Journey Through Time

Discover the History of Thunder Bay and area

Discover 'the Lakehead's' journey from its days as the Settlement of Fort Kaministiquia to today as the City of Thunder Bay, by visiting the area's award-winning museums and historical attractions.

Fort William Historical Park

Smoke from muskets firing fills the air - Photo Courtesy of FWHP

Upon entering the gates of Fort William Historical Park, you have officially entered 1816. 'The Fort' is a living history museum complete with dozens of actors and interpreters (who never break character) working on a replica of the original Fort William. Meet and speak with fur traders, voyageurs and Aboriginal people. discover the history of development in the region and how it contributed to the original economic development of Canada.

A walk through Fort William Historical Park will give you a unique perspective on the fur trade era. See first-hand how life was lived back then - try your hand at arts and crafts, traditional baking, shoot a musket, paddle a birch bark canoe and other activities under the watchful eyes and helpful guidance of reenactors.

Thunder Bay Museum

Visit the Thunder Bay Museum to learn the history of the communities of Port Arthur and Fort William and see how those two communities joined together to become the city of Thunder Bay.

Currently, located on Donald St near City Hall, the Museum features various exhibits and collections and offers programming year-round to engage residents and visitors in discovering our past.

Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame

The Port Arthur Waverley Lacrosse Team in the early 1900's - Photo Courtesy of the NWO Sports Hall of Fame

When you visit the Thunder Bay Museum be sure to walk across the street to the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame to see exhibits and memorabilia celebrating the extensive contributions of local residents to the sporting world.

Thunder Bay Military Museum

Photo Courtesy of the Thunder Bay Military Museum

Located in the Armoury Building on Park Ave, the Thunder Bay Military Museum features exhibits honouring the military history of the region and the servicemen and women from the area.

Northwestern Ontario Aviation Heritage Centre

Manufacturing at the Canadian Car and Foundry - Photo Courtesy of the NOAHC

From using float planes to explore the previously inaccessible far north to producing bombers at 'Can Car' during the war, Thunder Bay and area has a deep aviation history and this rich history is on display at the Northwestern Ontario Aviation Heritage Centre. Currently in transition, the NOAHC will be opening in a new home in early 2017 at 905 E. Victoria Ave in Thunder Bay.

Self-Guided Walking Tours

The City of Thunder Bay provides historical walking tour maps for 4 areas of the city: Thunder Bay North, McVicar Creek/Harrington Court, Thunder Bay South, and Vickers Park. Explore what was downtown Port Arthur, downtown Fort William and many other areas of the city. See where we came from and where we are today.

Big Boreal Adventure: Get Out & Go Historical!

The Big Boreal Adventure is a nature-based scavenger hunt that has a historical spin-off: Get Out & Go Historical! This exciting explore-the-city program utilizes a series of free-to-download guidebooks that each contain multiple walking tours complete with maps, photos, descriptions and interesting information about the various sites on each tour.

There are also over 50 historical plaques located in the area, try to visit as many as you can.

Beyond the City Lights

The interesting history doesn't stop at the city limit.

Continue your journey through the past at Founders' Museum & Pioneer Village. Drop in at the general store and chat with the residents while they wait for the train. Recall the days of a one-room school and spend a quiet moment in the church, or visit the blacksmith, the cobbler and the carpenter.

The nearby Duke Hunt Historical Museum (formally known as the Paipoonge Museum) examines the lives of the pioneers who settled in the region during the late 19th century, allowing visitors to experience their triumphs and hardships through a series of exhibits.

Note: both the Duke Hunt Historical Museum and the Founders' Museum & Pioneer Village are only open during the summer season.

About Stephanie Reid

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Stephanie is a content creator and media specialist and has a true appreciation for Northern Ontario and all of its many offerings and attractions.

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