An Amazing Outdoor City
Runners, you have arrived in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
With nearly 2,200 hours of sunlight each year, Thunder Bay is the sunniest city in Eastern Canada, making it an incredible place for the outdoors.
Located on Lake Superior’s shores, the world’s largest freshwater lake, Thunder Bay has unlimited outdoor adventure opportunities right in the city as well. With skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, and ice climbing in the winter and hiking, sailing, paddling, mountain biking, and more throughout the summer months.
Thunder Bay was born in 1970 of the amalgamation of Port Arthur and Fort William.
Thunder Bay has the largest Finnish population per capita outside of Finland. The first Finns settled in the area in the 1870s, and many Finnish communities popped up in the surrounding areas, such as Alppila, Tarmola, Intola, and Suomi.
Many restaurants throughout the city specialize in Finnish cuisine, and the Thunder Bay Finnish Canadian Historical Society and Lakehead University have worked together to record and preserve the history.
Sisu (see-soo, pronounced quickly) is a little Finnish word with big meaning. You will see it all over Thunder Bay on bumper stickers, clothing, and even tattooed on youth. It means tenacity, strength, stamina, strong will, even stubbornness. For the descendants of Finnish immigrants, the pop-cultural branding of the word is a way to pay homage and recognize the challenges of the Finnish ancestors settling in Thunder Bay.
An excellent word for runners to keep in mind when hitting the dreaded “wall.”
Thunder Bay has produced more professional hockey players per capita than any other city in the world.
In 1911, the Port Arthur Hockey Club played in the Stanley Cup finals. Unfortunately, the team lost to the Ottawa Senators.
Years later, another Port Arthur team represented Canada at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Germany, bringing home the silver medal, losing to a team from Great Britain comprised mostly of players from Canada.
Terry Fox ended his Marathon of Hope just east of Thunder Bay in 1980. There is a memorial to remember his inspiring journey. You can enjoy spectacular views of Thunder Bay from the Terry Fox Memorial and Lookout, which is located on the outskirts of the city.
Centennial Park is a fantastic place to run, but it is also a living museum. The park features replicas of 20th-century logging camp equipment and homes.
The 40 metres cascading Kakabeka Falls is truly a place to be completely lost in its beauty. The waterfall is located 30 kilometres west of Thunder Bay on the Kaministiquia River.
The falls have been nicknamed the ‘Niagara of the North’ due to its size and accessibility. The name ‘Kakabeka’ means ‘waterfall over a cliff’ in Ojibwe.
The Sleeping Giant is one of the top’ Seven Wonders of Canada’. It is located within the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, which has the most dramatic and steep cliffs in Ontario. The giant is a mesa and sill formation named the Sleeping Giant because it looks like a giant sleeping on its back. The best views are seen from the cliffs at Squaw Bay.
Quetico Provincial Park is truly magnificent and offers some of the best canoeing on the planet. It has over 2,000 campsites spread throughout 600 lakes, making a true nature lover’s paradise.
The park is home to some impressive wildlife, and you may spot a moose, bobcat, cougar or black bear. It is also home to raccoons, chipmunks, rabbits, beavers and bald eagles.
You are more than halfway through Canada. It is such an astounding feat. Imagine how it will feel when you complete the journey, and you call yourself The Big Canada Runner.
Next Stop - Winnipeg, MB