285 Red River Rd.,
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Ontario Tourism Region : Northwest Ontario
Pop. 116,965. On the shores of Thunder Bay, an inlet of the NW shore of L. Superior, at the mouth of the Kaministikwia R. and at Hwy 11 & 17 and Hwys 61, 102, & 130, 335 km E of Fort Frances and 690 km NW of Sault Ste. Marie.
The city was formed in 1970 by the amalgamation of the former cities of Fort William and Port Arthur, part of Neebing Township, and that part of Shuniah T. known as McIntyre.
Strong inter-city rivalry precluded the choice of either city name for the new amalgamated city and the Ontario Municipal Board refused to allow them to continue separately. The Lakehead Planning Board permitted only three names on the ballot, with the following results: Thunder Bay, 15,821; Lakehead, 15,302; The Lakehead, 8,477. It was obvious which name residents wanted, but the ballot was just as obviously rigged to prevent them having their choice.
To this day residents still refer to the Port Arthur and Fort William areas of Thunder Bay. Explorers, missionaries, and traders were in these parts as early as the mid-1600s, and the first settlement was a French fur-trading post established in 1678 by Daniel Greysolon Dulhut. The post was replaced with another French fort, which served as a trading post and operational base for the explorer Pierre Gaultier de La Verendrye.
Fort William: In the early 1800s the North West Company built a fort named Fort William after the company''''s principal director, William McGillivray. The fort became the company''''s most important post because it was the farthest west that supplies could be taken by canoe from Montreal in one season. The canoes then returned to Montreal laden with furs, just before winter set in.
Port Arthur: First known as The Hill City, Port Arthur began as a silver-mining settlement. The Gladman-Hind-Dawson expedition was organized in the mid-1850s to explore a route to the west and set up a base station. The route began to develop in 1858, when a Toronto group organized the Rescue Company to expedite trade with the prairies. A Crown lands agent, Robert McVicar, built the first residence in 1859. The Thunder Bay silver mine nearby went into operation in 1866, and three years later the federal government launched a road to the west under the direction of Simon J. Dawson. The military expedition under Col. Gamet Wolseley, sent to crush the first Riel Rebellion, used the road in 1870. Wolseley named the station Prince Arthur''''s Landing in honour of Prince Arthur, later Duke of Connaught and governor general of Canada. After the railroad to the west was begun at Fort William in 1875, most of the supplies were landed at Prince Arthur''''s Landing. To ensure a link with the railhead at Fort William, Prince Arthur''''s Landing residents built their own short railroad in 1876. In 1882 the name Prince Arthur''''s Landing was changed to Port Arthur as requested by the CPR. The following year the CPR built a grain elevator in Port Arthur, and later that year the first Manitoba wheat was shipped. The grain and freight traffic grew until a dispute over taxes between the railroad and the town, which resulted in the CPR transferring all its business to Fort William in 1889.
Thunder Bay is the world''''s largest grain-handling centre and Canada''''s second-largest port. It has an extraordinary ethnic mix, with 42 nationalities clearly represented, 100 churches, and, at over 9,000, the largest Finnish population outside Finland.
The TransCanada Highway between Thunder Bay and Nipigon is officially called the Terry Fox Courage Highway In 1980, 21-year-old Terry Fox of British Columbia dipped his foot in the Atlantic Ocean at St. John''''s, NF and started what he called the Marathon of Hope. He planned to run across Canada that summer -- on one leg, because he had lost the other to cancer -- to raise money for cancer research. He managed 42 km a day and covered 5,372 km to Thunder Bay, but by then cancer had spread through his body and he had to stop. He returned home and died the following year. The Province of Ontario has erected a statue to his memory at Thunder Bay Lookout.
Col. Elizabeth Smellie (1884-1968), a native of Port Arthur, became the first woman to attain the rank of colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces. In the First World War she served with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps in France and England, and in 1941 she organized the Canadian Women''''s Army Corps.
From Ontario Place Names 2007 David E. Scott Ph. 866 471 4123 or 905 680 7884
Natural Resources Canada in the District of Thunder Bay.
Address of this page: http://www.ruralroutes.com/thunderbay