Check Out the Summer Lineup at Chippewa Park 2024

Mark these dates on your calendar. You don't want to miss these family-friendly events at Thunder Bay's Chippewa Park!

 

Chippewa Park Beach 1950s
Chippewa Park Beach 1950s

A History of Thunder Bay's Chippewa Park

Thunder Bay’s Chippewa Park has been a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike for more than a century.

Tourism was growing in Northwestern Ontario in the 1920s. Automobiles had become commonplace, highway networks were expanding, and people could travel greater distances for vacations.

In 1927, Fort William (now Thunder Bay) City Council established a Tourist and Convention Bureau and supplied the Parks Board with an initial $5000 to begin the construction of a tourist facility at Chippewa. The new building included a camp kitchen, hot and cold showers, and modern toilet facilities. By 1932, 18 log cabins had been built that were used by tourists for the next 75 years. Tent and trailer sites were also added. The park soon became a popular site for local, regional, national and U.S. visitors.

Chippewa-Park-historical-photo-Chrissy_Mackay
Chippewa Park historical photo - Chrissy Mackay

In 1960, the Trans-Canada Highway around Lake Superior was completed, making the Lake Superior Circle Route a popular itinerary. Because of Chippewa’s many amenities, the tourist camp became one of the most popular stopover points along the route.

In 2001, The Friends of Chippewa Park was formed by local citizens to take the park to the next level. They secured millions in funding to upgrade the park’s facilities, including seven new, wheelchair-accessible log cabins, a visitor reception centre and restoring the historic merry-go-round.

Today, Chippewa Park is one of the most popular parks in the region, offering amusement rides, picnic areas, food services, overnight accommodations, two swimming beaches, a playground, trails and birding sites and more. 

Here’s a look at what Chippewa has to offer this 2024 season.

Chippewa Park Events For the Kids

Chippewa Park events
The kids will love the bouncy castle 

The 3rd annual Children’s Festival, hosted by The Friends of Chippewa Park in Support of Our Kids Count will be held on Sunday, June 16 from noon to 5 pm. There will be something for everyone including games, music, bouncy castles, a petting zoo, face painting and more. Thunder Bay Fire Rescue will be locating one of their pumpers to the site so that kids can get a good look at it. They will be joined by the regional EMS organization who will have one of their ambulances on site. Families can take in the fun in the festival area then let the kids blow off some more steam in the park playground and on the amusement rides. There’s also a beach for playing and swimming and a picnic area to enjoy food from the concessions or a lunch brought from home. And it’s Father’s Day. What better way to celebrate dads and grandpas and all the great men in our kids’ lives?

Sunday Serenades: Sunday in the Park Concert Calendar

Chippewa Park outdoor concert
The outdoor concerts at Chippewa Park offer something for everyone

Chippewa Park’s free outdoor concerts, Sunday in the Park, have become a local tradition. They take place every Sunday on the North side of the park’s Pavilion from 2 – 4 p.m. Bring your own lawn chair and relax and enjoy the diverse and talented lineup of performers.

The popular series will launch June 30 with the local band Southern Comfort taking the stage to get everyone in the mood with rock and roll, swing, and rhythm and blues.

The summer-long schedule will continue with the following:

July 7
Robin Ranger, a talented First Nations musician who has created a soulful and uniquely northern jazz style that resonates strongly with his many fans. Ranger is a former Chippewa Park resident. How’s that for local talent?

July 14
Thunder Bay legend Tommy “Milestone” Horricks, Thunder Bay’s longest-lasting full-time musician. From his time in the 60s hanging out with Neil Young to the recent celebration of his 80th birthday, Horricks has kept on rocking for decades with no plans to slow down.

July 21
Jamie Philp is an artist whose many fans turn out to enjoy his performances of jazz, folk and pop music.

July 28 
Thunder Brass, a traditional five-piece brass quintet who will be joined by the members of the Fort William Male Choir.

August 4
Blue Pretenders will be returning by popular demand to Chippewa Park. They have also performed at the Thunder Bay Blues Festival.

August 11
Rodney Brown & Friends: Rodney Brown is a Thunder Bay treasure who had had a highly successful forty-year career of songwriting, performing and recording.

August 18
Brother JOHN whose members have been a part of the Thunder Bay music scene for many years, in local bands such as the Bay Street Blues Band and Southern Comfort and with touring artists such as Heather Dale and Rita Chiarelli.  All ages appreciate their toe-tapping rhythms, heartfelt singing and their wide variety of music. 

August 25
Dusty Roads offers both old-time tunes and folk music. 

September 1
Juno Award-nominated musician Wayne Faulconer, an outstanding guitarist and another local legend will close out the 2024 Chippewa Park Sunday in the Park in the Park series in style.

Awake Your Inner Artist – En Plein Air

Chippewa-Park-beach-Sleeping-Giant
Get inspired by the landscape of Lake Superior and the Sleeping Giant at Chippewa Park

If you have ever wanted to expand your knowledge of watercolour painting, this event is for you. Held Thursday, June 20 and Friday, June 21, En Plein Air (in the open air) is a workshop led by local artist Biljana Baker who will inspire you to embrace the amazing Chippewa Park landscape in the medium of watercolours. Baker is an experienced en plein air painter who helps her students to capture the beauty of the great outdoors. Every artist will paint one landscape per day. A group session with tasty appetizers will round out the days.

Beachy Keen: Sandy Beach Festival Day

Sandy Beach Chippewa Park
Sandy Beach at Chippewa Park

The Sandy Beach Swimming Area, voted best beach by the readers of The Walleye in 2023, will see lifeguard services return on Friday, June 28 to be provided every day in July from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm and 11:30 am to 5:30 pm in August. Sandy Beach Festival Day will take place on July 25th from 1-5 pm.  Programming will include activities, games and a public barbecue.  New to Sandy Beach are three changing rooms, thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Chippewa Park. 

About Pat Forrest

Pat Forrest is a tourism consultant based in Kakabeka Falls in Northern Ontario. She loves writing about tasty food almost as much as she enjoys eating it.

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