Thunder Bay as the largest urban centre in Northwestern Ontario is hub for the vast wilderness region the size of France which measures over 250,000 square hectares.
The City of Thunder Bay with a population of 110,000 is the largest city on Lake Superior and the regional hub for Northwest Ontario.
Thunder Bay is your gateway to some of the most exotic outdoor experiences in the Heart of the Continent, just a 40 minute drive north of the Ontario-Minnesota border crossing at Pigeon River, ON and Grand Portage, MN.
With a varied choice of accommodations, a wide array of culinary and cultural experiences and air connectivity through its international airport, Thunder Bay has much to offer visitors traveling the Heart of the Continent. Whether you are here for an extended stay, a weekend getaway or just stopping in over night. Thunder Bay has everything you need for your next great outdoor adventure into the heartland of Boreal Forest and Canadian Shield that is Northwest Ontario.
Superior by Nature, One of Canada's Best Outdoor Cities
With a slogan "Superior by Nature", it’s easy to see why this metropolitan centre on the western shore of the world's largest fresh water lake, Lake Superior, is becoming known as one of Canada’s great outdoor cities.
The city is home to the iconic Sleeping Giant, one of Canada’s great natural wonders and is the gateway to the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area and the remote wilderness of three of Ontario's largest provincial parks - Quetico, Wabakimi and Woodland Caribou all within Northwest Ontario with thousands of great angling lakes and thousands of kilometres of wilderness trails. Within city limits and just minutes outside the city, you can experience wildlife up close like never before, canoe and kayak endless rivers and lakes and experience iconic floatplane travel to remote lodges.
A visit to Prince Arthur’s Landing, Thunder Bay’s new world class waterfront is a must. The multi-use development completed in 2012 reconnects the downtown north core to the shores of Lake Superior with a new marina, an arts centre, commercial buildings and expanded parkland.
Getting Here Is Easy
Located near the geographic centre of Canada, Thunder Bay is easily accessible by ground, water and air.
Thunder Bay is the northern end point of the Highway 61/Interstate 35 corridor only 40 minutes from the Minnesota border, while the Trans Canada Highway connects you from east and west if driving across Canada.
The Thunder Bay International Airport is the fourth busiest in Ontario. A one-to-two hour flight from major centres in Canada (Winnipeg and Toronto), Thunder Bay continues to well served by Porter Airlines, Air Canada, Westjet, plus regional carriers Bearskin Airlines, Wasaya Airlines, Thunder Airlines and Nakina Air.. Thunder Bay is also a world-class port of call for not only cargo ships, but cruise ships and recreational boaters alike.
Thunder Bay is a tale of two cities with the amalgamation of the former cities of Port Arthur and Fort William in 1970. The town of Port Arthur was formed in 1884 and the town of Fort William in 1892.
The city takes its namesake from the immense bay at the head of Lake Superior that French explorers mapped in the 18th-century as Baie du Tonnerre (Bay of Thunder). The city was and still is referred to as "The Lakehead" because of its location at the end of the Great Lakes as the western terminus for shipping through the St. Lawrence Seaway. Thunder Bay at one time was one of the busiest grain ports in Canada with its massive grain elevators spread across the Lake Superior shoreline.
Thunder Bay known for its famous landmark, the Sleeping Giant has a strong connection to indigenous culture, but is also a melting pot of cultures with European settlers first arriving here in the late 1700s to engage the fur trade and then later in the 1800s for forestry and mining. In the late 17th century, a French fur trading outpost was established on the banks of the Kaministiquia River and this then led the Northwest Company to establish Fort William, the biggest inland trading post on the shores of Lake Superior in the early 1800s. The re-creation of this historic site is now one of Canada's top outdoor attractions, Fort William Historical Park.
Thunder Bay is a regional centre for health care and education with its Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and key education institutions Lakehead University and Confederation College.