The most fantastic outdoor activities start in Thunder Bay, which provides the gateway to Northwest Ontario and the region’s 150,000 (approx.) lakes and rivers.
For only one day, you may go to one of the province’s highest points, sail on the largest freshwater lake in the world, see historical places, and savour delectable meals and whatnot. Let’s look at some of the best things to do in Thunder Bay.
1) Thunder Bay- Culture
Canada’s “Cultural Capital” designation was given to Thunder Bay in 2003. The Persian, a cinnamon bun pastry with pink frosting, and the shag, a combined shower and stag party used to mark a couple’s engagement, both Persian and Shag have their roots in the city.
The annual Canadian Lakehead Exposition and the LGBTQ pride parade Thunder Pride are among the city’s events.
Thunder Bay is one of Canada’s busiest ports and one of the largest grain storage and transshipment depots in the world. It is a key transportation hub with access to major rail, highway, and lake steamer routes. The Silver and Kakabeka falls hydropower facilities nearby provide power to the area’s rich mining (gold, copper, silver, and iron ore), fur-farming, logging, and fishing industries.
2) The Top 12 Activities in Thunder Bay, Ontario
Thunder Bay, Ontario, has come a long way since it was founded in 1816 as a fur trading town.
This strategically located hamlet on the beaches of Lake Superior, which can trace its origins back to the founding of historic Fort William, is currently one of the most lively communities in northwest Ontario.
Its downtown core preservation initiatives, the development of arts and cultural organizations, and the plethora of outdoor adventure opportunities make it one of Canada’s best little cities.
The city of Thunder Bay offers a variety of enjoyable activities or things to do, from seeing Fort William to perusing the art galleries and museums to walking its vast network of hiking trails and adjacent provincial parks.
2.1) Visit Fort William Historical Park to Take Part in History
In the list of best things to do in thunder bay Fort William Historical Park is the first choice of every tourist.
In Fort William Historical Park (formerly known as Old Fort William), a Canadian historical landmark in Thunder Bay, Ontario, the Fort William fur trade station has been faithfully reproduced as it looked in 1816. It was formally inaugurated on July 3, 1973.
2.1.1) Point de Meuron
Point de Meuron, location lies along the Kaministiquia River’s banks. The original fort’s site, Fort Kaministiquia, which is now covered by the city of Thunder Bay, lies a few kilometres upstream from this location. As the site of a similarly named Hudson’s Bay Company post, Point de Meuron has unique historical importance.
It is referred to as a “living history” site located just west of the city centre. It has 42 historically accurate buildings that can be explored, as well as costumed “guides” who carry out many of the activities that would have been typical at the time, such as blacksmithing, canoe construction, and carpentry.
A restored Ojibwa hamlet and farmland, both accurately depicting life at the time, are two other intriguing displays. The 50,000-seat amphitheatre is a relatively recent addition used to hold events all year round. On-site amenities include a visitor’s centre with a gift store and café.
2.2) Discover the Northern Niagara, Kakabeka Falls
A waterfall on the Kaministiquia River, Kakabeka Falls is situated next to the community of the same name in the Ontario municipality of Oliver Paipoonge, 30 kilometres (19 miles) west of Thunder Bay.
Dropping 40 metres (130 feet) to the earth, the falls cascade into a valley that was carved out of the Precambrian Shield by meltwater during the last glacial maximum. Its magnitude and accessibility have earned it the moniker “the Niagara of the North” as a result.
The breathtaking Kakabeka Falls is only a simple 25-minute drive due west of Thunder Bay. Here, near the hamlet of the same name, the Kaministiquia River plunges 40 metres into an extraordinary valley it has carved out of the Precambrian Shield.
The fall’s themselves are simple to access and secure, making them suitable for a visit by people travelling with children. They are known as the “Niagara of the North” because of their magnitude (and the reality that it is just 11 meters shorter).
At the parking area, a short boardwalk climb takes you to the top of the falls, where you may enjoy stunning canyon views.
As a result, it is possible to explore areas that were once a part of the path used by the first Voyageurs who traded for furs on several different nature routes. Cross-country skiers may use many of these same paths throughout the winter.
There is the wilderness-like Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park. The Ojibwe term gakaabikaa is where the name “Kakabeka“—which means “waterfall over a cliff“—comes from.
2.2.1) Prince Green Mantle: Mythology
A Princess of the Mist Ojibwa mythology includes the Kakabeka Falls. According to legend, Princess Green Mantle led the adversaries over the waterfalls while sacrificing herself to defend her village.
According to legend, you may still see the valiant figure of Green Mantle in the mist if you stroll along the riverbank to the falls.
2.3) Enjoy the Winter Wonderland at Thunder Bay
The most interesting thing to do in thunder bay is to enjoy the Winter Wonderland at Thunder Bay. One of Ontario’s premier ski resorts, Loch Lomond, is a short drive from Thunder Bay and a well-liked year-round attraction.
Skiers and snowboarders may access a range of well-groomed routes in the winter, from beginner slopes to difficult runs up to 2.5 kilometres in length, thanks to the resort’s three chairlifts.
Together with cross-country ski tracks and snowshoeing pathways, there is also a snow tubing facility. Furthermore offered are locker and equipment rentals.
2.3.1) Best Place for Mountain Bikers
In the list of fascinating things to do in Thunder Bay, Mountain bikers are always the first choice for tourists.
Mountain bikers use the chairlifts to begin their journeys on the hills in the summer, transforming the landscape. The numerous signposted mountain hiking paths are another attraction for hikers.
The Mount Baldy Ski Area is also worthwhile to visit, although not being as crowded (or demanding) as Loch Lomond. Families and beginners who wish to pick up the sport before reaching the bigger slopes are particularly fond of it.
Ontario’s Thunder Bay, at 1800 Lake Lomond Road
2.4) Visit the Thunder Bay Art Gallery to Learn About First Nations Culture
One of the best things to do in thunder bay is to plan a trip to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery if you’re interested in Canadian art, especially the work of First Nations artists.
The gallery now houses one of Ontario’s greatest collections of contemporary First Nations artworks (a new multi-million dollar building on the thunder bay waterfront is under construction).
2.4.1) Thunder Art Gallery: Fascinating Art Collections
There are almost 1,600 artworks in the remarkable permanent collection. It includes everything from classical painting to contemporary multi-media works. Moreover, exhibitions of sculptures, photography, beading, paintings, and drawings will be enjoyed by visitors.
The gallery also offers children’s workshops and programmes with educational themes, visiting art exhibits that change every six weeks.
Ontario’s 1080 Keewatin Street, Thunder Bay
2.5) Wander Around the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
The 1944-founded Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is a great place to get up and personal with Thunder Bay’s most recognizable feature.
This 244-square-kilometre park, located on the Sibley Peninsula and a picturesque hour’s drive from the city, draws tourists and hikers because of its breathtaking natural splendour. Also, it has one of Ontario’s top campsites.
Almost 100 kilometres of hiking paths can be found in the park, with the Top of the Giant Trail being the most well-known. The 22-kilometre round-trip climb is challenging for the weak of the heart or the physically unfit, and it can take several hours.
While the trail’s highest point is the “Top of the Giant,” at around 305 metres high, it is worth it for the mesmerizing vistas of Lake Superior.
Other hiking routes will lead you to noteworthy geological landmarks, such as the famous “Sea Lion,” an unusual arch eroded out of the rock by erosion and wave action.
Visit the park’s visitor centre as well, where there are exhibits on the history and fauna of the area (which is home to several bird species, deer, wolves, and even lynx).
A seasonal campground or one of the rustic full-service cottages accessible year-round in the park are options for those who want to stay the night.
2.5.1) Number of Campsites to Enjoy
More than 240 campsites may be found in the park’s several campgrounds. There are 200 campsites in the primary campground at Marie Louise Lake, 85 of which have electricity.
Along the park’s internal paths, there are an additional 40 campsites scattered throughout. It offers a beach and picnic area, boat ramps, indoor restrooms and showers, and a laundromat. You may hire mountain bikes, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and other watercraft.
Pass Lake, Ontario, R R 1
2.6) Explore the Eagle Canyon and Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park
Another interesting wilderness location is Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park. This day-use park is an hour’s drive from Thunder Bay and provides breathtaking panoramic views of Ouimet Canyon, a 150-meter-wide ravine with towering cliffs that drop 100 metres to the canyon floor below.
The equally magnificent Eagle Canyon is about 15 minutes east. An exciting, adrenaline-fueled adventure park can be found here called Eagle Canyon Adventures. It takes full advantage of the magnificent landscape.
2.6.1) Canada’s Longest Suspension Bridges
Two suspension bridges (Canada’s longest suspension bridge) that traverse the canyon are notable features; the largest is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world at 183 metres.
The half-mile long, the longest zipline in Canada is also fun to check out and will have you flying over the forest canopy at up to 72 kph.
Dorion, Ontario, 275 Valley Road
2.7) Visit the Terry Fox Monument
A public memorial honouring cancer research advocate Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope may be seen on the outskirts of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
The terry fox monument, which features a likeness of a Fox, is accessible to the general public and provides a birds-eye perspective over Thunder Bay and the area.
When visiting Thunder Bay, tourists may discover a little bit more about Terry Fox, one of Canada’s national heroes.
2.7.1) Terry Fox Memorial: Spreading Hope for Cancer Awareness
In Canada, the Terry Fox Memorial is a representation of spreading hope for cancer awareness. In 1977, bone cancer claimed his limb. Yet he nevertheless started a cross-Canada race to raise money for cancer research. At St. John’s, Newfoundland, the race started.
When he finally arrived at Thunder Bay after 143 days, he learned the disease had returned and he was unable to continue. The Canadian hero is commemorated with a nine-foot-tall bronze monument, where tourists may pay their respects to the terry fox memorial and enjoy panoramic views of Thunder Bay.
A Terry Fox Run is still organized every year in more than 60 nations. Terry Fox Monument always comes in the list of best things to do in Thunder Bay.
2.8) Founders’ Museum & Pioneer Village Offers “Hands-On” History
Families will enjoy a trip to the Founders’ Museum & Pioneer Village in Thunder Bay. This entertaining pioneer hamlet is located along Highway 61. It is only a short drive from the city’s core.
It has a huge collection of historical relics, cars, and accurately recreated historical structures.
Highlights include vintage railroad carriages and a railroad station, blacksmith and mechanics shops, coupled with a conventional general store, with a strong focus on the type of “hands-on” history that youngsters appreciate.
Ontario’s Thunder Bay, 3190 Highway 61
2.9) Walkthrough Hillcrest Park
In Thunder Bay, Ontario, there is a public park called Hillcrest Park. It is located in the city’s northern region (formerly Port Arthur, Ontario).
A memorial to the Lake Superior Regiment from World War II is situated inside the park. A Universal Carrier, a vehicle utilized by the unit, and a list of soldiers fallen in battle are included on the memorial.
The Sunken Gardens, which are near the park’s northern edge, have more than 70 different flower species arranged in a special arrangement of paths and benches.
Hillcrest Park, as its name implies, is a public area with some of Thunder Bay’s greatest views perched on a hill. The picturesque viewpoint offers sweeping views of both the shoreline and the well-known Sleeping Giant natural landmark.
2.9.1) Amazing Features of Hillcrest Park
The park, a well-liked location for solitude or a picnic, contains a lovely garden, a children’s play area, and a monument honouring members of the Lake Superior Regiment who participated in World War II.
2.10) Street Art in Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay’s downtown core is covered in a variety of colourful and intriguing murals. The Cooke Street graffiti alley in Thunder Bay is the finest place to see street art.
Young painters from all across the city who make up the Die Active Art Collective created various pieces of art on each wall along Cooke Street.
The murals, which are many, may be divided into two groups: those produced in 2008 for a City of Thunder Bay-funded initiative, and those most recently by the Die-Active Art Collective, a unit of the Superior Art Gallery.
In reality, a Graffiti Art Tour has been created by the Die-Active Art Collective.
To promote pride in the city’s history as part of a redevelopment initiative, five exterior murals with the theme “Tell Our Tales” were created about ten years ago as part of a grant programme for the South Core.
As part of the city’s Clean, Green, and Beautiful campaign, which continues to get support from our current mayor, Keith Hobbs, former mayor Lynn Peterson put this project into action.
Artist Chris Rantala collaborated with Brian Cronk on the other painting at 119 May St. Both murals were created for the city. At 226 May St. South, they collaborated to create a scenario with Metis canoeists. Street art of Thunder Bay always comes in the list of best things to do in Thunder Bay.
2.10.1) Murals by Young People
Numerous murals that appear to have been spontaneously painted all around Thunder Bay and on a few train coaches somewhere in Canada are the results of young people’s learning to prepare ahead, arrange their ideas, and then let their imaginations run wild.
The young individuals that make up the Die-Active Art Collective range in age from 14 to 30. Almost 600 young people have contributed to Die-Active programmes throughout the years with Lora Northway serving as the program’s director.
This outreach programme was established by the Absolutely Superior Art Museum eight years ago.
2.11) McCluskeys Corners’ Thunder Oak Cheese Farm
The first farm in Ontario to make gouda cheese is Thunder Oak Cheese Farm. The Schep Family has been producing this creamy Dutch cheese in Thunder Bay since 1995, and it has long been a favourite of cheese lovers everywhere.
Fresh milk from the Schep family’s own Holstein cows is used to make our award-winning Thunder Oak Gouda, a natural product. Our cheese has neither added colouring nor preservatives.
Since 1995, we have been making award-winning, all-natural Gouda cheese in the beautiful Slate River Valley.
2.11.1) Origin of Thunder Oak Cheese Farm
Both of the founders, Jacob and Margaret Schep, were from families who made cheese in the Netherlands. Jacob and Margaret moved to Canada in 1981 together with their kids, starting a dairy farm in Scoble Township, close to Thunder Bay.
They started a modest cheese-making business of their own in 1995.
Walter, their son, and his family have been in charge ever since. Thunder Oak Cheese Farm expanded in 2013 and relocated to a new site nearby.
They can now fulfil the rising demand for their locally manufactured cheese. Thanks to their operation in a bigger processing facility.
2.12) Mount Mckay
On the Indian reservation of the Fort William First Nation, Mount McKay is a mafic sill situated south of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Among the Nor’Wester Mountains, it is the tallest, northernmost, and most well-known.
Some 1,100 million years ago, it was produced during a magmatic activity connected to the massive Midcontinent Rift System.
Mount McKay rises 483 m (1,585 ft) above sea level and 299 m (981 ft) over Lake Superior. It is a flat-topped hill with precipitous cliffs on three sides.
2.12.1) The Rove Formation
The Rove Formation, which makes up Mount McKay, comprises shale and greywacke and is protected by a 60 m (200 ft) thick diabase cap.
The Rove Formation is a part of the Animikie Group. A 60 m (200 ft) diabase cap covers the Rove sedimentary strata in the Nor’Wester Mountains; this Logan diabase is 1115 1 million years old. The erosional remains of a sill that formerly covered the whole region are this diabase cap.
An observation walkway and viewing scope with breathtaking views of Thunder Bay, the surrounding area, Lake Superior, and the Sleeping Giant is located on the lower plateau.
The Fort William First Nation’s inhabitants revere Mount Mckay as holy ground. It is a carving of a monument dedicated to their Ojibwa elders. The finest thing to do in Thunder Bay is always climbing Mount McKay.
3) Thunder Bay: A Fascinating City
You will be astounded by all Thunder Bay has to offer, whether you are a resident or a guest, in town for a week, a weekend, or just passing through. Thunder Bay offers a variety of activities.
Thunder Bay, the largest city in the region and the largest on Lake Superior, serves as the entrance to a region of more than 500,000 square kilometres of the Canadian wilderness with more than 150,000 lakes, rivers, and streams. It is also home to around 120,000 people.
Whether you’re driving across the nation on the Trans-Canada or north on Highway 61, take a detour and stop in Thunder Bay. Take in breathtaking vistas, a shoreline of the highest calibre, thrilling hiking and mountain bike trails, acclaimed dining establishments, and the allure of Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake in the world.
I hope this article helps you to pick up the best things to do in thunder bay.