Thunder Bay

Lake Superior © Kevstan
Thunder Bay is in the heart of Native American country. Located on the Trans-Canada Highway, it is the western terminus for the St Lawrence Seaway. The seaway is the system of locks, channels and canals that connect the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Along with being an important system of waterways for international trade, it's a playground for recreational boating activities.

This rugged, northern region is home to the shores of Lake Superior: the largest of North America's Great Lakes, and a popular attraction. Visitors travel to this vast expanse of water to enjoy its striking shoreline, and breath-taking wilderness. Among the highlights are deep chasms, plunging waterfalls and towering granite cliffs carved by the ancient glaciers. Nature-lovers will relish immersing themselves in Thunder Bay's lakes, rivers and forests.







Attractions

Amethyst
Amethyst © Zopilote0

Amethyst Mine

Ontario's official gemstone, amethyst, is one of the many natural resources found on the north shore of Lake Superior. The violet-coloured semiprecious stones native to this area come in beautiful shades, like Precious Purple and Thunder Bay Lavender. Visitors can mine their own at the Panorama Mine, 35 miles (56km) east of Thunder Bay. The site contains the largest deposit of amethyst in Canada. The mine currently produces 40 percent useable amethyst by volume, and has a large digging area open to the public that contains 20 percent useable amethyst. All visitors need is a bucket and spade to enjoy a fun mining experience.

Address: East Loon Road; Website: www.amethystmine.com


Ontario fur trade
Ontario fur trade © Don Pugh

Fort William Historical Park (formerly Old Fort William)

Visitors can travel back to 1816 at Fort William Historical Park (formerly Old Fort William). Located at Thunder Bay, it is an authentic duplicate of the North West Company of Montreal's inland headquarters. The company was a major player in the fur-trading business. Indeed, the North American fur trade is a part of Canada's colourful past. The fort brings this history to life through recreations of the characters, sounds, sights and smells that would have existed almost two centuries ago. The sprawling 250-acre site contains more than 57 heritage and modern buildings, which visitors are free to explore. Visitors can also enjoy overnight experiences, education programs, artisan workshops, conferences, banquets, festivals and recreational opportunities.

Address: 1350 King Rd; Website: www.fwhp.ca


Lake Superior, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Lake Superior, Thunder Bay, Ontario © Tony Webster

Lake Superior

Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes of North America. Ontario shares this vast expanse of water with the American states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The main attractions for visitors are the rugged shoreline and beautiful wilderness landscapes, which, together, can keep lovers of nature interested for hours. Visitors tend to feel life slowing down as they immerse themselves in all the area has to offer. Scenic tours, hiking trails and kayaking on the world's largest body of fresh water are among the most popular things to do.

Address: Ontario, Canada; Website: www.ontarioparks.com/park/lakesuperior


View of Sleeping Giant
View of Sleeping Giant © Graham M Fawcett

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is set on a rugged peninsula near Thunder Bay. Known as the 'park of legends', it was once home to the region's natives, who fished and hunted the rolling, forested terrain for some 9000 thousand years. Today, hikers will enjoy the park's trails, which run to the tops of granite cliffs and open onto spectacular views of Lake Superior. Winter travellers can explore these on skis or snowshoes. The park also supports an exceptional mix of plant life, with two rare orchids, the Adder's Mouth and the Striped Orchid, growing in the southern end. In fact, 24 types of orchid grow in the park, as do ferns. Wildlife includes more than 200 species of bird, white-tailed deer, red foxes, porcupines, moose, bears, wolves and lynx.

Address: Thunder Bay; Website: www.ontarioparks.com/park/sleepinggiant