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Family Fun for Everyone in Thunder Bay

Did you know that about a third of summer visitors to Thunder Bay are here to see friends and family? That means there a lot of groups of mixed ages out there, looking for an outing that spells F-U-N for the gang. Whether you’re hosting a family reunion or are searching for some ideas for day trips while you’re in town, we’re got ideas on activities and venues that work for diverse groups that include little kids, seniors and everyone in between.

Head to a park

Chippewa Park

Thunder Bay is blessed with lots of great community parks. Two stand-outs are Chippewa Park and Centennial Park. Chippewa is a large park right on Lake Superior with an outstanding view of the Sleeping Giant. It boasts a large playground for the kids, free Sunday afternoon concerts, a ball diamond, shaded picnic areas with grills, and a small amusement park (open 1-8 pm) with classic rides like a beautiful historic carousel and bumper cars. You can also book the wooden pavilion for larger groups for larger groups. Or, head to Centennial Park at the north end of town, which has a playground, farm animals, a 1910 logging camp exhibit and picnic areas.


Sail, fish, fly


Tour the Thunder Bay harbour and surrounding islands on a sleek sailboat skippered by Sail Superior—they even have a twilight wine and cheese option or a joint fly-and-sail venture with Wilderness North. If fishing is your passion, check out the variety of fishing tour companies that are available for Lake Superior and inland lakes.

Prince Arthur’s Landing at Marina Park was voted “Best Place to Impress a Visitor” in 2015 and it’s easy to see why. Watch the sailboats and cargo ships in the harbour with the Giant in the background, play in the splash pad, playground or skateboard park, stroll the paths to see the variety of public art, and the award-winning Spirit Garden, shop or take an art class at the historic Baggage Building Arts Centre, and groove at a free concert on Wednesday evenings.

Vanderwees Home and Garden Centre combines a huge garden and gift centre with a café, nature trail, small animal farm and a 18-hole mini-golf course. Or, head south of the city to Belluz Farms where you can relax in the greenhouse café, hop aboard a wagon to pick your own strawberries or raspberries, or shop in the farm store for locally produced cheese, meats, preserves and produce. Should you get stuck with a rainy day, the Centennial Botanical Conservatory is the perfect place to explore an indoor green oasis, and guided tours are available if you call ahead.

Potluck meals are great…but imagine the reaction if you hired a local food truck to cater your get-together? The city has an impressive variety of food trucks serving up everything from “northern fusion” cuisine and Portuguese fare to barbeque and slushies. If you’re looking for a restaurant meal, the historic neighbourhood of Bay and Algoma is home to the city’s densest concentration of hip restaurants offering fresh dishes and regional ingredients. Be sure to eat your way through the Thunder Bay Country Market on Wednesday evenings or Saturday mornings too.

Related: Food Truck Frenzy Hits Thunder Bay


Find a venue

Reunion time? Community centres are surprisingly affordable to rent for the day and offer full kitchens and indoor seating and washrooms, along with outdoor amenities like ball diamonds and playgrounds. Check the local guide The Key to find contact details. Or, consider a company that specializes in reunions, such as Superior Visits to handle the logistics of transportation, tours and accommodations.

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