Don’t miss these 10 great experiences in Thunder Bay

One of the landmarks near Thunder Bay is the statue of Canadian icon Terry Fox. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Whether you are looking for outdoor adventures, cultural activities, historical sites, or culinary delights, the northern Ontario city of Thunder Bay has something for everyone. Here are 10 under-the-radar experiences that you can enjoy in Thunder Bay.

Pay tribute to Terry Fox at his monument

Terry Fox was a Canadian hero who attempted to run across Canada with a prosthetic leg in 1980 to raise money and awareness for cancer research. He started his Marathon of Hope in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and ran for 143 days until he had to stop near Thunder Bay due to his cancer spreading. He died in 1981 at the age of 22. In 1982, a monument was erected in his honour on Highway 11/17, overlooking Lake Superior. The monument features a bronze statue of Terry Fox, a granite base with inscriptions, and a visitor centre with exhibits and information.

Ride the wind on a Lake Superior sailing adventure

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world, and sailing on it is an exhilarating experience. You can join a guided tour with Sail Superior, a local company that offers sailing trips for all levels of experience and interest. You can choose from half-day, full-day, sunset, or overnight trips, and enjoy the stunning views of the lake and the Sleeping Giant. You can also learn some sailing skills, help with the navigation, or just relax and enjoy the ride.

Glimpse into the past at Fort William Historical Park

Fort William Historical Park is a living history museum that recreates the life and times of the fur trade in the early 19th century. You can explore the reconstructed Fort William, which was once the headquarters of the North West Company, a rival of the Hudson’s Bay Company. You can interact with costumed interpreters who portray fur traders, voyageurs, craftsmen, and Indigenous people. You can also participate in various activities, such as canoeing, blacksmithing, baking, or trading.

Marvel at Kakabeka Falls

Kakabeka Falls is a spectacular waterfall that plunges 40 metres into a gorge carved by ancient glaciers. It is located about 30 kilometres west of Thunder Bay, within Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park. You can view the falls from various platforms and trails, or take a guided tour to learn about the geology and history of the area. You can also enjoy camping, hiking, biking, fishing, or skiing in the park.

Dig for amethysts at Amethyst Mine Panorama

Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz that is found in abundance in Thunder Bay. Amethyst Mine Panorama is one of the largest amethyst mines in North America, where you can dig your own amethysts from a large open pit. You can also browse through a gift shop that sells amethyst jewellery and souvenirs. The mine is open from mid-May to mid-October.

Visit Centennial Park and Centennial Botanical Conservatory

Centennial Park is a green oasis in the heart of Thunder Bay that features gardens, trails, ponds, bridges, and sculptures. It is also home to the Centennial Botanical Conservatory, a glass dome that houses a tropical paradise of plants and flowers from around the world. You can stroll through the conservatory and admire the exotic flora and fauna, or attend one of the special events that are held throughout the year.

Admire Indigenous art at Thunder Bay Art Gallery

Thunder Bay Art Gallery is a public art gallery that specializes in contemporary Indigenous art. It showcases the works of local, regional, and national Indigenous artists, as well as non-Indigenous artists who explore themes related to Indigenous culture and history. The gallery also offers educational programs, workshops, lectures and tours for visitors of all ages.

Taste Finnish pancakes at The Hoito

The Hoito is a historic restaurant that serves traditional Finnish cuisine, especially the famous Finnish pancakes. The Hoito was established in 1918 by Finnish immigrants who worked in the lumber industry. It is located in the basement of the Finnish Labour Temple, a National Historic Site that was a centre of Finnish culture and politics in Canada. The Hoito is still run by a co-operative of Finnish Canadians, and attracts locals and tourists alike with its hearty and affordable food.

Enjoy craft beer and live music at The Foundry

The Foundry is a gastropub that offers a selection of craft beer from local and regional breweries, as well as delicious pub fare made with fresh ingredients. The Foundry also hosts live music and comedy shows, featuring local and touring artists. You can catch a performance almost every night of the week, or join in the open mic or trivia nights.

Hike up Mount McKay

Mount McKay is a prominent landmark in Thunder Bay that rises 270 metres above Lake Superior. It is part of the Nor’Wester Mountain Range, and is located on the Fort William First Nation reserve. You can drive up to a lookout point that offers panoramic views of the city and the lake, or hike up to the summit for a more challenging adventure. You can also learn about the history and culture of the Fort William First Nation at the visitor centre.

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