An aerial tour of the rugged coastline of Lake Superior and a fly over of the world famous Sleeping Giant is something you will want to put on your "must do" list on your visit to Thunder Bay this summer.
Wilderness North, one of Canada's largest providers of fly-in outdoor adventures is offering something new, special floatplane excursions from its seaplane base located in Thunder Bay harbour on theshores of Lake Superior.
Great Photos, Lasting Memories
The special excursion fly over's will allow guests to view and photograph Northwestern Ontario's famous landmark the Sleeping Giant, the sky line of Thunder bay, as well as the lush boreal forests in its autumn colours.
Guests will board the legendary DeHavilland Otter, where every seat has it's own viewing window. This aircraft was built with a high wing so views are never compromised. Plus, one premium seat is available as "co pilot" in the front of the aircraft – next to the pilot- with both a forward and side view...perfect for video shooting.
Close Up Views And More!
The DHC-3 Otter has a 750 horsepower turbine power plant and of course lands on water. It's ability to fly "low and slow" means guests will experience closer views and have more chances to capture the photos or video they want. There is no better way to get an aerial view of Northwestern Ontario. This unforgettable flying excursion even includes a landing at remote harbour for a break and special snacks. To find out more, visit www.wildernessnorth.com or call 1-888-465-3474.
The lure of Superior
While visiting Thunder Bay on business, I found myself with extra time to explore a community I knew little about.
Naturally, my exploration lead me to the water...specifically Marina Park. What a hub of activity! From kids of all ages skating and riding their bikes on the skateboard plaza, people out doing tai chi or walking their dogs, sail boats coming and going and a few triumphant souls cleaning their Lake Superior catch of trout at the fish cleaning station, it was clear to me why so many people loved being in this city.
What caught my attention the most while looking out over the water was that this fantastic body of fresh water that is the recreational hub of the community is also a working port. Looking north and south to the towering grain elevators that line the waterfront was the first sign of the international role this city plays in feeding the world.
Boats in the Harbour
I sat on a bench, coffee in hand just watching the activities around me. A tug boat easing a huge bulk carrier - over 700 feet long I was told - from a berth at one of the grain docks. A look out into the harbour towards the Sleeping Giant revealed two more ships at anchor, waiting to come in and load their cargo for destinations near and far.
Looking to the south end of the park, I noticed something even more surprising. The top decks and stack of a visiting cruise ship docked right near the park, its features towering over the trees. This, I later learned, is mile zero of the St Lawrence Seaway. This is the farthest west in Canada ships can travel. It is here that grain, coal and other natural resources from the west arrive on rail cars and are bound for the world and where other cargoes arrive by ship headed inland.
Perhaps it was the laughter of the kids skating nearby or the enjoyment I got watching ships move around the harbour but it all made me feel like a kid again. In fact, it kicked off a passion I never knew I had. Ship watching. I never thought I'd find ships this size in the middle of Canada.
I flew home later that afternoon and as the plane took off easterly to Toronto, I looked out the window below at the waterfront, the marina and the ships I had watched hours ago and thought about how amazing it must be to live on a lake that feeds the world and feeds the recreational appetites of those who live on it.
Last summer, while taking in the breath taking vistas and winding highways around Lake Superior by motorcycle, we found ourselves in Thunder Bay for the night.
What amazed us was how welcoming the city is to motorcyclists. We like to scope out the motorcycle shops when we travel...just to make sure we can get servicing if we need it. Heading north on 61, we located our first dealer, Excalibur Motorcycle Works just off the highway near the airport. Just a half mile up the highway, we turned onto Arthur Street and quickly noticed Thunder Bay Harley Davidson . Whether it was coincidence or not, we were impressed to see the bike dealers so close to the highway. While we didn't need any parts or service, knowing where they were gave us peace of mind.
We checked into the Victoria Inn across the street and noticed a bike parked under the canopy. Upon inquiry, we learned that we were welcome to park our bikes under there for the night, a nice treat to keep the bikes out of the elements.
After riding all day, we weren't really excited to ride anywhere for dinner but everything we wanted was all within walking distance, including an authentic sushi house, Wasabi, right across the street.
After a fantastic night's sleep we woke to an incredibly warm sunny morning well rested, well fed and ready to continue our epic journey around Lake Superior. We'll certainly plan on making Thunder Bay a must stop on every trip.
Photo by JF Bergeron
Experience the fresh wind on your face during a exhilarating ninety minute or customized sailing tour of the harbour with SailSuperior.com. Learn about the big lake and see the city from a a new view point. Let Captain Gregory Herioux regale you with his knowledge of the city's heritage and his world travels aboard Frodo. Check out the main harbour light up close or anchor in the shelter of the Welcome Islands. A sunset cruise is an amazing way to experience Thunder Bay's connection to its natural environment.
Care to drop a line while you're out on the lake? How about a fishing charter with Archie's Charters aboard his thirty two foot Sea Ray. Take in a Lake Superior sunrise with an early morning fishing expedition where you're almost guaranteed to land a lake trout or salmon.
Want something a little closer to the water? How about a canoe or kayak rental with Wildwaters on the McIntyre River. Paddle right through the heart of the city and out into the shelter of Thunder Bay's inner harbour. Experience urban paddling at its best. See the working port up close, paddle up to Marina Park or head up the Kaministiquia River.
There are so many ways to embrace the lake this summer up close and personal. You'll see why we're Superior by Nature.
The Thunder Bay Country Market is the place to be on Saturdays for foodies.
Visit dozens of local vendors at the CLE Grounds showcasing Thunder Bay's amazing agriculture community. Its just another fantastic culinary surprise you'll find in Canada's best outdoor city.
Try some Thunder Oak Gouda and find out why its won international awards. This locally produced cheese, available in a multitude of flavours, goes great with anything. If jams and jellies are your cup of tea, you'll find locally made preserves and spreads from Belluz Farms.
If seafood is your thing, try some locally sourced smoked trout, whitefish, pickeral or salmon. Being a gateway to some of the planet's best freshwater angling means great catches are easy to find.
Are you a carnivore? Than this place is heaven. Check out locally raised pork, bison, boar, elk pepperoni and organically raised beef. Nothing says summer like local meat on the BBQ. How about some decadent local chocolates from Stanton's Chocolate Cow or fresh baked cookies and pastries from Northern Unique Catering? Its all here.
Once the summer growing season is upon us, find fresh produce from around the region. Blueberries, strawberries, corn, carrots, potatoes and lettuce abound from the dozens or farms located throughout the district. Even in the early spring, fresh herbs from Debruin's can be found
While you're here, grab some wood fired bread, some fresh roasted coffees and you've got the makings of an amazing breakfast or lunch.