Thunder Bay for First Timers

Land of the sleeping giant

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Thunder Bay (population of 108,359) the second largest city in Northern Ontario, has a magnificent setting at the head of Lake Superior, the world’s largest fresh water lake. Present day Thunder Bay was formed in 1970 by the amalgamation of the two original cities of Port Arthur and Fort William.

The “Lakehead”, as it is regionally called, is the hub of essential services and the economic pulse for all of North Western Ontario. Recently the city has also developed in an exciting new direction as a centre of the new knowledge-based economy with Lakehead University, a law school, a medical school and a cyclotron (which creates radioactive isotopes critical for medical imaging.) But Thunder Bay is also the centre of a fantastic all-season playground for anyone who enjoys the outdoors.


There are a number of viewpoints to enjoy the splendid Superior lakeshore setting of this dynamic city – Hillcrest Park within the city, Mount McKay lookout on the edge of the city, or the Terry Fox memorial park on the highway east of town. Or you can get a totally different water-side perspective with a harbour tour.


Visitors can easily fill several days exploring Thunder Bay. Take your pick from the following summer attractions:

  • Step back to 1816 at the reconstructed fur trade post – Old Fort William.
  • Take a narrated cruise of the bay and view the Lakehead from the water.
  • Experience the largest Finnish population outside Finland with their wonderful restaurants and saunas.
  • Drive to the Sibley peninsula for hiking and camping at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.
  • Hunt or fish at a myriad of places within a half-hour drive.
  • Relax at a rental lakeside “camp” (local term for private cottage);
  • Attend a local symphony concert
  • Journey to Kakabeka Falls.


Hungry? the vibrant culinary scene has something for every taste with a variety of restaurants. A week is hardly enough to explore  all Thunder Bay has to offer – but would give you a sample of Lakehead life.

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