Thunder Bay History - Early Settlement

A canon reminds us of the strategic significance of early sttlements here In 1820 the Hudson's Bay Company acquired all the assets of the North West Company, ending a long-standing fur trade war. Ironically, at the same time, the fur stocks were declining in the centre of the continent. 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. Fort William in the south and Port Arthur to the north had secured itself as a significant port for grain from Western Canada and ore shipments from Northern Ontario. The region continued to grow with the development of manufacturing, shipbuilding and pulp and paper industries.

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