Despite its remote location, there is plenty to see and do around Thunder Bay, both in and outside of the city. The city has a fascinating history and there are dozens of museums and historical sites, and lots of parks along the city’s rivers and canals.
Thunder Bay’s five-kilometer-long waterfront is home to a string of grain elevators, whose stirring architecture – all modernist lines and pure functionalism –will not fail to impress. In the middle of it all is the marina and the new Thunder Bay Charity Casino, and behind that is the old CN railway station, whose distinctive high-pitched gables, turrets and dormer windows were built to resemble a French chateau.
On the outskirts of Thunder Bay is the city’s star turn, the replica fur-trading post of Old Fort William, the largest of its kind in the world. This palisaded compound has been restored to its appearance in 1815. Look out for the fur warehouse, festooned with pelts of beaver, lynx and arctic fox, and the canoe workshop, where exquisite birch-bark canoes are made to look like traditional designs for museums all over Canada.
Stretching along endless miles of Superior’s shores and surrounded by thousands of inland lakes and rivers, Thunder Bay is a paradise for anglers, boaters, canoeists and kayakers. The fresh breezes and clear waters of the harbor are perfect for sailing and windsurfing. Scuba divers will find interesting wrecks to explore in the area, too.
Nature lovers have lots of options nearby. You can head east along the Trans-Canada highway to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, which juts out into the middle of Lake Superior. Or you can also head west to Kakabeka Falls, the Niagara Falls of the North, or further west to Kenora and the visually stunning Lake of the Woods. Thunder Bay is quite remote from any of Ontario’s cities, being closer to Winnipeg, Manitoba than anywhere else.