Port Arthur skyline in 2006
|Amalgamated with Fort William to form Thunder Bay||1970|
|Named for||Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn|
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.
Port Arthur had been the district seat of Thunder Bay District. It is historically notable as the original eastern terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It served as a major transshipment point for lakers that carried cargo to Port Arthur from across the Great Lakes. CPR's expansion to the east did little to affect the city's importance for shipping; the Canadian Northern Railway was constructed to serve the port, and it built numerous grain silos to supply lakers. This rail and grain trade diminished in the latter half of the 20th century.
The government of the Province of Canada determined in the late 1850s to begin the exploration and settlement of Canada west of Ontario. With Confederation in 1867, Simon James Dawson was employed by the Canadian Department of Public Works (DPW) to construct a road and route from Thunder Bay on Lake Superior to the Red River Colony (now Manitoba).
DPW's depot and settlement on the lake, where it landed and stored its supplies, acquired its first name in May 1870, after a fierce fire.Colonel Garnet Wolseley named the tiny fire-ravaged settlement as Prince Arthur's Landing, in honor of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850–1942), son of Queen Victoria. Prince Arthur was then serving with his regiment in Montreal. In 1871 the Ontario government surveyed the Prince Arthur's Landing Town Plot, thereby officially confirming the name and opening the land for legal possession. In May 1883 this unwieldy name was changed unilaterally by Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) officials in Winnipeg to Port Arthur. The namesake prince did not visit the settlement until May 1890, when he and his entourage briefly stopped there.
The residents of Prince Arthur's Landing developed the Thunder Bay District's first municipality, the Municipality of Shuniah in March 1873. This early form of regional government covered an area that reached from Sibley Peninsula to the United States (US) border. The residents of Prince Arthur dominated Shuniah, which was resented by the few residents of Fort William, Ontario. In 1881 they established their own Municipality of Neebing. They began a long and ultimately successful competition with Port Arthur to secure all the operations of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which moved to Fort William later in the century.
Prospering from the CPR railway construction boom of 1882–1885, Port Arthur was incorporated as a town in March 1884. The CPR erected Thunder Bay's and western Canada's first terminal grain elevator on the bay in 1883, later leasing it to Joseph Goodwin King.
In the late 19th century, Port Arthur was greatly affected by changes in the economy. The CPR completed its construction along the north shore of Lake Superior and decided to centralize its operations along the lower Kaministiquia River. This abruptly reduced business in Port Arthur. In addition, silver mining had been the mainstay of the economy since the 1870s, but the boom in silver mining ended in October 1890. The U.S. Congress passed the McKinley Tariff, cutting off profitable exports to the US.
The town was in dire economic straits until 1897–1899, when the entrepreneurs William Mackenzie and Donald Mann acquired the Ontario and Rainy River Railway and the Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway. They chose Port Arthur as the Lake Superior headquarters for the Canadian Northern Railway.Port Arthur thrived as a transhipment and grain handling port for the CNR after the railway line was opened to Winnipeg, Manitoba in December 1901.
From 1871 onward, Port Arthur was designated as the administrative centre for Thunder Bay District (created 1871 by the Ontario government). A provincial stipendiary magistrate dispensed justice until 1884, when the government created a judicial district and appointed a federal judge to lead the court. The province erected a jail and court house in 1876, and located a Crown Lands Agent, a Crown Timber Agent, and an Inspector of Colonization Roads in the town. The federal Indian Agent was also usually located in the town. A large new courthouse was erected by the province in 1924.
Attempts in the period 1901–1914 to secure manufacturing industries generally came to naught. But the Western Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company, later called the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Company or PASCO, was a major industrial employer for many years.
The forest products industry was important to the town's economic life. In the 1880s, Herman Finger established the Pigeon River Lumber Company, but dissolved the company and moved his operations to The Pas by 1906.In 1917, two sawmills were added the pulp and paper industry, with the establishment of the Port Arthur Pulp and Paper Company, later a division of Provincial Paper Mills Ltd, and in 1920 the Kaministiquia Pulp and Paper Company at Current River. This was sold in 1922 to the Consolidated Water Power and Paper Company of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.
The absorption of the Canadian Northern Railway into the Canadian National Railways meant the loss of many CNoR facilities. The Canadian Northern route through Port Arthur was downgraded by the new CNR. But western Canadian grain companies preferred to build their large new terminal grain elevators on Thunder Bay rather than on Fort William's Kaministiquia River.
Lakehead University was established on a site within the former city of Port Arthur. And Port Arthur's intercity area increasingly became a focus of industrial and commercial activity in the post-World War II period.
Port Arthur became a city in April 1907. The City of Port Arthur ceased to exist at the end of December 1969.
In 2006, Prince Arthur's Landing was adopted as the name for a mix-use waterfront redevelopment district incorporating a marina, parkland and trails, public art, restored heritage buildings, and a future hotel. Structures include the Baggage Building Arts Centre public gallery, a restored circa-1900 building, the Water Garden Pavilion, a skateboard park, running and cycling trails, as well as public art.
In 1963 Port Arthur acquired a new coat of arms from the College of Arms in London. The original crest depicted a wooden fort with wide-open gate with the motto "Gateway to the West." The new coat of arms, designed by J.P. Brooke-Little, Bluemantle Pursuivant of Arms, featured a heraldic gateway in a framing sun, wavy bars representing water, blue fleurs de lys, a red cross, a lion holding a tree, a moose and a wolf.
Thunder Bay is a city in, and the seat of, Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada. It is the most populous municipality in Northwestern Ontario with a population of 107,909 as of the Canada 2016 Census, and the second most populous in Northern Ontario after Greater Sudbury. 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.
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 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."
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.
Thunder Bay District is a district and census division in Northwestern Ontario in the Canadian province of Ontario. The district seat is Thunder Bay.
King's Highway 61, commonly referred to as Highway 61 and historically known as the Scott Highway, is a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. The 61-kilometre (38 mi) route connects the Pigeon River Bridge, where it crosses into the United States and becomes Minnesota State Highway 61, with a junction at Highway 11, Highway 17 and the Harbour Expressway in Thunder Bay. The highway forms part of the Lake Superior Circle Tour.
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.
Walter Assef was a Canadian politician, and former Vaudevillian, who served as mayor of the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario. He was the first, and so far the only mayor, to have been elected for two discontinuous terms. He was first elected in 1973 and served until 1978. His second term began when he was re-elected in 1981 and lasted until 1985.
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.
Transportation is essential to trade, which has always been the backbone of the economy of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, beginning with Fort Kaministiquia in 1717. When the area was first settled its many waterways were used by the voyagers and Coureur des bois to trade their goods.
Connaught Square is a public park located in the north end of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. It is located directly east of Waverley Park across Algoma Street, formed by the conflux of Waverly Street and Red River Road. The square was originally named Gore Park, then renamed in 1936 for Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, after whom the former city of Port Arthur was named. It covers a quarter of an acre, or 1,000 square metres. Contrary to its name is actually triangular.
Thomas Stuart Traill Smellie was an Ontario physician, merchant and political figure. He represented Fort William and Lake of the Woods (1905-1908) and Fort William (1908-1911) in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as a Conservative member.
John James Carrick was an Ontario real estate promoter and political figure. He was always referred to by his initials as J.J. Carrick. Carrick served as mayor of Port Arthur in 1908. He represented Port Arthur in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1908 to 1911 and Thunder Bay and Rainy River in the House of Commons of Canada from 1911 to 1917 as a Conservative member. He stepped aside in 1917 for his erstwhile protégé Donald McDonald Hogarth, but when the Port Arthur Liberal Association refused to accept Hogarth as the Unionist Party candidate, he gave way to Conservative Francis Henry Keefer who won the seat in the 1917 Canadian federal election for the Unionists.
Charles William Jarvis was an Ontario banker and politician. Jarvis was the second mayor of the town of Fort William from 1899 to 1900, succeeding John McKellar. He represented Fort William in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1911 to 1919 as a Conservative member.
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.
Thomas Marks was an Irish-born Canadian businessman who served as the first mayor of Port Arthur, Ontario.
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.
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