Thunder Bay

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Thunder Bay
City of Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay skyline.JPG
Lakehead University Summer Campus.jpg
MAgnust Theatre Thunder Bay October One.jpg
Thunder Bay City Hall 2010.jpg
Thunder Bay Tourist Pagoda.jpg
From top left: View from Mount McKay, Lakehead University, Magnus Theatre, City Hall, Tourist Pagoda
"Canada’s Gateway to the West", "T-Bay", "Lakehead" or "The Lakehead" [1]
Superior by Nature / The Gateway to the West
Canada Ontario location map 2.svg
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Thunder Bay
Location of Thunder Bay
Canada location map.svg
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Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay (Canada)
Coordinates: 48°22′56″N89°14′46″W / 48.38222°N 89.24611°W / 48.38222; -89.24611 Coordinates: 48°22′56″N89°14′46″W / 48.38222°N 89.24611°W / 48.38222; -89.24611
Province Ontario
District Thunder Bay District
CMA Thunder Bay
Settled1683 as Fort Caministigoyan
Amalgamation 1 January 1970
Electoral Districts     

Thunder Bay—Superior North/Thunder Bay—Rainy River
Provincial Thunder Bay—Superior North/Thunder Bay—Atikokan
  Type Municipal Government
   Mayor Bill Mauro
   City manager Norm Gale [4]
  Governing Body Thunder Bay City Council
   MPs Patty Hajdu (Liberal)
Marcus Powlowski (Liberal)
   MPPs Michael Gravelle (OLP)
Judith Monteith-Farrell (ONDP)
   City (single-tier)447.5 km2 (172.8 sq mi)
  Land328.24 km2 (126.73 sq mi)
  Water119.0 km2 (45.9 sq mi)  26.6%
179.38 km2 (69.26 sq mi)
2,556.37 km2 (987.02 sq mi)
199 m (653 ft)
   City (single-tier)107,909 (50th)
  Density330.1/km2 (855/sq mi)
93,952 (33rd)
  Urban density569.9/km2 (1,476/sq mi)
121,621 (33rd)
  Metro density47.6/km2 (123/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Thunder Bayer
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s) 807
NTS Map052A06

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 (after Greater Sudbury) 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.


European settlement in the region began in the late 17th century with a French fur trading outpost on the banks of the Kaministiquia River. [9] It grew into an important transportation hub with its port forming 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 played important roles in the city's economy. They have declined in recent years, but have been replaced by a "knowledge economy" based on medical research and education. Thunder Bay is the site of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute.

The city takes its name from the immense Thunder Bay at the head of Lake Superior, known on 18th-century French maps as Baie du Tonnerre (Bay of Thunder). [9] The city is often referred to as the "Lakehead", or "Canadian Lakehead", because of its location at the end of Great Lakes navigation on the Canadian side of the border. [10]


Before 1900

European settlement at Thunder Bay began with two French fur trading posts (in 1683 and 1717) which were subsequently abandoned (see Fort William, Ontario). In 1803, the Montreal-based North West Company established Fort William 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 was no longer needed.

Fort William in 1865 Fort William 1865.jpg
Fort William in 1865

By the 1850s, the Province of Canada began to take an interest in its western extremity. Discovery of copper in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan had prompted a national demand for mining locations on the Canadian shores of Lake Superior. 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 the Robinson Treaty in 1850 with the Ojibwa of Lake Superior. As a result, an Indian reserve was set aside for them 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 for European-Canadian settlement.

Another settlement developed a few miles to the north of Fort William after construction by the federal Department of Public Works of a road connecting Lake Superior with the Red River Colony. The work was directed by 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 Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in May 1883. [11]

The arrival of the CPR in 1875 sparked a long rivalry between the towns, which did not end until their amalgamation in 1970. Until the 1880s, Port Arthur was a much larger and dynamic community. 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. Provoked by a prolonged tax dispute with Port Arthur and its seizure of a locomotive in 1889, the CPR relocated all its employees and facilities to Fort William. The collapse of silver mining after 1890 undermined the economy of Port Arthur. It had an economic depression, while Fort William thrived.

20th century

CN Railway Station T-bay Railway Station.jpg
CN Railway Station

In the era of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Thunder Bay began a period of extraordinary growth, based on improved access to markets via the transcontinental railway and development of 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 incurred debt to grant bonuses to manufacturing industries.

By 1914, the twin cities had modern infrastructures (sewers, potable 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. 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 1913–1914, aggravated by the outbreak of the First World War. A war-time economy emerged with the making of munitions and shipbuilding. Men from the cities joined 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. These 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. It 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 played an important role in the Thunder Bay economy from the 1870s. In the 1880s, Herman Finger established the Pigeon River Lumber Company in the area, and also built the Gunflint and Lake Superior Railroad, but he dissolved the lumber company and moved his operations to The Pas by 1919. [12] 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 (opened for the manufacture of naval ships and railcars during the late World War I) re-opened to build British aircraft. Now run by Bombardier Transportation, the plant has remained a mainstay of the post-war economy. It has produced forestry equipment and transportation equipment for urban transit systems, such as the Toronto Transit Commission and GO Transit.


On 1 January 1970, the City of Thunder Bay was formed through the merger of the cities of Fort William, Port Arthur, and the geographic townships of Neebing and McIntyre. [9] Its name was the result of a referendum held previously on 23 June 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. [13]

There was more controversy over the selection of a name for the amalgamated city than over whether to amalgamate. A vocal minority of the population preferred "The Lakehead". [14] There was much discussion about other cities in the world that use the word "The" in their names. The area was often referred to as "The Lakehead" before and after amalgamation based on its geographic location. It was seen as the "head" of shipping on the Great Lakes and the "rail head".

The expansion of highways, beginning with the Trans-Canada Highway and culminating with the opening of Highway 17 (linking Sault Ste Marie to Thunder Bay in 1960), has significantly diminished railway and shipping activity since the 1970s and 80s. Shipping on the Saint Lawrence Seaway was superseded by trucking on highways. Grain shipping on the Great Lakes to the East has declined substantially in favour of transport to Pacific Coast ports. As a result, many grain elevators have been closed and demolished. The Kaministiquia River was abandoned by industry and shipping.[ citation needed ]


Thunder Bay has become the regional services centre for Northwestern Ontario with most provincial departments represented. Lakehead University, established through the lobbying of local businesspeople and professionals, has proven to be a major asset. Another upper level institution is Confederation College. The same businessmen and professionals who helped attract the university and college were the driving force(s) behind the political amalgamation of Fort William and Port Arthur in 1970.[ citation needed ]


Fort William as seen from the International Space Station, December 2008 Thunder Bay NASA.jpg
Fort William as seen from the International Space Station, December 2008
Thunder Bay is the brightly lit city along the top of Lake Superior, taken at 1:58 AM on 10 November 2017, during ISS Expedition 53. ISS053-E-223431.jpg
Thunder Bay is the brightly lit city along the top of Lake Superior, taken at 1:58 AM on 10 November 2017, during ISS Expedition 53.

The city has an area of 328.48 square kilometres (126.83 sq mi), which includes the former cities of Fort William and Port Arthur, as well as the former townships of Neebing and McIntyre. The city reflects the settlement patterns of the 19th century and sprawls. Anchoring the west end of the city, the Fort William Town Plot, surveyed in 1859–60, was named West Fort William (or 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.[ citation needed ]

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 (14.0 mi) from the Port Arthur downtown to Thunder Cape at the tip of the Sleeping Giant. The former Fort William section occupies flat alluvial land along the Kaministiquia River. In the river delta are two large islands: Mission Island and McKellar Island. Since 1970, the central business districts of Fort William and Port Arthur have suffered a serious decline. Business and government relocated to new developments in the Intercity area. There has also been substantial residential growth in adjacent areas of the former Neebing and McIntyre townships.[ citation needed ]


Thunder Bay, Canada
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm

The Thunder Bay area experiences a warm-summer humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb) and a continental subarctic (Dfc) influence in northeastern areas of the city (including that affected by Lake Superior), but not necessarily falling in this zone. [15] [16] This results in warmer summer (or cooler) temperatures and warmer winter temperatures for an area extending inland as far as 16 km. The average daily temperatures range from 17.7 °C (63.9 °F) in July to −14.3 °C (6.3 °F) in January. The average daily high in July is 24.3 °C (75.7 °F) and the average daily high in January is −8.0 °C (17.6 °F). [17] On 10 January 1982, the local temperature in Thunder Bay dropped to −36.3 °C (−33.3 °F), with a wind speed of 54 km (34 mi) per hour for a wind chill temperature that dipped to −58 °C (−72.4 °F). [18] [19] As a result, it holds Ontario's record for coldest day with wind chill. [19] The highest temperature ever recorded in Thunder Bay was 40.3 °C (104.5 °F) on 7 August 1983. [20] The coldest temperature ever recorded was −43.2 °C (−45.8 °F) on 31 January 1996. [21]

The city is quite sunny, with an average of 2,121 hours of bright sunshine each year, ranging from 268.1 hours in July to 86.2 hours in November. [17] Winters are comparatively dry with the snowfall being very limited and temperatures much colder than in Houghton, Michigan, on the U.S. side of the lake, where the climate is marked by heavy lake-effect snow. Thunder Bay has more of a continental climate in comparison.


In 2012, Thunder Bay was the city with the highest per-capita rate of homicides in Canada. Winnipeg had previously held the distinction of having the highest rate from the years 2007 to 2011. [31] [32] In 2014, the per-capita rate of homicides in Thunder Bay was more than double the 2012 rate, and was over 2.5 times higher than the city with the next highest rate. [33] However, between 2014 and 2015, the crime rate decreased by 6%. This was the second highest decrease in any major Canadian city, behind only Moncton, New Brunswick. [34]


The Port of Thunder Bay, as seen from Hillcrest Park in June 2006 View Of Thunder Bay Harbour.jpg
The Port of Thunder Bay, as seen from Hillcrest Park in June 2006

Thunder Bay is composed of two formerly separate cities: Port Arthur and Fort William. Both still retain much of their distinct civic identities, reinforced by the buffering effect of the Intercity area between them. Port Arthur and Fort William each 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 ThunderBayWardMap.svg
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. [35]

Thunder Bay is represented in the Canadian Parliament by Don Rusnak, and Patty Hajdu, both members of the Liberal Party of Canada, and in the Ontario Legislature by Michael Gravelle of the Ontario Liberal Party and Judith Monteith-Farrell on the Ontario New Democratic Party.

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 Thunder Bay Coat of Arms.png
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. [36]

Corporate logo

The city logo depicts a stylized thunderbird, called Animikii, a statue of which is located at the city's Kaministiquia River Heritage Park. [37] The slogan, Superior by Nature, is a double play on words reflecting the city's natural setting on Lake Superior. [36]

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 Cliff Redden won. 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. [36]

Sister cities

Thunder Bay has five sister cities on three continents, [38] which are selected based on economic, cultural and political criteria.


Labour force [40]
RateThunder BayOntarioCanada
As of: Census 2016

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. [41] Resolute Forest Products is the largest private employer, employing over 1,500 people. [42]

Bombardier Transportation operates a 553,000 square feet (51,400 m2) plant in Thunder Bay which manufactures mass transit vehicles and equipment, employing approximately 800 people. [42] The plant was built by Canadian Car and Foundry to build railway box cars in 1912, began building passenger railcar and transit cars from 1963 onwards [43] [44] Bombardier acquired the facility from UTDC in 1992, which had acquired it from Cancar in 1984.

Employment by Occupation, 2016 [40]
OccupationThunder BayOntario
Business, Finance and Administration14.4%16.1%
Natural and Applied Sciences6.2%7.4%
Education, Law, and Government14.5%11.9%
Art, Culture, Recreation, and Sport2.3%3.2%
Sales and Services30.7%23.4%
Trades, Transport and Equipment Operators15.0%13.3%
Natural Resources and Agriculture1.9%1.6%
Manufacturing and Utilities2.5%5.2%

Lack of innovation by traditional industries, such as forest products, combined with high labour costs have reduced the industrial base of Thunder Bay by close to 60%. 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. However, in recent years shipments through the port of Thunder Bay have stabilized, and remains an important part of the Saint Lawrence Seaway. [45]

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. [46] [47] 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. [48] The city also has a law school. [49]



Thunder Bay receives air, rail and shipping traffic due to its prime location along major continental transportation routes. The municipally owned Thunder Bay Transit operates 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. [50] 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. [51]


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, [52] and the sixth-largest port in Canada. [48] 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.


Selected ethnic
origins, 2016 [56]
Ethnic originPopulation
English 32,825
Canadian 27,850
Scottish 25,425
Irish 22,115
French 19,405
Italian 16,610
Ukrainian 16,085
Aboriginal 15,670
Finnish 13,565
German 13,015
Polish 8,395
Swedish 5,360
Visible minorities 4,790
multiple responses included

According to the 2016 Census, there were 107,909 people residing in Thunder Bay on 10 May 2016, of whom 48.8% were male and 51.2% were female. Residents 19 years of age or younger accounted for approximately 19.9% of the population. People aged by 20 and 39 years accounted for 25.0%, while those between 40 and 64 made up 35.1% of the population. The average age of a Thunder Bayer in May 2016 was 43.3, compared to the average of 41.0 for Canada as a whole. [57]

Between the censuses of 2011 and 2016, Thunder Bay's population decreased by 0.1%, compared to an increase of 4.6% for Ontario and 5.0% for Canada. The population density of the city of Thunder Bay averaged 328.6 people per square kilometre, compared with an average of 14.8 for Ontario. The total population has been stagnant or declining since amalgamation in 1970.

A further 13,712 people lived 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. [58]


According to the census, Thunder Bay was home to 13,565 people of Finnish descent, [56] the highest concentration of people of Finnish origin per capita in Canada. Thunder Bay has a large Aboriginal population representing 13.2% of the population, while visible minorities represent 4% of the population. [56]

Mother-tongue language (2016) [59]
LanguagePopulationPct (%)


The 2001 census states that 82% of Thunder Bay residents belonged to a Christian denomination: 39.8% of the total population was Roman Catholic, 39.5% were Protestant, and 2.6% followed other Christian denominations, mostly Eastern Orthodox. Those who followed other religions made up less than 1% of the population, while the remaining 17% were non-religious or did not respond.

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. [60] The marina in downtown Port Arthur, an area known as The Waterfront District, draws visitors for its panoramic view of the Sleeping Giant and the presence of various water craft. The marina, known as Prince Arthur's landing also includes recreational trails along the lake, playground, harbour cruises, helicopter tours, the Alexander Henry (a retired Canadian Coast Guard icebreake), splash pad (summer), skating rink (winter), and art gallery, gift shop, numerous restaurants, and a newly opened Delta Hotel and conference centre. There are several small surface amethyst mines in the area, some of which allow visitors to search for their own crystals. [61] 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:


Thunder Bay has 38 elementary schools, three middle schools, eight secondary schools, two 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, 3 high schools and a centre for adult studies. The Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board is the second largest, with 16 elementary schools, three middle schools and two 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 TB PERSIAN.jpg
A Persian, local to Thunder Bay

The city of Thunder Bay was declared a "Cultural Capital of Canada" in 2003. [62] 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, [63] and Persians, a cinnamon bun pastry with pink icing, originated in the city. [64] [65]

Thunder Bay is served by the Thunder Bay Public Library, which has four branches.

Events in the city include Thunder Pride, an LGBT pride parade held since 2010, and the annual Canadian Lakehead Exhibition.

The arts

Thunder Bay Historical Museum Thunder Bay Historical Museum.jpg
Thunder Bay Historical Museum

Thunder Bay is home to a variety of music and performance arts venues. The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1960, is the only professional orchestra between Winnipeg and Toronto, and has 31 full-time and up to 30 extra musicians presenting a full range of classical music. [66] New Music North is vital to the contemporary classical music scene in the city by offering intriguing and novel contemporary chamber music concerts. [67] The largest professional theatre is Magnus Theatre. Founded in 1971, it offers 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.

The Vox Popular Media Arts 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. [68] 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, and organized the annual Northwest Film Fest film festival that attracts several thousand patrons. [69] Two of Thunder Bay's festivals were included in the 2018 list of the 100 best festival compiled by Festivals and Events Ontario: Teddy Bears Picnic and Live on the Waterfront, the former also being recognized as best promotional campaign and sponsor of the year. [70]

The Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW), founded in 1997, is the largest of several writing groups based in Thunder Bay. Its mission is "to encourage and promote the development of the writers and literature of Northwestern Ontario". [71] NOWW does this through a number of activities including regular workshops, monthly readings (summer excepted), an eWriter in Residence program, and other events designed to help and inspire writers in the region. NOWW also hosts an annual LitFest in May which includes an awards presentation to the winners of its international annual writing contest. [72] Past contest judges include a Who's Who of Canadian writers such as Heather O'Neill, Michael Christie, Jane Urquhart, and Liz Howard.

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 traveling exhibitions and houses an impressive collection of artifacts, photographs, paintings, documents and maps in its archives. The City of Thunder bay also houses the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, and the Thunder Bay Military Museum (housed within the O'Kelley Armoury on Park Street).

Thunder Bay has two recognized Federal Heritage buildings on the Register of the Government of Canada Heritage Buildings:

Both are part of HMCS Griffin.

Places of worship

St. Andrews Presbyterian Church St Andrews Presbyterian Church Thunder Bay.jpg
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. [75] A sample:

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, the Continental Cup of Curling in 2003, and the World Junior Baseball Championship in 2010 & 2017.

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, [78] 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. [79] Listed below are some of the city's major facilities.

Sports teams

Thunder Bay North Stars Ice hockey Superior International Junior Hockey League Fort William Gardens
Lakehead Thunderwolves Basketball Ontario University Athletics C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse
Lakehead Thunderwolves Baseball National Club Baseball Association Div 2 (USA) Baseball Central
Lakehead Thunderwolves Ice Hockey Ontario University Athletics Fort William Gardens
Lakehead Thunderwolves Volleyball Ontario University Athletics C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse
Thunder Bay Border Cats Baseball Northwoods League Port Arthur Stadium
Thunder Bay Chill Soccer USL League Two Fort William Stadium

Thunder Bay is also home to the National Development Centre – Thunder Bay, an elite cross-country ski team that attracts many of Canada's best Junior and U-23 skiers.

Sport events



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. [81] The Chronicle Journal publishes a free weekly called Spot every Thursday, focusing on entertainment. There are two weekly newspapers: 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. [82] 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. [83]


Three English-language stations supply Thunder Bay with free digital over-the-air television. Programming from the Global and CTV networks is provided by a locally owned twinstick operation branded as Thunder Bay Television, and the city receives TVOntario on channel 9. CBC Television and Ici Radio-Canada Télé are available only on cable and satellite 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. [84] 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, can be received in Thunder Bay with an outdoor roof antenna and a digital-capable television or receiver.


Thunder Bay is home to 12 radio stations, all of which broadcast on the FM band.

There are four commercial radio stations based in the city — Rock 94 and 91.5 CKPR, owned by Dougall Media, the parent company of Thunder Bay Television and Thunder Bay's Source, and 99.9 The Bay and Country 105, owned by Acadia Broadcasting. One additional station, Energy 103/104, 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. Thunder Bay Information Radio CKSI-FM is broadcast 24/7 on 90.5 and is also the city's emergency radio station.

Notable people

See also

Notes and references

  1. "Canada's Gateway to the West". Port of Thunder Bay. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  2. City Hall, Thunder Bay City Council. Retrieved 2 June 2007.
  3. Municipal Code, by-law 218-2003. Retrieved 2 June 2007.
  4. Smith, Jamie. "Norm Gale appointed city manager at city council meeting Monday," TB News Watch (11 January 2016). Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Thunder Bay, City". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  6. 1 2 "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Thunder Bay [Census metropolitan area]". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  7. 1 2 "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Thunder Bay [Population centre]". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  8. "Canadian Climate Normals 1971–2000". Thunder Bay A, Ontario: Environment Canada. 19 January 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  9. 1 2 3 Brief History of Thunder Bay, City of Thunder Bay. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  10. Tronrud, Thorold J; Epp, Ernest A.; and others. (1995). "Introduction" Archived 7 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine , Thunder Bay: From Rivalry to Unity, p. vii, Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society ISBN   0-920119-22-0
  11. 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.
  12. Nicholson, Karen (February 2000). "The Lumber Industry in Manitoba" (PDF). Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport - Historic Resources Branch. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  13. About Thunder Bay, pp. 2. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  14. "The City of Thunder Bay" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  15. Peel, Murray C. "World Map of Koppen-Geiger climate classification". The University of Melbourne . Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  16. "Interactive Canada Koppen-Geiger Climate Classification Map". Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  17. 1 2 3 "Thunder Bay A". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada . Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  18. "Thunder Bay Airport Hourly Data Report for January 10, 1982". Environment Canada. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  19. 1 2 "Fact Sheet−Winter Weather Warnings". Environment Canada. Archived from the original on 24 May 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  20. "August 1983". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  21. "January 1996". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  22. "Environment Canada Monthly Summary". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  23. "June 1995". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  24. "February 1996". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  25. "February 2000". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  26. "September 2005". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  27. "March 2010". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  28. "Port Arthur". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  29. "Thunder Bay shatters cold weather records" . Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  30. d.o.o, Yu Media Group. "Thunder Bay, Canada - Detailed climate information and monthly weather forecast". Weather Atlas. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  31. "Manitoba murder capital of Canada for fifth year in a row". CTV. 24 July 2012.
  32. Comments, Posted: 12/19/2013 8:36 AM &#124 (19 December 2013). "Manitoba's homicide rate highest among provinces". Winnipeg Free Press.
  33. "Statistics Canada report shows city has one of Canada's highest crime rates". TBNewswatch. 22 July 2015.
  34. "Alternative format - Portable Document Format (PDF)" (PDF). 21 November 2018.
  35. Guide to City Services, Municipal Government, Wards. Retrieved 4 June 2007
  36. 1 2 3 Thunder Bay City Symbols. Retrieved 4 June 2007.
  37. Kaministiquia River Heritage Park
  38. Thunder Bay Sister Cities Archived 28 February 2018 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 1 August 2014
  39. staff, Heather Peden, CJ. "Thunder Bay gains 5th sister city". The Chronicle-Journal. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  40. 1 2 Statistics Canada Community Profile 2016 City of Thunder Bay, Labour. Retrieved 24 March 2018
  41. Major Employer List – Thunder Bay, 2006 45kb. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  42. 1 2 Thunder Bay Top Private Sector Employers, Northern Ontario Business (May 2006). Retrieved 4 September 2007.
  43. "Site Fact Sheet, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada" (PDF). Bombardier. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  44. -
  45. 56-Year Cargo Statistics, Port of Thunder Bay. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  46. New Molecular Medicine Research Centre to be Headquartered in Thunder Bay Archived 28 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine , (6 September 2006). Retrieved 4 September 2007
  47. Genesis Genomics. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  48. 1 2 Thunder Bay Blends Old, New Industries, Site Selection (November 2005). Retrieved 4 September 2007
  49. Lakehead University Faculty of Law, Site Selection. Retrieved 27 February 2014
  50. TP 1496 Preliminary aircraft statistics 2006. Transport Canada. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  51. Canada Transportation Act, 1990. Order Varying Certain National Transportation Agency Orders Respecting Railway Companies, SOR/89-488 S III 1. (2) (c). Retrieved 5 June 2007
  52. Port of Thunder Bay, official website. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  53. The People of Thunder Bay Archived 27 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 1 September 2007.
    For 1911: Tronrud, Thorold J; Epp, Ernest A.; and others. (1995). Thunder Bay: From Rivalry to Unity Archived 7 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine . Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, pp. 59. ISBN   0-920119-22-0.
  54. "Planting the Municipal Ownership Idea in Port Arthur, 1875–1914." Urban History Review, Vol. XXVI, no. 1. October, 1997.
  55. "Thunder Bay, Ontario (Code 3558004) census profile". 2011 Census of Population . Statistics Canada. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  56. 1 2 3 Profile of Ethnic Origin for Thunder Bay Census Metropolitan Area, 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  57. City of Thunder Bay, 2016 Community Profile. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  58. Focus on Geography Series, Thunder Bay CMA. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  59. Statistics Canada: 2016 census
  60. Fort William Historical Park, Planning Your Visit – Beginnings. Retrieved 4 June 2007
  61. Ontario Amethyst: Mining Ontario’s Amethyst Archived 8 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. Retrieved 4 August 2007.
  62. Cultural Capitals of Canada 2003. Retrieved 4 June 2007.
  63. Seven Wonders of Thunder Bay Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine , Shags. Thunder Bay Source. Retrieved 11 June 2007.
  64. Thunder Bay Food. Retrieved 11 June 2007.
  65. The Universal Cynic (26 June 2006) Lexicon of Yore. Retrieved 11 June 2007.
  66. Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  67. New Music North Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 2 August 2008.
  68. Bay Street Film Festival Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  69. NOSFA Website. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  70. "Thunder Bay festivals earn provincial awards". CBC News. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  71. NOWW Website. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  72. NOWW Website. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  73. "Ordnance Store". Government of Canada - Parks Canada. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  74. "Armoury". Government of Canada - Parks Canada. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  75. "Thunder Bay Community Information Database: Churches" Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Thunder Bay Community Information & Referral Center. Retrieved 3 January 2009
  76. "Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary" Archived 29 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine , City of Thunder Bay. Retrieved 3 January 2009
  77. "Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra Brochure" TBSO. Retrieved 3 January 2009
  78. City of Thunder Bay Archived 13 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine – Outdoor Rinks. Retrieved January 2008
  79. Thunder Bay Telephone (2007) TBayTel 2007–2008 Directory, Pages 56 to 58.
  80. Golf Thunder Bay and Golflink – Thunder Bay Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  81. Sudbury Star and Sault Star Part of Media Buyout. Netnewsledger, 1 June 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2007.
  82. The Argus Archived 7 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 8 June 2007
  83. Your City, Thunder Bay. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  84. CRTC Decision 2008-289 – CRTC. Retrieved 3 March 2009


  1. Climate data was recorded at Port Arthur from July 1877 to July 1941, and at Thunder Bay Airport from August 1941 to present.

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