Thunder Bay is one of the largest – and arguably the most popular city – in the north of Ontario, nestled along the beautiful Lake Superior.
The city is the ideal gateway between Canada’s Prairies and the Atlantic Ocean.
Nicknamed the ‘Lakehead,’ it’s a spectacle for much-loved historians, foodies, outdoor lovers, and shopaholics who flock to see the beauties of the area.
Set sail on the world’s largest freshwater lake, indulge in culinary delights, see historic sights, and explore the hills of the Canadian Shield, or the Boreal Forest.
And just a few hours from finding Ottawa things to do, this city has its own list of fun activities.
Drink in the views of Lake Superior and be awed by the mammoth Sleeping Giant.
Once you’re in Thunder Bay, you’ll have an endless list of things to see and do.
Take a look at some exciting things to do in Thunder Bay, Ontario, before your next visit to this spectacular region.
Top 14 Things To Do In Thunder Bay
Discover Sleeping Giant, Canada
One of the ‘Seven Wonders of Canada,’ the Sleeping Giant is something you’ll not want to miss out on. It’s located within the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and features some of the most dramatic, rugged cliffs in Canada.
Located on Sibley Peninsula, it’s a series of mesas made by the erosion of basaltic sills.
The rock structure got its name from its resemblance of a giant lying on its back – when it’s looked at from the west to northwest.
As you move south toward Sawyer’s Bay, the large formation begins to separate into various segments.
The cliffs along the Sleeping Giants are among the highest in the region.
These magnificent sheer cliffs around the bay boast panoramic views of its surroundings. While you’re here, there is an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy, including hiking, fishing, cycling, and camping.
See the Picturesque Cascading Kakabeka Falls
While you’re in town, make your way to the cascading 40-meter (130 ft) Kakabeka Falls. The waterfall is located 30km west of Thunder Bay on the Kaministiquia River. Due to its size and accessibility, the falls have been nicknamed the ‘Niagara of the North.’
The rock faces and the cascade’s escarpments features are some of the oldest fossils, dating back to about 1.6 billion years ago. Due to its flora and fragile rock’s sensitivity, entrance to the gorge below the waterfalls is prohibited.
Ski at Loch Lomond, Thunder Bay
If you happen to be in Thunder Bay in winter, you should not miss out on the opportunity to ski at Loch Lomond.
With 17 ski runs to choose from, the longest being 2.4 kilometres and the highest vertical rise at 229 meters, it’s perfect for all skiing types.
Whether you’re a double black diamond or a complete beginner, you will enjoy skiing here. If you’re not up for skiing, you can also experience tubing and snowshoeing here.
During the warmer seasons, enjoy hiking and bike riding amidst nature’s glory that encircles the landscapes.
It’s one of the favourite Thunder Bay, Ontario points of interest.
Discover the Beauty at Current River Greenway
Located at the north end of the city, the Current River Greenway hugs 263 hectares (650 acres) along the Current River.
The remarkable green space is the perfect spot to escape the bustling city and enjoy tranquillity amidst nature.
There are several sections to enjoy within the Greenway, including Current River Park, Evergreen Park, and Birch Point Park.
It also offers an assortment of recreational choices, including a children’s playground, a football field, tennis courts, etc.
Enjoy scenic views at the Greenway’s Bluffs Scenic Lookout before relaxing with friends and family on a picnic at the Boulevard Lake Park.
Uncover the Fur Trade at the Fort William Historical Park
Learn about the city’s economic past when you visit the Fort William fur trade post’s reconstruction.
The National Historic Site of Canada existed in 1816 and is in the Fort William Historical Park.
Wander around the park, a living museum, and study the reconstructed buildings and historians dressed in period clothing.
You’ll step back in history as you watch the reenactment of what life was once like during the fur trade industry. This is an interesting activity to experience while in Thunder Bay.
Dine at the Iconic Hoito Restaurant
Dating back to 1918, the Hoito Restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in Thunder Bay and is a designated National Historic Site of Canada.
The restaurant is located on the historic Finnish Labour Temple’s lower level and serves Finnish-Canadian cuisine.
Delight your taste buds and try out their most delicious dish – Finnish pancakes served with sugar sprinkles, maple syrup, or strawberry sauce.
So, grab your family and friends and experience this celebrated place in Canadian history.
Explore Thunder Bay Downtown
Explore the exciting city centre, Downtown Thunder Bay South, also known as the South Core or as the Downtown Fort William.
It’s located on the Victoriaville Civic Center – an indoor shopping mall and centre.
Here you’ll find an array of landmarks and cultural attractions such as the Thunder Bay Public Library or the Brodie Street Art Gallery.
You’ll also find many places of worship, demonstrating the city’s diversity of cultures and religions.
These may include St Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, and the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church.
Trek Through Ouimet Canyon
Ouimet Canyon, 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Thunder Bay, is a large gorge expanding 150 meters (490 ft) wide and 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) long.
It forms part of the protected Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park and provides lovely, scenic walks within the gorge.
There are also magnificent views along the trails above the canyon.
The canyon is assumed to have been slit by advancing glaciers and erosion a billion years ago.
Nearby, you’ll also find the privately owned and managed Eagle Canyon, offering ziplining, on-site camping, and two footbridges.
Enjoy Grand Views from the Terry Fox Monument
Located on the outskirts of Thunder Bay the Terry Fox Monument boasts panoramic views of the city.
The monument overlooks Highway 17 and the beautiful city and marks the spot commemorating where cancer research activist Terry Fox ended his run (the Marathon of Hope).
The memorial depicts the marathon runner and lists the places he passed on his long-distance, cross-country run.
To find out more about the site, make your way to the tourism information centre on-site.
Marvel at Artwork
The Thunder Bay Art Gallery is situated on the campus of Confederation College. It’s one of the most expensive studios in the region and features over 4,000 square feet of space.
The gallery specializes in contemporary works of art. You’ll find the work of artists from across Northwestern Ontario and other regional artists in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
Canoe in the Iconic Quetico Provincial Park
If you’re searching for what to do in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on the water, head to the iconic Quetico Provincial Park, west of the city.
The park is renowned for canoeing and boasts 4,760 km2 (1,180,000-acre) of remote wilderness. It shares its southern border with the Superior National Forest in Minnesota.
The park is home to some majestic fauna and flora, from moose and raccoons to cougars and black bears.
Choose from one of the 2,000 wilderness campsites spread across the 600 lakes and enjoy 35 km of hiking trails in incredible wildlife. It’s a nature lovers’ paradise.
Wander Through Centennial Park, Thunder Bay
Step back in history as you explore replicas of the 20th-century logging camp equipment and homes in Centennial Park.
The large park was developed in 1967 and follows along the shores of the rocky Current River, north of Thunder Bay.
In addition to the historic displays, the park offers an assortment of recreational trails, a playground, a craft shop, and an indoor picnic area.
During the summer months, visit the animal farm or ride on the Muskeg Express Train. Come winter, head out for cross-country skiing.
Dig for Hidden Treasures at The Blue Point Amethyst Mine
The Blue Point Amethyst Mine is an active quarry that produces precious minerals like violet quartz, calcite, and barite.
You can opt for a guided or self-guided tour to explore amethyst deposits and attempt to find your own amethysts.
If you have no luck, head to one of the many souvenir shops for polished amethyst gifts and jewellery.
Please Your Taste Buds at Thunder Oak Cheese Farm
The Thunder Oak Cheese Farm is where cheese lovers flock to sample the delicious, traditional Dutch cheese – Gouda.
The farm store offers Gouda in 13 different flavoured kinds of cheese to sample and purchase.
Not only will you find delicious cheese here, but there’s also a range of other Dutch products from cookies, candies, and spices to ceramics and napkins.
A Footnote: Thunder Bay Attractions
Thunder Bay is a popular city for getaways and adventures.
Whether you’re an outdoor explorer, a foodie, a history buff, or a nature lover, there is an array of Thunder Bay things to do for everyone.
It’s the perfect space to find things to do for families, friends, couples, and solo adventures.
The Canadian city boasts tons of attractions year-round. Go for a day or a week; you’ll certainly leave with lasting memories.