Thunder Bay, Ontario on the Trans-Canada Highway



Terry Fox memorial just east of Thunder Bay

Why Visit Thunder Bay?

Thunder Bay, once the two cities of Port Arthur (on the north) and Fort William (to the south) is a vibrant manufacturing and administrative city in Ontario's northwest corner. There is history and lots to see & do in town, including historic Fort William in the south, check our the grain elevators loading prairie grain on freighters to the world, and the Terry Fox Memorial in the north,. You can head west to Kakabeka Falls and the vast Lake of the Woods, or you can head east to Sleeping Giant, Ouimet Canyon, the Amethyst mines, and Nipigon.

Thunder Bay is the geographic centre of Canada and has a population of 125,000 (Ontario's tenth largest city). It is one of the world's largest grain-handling ports, is serviced by both of the major Canadian railway systems. The city is also a major centre for the area's forest industries. The city grew as a result of its location at the western end of Lake Superior. It was in 1798 that the North West Company built Fort William along the Kaministiquia River. Rapidly this became a lively community of Scottish traders, French voyageurs and Native trappers, who used the community as a staging point to reach further into the interior, conoeing into what is now Manitoba and points beyond.

United Grain Growers Grain Elevator

Thunder Bay features a rich ethnic mosaic offering a variety of cultural and recreational opportunities, all part of the fine quality of life for the newcomer or the visitor. It has a well-educated workforce and is home to Confederation College and Lakehead University. The city hosted the 1981 Canada Summer Games, which provided excellent recreational facilities to the community.

Whether it's a visit to a park, an art gallery or the area's history, Thunder Bay offers its visitors and residents lots to do every day of the week. (see attractions maps for the north, south,and area)


Kakabeka Falls, to the west of Thunder Bay

The main attractions in Thunder Bay are the Terry Fox monument JUST to the east of the city, the Ouimet Canyon & Amethyst Mines about 50 km to the east, the beautiful waterfront in the Port Arthur area with its view of the "Sleeping Giant" to the east, the industrial waterfront with the massive grain elevators in the Fort William area, the historic Fort William fur trading post, and Kakabeka Falls to the west of the city.

Thunder Bay History

Fort William is the world's largest fur trading post

In the mid-1800s, mining became the focus of international attention, as people began to prospect for & find copper, silver and gold, as well as amethyst, Ontario's official gem. In the mid 1880s, the final links in the nation's trans-continental Canadian Pacific railroad was completed. Heavy shipping on the upper Great Lakes was initiated to supply the fast-growing heavy industry in the American midwest.

The completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the late 1950s changed shipping on the Great Lakes dramatically. Ships could now navigate from Port Arthur and Fort William all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and beyond, bypassing Niagara Falls and the turbulent waters of the upper St Lawrence. More importantly, modern and standardized lock systems allowed a standard ship size to navigate the Great Lakes, increasing trade opportunities amongst cities around the Great Lakes. The 1960s led to the paving of the Trans-Canada Highway, which made the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior accessible to the masses. It also increasing motorized traffic through the region, with this community a major rest spot for those travelling by car across the country.

Neighbourhoods Northwest Ontario Towns City of Thunder Bay Thunder Bay FoundLocally.com

Highway Notes

Cyclists can bypass the Thunder Bay Expressway, and get a scenic and fairly level ride through Thunder Bay, the only city in Canada with TWO DOWNTOWNS. Before they merged in 1971, Fort William to the south and Port Arthur to the north were cities in their own rights with their own manufacturing, port facilities and central business districts. If you are looking for Finnish food (or if you've never tried it before!) this is THE town for that! There is a waterfront casino in Port Arthur (nowadays called "North Ward"), and there is lots of shopping and the town's movie theatre in the "Intercity" are, guess where?, between the tow downtowns. You'll also see tons of grain elevators, since this was major grain trans-shipment point for prairie wheat onto the Great Lakes freighters to various bakeries and factories around the Great Lakes or for export from Montreal. If you are heading eastbound, grab some munchies in town and have an outdoor picnic at Current River Park before re-connecting to the Trans-Canada.

Trans-Canada Highway History

ThunderBay Neighbourhoods & Communities

Zoom-out for outlying communities, zoom-in for inner city



Thunder Bay Attractions Map

Blue= main Trans-Canada Highway | Red = bicyle-friendly route & route for downtown access from TCH

Thunder Bay Accommodation & Attractions

Here are a featured SAMPLING of hotels, motels, long-term accommodation, vacation rentals, lodges and campgrounds. For a complete (and searchable listing) use the red SEARCH feature at right.

Accommodations Directory Listings

Here are some of the hotels, motels, campgrounds, and lodges/cottages to be found along the Trans Canada Highway:

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Thunder Bay AccommodationsMoosehorn Lodge

Finest Fishing in Northwestern Ontario Fish the great waters of Lac Seul, Pelican, Abram, Minnitaki, and Big Vermillion.

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Thunder Bay AccommodationsSilver Lake Park Ltd

On 120 acres of farm land and hardwood bush next to the camp for lovers of nature and beautiful scenery. 3000 feet of waterfront. Great fishing. Sandy beach/swim area with boat, canoe, kayaks &paddle boat rentals.

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Thunder Bay AccommodationsBest Western Crossroads Motor inn

Close to the airport, in a highway location, with temperature controlled rooms with parking at the door. Remote colour TVs, airport limo. Close to all skiing.

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Thunder Bay AccommodationsTrading Post Motel Ignace

Trading Post Motel Welcomes You to Ignace Ontario! If you're looking for lodging in Township of Ignace Ontario that is clean, comfortable and affordable with a friendly family atmosphere, then you'll feel right at home at the Trading Post Motel.

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Thunder Bay AccommodationsSuper 8 Thunder Bay

Located off Highways 11B and 17B, we are just a short distance from the most popular attractions in the area, including the Canada Games ComplexFree continental breakfast in lobby. Free local calls, kids under 12 stay free.

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More Nights... More places to stay in Thunder Bay

TransCanadaHighway.com has lots of hotels,mnotels, beds & breakfast, long-term accommoodtion, and comprgrounds to choose form in and around Thunder Bay.

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Attractions Directory Listings

Here are some of the attractions, museums, historical sites, and sports activities to be found along the Trans Canada Highway:

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Thunder Bay Travel & AttractionsThunder Bay Country Club

The Club boasts a 9-hole layout, exceptionally well maintained with some great driving holes. Each hole has a two tee box locations.

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Thunder Bay Travel & AttractionsExpedia CruiseShipCenters McIntyre Centre

Deal with the cruise experts to find and book your next dream getaway for less. Exceptional savings and value await.

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Thunder Bay Travel & AttractionsChapples Municipal Golf Course

Located in the city centre. A very scenic course with a few of the fairways built along rivers.

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Thunder Bay Travel & AttractionsFort William Country Club

Every hole has a spectacular mountain back drop. This splendid course has 18 championship holes that are excellent for all levels of golfers. On the course, the Kentucky Bluegrass Tee Boxes and Fairways and the Bentgrass Greens are trimmed

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Thunder Bay Travel & AttractionsEnterprise Rent-a-Car

Unlike other rental car companies, Enterprise focuses on neighborhood markets. We specialize in renting to people who need a temporary replacement car or a vehicle for a special occasion.

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More Attractions... Things to see & do in Thunder Bay

TransCanadaHighway.com has lots of attractions, festivals, tours, and things to see & do in and around Thunder Bay.

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If your local area business is not already here or in the FoundLocally.com directory (try the SEARCH box at the top), and you would like to be featured (randomly), add yourself to the Free Listings!

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