The coast of Ontario east of Thunder Bay is filled with wilderness islands and shoreline. The only way to really explore this is by boat. Although most people you will find anchored in this area are aboard sail boats, a few motor boats also enter these waters. Be aware, however, that fueling possibilities are far apart. Also some very hardy people kayak this wonderful wilderness area. If you love the wilderness, and are lucky enough to explore this area you will find pleasant anchorages for sailors, and lovely shorelines and islands for kayakers to pitch a tent, some even with saunas. You may see and hear loons and other birds, watch a moose, or enjoy otters as they frolic in the water.
Such a hidden beauty, the Cascades is a must-see. A short drive away, and a short hike down a trail will lead you to this great place. The terrain is very rocky, so wear shoes that grip and are secured on your feet. There are some swimming spots too and the water is nice! I mostly like to just sit and relax on the rocks. Not recommended for small children, as navigating around on the rocks can be dangerous.
To get there, take Balsam street west right to the end, where you will find a parking lot and signs directing you to the trails.
I will attach photos soon.
If you enjoy outdoor activities and have a car, drive to the tiny community of Silver Islet and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park for picnicking, camping, and hiking. You can access the Provincial Park from hwy 11-17, through Pass Lake on hwy 587, North of the city. In the nearby village of Silver Islet ask the shortest way to hike to “The Sea Lion”, a formation in Provincial Park. It is a nice formation, forming an arch over the lake, but I guess I don’t have much imagination, as I do not see the lion. Others do, however, so stretch your minds, and maybe you will be one of the lucky ones to see the sea lion.
Just finding Thunder Bay may be considered off the beaten path. It is located about 8 hours East of Winnipeg and about 15 hours North West of Toronto. It is on the Western shore of Lake Superior, the worlds largest lake.
About a half hour East of Thunder Bay near the town of Dorion is Eagle Canyon Adventures. It was opened in 2003 and has 2 suspension bridges that span Ouimet Canyon. The first was opened in 2003 and spans 300 ft. The second bridge was opened in 2004 and spans 600 ft. The longest in Canada (beating the Capilano suspension bridge in Vancouver). There is also camping facilities near by.
I will upload a photo if i make it out there...check out the website though.
If you have a car, drive to the little picturesque summer community of Silver Islet AND Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Silver Islet has a history that is one of the most interesting on the lake, as at one time it operated the richest silver mine in the world. In 1869 a 20-foot wide vein of pure silver was found on a small island lying about two-thirds of a mile off shore. This vein ran under the lake into unknown depths. Captain Frue, the chief mining engineer, designed and oversaw the building of extensive cribwork that was needed to support the shaft house and the other various buildings needed for the mining operation. The entire crib work and structures expanded well beyond the shores of the small island. For 14 years the mine operated yielding 3.25 million dollars worth of silver, however as the shaft became deeper, the constant battle that needed to be fought against the lake, which continually undermined the structure became too expensive. Today the island has reverted to it's original size with the opening to the once rich mine lying under the surface of the lake off shore from the island. On the mainland the little village, now known as Silver Islet, grew up to contain housing for the workers and their families as well as supplying the mine operation. Today this tiny community contains a few homes, a small general store with a dining room, a gift shop or two, and docks. This town does not have electricity, instead generators, solar panels, and candlelight are common here. You use to be able to walk through the town and look at the historic dates on many of the small original homes. In 2003 we found that many of these old houses had been resided and/or added onto, and very few displayed the historic dates.
This is not a world class facility by any stretch of the imagination. However if you are in Canada and have yet to see a bear or moose it could be useful to you. Most of the pens are in the animals natural vegetation except for the black bears on the partial cement floor. Animals at the zoo include: Caribou, deer, lynx, bobcat, wolves, black bear, reindeer, bald eagles and more. A $1 contribution is asked for at the entry.
If you want to see the city from a different perspective try going sailing out on the lake. If you show up to the Marina during the week before 545 often you can get on a boat in exchange for a little bit of rope pulling.
Thunder Bay is the first port on the great lakes coming from the western praries, for this reason the port of Thunder Bay used to be one of the biggest in the world, all of the wheat from the west was shipped by rail here and then loaded on boats for destinations around the world. This is a picture of the grain elevators that dot the waterfront of the city. Unfortunately the profit of the past has left a large part of the waterfront industrial....and with the grain no longer flowing out of the harbour like it used to...there are some giant eyesores on parts of the beautiful waterfront.
If you head up to the city's north end near an area called Boulevard Lake, you can walk or drive to the top of a lookout called the bluffs.
If you are heading east on Arundel St. just off of Balsam Street, turn left just before you cross over the bridge and follow up to the top where you will find a parking lot with a low stone & mortar wall.
A 2 - 2.1/2 hour hike in on foot , same back (you could mountainbike in but be prepared to do some climbing and descending on such)
the walk in is quite nice and you might encounter wildlife on the trail, lots of flora worth looking at
there is a bit of a climb involved on the chest trail towards the top but not impossible to do
take Sawyer's Bay trail from parking lot (about 1 -2 km past the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park campgrounds...info at the gatehouse)
there is a map of the trails at the parking lot
The view from the highest point on the Sleeping Giant is incredible. Be careful near the edge as no barrier and quite a high drop..my guess is about 250+ metre (750 ft.)sheer drop.
Stop on the way at Sawyer's Bay to picnic and swim. Wear good appropriate footwear. Recommended that you bring fly repellent, sunscreen and bottled water for the hike.
If you have a few hours and want to take a hike to a an isolated fantastic spot you should check out Silver Falls. Drive about 1/2 hour west of Thunder Bay on Dawson Road (Hgwy. 102) until you come to a sign on your right hand side that says Silver Falls Rd. Turn right and drive for about 10 min. keeping to your left until you come to the Hydro One station parking lot. Take the path on the right hand side of the station up the hill and continue up the river following orange ribbon markers. Cross over at the rocks at the foot of the gorge to the left hand side, the trail resumes here...follow it to you come to the falls. Be careful along the sides of the gorge.
About 1 1/2 hours on foot in and back.
see attached photo
If you are in Thunder Bay around Dec/Jan, drive out to Vanderwees Greenhouses, and check out their awesome christmas light display. It is massive and lights up the neighbourhood.
It is located on Mapleward Rd. (between Dawson rd. and Government Rd)
Mt McKay is well known as a lookout point, but few know the story of the small chapel located there. An Ojibway village was facing a brutal winter of starvation. They didn't even have bait for ice-fishing. The Chief's daughter took a hunting knife and butchered her own legs so the men would have bait for fishing. The village was saved but the princess died and the chapel was built in her honour. It is believed that this chapel brings good luck to Thunder Bay farmers, and rain dances are still sometimes held there.
Watch a thunder storm.
See where we get our name from! Although storms aren't overly common in Thunder Bay, they can be spectacular. If you get caught in one, search for shelter with a view of the lake, grab a hot chocolate and watch the show.