lease a new boiler for the facility, holding off a decision to purchase a new one in the event that a replacement is successfully approved.[ citation needed ]

In November 2009, Thunder Bay city manager Tim Commisso put forward a report with a plan to pay for future infrastructure projects, including a $70 to 128 million replacement for the Gardens. The report, was approved in principle, and plans are now underway to decide on the right location.[ citation needed ]

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  1. "Mayor Badani Opens First Game In New Gardens". Daily Times-Journal. Fort William, Ontario. March 7, 1951. p. 10.

Coordinates: 48°23′09″N89°15′02″W / 48.38583°N 89.25056°W / 48.38583; -89.25056