17th Century fur traders began their little outpost on the banks of the Kaministiquia River, and so gave birth to the 2nd largest city of Northern Ontario (Greater Sudbury), Thunder Bay. The fur trade opened up a huge hub of transportation through the water ways, from western Canada, and the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence River. The need for fur, grains and essential supplies sparked a water way transit system that is in effect and grown stronger to this day. The population has grown to over 110 000 people in Thunder Bay, which is situated at the largest bay at the head of Lake Superior (also where it took its name from), and is about only a 9 hour drive to Winnipeg, but interestingly enough, 17 hours to Toronto.
The fur trading posts at Fort William were eventually abandoned with the rise of the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1800’s. They are a very interesting spot to visit in your vacation rental or cottage rental in the Thunder Bay area. It is the water ways that truly opened up this northern channel’s economy and gave rise to the huge opportunity for these northern towns to grow their merchant businesses, travel with ease between the western north and the southern water ways. In fact, it is probably one of the most beautiful parts of northern Ontario to visit.
If you do decide to do the 17 hour drive north-west vis-à-vis the nicer weather and sunny lit highways of Ontario, you will find yourselves in “camp” country. Cottages, chalets, vacation rentals, big or small, luxury or rustic are all called “camps”. “Heading to camp” is a customary term that is the same as saying, “going to the cottage for the weekend.” Camps are generally family land handed down from generation to generation. The Fort William First Nation is situated in these parts, and land ownership is a family honoured tradition that is not taken lightly. Respect the land like you breathe is often a very religious belief system. The land is what bring livelihood to so many. That is one of the reasons why so many people form Thunder Bay will head south for jobs or for short term periods of time for various reasons, but will always maintain property and keep ownership of a family piece of land.
You will be pleasantly surprised with the condition of many of the cottage rentals or chalet rentals you will find advertised around the big head of Lake Superior. Throw back in time, maybe, but usually very well maintained, rustic possibly, but very clean and well groomed. It’s worth the drive and the experience to see the jutting peaks of the Canadian Shield. The “Sleeping Giant” is about 22 kilometers in size from Port Arthur downtown, to Thunder Cape at the tip. The landscape is very unique compared to other parts of Ontario between the effect of the lake to the opposing temperatures of warmer winters and cooler summers, have sculpted the landscape of the Canadian Shield with peaks and valleys that would be any artist’s inspiration.
Come see the “mesas” that makes their Sleeping Giant in main town Thunder Bay. Do the drive, and live the dream.Author: SweetMarie
December 17, 2012