The Bay Awesome TBay 2019 Summer Bucket List

It’s summertime and livin’ is easy!! (and I’m going to make it even easier for you).

I’ve rounded up all of my favorite summer activities, places, spaces, adventures, and even food, in the Thunder Bay area to make sure you’re getting the best of the bay in what the season has to offer. By the time September rolls around, you’ll be thinking “that was the most AWESOME summer ever.” Because we all know how the summer months can just fly by— faster than that sailboat you promised you’d go on with your friends, so get moving! 

With Lake Superior, exotic looking animals, a music festival, plenty of getaways into the beautiful outdoors, and pickerel tacos— you’ll feel like you’ve escaped to another world and become a tourist in your own town!  You’ll never have to spend another summer day wondering what to do.

(We’re going to need those extra daylight hours or a bay-cation!)

1. Big Voy Canoe: Such an Nice Day (S.A.N.D) Adventures 

I love the lake…it’s my happy place and I think Lake Superior is  probably the most awesome lake of them all. Not only is Lake Superior the largest of the Great Lakes, it is the largest body of fresh water on Earth (pretty cool huh?) and boasts extremely clear water. The lake is so deep and has so much water that ONE single drop can remain in the lake for over 400 years… pure awesomeness. Not to mention it holds 10 percent of the world’s freshwater, the remains of 6,000 shipwrecks and offers a lifetime of adventure….so to compliment this pristine larger than life lake, we need a BIG canoe! 

This summer take a paddle out on the water in the Big Voy Canoe with Such a Nice Day Adventures. Manned by up to 16 paddlers, the wondrously large Big Voy Canoe that has historical roots in Canada’s fur trade era, glides peacefully on the water and will provide you with a taste of the life of voyagers as they traversed water ways in these amazing boats. You will even learn a cool (and fun) salute to the bigger ships out in the harbour.

Your guide will take you in the 34-foot canoe that puts you right in the centre of nature (which is neat because you are still right in the middle of the city), where you will go beyond the break wall into the open water and experience a spectacular sunset and the warm wind on your face. 

Guide Zack Kruzins has scouted the world to find unique experiences on the water, working in Chile, Argentina, Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia and New Zealand and most recently Antarctic- yet he always comes back to his favourite spot, being Lake Superior. 

“Thunder Bay and Lake Superior offer something special, a true northern island paradise of adventure and opportunity. The path less travelled, interesting history of the people and culture, their hardships of life on the inland sea, natural history; I find the cold clean fresh water is something special to float on.”

Only a few of these Big Voy canoes exist  in the region, making it a truly unique experience. It’s a pretty sea-worthy vessel! When you’re out on the water it is just incredible to use that human power to move you along the lake.

“Thunder bay is also unique as there is so much interesting history in the waterfront and surrounding coastline and so few people are out there living and loving the lake. I want more people to see what is in their own backyard and realize that Lake Superior is a world class treasure.”

Check out Such a Nice Day Adventures for when the Big Voy will be travelling out into the big lake. Zack also offers kayaking adventures.  (Photos by DZ Photography)

2. Old School Alpacas

Everyone should get the chance to hang out with an alpaca. They’re gentle and sweet creatures with just a touch of sass…(probably why I get along with them so well).  The only thing better than an alpaca is a herd of alpacas, which is exactly what you will find at Old School Alpacas. 

The farm located on Hwy 11/17 just before Nipigon, features a unique shop full of handmade items, along with an imported selection of gifts from Peru (all made from Alpaca yarn). Mitts, socks, sweaters, and beautifully hand woven Finnish style rag rugs fill the cute little store. 

When you arrive on site you can visit the shop and meet Beatrice Klinge, who runs the farm and is behind all of the beautiful woven gifts. After you check out the shop and ask Beatrice a bunch of questions about the process of creating alpaca wool to yarn, you  can then frolic to the barn area. This is where you will get to see the alpacas out in the field, with their long necks, impossibly long eyelashes (so jealous) and glaring underbite.  Eleven of the exotic looking animals live at the homestead that has been owned by the Klinge family since 1984.

As you observe the alpacas click and hum to communicate, pick up a bunch of dandelions and you will be sure to make best friends in the herd. After moments of being around the animals, you will quickly come to the conclusion that alpacas have a personality that is curious and calm. They are just so neat! The oldest alpaca at the farm is in his early 20’s, the baby of the pack is 7. 

3. Seek Adventure and Tours: TBay Treats + Haunted Streets

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts… well ya actually I am. This tour will definitely give you goosebumps. Join Seek Adventure & Tours as Sue Hammel uncovers a side of the city many of us aren’t that familiar with. Your guide will walk you down historic streets of the Waterfront District where you will explore old buildings and  landmarks, hear stories of apparitions, ghostly encounters and mystery. The tour also includes short stops with treats to celebrate the area’s vibrant food scene.

Hear about the history of Lake Superior but be sure to watch out for Rose and Ol’Harvey. If you smell cigar smoke while exploring a 100 year old hotel, you might want to say hello, but beware of the old Fire Hall. 

Throughout the tour guests will also be encouraged to share their own encounters. Sue tells us that she believes “more people than you think have witnessed paranormal activity in the city”. The stories on the tour date back hundreds of years, while others still happen today. This tour is selling out quickly- so act fast and don’t be scared. 

4. Stop Adulting. Head to the Splash Pad. 

I know we are adults…but adults also need some fun in our lives and let our inner kid out every now and then; really let our hair down. This summer take a break from adulthood. There are a million things you can do! 

Don’t  you remember those sweet summer days as a child filled with freezies, riding your bike, sprinklers and slip and slides!? Don’t be shy. Let go of what people will think and be a kid again.  Head over to the splash pad at Prince Arthur’s Landing and run through the water!! Right through. It’s exhilarating  to leap into the the fountains of crisp water…. ya, you might get some weird looks from parents, or a little human might actually push you over or tell you you don’t belong, but I say go for it!! There is something so freeing about it! 

Stay tuned for a future blog post about this topic. Sometimes you just need to live a little and go reminisce in your childhood. (Photos by DZ Photography)

5. Ruby Lake & The Thunder Bay Hiking Association

Lace up your hiking boots and head to a hidden gem on the north shore. Located just east of Nipigon, the hiking trail to Ruby Lake is a great way to spend an afternoon enjoying some awesome scenery while soaking in the amazing views of Lake Superior.  The trail runs through the dense boreal forest over top rocky terrain and through an almost enchanted space, where you will find yourself walking a narrow trail that suddenly opens up,  offering the most amazing view of Ruby Lake, a couple hundred feet below your toes. 

Keep an eye out for blueberry patches and bears while hiking. Once you reach the Ruby Lake lookout, you will be surrounded… by giant blueberries!!

To find the start of the trail, drive 7.9 kms east of the Nipigon River Bridge on Highway 17. The turnoff road doesn’t have a name or a sign but it stands out on the HIghway as the access is on a long straightaway marked by a stop sign (right hand side).  The gravel road takes you into the historic Nipigon River marble quarry about 3.5kms off the highway.  Park at the Y in the road and follow the trail up the hill to the right.  

Looking for other hiking opportunities this summer? Check out the Thunder Bay Hiking Association. The group hosts weekly hikes in the Thunder Bay area year round. In the summer you will explore cool trails, including an awesome view from the top Mount Mckay, interesting flora and fauna on the shores of Lake Superior and the rushing rivers at Silver Falls and High Falls. Skill level depends on the hike of the day. Some outings are easy walks while others demand some serious muscle. Groups average in size from 10 to 20 people.  It’s a big, awesome world out there, let’s hike it!

6. Red Lion Smokehouse Patio

The weather is beautiful— what are you doing inside?  It’s patio season and there’s no shortage of local watering holes to visit this summer.  Those lazy summer evenings with the sun dipping over the horizon make patios a must do , and what better way to partake in the fading light than while on a patio accompanied by the perfect ambiance- twinkle lights! With a new location, comes a new patio and Red Lion did it right. 

This patio is one of my favourites in town with a cool big city vibe and a ton of familiar faces. With sidewalk seating and killer eats, just stick an umbrella in an ice-cold drink and voila!  instant vacation. Also grab a couple Heartbeat tacos, definitely in the running for the best tacos in town. (Side note: We should definitely have a Best Taco Competition. I will be a judge).

As far as I ‘m concerned there are two kinds of people in this world—taco people and everyone else. Filled with buttermilk fried chicken slathered in the good stuff (Hearbeat Hot Sauce Habanero), shredded cabbage and whatever that other sauce is …’s SO damn good, served up on a flour tortilla. Taco Tuesday is by far one of the most awesome days of the week and the Red Lion patio makes it that much better! Did I mention they have over 100 different craft beers.

Red Lion Smokehouse celebrates its new location with neighbours Ungalli + Local Collective, La Luna Yoga Studio and Big Lake Pasta for an ALL DAY PARTY on July 7th. From 10 am to 8pm there will be beer tastings, flash sales, yoga classes, and live music. Pop by 16 Cumberland Street South and check it out. Ruthless Clothing is also hosting a pop up shop. So many awesome things in one place. It’s a fun way to kill a Sunday afternoon. Cheers! 

7. Belluz Farms: Pick Your Own Strawberries Celebrates 45! 

Whether you’re looking for a fun family outing, are peckish for some fresh, locally-grown fruits or just have a thing for picking your own berries,  head out to Belluz Farms and channel your inner farmer. 

Picking your own  strawberries is a totally delicious, fruitful experience not to mention a TBay summertime tradition . This year, Belluz Farms is celebrating 45 years of pick your own strawberries. Some quick history about the 3rd generation family farm—Bernie and Mary Belluz started the farm in 1946 as “Rolling Acres Potato Farm”.  When Don and Claire took over in the mid 1970’s, the potato market was tough, but after hearing about a “Pick Your Own” craze that was hitting southern Ontario and the states, “Valley Berry Patch” was born with just two acres of strawberries in 1974.  The “Pick Your Own” concept became a hit. Don and Claire continued expanding into sweet corn, pumpkins and other pick your own crops like peas, beans and cucumbers.  Jodi and Kevin Belluz took over the farm in 2001 and have continued the established family tradition, adding other crops and varieties of carrots, beets, potatoes, cabbage.

Jodi tells us that kids love the wagon rides and visiting the farm animals, but the best thing about picking strawberries, in her opinion, is “eating them right in the field when you can still feel the sun on them.”

(I always feel like such a badass when sneaking a couple strawberries while picking…but you know if you eat too many at once you will end up with a stomach ache. So be warned, don’t eat a bucket of berries before you pay. I learned that at the tender age of 5.)

“Belluz strawberries are different than the ones you will find in grocery stores. We choose varieties for flavour instead of shelf-life, meaning that they are best enjoyed within a couple of days of picking them. That ensures that they’ll be soooo juicy and sooo sweet! We’ve also been told by Southern Ontario growers that there’s something special about the flavour profile in Northwestern Ontario berries.  We think it’s the slow ripening we get with our cool, northern summer evenings.”

Before you head out to the farm, make sure to check picking conditions and hours of operation.  Strawberry picking is expected to start this year in mid July and go well into the first week of August.

8. ON A BOAT with Sail Superior 

There’s nothing quite like feeling the wind in your hair as you take off sailing around the Thunder Bay Harbour. Join a tour or charter a boat from Sail Superior, and spend a few hours or even a whole day taking in the majestic views surrounding Thunder Bay. Sail away, sail away, sail away! (You better be singing).

As you clip through the waves with the sun on your face, why not pop a bottle of champagne with your best gal pals as the sun sets out on the lake. Whether you’re a fresh-faced novice or an old salt with callouses on both hands, Sail Superior has a tour to suit you. Simply kick back on deck and let the world float by.

New to the roster this year LUNCH on a boat. Step away from your desk and take a quick lunchtime adventure. Ask your boss for the extra half hour and enjoy lunch out on the lake. Sail Superior will take you and a coworker, friend, or even just come alone (we all need some ME time), for a sail around the harbour while you enjoy catered eats. It’s a great way to find some calm during a stressful day. Once you’re aboard a sail boat, life takes a turn down easy street. Use the sun as your watch and enjoy moments of pure solitude. Experience a “getaway” from the hustle and bustle of the city without having to actually get on a plane and  for a fraction of the cost.

Check out the many retreats offered through Sail Superor including its most popular being a wine and cheese,  along with writing, yoga, photography and an artist retreat. The artist retreat is with instructor Deena Kruger, who will help beginner painters be inspired by the beauty of Porphyry Island and the rugged north shore. (Photos by DZ Photography)

9. Urban Farmchick: Roadside Flower Stand & Flower Workshops 

Throughout the summer months, if you travel along the winding Hazelwood Drive on Thursday afternoons, you will discover the cutest little flower stand on the side of the road. Bursting with fresh wild seasonal blooms, and a little note to visitors, it’s a site that will truly make anyone’s day.

Behind this absolutely awesome concept, floral queen Kate Fraser-Hominick, known as the Urban Farmchick. The stand is at the entrance of what I think is Thunder Bay’s secret garden— Moss Cottage. This enchanted space is the home to a  4,000 square foot garden that Kate pours her passion into annually— creating the most lucious backyard you will ever see.

The season’s hot weather makes it perfect for enjoying outdoor blooms and this summer, Kate is inviting flower lovers to her place of solitude to come and create your very own sun-kissed bouquet at a very special floral workshop event.

Surrounded by a bounty of beautiful flowers, attendees will be free to stroll the gardens at Moss Cottage and then enjoy local fresh baking and refreshments while Kate demonstrate’s how to create a stunning tabletop arrangement with blooms of the summer season that are absolute perfection at this time of year. 

Kate explains that participants will then be able to gather the flowers of their choice to create their very own arrangement.  “We’ll then gather and style a communal table using the beautiful creations (along with other beautiful Urban Farmchick Inspired decor) and ‘break bread’ together (a light late lunch) before ending the day.”

You will get to take your flowering creations home (and nothing is better than fresh flowers at home), with “your hearts full and flowering, having spent half a day with other flower loving souls!”   Kate is also hosting an awesome workshop in September at Corbett Creek Farm. Make sure to follow the Urban Farm Chick for details and to see when bouquets will be available at the self-serve roadside flower stand. 

10. Waverley Park Concert Series 

(Also explore the area because it’s my fav place)

Like a summer breeze, music in the air is just as sweet! Every Monday night you can catch some local tunes at Waverley Park thanks to the Thunder Bay Musician’s Association and The Coalition for Waverley Park. Over 60 local musicians will take the stage at the new beautiful pavilion. The eight week concert series features a ton of awesome performers including Thunder Bay favourite and legend Rodney Brown. Grab a blanket or lawn chair, a group of friends or the famjam and enjoy an evening of music under the open sky. 

(Photo by Jamie Ruggles)

This also happens to be my absolute FAVOURITE part of the entire city of Thunder Bay. I went a little Nancy Drew and uncovered some pretty neat facts about the area— you might even call it the historical heart of our city. Since created, Waverley Park has always been a place to bring the community together, and  has the distinction of being the second oldest municipal park in Ontario, and is the only designated Heritage District in Thunder Bay.  Waverley Street (which converges with Red River Road) came first in the development of the city, but the “gigantic hill” was too much for horses carrying loads to handle. “So it was decided to gradually climb the hill” by building Red River Road. This area also houses some of the city’s oldest and grandest buildings.

Magnus Theatre that is located at one end of the park, was originally Central School that was built in 1884 and was the first permanent school in the Lakehead. It’s one of the oldest buildings in the city still standing.  See what more you can uncover.

The Waverley Park Concert Series lineup can be found here. It is every Monday night at 6:30 pm with music of all genres. It also makes the perfect picnic spot. 

11. Die Active/Def Sup Y-Art Sale & Flea Market 

Aside from one-of-a-kind finds, the Def Sup Y-Art Sale and Flea Market offers an experience unlike any other. As you peruse the awesome creations, crates of records, racks of vintage clothing and shelves of quirky collectibles, expect to be serenaded by buskers, and tempted by the smells of food trucks and vendors. 

For those who love to rummage, it’s definitely a treasure trove of fun, featuring a curated amalgamation of trendy local artisans, jewellers and curiosity collectors all together on Cooke Street on August 17th, from 11 am to 4 pm. 

The event is a celebration of the creative neighbourhood and is a stimulating way to cure a craft beer hangover!

Expect to find over 60 vendors including original artwork and crafts, plants, antiques and more, highlighting young and emerging art makers in Thunder Bay. 

If you are like me, you’ll go right for the vintage clothing. Vintage fashion has really become more popular over the years, probably because of nostalgia (I just found an old Club Monaco logo crest sweater and felt like I was in Grade 9!)  or because of the singularity of the pieces that truly can’t be duplicated easily. Vintage clothes are not just “used clothes”, they’re a piece of history and a connection to our past. 

You will find Thrifty Kid Vintage and Weyward Sisters at the sale. In the meantime, if you can’t wait until then, visit Carla at Jewels of the Crown on Bay Street. Tell her I sent you 🙂

12. River Rat Rentals: Tubing 

Summer time is all about being outdoors… and being lazy.

Get your float on and beat the heat this summer by floating down the Kam River at River Rat Rentals— a source of nostalgia for anyone who grew up in Thunder Bay and is over 30 years old. (We all have a great tubing story to share… don’t we!?) 

Kicking back and floating along the cool, scenic river basically forces relaxation on you. With nothing to do but enjoy the views, the sun and the company of your friends, you’ll find yourself totally refreshed (and it’s a great opportunity to unplug). And don’t worry, River Rats will do all the work for you. You rent a tube and they’ll pick you up at the end of your float in their shuttle bus so you can just focus on chilling.

Under regular weather conditions a float takes approximately 2 hours to the first exit (Cody’s Cove) and 3 hours to the second. But seriously, doesn’t endless hours floating on a tube sound awesome? Tubers may also stop along their journey at Cody’s Cove and play a game of volleyball or just enjoy the beach. Make sure to jump in the river for a refreshing swim before heading home. Please note River Rats is only accepting cash this season.

Fun fact: About 75% of my friends worked at River Rats growing up, meaning we all had a ton of fun out there! I always like to stop atthe Stanley Hotel before or after a float down the river for a famous burger and Crystal beer. Probably after though…  so we don’t look bloated in our bikinis. 😉

13. Busker’s  Festival

Two whole days on two big streets is a whole lot of awesome. The Bay and Algoma Neighborhood will  host the seventh annual Bay and Algoma Busker’s Festival on July 27th and 28th. The two-day festival will feature over 40 performers, from clowns, human statues, jugglers, stilt-walkers, unscheduled strolling performers and everything in between….you never know who or what you are going to see. 

The Buskers Festival has grown into one of the most colourful and diverse Street Art festivals in Northwestern Ontario. This unique celebration is sure to draw a crowd to Bay and Algoma Streets (hundreds upon hundreds flooded the neighbourhood last year). Expect to see local talent as well as acts from around the world. The roster of musicians is anything but ordinary. 

14. Beginners Rock Climbing Adventure: Outdoor Skills and Thrills

Rock climbing is actually a huge thing in the Thunder Bay area… who knew!? Founder & Lead Guide of Outdoor Skills And Thrills, Aric Fishman, explains that in actuality the unique geology of the area is a climber’s dream come true. “The surrounding region offers breathtaking beauty of natural rugged landscapes that are seen from the highest elevations and can most definitely compare to some of the most well-known vistas in Canada. It’s starting to become recognized as a world-class climbing area.”

When you take a look at our surroundings there’s definitely a lot of rock to climb,  that Aric says still remains untouched. So, I know what you’re thinking… ‘I’m afraid of heights’ (I am too. YIKES), or ‘how the heck are we supposed to go climb a rock?’ Well, you go with Aric, that’s how. Outdoor Skills and Thrills offers an incredible Beginners Rock Climbing Adventure; And get this, when it comes to climbing—age and skill are not limiting factors. Your body will be able to adapt and with the help of our friend Aric, you will find your way to the top. All you need is to learn the basic movements, and you’re set for a climb that will be fun, challenging, exciting and awe-inspiring. 

(Photos by Aric Fishman & Paul Desaulniers)

Rock climbing gives you a chance to go off the beaten path and gives you a sense of accomplishment that will reach new heights. But your still thinking about how high you are going to climb? Fret not. Aric explains that climbing is ALL about trust. “Trust in yourself, trust in your partner, trust in the equipment, trust in the rock. Once you learn about how you can trust these things and how to identify dangers, you can then feel much more comfortable with going for it. We work through these things together and build the trust.”

“Don’t let heights prevent you from trying – too many people focus on the fear of heights or fear of falling. I say that those fears are well founded and mean you are only human!! On that note, always go out with experienced climbers in general because climbing is dangerous and has its inherent risks that new climbers would otherwise not be made aware of.”

Aric has spent over 15 years developing his skills as a climber, instructor, and professional guide, and has over 50 notable First Ascent and First Free Ascents under his belt. He continues to develop new climbs annually and on average is climbing and guiding over 250 days a year.

15. DIY Studio Thunder Bay- Pottery Cafe 

Save it for a rainy day! (But let’s hope there aren’t many).

Ever heard of a “paint your own pottery cafe” ? Well you have now. New to the city is DIY Studio Thunder Bay located on Algoma Street. Owner’s Tyler and Hannah, are a hubby and wife duo originally from New Brunswick. They explain that the concept has really become popular over the last couple of years in other areas of the country, so when the coupled moved to Thunder Bay three years ago, they began to dream about opening there very own. 

“I saw that the community is passionate about creativity and the arts, so I thought this would be a really fun and new activity to offer to our city.”

DIY Studio is a place for everyone – no experience necessary. It makes the perfect date night! Why am I thinking of the movie ‘Ghost’ right now!? You know exactly what scene I am referring to. I will remind you that this place is also very family friendly and is a fun experience where you can unplug, grab a coffee (iced in the summer) and create something unique. You can even come by yourself, listen to music and paint.

“We really believe that not only is creativity a fun experience but also really good for the mind and soul! So many studies have found that creativity can help improve mental health and even improve your mood.”

The process is easy- choose a piece of pottery off the shelf.  (I personally love the pineapple summer mugs). The next step is to pick your paint and tools and have fun with it! They also have all the fun goodies to make your piece a work of art…stencils, stamps, silkscreens, sponges— all at your disposal to help you get creative! After you’re finished, you leave your piece behind to be fired in the kiln. Come back in a couple of days and masterpiece complete. 

Hannah also let me know that they are super excited as they plan to introduce a “local selection” from Thunder Bay potters who will have blank pieces available to paint at the studio. Can’t wait!

16. Local Motion Food Truck

Summer is here…. Enter food trucks. I don’t know why, but for some reason food always tastes better from food trucks, especially in June, July and August!  With the beautiful weather here to stay, there is even more of an excuse to hit the streets and eat outside.

Local Motion Food truck by Pinetree Catering serves up awesome food. If you haven’t visited this mobile kitchen, you are definitely missing out. From burgers to pakoras to meatballs to confit duck and chicken spring rolls … this food truck (which was one of the very first in Tbay by the way) is catering the needs of hungry Thunder Bay-ians. 

The truck is most famous in Thunder Bay for it’s Pickerel Taco!! Panfryed Walleye – Thunder Oak Smoked Gouda – Baby Greens – Salsa Fresca – Sour Cream served up in a  Bannock Shell with a side of Pita Chips & Dip. Yum. Is your mouth watering yet? One bite and you’ll be hooked. 

Chef Nikos Mantis puts all of his skill and passion into each and every bite from this food truck, sourcing his products and ingredients locally while infusing the Northern flavor to the world’s best food traditions.

Spend the summer visiting the yummy food truck at all of your favourite locations. One week, you can find it in the Waterfront District, and the next week you could find it right outside of your office, or the gym—they are coming to you. But I really encourage you to check them out at Brew Ha! (An awesome craft beer festival that is also a must-do this summer)

To visit the Local Motion Food Truck check out Pinetree’s Facebook page for a list of locations. Bon appetit! 

17. Northwest Helicopter Tours

Some landscapes simply demand a view from above. See Thunder Bay’s awesomeness from an entirely different perspective! Northwest Helicopters will show you a view of the city and surrounding area that you’ve never seen before. The sound of the humming blades, the feeling of liftoff… travelling by helicopter is a truly magical experience (and on a hot summer day you can only hope and be lucky enough that your pilot will take the doors off for an even better view).

Northwest Helicopters offer many different tours, including the new FUN flights that show off the city’s beauty along with landmarks like the waterfront and are very affordable at $69 per person. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily have to be a once in a lifetime thing as you can even customize your very own adventure if there is something in particular you want to see. Did I mention this makes the most perfect date (hint, hint, nudge, nudge).

The outing that I want to be whisked away on—The Porphyry Island Lighthouse Tour. You get to see the Sleeping Giant from the other side!! (I wonder what side is the good side? )  Northwest Helicopters will take you to the amazing Porphyry Island Lighthouse on Lake Superior, which is located on the eastern side of the Black Bay Peninsula, 40 km east of Thunder Bay.

Once arriving on the island you will get to tour the lighthouse that was built in 1873 and is the second lighthouse constructed on Lake Superior. You will also experience the Light Keeper’s daily routine, explore the island, take in the panoramic views and can even enjoy a picnic lunch. Total flight time is 45 minutes!

18. Nipigon River Salmon Fishing 

Grab a cold beer or some spiked lemonade and get ready to relax by the water before it’s time for dinner— and guess what’s on the menu tonight—fresh fish!! The picturesque Nipigon River offers world-class fishing and is a place where legends live, with the chance to reel in a famous Nipigion River prized salmon … (And if you’ve ever felt the rush of hooking a Nipigon River Salmon, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, this is your year. I told myself that for over a decade.) I’ve actually heard stories about people bringing in 39 pound monsters! Yowza! Regardless of whether you bring in dinner or not, a ride down the Nipigon River is also a treat and is by far one of my favourite places to go boating in the summer. 

If you want to go fishing but don’t own a boat there are a ton of local companies that offer charters and professionally guided trips, so round up the gang. If you ask around in the small town of Nipigon, they will all point you in the direction of Muzzy Odawa. This guy has definitely caught more fish than me.  

19. Secret Spot & Karen’s Kountry Kitchen 

After a hike at the Sleepy G or a swim in Lake Marie Louise,  stop by the cutest, quaintest list cafe that ever did exist! Opening on July 12th for the season, Karen’s Kitchen is the perfect pitstop with all home cooked meals and obviously the PIE!  Featuring a stunning deck, its the ideal spot to kick back and take a break from your day’s adventures. Karen Pintar, who has run the hot spot for over 29 years, (and is always threatening to retire), says the people are what bring her back year after year. She loves what she does and meeting all of the new visitors.  She will tell you that the location was originally home to a CN Railroad station manager. The rail company used the area as a refuelling station, known back then as “the station at the pass”…Pass Lake. It’s just a lovely slice of sunshine, but also get a slice of the blueberry pie.  

Now speaking of railroad… I am not saying there is or there isn’t… but there very much could be an abandoned train trestle on the way out to visit a giant that sleeps. You might be able to walk across it (if you aren’t afraid of heights), or your knees might just buckle and you will have to crawl a couple feet to say you actually attempted to walk across it. 

This train trestle that could look like the above, and sits amongst the tree tops, might have been decommissioned about 15 years ago. If I was making up a story I would also tell you it was constructed in 1916, and this supposed impressive bridge is said to be one of the largest and deepest trestles in North America. Harry Potter might have also travelled on the last train that crossed it enroute to Hogwarts. 

This could very well be an awesome adventure….but could also be private property. Hike at your own risk 🙂  Borrow Harry’s invisible cloak. You might also need his bravery. 

20. Wake the Giant

You don’t need to travel very far to hear some of the biggest bands and artists in Canada! If you haven’t heard about the Wake the Giant movement in Thunder Bay, you must be hiding under a giant rock. This cultural awareness project has taken over the community, as people, businesses and organizations commit to work together to make Thunder Bay a more welcoming and inclusive city. 

The biggest event that is a part of the project— a music fest celebrating the initiative. The Wake the Giant Music Festival will be held at Prince Arthur’s Landing on September 14th, 2019, featuring a variety of awesome artists and performers from across the country. Metric, July Talk, Crown Lands and Thunder Bay local, Coleman Hell are just some that will take the stage.  With vocals very similar to the Black Keys, Crown Lands is an act that you are not going to want to miss! Wolf Saga also brings a very cool electro-pop vibe, inspired by David Bowie. Check out his song “Walls”. 

The Wake the Giant Music Festival will also include a live art installation, a second stage with cultural performances and many local food vendors, all against the spectacular backdrop of the iconic Sleeping Giant… who I hope we can wake up! 

For tickets: 

About the author

Amanda Bay

Amanda is a PR Gal from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. She is a news enthusiast and communications specialist, navigating the media world for over 17 years. Being very passionate about her community, she strives to create a positive reaction through giving back and her work. It's about finding the awesome in all of life's experiences.

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