Last week, I had the pleasure of traveling to Thunder Bay for a series of intense, calf-burning, vista-rich hikes. I also met many interesting locals in what turned out to be a series of ‘small-world’ moments (for example, I chatted for a good hour with the owner of Take a Hike store because she was an early graduate from my faculty at the University of Waterloo).
I will provide a brief sketch of my favorite hikes here, located both within the city of Thunder Bay and beyond (e.g. the Voyageur Trail).
Within the City of Thunder Bay
Centennial Park covers approximately 147 acres along the shores of the beautiful Current River in the heart of the city’s north side, and passes through Centennial and Trowbridge Falls Parks to join the Cascades Conservation Area (City of Thunder Bay, 2014). Developed in 1967, it is open year-round and offers multiple activities for people of all ages (Wikipedia article).
Address (see the Google Map here): 751 Centennial Park Rd, Thunder Bay, ON P0T 2G0
International Friendship Gardens
Open year-round, this 15-acre park illustrates the city’s multicultural heritage (City of Thunder Bay, 2014). There are 18 monuments of different ethnic origin and many spots to sit and enjoy the view, as well as proximity to the Chapples Recreation Complex (City of Thunder Bay, 2014). This area was created as a Centennial gift by the Soroptimist Club of Fort William–Port Arthur (Wikipedia article).
Location: North side of Victoria Avenue at Hyde Park Avenue.
The Centennial Botanical Conservatory is – not surprisingly – infrastructure created in 1967 by the Fort William Parks Board as a Centennial project (City of Thunder Bay, 2014). The central and largest room in the Conservatory is the tropical house – a humid arboretum featuring exotic flowers, trees, shrubs and other plants from around the world in a year-round tropical setting (City of Thunder Bay, 2014).
Ouimet Canyon is a gorge 100 metres (330 ft) deep, 150 metres (490 ft) wide and 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) in length, protected in the Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park (Wikipedia article). Protected under boulders along the canyon floor are arctic plants typically found much further north (City of Thunder Bay, 2014).
Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park
Kakabeka Falls plunges 40 metres (131 ft) over sheer cliffs and is rich with some of the oldest fossils in the world (City of Thunder Bay, 2014). The Kaministiquia River has links to the early Voyageurs, and is home to the endangered Lake Sturgeon (Ontario Provincial Parks, 2014).
Outside the City of Thunder Bay
This park is located in Nipigon, and is a lot of fun for both kids and adults. Starting at the Lake Superior waterfall, twelve playground stations lead families on a journey of fun through town to the waterfront (Nipigon, 2014). I enjoyed directly interacting with this children’s story, which was written in 1941 by American author/artist Holling C. Holling (Wikipedia article).
Voyageur Trail – Nipigon Section
Technically called the “Nipigon River Recreational Trail”, this portion of the Voyageur Trail is a a rugged 8.2 kilometers with spectacular views over Nipigon Bay (Voyageur Trail, 2014). It was definitely the highlight of my hikes in Northern Ontario, and is strongly recommended for everyone who wants both exercise and awe-inspiring scenery. Located close to The Quebec Lodge in Red Rock, where I stayed for several nights in rustic and friendly comfort.
Note to readers: For the next four months, I’ll be working full-time hours at a local non-profit environmental organization. Consequently, I will be publishing posts twice a week on Saturday and Sunday. As always, thanks for visiting and reading my blog!