On certain streets in the heart of Thunder Bay, Finnish overtakes English as the language of choice. That’s because the city is home to more than 10,000 Finnish- Canadians, descendants of immigrants who started arriving in the 19th century. Help them honor their heritage by digging into a pancake or two at The Hoito Restaurant, one of the oldest cooperatively owned and operated restaurants in Canada since its establishment in 1918 in the city’s historic Finnish district. Go back even further in time at the Fort William Historic Park, a living history museum highlighting the 19th-century fur trade.
With more than 60 miles of hiking trails that pass through scenic boreal forests, breathtaking mountain ranges, and the world’s largest freshwater lake, there’s no shortage of stunning views in Thunder Bay. Visit Kakabeka Falls, the “Niagara of the North,” or admire the majesty of Lake Superior from the top of the Giant Trail and Thunder Bay Lookout. Take a 90-minute boat tour of the harbor, where you’ll pass by massive grain elevators and lighthouses. Or pay homage to a legendary cancer research activist at the Terry Fox Monument, from which you’ll see panoramic views of the city. Look out for the Sleeping Giant rock formation in the provincial park by the same name – located on the tip of Sibley Peninsula, it resembles a giant lying on its back.