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.

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.

City of Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay

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 AccommodationsThe Willows RV Park & Campground

We have 75 RV/Trailer sites with sewer hookups, each pull through site has a 50 amp service, the others have 30 amp. We have 40 tent sites (some serviced). Located on 57 beautiful wooded acres close to Kenora and Lake of the Woods.

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Thunder Bay AccommodationsDuck Bay Lodge

Looking for a quiet getaway in the Ontario area? Look no further than Duck Bay Lodge. Come relax with us and enjoy the beautiful scenery Duck Bay has to offer.

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Thunder Bay AccommodationsPenn Lake Park And Campground

The park offers 16 campsites with 30/15 am service and 2 RV sites with 50/30/15 amp service. An additional 8 unserviced sites are suitable for tent camping. All serviced sites have sewer and potable water. WifI available.

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Thunder Bay AccommodationsMcVicar Manor Bed & Breakfast

Stately 1906 stone mansion surrounded by gardens. Comfortable rooms with antique furnishings. Large salon, formal dining room, veranda and solarium. Walking distance to shopping, waterfront, dining and theatres.

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Thunder Bay AccommodationsHappy Park

clean, quiet, well-supervised park. Campers who have previously experienced the quality of our park return time and time again to stay with us while in the Thunder Bay area. We are located on Hwy. 11/17, just 16 miles W of Thunder Bay

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More Nights... More places to stay in Thunder Bay 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 & AttractionsCentennial Golf Course

This is a beautiful 9 hole public course and suited to golfers of all levels. There is a four station driving range and a practice green

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Thunder Bay Travel & AttractionsAvis Car & Truck Rental -

You get "we Try Harder" service at over 4,400 Avis Rent A Car Locations worldwide.

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Thunder Bay Travel & AttractionsHertz Rent A Car

Great cars. Great rates. Great Srvice. Hertz is the preferred car rental company of CAA. Free customer pickup & return, Unlimited km rates. One-way rentals. daily, weekly, weekend rates.

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Thunder Bay Travel & AttractionsBirch Motors Ltd. (Greyhound Bus Depot)

Greyhound Canada is the largest provider of intercity bus transportation in Canada, serving nearly 1,100 locations. It has become an icon of bus travel, providing safe, enjoyable and affordable travel to 6.5 million passengers each year.

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Thunder Bay Travel & AttractionsThunder Bay International Airport (YQT)

major airport for northern Ontario. The terminal is southwest of downtown, just past Thunder Bay Expressway and Arthur (see Map). It is accessible from the Trans-Canada Highway, and is only minutes for the city's south downtown.

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More Attractions... Things to see & do in Thunder Bay has lots of attractions, festivals, tours, and things to see & do in and around Thunder Bay.

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