THUNDER BAY (Ontario)
JUST CALL IT T-BAY
Thunder Bay is located at the topmost region of the Great Lakes. It is a significant transportation bridge connecting Canada and the Atlantic Ocean to the rest of the world. Because of its location, Thunder Bay has been a trading spot, even during the Paleo-Indian civilization. The 17th century marked the start of establishment in Thunder Bay. The first Europeans arrived and created fur trading posts. They are also the ones who named the place “Baie de Tonnere”. At the end of the century, traders and settlers increased because of Fort William built by the North West Company. The Fort was situated near the entrance of Kaministiquia River. The said Fort is now one of Canada’s top attractions.
HOW IT BEGAN
Europeans first settled in the area in the late 17th century since its proximity to the Kaministiquia River made it an ideal outpost for fur trading. The region became a critical hub for the transportation of grain and other goods to Western Canada. Through the years, the economy of Thunder Bay relied more and more on research, education and other knowledge-based activities.
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╣the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. The park was founded to commemorate the city’s favorite mascot. This overweight mascot, the Sleeping Giant, is a spectacular view of the Sibley Peninsula. Mesas and sills form outside the Lake Superior and the body of water is the Thunder Bay. The park features one of the highest cliffs in Ontario at a staggering height of 240 meters. The southernmost tip is called the Thunder Cape and has been a favorite subject of many Canadian artists. You can explore the park by biking, hiking, canoeing and kayaking and camping. You can also enjoy wildlife viewing and photography. During winter, visitors can do cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. In the Ojibway legend, the Sleeping Giant is known as Nanabijou who unfortunately turned into stone when a secret silver mine was discovered.
╣the Kakabeka Falls. It is a cliff with a 40-meter drop. You can view the falls while hiking or skiing across the gorge. You can also spend the day at the park camping, picnicking and swimming.
╣Pigeon River Provincial Park. Walk trails are available to view two points of the waterfalls.
╣Ouimet Canyon. If you have heard of the Ouimet Legend, you should see the real thing. The canyon is a 3-kilometer by 152-meter rock formation, which you can view from trails and platforms. However, trekking along the canyon floor is not allowed.
╣other natural parks in the city. Experience wildlife viewing at Wabakimi and Quetico Provincial Parks. Aside from the provincial parks, Thunder Bay also has lots of city parks and conservation areas. Conservation areas are operated by the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority. They can give you information on eight conservation areas in and near Thunder Bay.
╣Ahnisnabae Art Gallery. It specializes in native arts. Thunder Bay is home to many talented contemporary artists. Aboriginal arts can also be seen displayed in many galleries along with fascinating public sculpture and architecture. In the art gallery, the native art displayed are made from indigenous materials like abalone shells, sweet grass and sage. They also have greeting cards and handcrafted jewelry. The gallery is located at James Street and opens at 11am on Tuesdays to Fridays and at 12 noon during Saturdays.
╣Chenier Fine Arts. This is the purple gallery known for personalized art placement and framing. The gallery at Court Street is open at 11am from Tuesday to Saturday.
╣Definitely Superior Art Gallery. This showcases contemporary art for commercial and public display. Visitors can join art workshops, video screenings, performance arts, media arts installation and literary events. This gallery hosts different forms of art and educates both locals and tourists. Gallery is located at Park Avenue, Suite 101 and opens at noon from Tuesdays to Saturdays.
╣Local Colours Art Gallery. This displays arts by the locals everyday except Sunday. You can browse through their selection and purchase one as a souvenir.
╣Thunder Bay Art Gallery. If you want to have a view at the First Nations arts, this is the place to go to. It is also the largest public gallery between Ontario and Winnipeg. The gallery is located at Keewatin Street and opens everyday except Mondays at noon.
╣Robin’s Donuts. Its first Thunder Bay store opened in 1975 heralding something new in the city. The store grew and now served more than just coffee and donuts.
╣the Hoito Restaurant. It is another Thunder Bay landmark located at the Finnish Labor Temple or Finnish Heritage Building. The building was constructed in 1910 and the restaurant at the lower floor was established eight years after. They offer hearty meals at affordable prices to anyone. The Finnish pancake is a delicacy you should not miss. Located at 314 Bay Street, Hoito Restaurant serves home-styled food as well as Finnish cuisine in a café-like place.
╣the Persian Man. The store's specialty is an authentic Thunder Bay delicacy called Persians, which is actually a pastry believed to be named after General Pershing. The recipe to this mouthwatering icing-covered treat is a top secret, and the patrons are left wanting more. The Persian Man is the store to attack.
╣Thunder Oak Cheese Farm. This place makes Gouda cheese, one of the things that makes Thunder Bay famous. The farm makes its cheese only from the freshest milk from the healthiest Holstein cows. The cheese does not contain preservatives or colorings so all you can taste is the deep flavor of cheese. The store lets you watch how they make this delectable Dutch cheese. You can also purchase Gouda in different quantities, sizes and flavors. They also have imported cookies, spices and ceramics.
TOURISTS SHOULD KNOW
You can access Thunder Bay by the Trans-Canada Highway 11 and 17. The Thunder Bay Transit operates on 17 routes from six in the morning up until after midnight to most areas. The bus stops are also near the city’s facilities. If you are to fly to Thunder Bay, you can choose from several airlines that are accommodated by the Thunder Bay International Airport. The airport ranked third busiest in Canada and offers direct flights. You can fly through Air Canada/Jazz, Bearskin Airlines, Nakina Airservice Ltd., Porter Airlines, Wasaya Airways, and WestJet.
Getting around the city will not be a problem, especially if you are in a group. Motorcoach services are available in Thunder Bay. The city has Greyhound Canada, Caribou Coach, Thunder Bay Transit and others. You can also rent cars. As you get off your plane, rental agencies await at the Airport. You can also splurge as soon as you set foot at Thunder Bay. Feel like a star or a very wealthy business person by renting a limousine to take you from the airport to your destination. Choose from Golden Rule or Prestige. To awaken your quirky side, you can also try Superior Pedicabs. If you need help planning your tour (should you think you might miss some of the attractions in Thunder Bay), Lake Superior Visits will be at your service. They will provide you (and your group) local guides, day tours and shuttle services. You can also choose from different tour packages.
Thunder Bay is at the tip of the Great Lakes and it can only mean one thing: adventure. Experience both urban and rural moments in this awesome city. Because there are several attractions in Thunder Bay, you might want to stay for a couple of days. Bring comfortable clothes because even if this is a city, most of the tourist spots require trekking, hiking or swimming to be fully appreciated. Nevertheless, going to Thunder Bay is worth the effort.