Thunder Bay lies at the western end of Lake Superior, and was once a major fur trading stop at Fort William, and the town of Port Arther and today the docklands in between their city cores (they merged into Thunder Bay in 1970) has evolved into a major stop for prairie grain, being transferred from trains to grain elevators to great lakes or ocean freighters.
To capture the essence of this city, here are suggestions for your first day (especially if its your only day) in Thunder Bay.
Start the day with a hike to the top of Mount McKay. It towers 1000 feet over the city, so you can take in the beautiful panoramic view or zoom in with the viewing scope.
Fort William Historical Park (formerly "Old Fort William") is a must! It's the world's largest fur trading post, with its 40 plus historical buildings on the 25 acre site.
You'll pass throught Fort Williams' downtown and drive along the waterfront along the "Bayview Route", northwards past the city's various docks and port facilities.
In the Intercity area, walk through the Centennial Conservatory. This tropical house has multiple areas of trees, scrubs, and exotic flowers from all over the world. With an unbeatable price of admission, FREE!
Visit the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, around the corner, holding one of Canada's largest collection of Native art.
At the city's northern end, is the Marina Park and beautiful Boulevard Lake with its surrounding recreational pathways, and views east to the Sleeping Giant. Nearby is the Casino Port Arthur (downtown north) shopping and dining.
Head a short distancde northeast of the city on the Trans-Canada to go see the 9 foot high bronze Terry Fox Monument to commemorate his heroic Marathon of Hope, which ended just east of town.
Three minutes further down the road you can visit the Thunder Bay Agate Mine. Take home a souvenir from Canada's only Agate mine hosting the world's largest Agate
If you are visiting for a longer period, Thunder Bay's location in Ontario's rustic Great North provides a number of destinations well worth visiting (each about a day, including driving):
Visit Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park located 30 km west of Thunder Bay on Highway 11/17, home of the 39 m high Kakabeka Falls.
Visit Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, on the beautiful Sibley Peninsula which juts into Lake Superior, 30 km east of the city. More...
Drive a little further and visit Ouimet ("Wee-met") Canyon, the furthest south arctic micro-climate in North America, complete with arctic flora and fauna.
There's also the Amethyst Mine nearby. More...
In winter, head over to Loch Lomond or Mt. Baldy and spend the day on the slopes. Competitive trails for all levels of skiers. Ski hills & snow reports.