Life in Thunder Bay for Immigrants
Home » Life in Thunder Bay for Immigrants – Pros and Cons

Life in Thunder Bay for Immigrants – Pros and Cons

Generally, life in Thunder Bay is known to be peaceful, safe, engaging, and promising for immigrants.

However, it becomes encouraging and mind-blowing when you have adequate knowledge of life in the city you wish to immigrate to.

Right now, you are on this page because you wish to know about life in Thunder Bay for immigrants to make decisions on how to immigrate to Thunder Bay. In addition, it may interest you to know that the cost of living in Thunder Bay is truly unique.

Thunder Bay’s life is peaceful, entertaining, natural, and less expensive. If you are immigrating as a student, you find schools in Thunder Bay; likewise, as a visitor, you will find dining out and nightlife in Thunder Bay highly entertaining.

Comprehensively, you will learn about the cost of living in Thunder Bay, the weather in Thunder Bay, fun things to do, and transit in Thunder Bay.

Where is Thunder Bay, ON

Thunder Bay is a city located in the Northwest part of the province of Ontario. Thunder Bay is composed of two formerly separate cities, Port Arthur and Fort William, which still retain much of their distinct civic identities.

Thunder Bay is the capital of Northwestern Ontario. It offers a relaxing, natural atmosphere with lively urban space, making it one of the most diverse places to live, learn, work, do business and play.

Weather in Thunder Bay, ON

Thunder Bay is the sunniest city in eastern Canada, averaging 2167 hours of sunshine each year. The sun may be out even in winter and snow.

Summer gets warm but cool in the evenings, making it less humid and more comfortable than other Ontario cities.

The average daily temperature is -14.8 °C (average high of -8.6 °C) in January and 17.6 °C (average high of 24.2°C) in July.

How multicultural is Thunder Bay?

Thunder Bay in Ontario is undoubtedly among the Canadian cities with high cultural diversity. As a result, Thunder Bay has an organization called the “Thunder Bay Multicultural Association” (TBMA).

Their vision is to facilitate newcomer settlement, promote multiculturalism and help eliminate racism in our region through a full suite of services, community engagement and development, and a positive social equity framework.

Thunder Bay and the region will be a culturally diverse and welcoming community, a destination of choice for immigrants who will contribute to, and benefit from, both social and economic development.

And its mission is to work towards a society where all people from diverse ethnocultural backgrounds can participate fully in Canadian life, working together with respect, fairness, and acceptance.

To develop community capacity, programs, and services to attract and retain immigrants.

The population of Thunder Bay

Located on the north shore of Lake Superior, Thunder Bay is rich in people and resources.

It is the largest community on Lake Superior. Its population is 107,909, according to the 2016 Canada Census.

Located on Lake Superior, the census metropolitan area of Thunder Bay has a population of 121,621. It consists of the city of Thunder Bay, the municipalities of Oliver Paipoonge and Neebing, the townships of Shuniah, Conmee, O’Connor, and Gillies, and the Fort William First Nation.

With a population of 109,140, it is the most populous municipality in Northwestern Ontario.

Transit in Thunder Bay, ON

Thunder Bay Transit’s public transportation system relies on a bus system. It was formed in 1970, after the amalgamation of the cities of Port Authur and Fort William and their respective transit agencies.

Thunder Bay transit is a member of the Canadian Urban Transit Association. However, public transportation costs vary depending on the route, method, and distance.

Dining out and nightlife in Thunder Bay

Life in Thunder Bay for immigrants when it comes to dining out and nightlife in Thunder Bay is always buzzing with lots of entertainment activities. Downtown Thunder Bay has more than 200 restaurants with a good number of bars, mainly happening at night.

If you are a party freak, the best place to find an all-night party with enough dance rooms and music is in Thunder Bay City.

Dining out is always fun, especially with family members, friends, and co-workers. Thus, you can eat out in any of the following restaurants in Thunder Bay, ON:

  • The keg Steakhouse+Bar
  • Prospector SteakHouse
  • Caribou Restaurant +Wine Bar
  • The Sovereign Room
  • Naxos Grill & Bar
  • Nook
  • Man Vs. Meat
  • In Common
  • The kitchen Restaurant
  • Tony & Adams

Nightlife in Thunder Bay, ON

Here are some nightclubs you can visit in Thunder Bay to get more of the life in Thunder Bay for Immigrants, visitors, workers, and students:

  • Pier 61 Bar
  • The outpost
  • Black pirates Pub
  • NV Music Hall
  • Dragon’s Den Sports Bar & Grill
  • The Westfort
  • Cheer’s the Village Pub
  • Valhallaskal Lounge
  • Hodder Tavern
  • The Foundry

Tourist attraction centers in Thunder Bay

You can visit any of the following tourist attraction centers in Thunder Bay, province of Ontario.

Tourist attraction centers in Thunder Bay include:

  • Terry Fox Monument
  • Kababeka Falls
  • Mount McKay
  • Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
  • Amethyst Mines
  • Fort William Historical Park
  • Hillcrest Park

Life in Sherbrooke for Immigrants

List of schools and colleges in Thunder Bay, ON

List of post-secondary schools and colleges in Thunder Bay

  • Lakehead University
  • Confederation College
  • CD College of Business Technology and Healthcare
  • Academic of Learning College
  • Lakehead physiotherapy
  • Health Sciences, North Lakehead University.

Thunder Bay Elementary Schools

  • St Martin Elementary School
  • Saint Paul Catholic Elementary School
  • Bishop E.Q.jennings Senior Elementary School
  • St Vincent Catholic Elementary School
  • Corpus Christi Catholic Elementary School
  • St Jude School
  • Holy Cross Catholic Elementary School
  • Bishop Gallagher Senior Catholic Elementary School
  • Our Lady of Charity Catholic Elementary School

Why you should move to Thunder Bay, ON

There are various reasons you should move to Thunder Bay, ON.

As the largest city in Northwestern Ontario, Thunder Bay is a vibrant and growing community and is the region’s commercial, administrative and medical hub.

Thunder Bay has been developing its knowledge-based industries, from trees to transportation to research, health, and life sciences, primarily in biotechnology and molecular medicine.

The city is home to the western campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, the first medical school to open in Canada in a generation.

Finding a Home in Thunder bay

Thunder Bay was ranked number 1 out of 227 major urban international cities for affordable housing by the fourth annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $763 per month. Average detached home sale prices are $324,604.

Contact a realtor in the area to purchase a home who will guide you through the home-buying process.

Medicals in Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay has one major hospital, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and many long-term care centers operated by the St. Joseph’s Care Group, such as the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and Hogarth Riverview Manor.

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine has a campus at Lakehead University.

Thunder Bay is also home to various smaller medical and dental clinics. So, life in Thunder Bay for immigrants when it has to do with health is well covered.

Education in Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay has various primary and secondary educational opportunities, with 38 elementary schools, three middle schools, eight secondary schools, two private schools, a university, two colleges, a medical school, and an adult education facility.

These schools include French immersion programs, comprehensive special education services, an International Baccalaureate Programme, and an Outdoor Education Centre.

The primary school boards serving the area are the Lakehead District School Board, the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board, and the Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique des Aurores boréales.

The Lakehead District School Board is the largest, with 22 elementary schools, four secondary schools, and a center for adult studies. The Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board has 16 elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools.

CSDC Aurores boréales operates one elementary and one high school in Thunder Bay and an additional six schools throughout the Thunder Bay District.

Pros of living in Thunder Bay

#1 Location

Thunder Bay is a city located in the Northwest part of the province of Ontario. This city is a great place to live for those who’d like to embrace the peacefulness of small-city Canadian life without being too far from the States.

Suppose you have family or friends in the Upper Midwest of the US, and you’re considering moving to Canada. In that case, Thunder Bay is a fantastic option that allows you the easy access of returning to see your loved ones without so much as hopping in your car and setting off whenever your now much more relaxed schedule will allow!

#2 Nature and Climate

Thunder Bay boasts many beautiful landmarks, landscapes, and sights to see and is ideal for engaging in your favorite outdoor activities. You’re in luck for those who love to ski, canoe, or hike!

With a huge variety of trails and even a canyon, you will have the chance to visit the beautiful Cascades or Kakabeka Falls. So whether you have a passion for the adventure of the outdoors or simply enjoy a waterside view, Thunder Bay is the place for anyone with a love for nature.

#3 Jobs and Employment

Thunder Bay has a range of growing sectors, including accounting, aerospace, mining, and IT, making life in Thunder Bay for immigrants a great one for both people experienced in their careers or looking to start a new one in the fields above.

For those looking to start their own business, the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce can help you by offering professional development and networking opportunities. They have even created a handy Small Business Resource Guide to help you start and manage your business.

If you want to work for The City of Thunder Bay, try visiting their website to find more information and apply easily for jobs.

#4 Diversity in Thunder Bay

Since 2000, Diversity Thunder Bay has worked hard to establish a community that is free from racism and discrimination.

For indigenous peoples living in Thunder Bay, there is Negahneewin College, an educational institution that helps to bridge the gap between white Canadian and indigenous students through offering a range of courses and programs, scholarships, bursaries, and student support services.

#5 Cost of Living in Thunder Bay

If you currently live in one of Canada’s major cities, you’ll be pleased to hear that the cost of living in Thunder Bay is considerably lower.

According to the Rental Market Report 2018, renting a two-bedroom in Thunder Bay will cost you an average of $1037 per month, a whopping $600 cheaper than the average two-bedroom rent prices in Vancouver!

And for those considering moving from Toronto, you’ll be pleased to hear that renting a one-bedroom apartment in Thunder Bay will cost you a mere $883- that’s 58% cheaper than your average Torontonian one-bedroom.

It’s no wonder that Thunder Bay was ranked number 1 out of 227 major urban international cities for affordable housing!

#6 Thunder Bay Quality of Life

With low living costs and so much nature, you might already know the quality of life in Thunder Bay. However, living in a congested and densely populated city with expensive rent and few natural areas to unwind in can inevitably take a toll on your mental and physical health.

Thunder Bay allows you to live free from the stresses of crippling rental and transport costs, with clean, fresh air, wide-open spaces to exercise in, and great job opportunities in various sectors.

Say goodbye to stuffy indoor gyms, poor air quality, and money problems, and say hello to life in Thunder Bay.

Cons of living in Thunder Bay, ON

#1 Location

However, there are downsides to Thunder Bay’s location. Despite being in the same province, it is a long sixteen-hour drive or two-hour flight to Toronto. For those planning to move from Toronto to Thunder Bay, remember that visits to the big city might need to be planned.

Winnipeg is the closest Canadian city to Thunder Bay, a seven-and-a-half-hour drive in regular traffic. However, if being close to Canada’s big cities is your priority, Thunder Bay may not fit well for you.

#2 Nature and Climate

Life in Thunder Bay for immigrants like you might not be so appealing for those who don’t like the cold. The average temperature from November to May ranges from -15ºC to 9ºC, with expected highs in the summer of 17ºC.

If you’re moving from a place with humid springs and hot summers, invest in some warm winter gear and ensure you are prepared for quite a different climate before moving.

#3 Unemployment rate

Thunder Bay might not be so appealing for those who don’t like the cold. The average temperature from November to May ranges from -15ºC to 9ºC, with expected highs in the summer of 17ºC.

If you are moving from a place with humid springs and hot summers, invest in some warm winter gear and ensure you are prepared for quite a different climate before moving.

#4 Diversity in Thunder Bay

Unfortunately, despite community efforts, racism remains a problem in the city today. Local police released a “Broken Trust” report in December 2018, concluding that a “crisis of trust” existed between the police and indigenous residents.

One of the key barriers to implementing change in the police force is money. The OIPRD (Office of Independent Police Review Director) has urged the Thunder Bay police to address the “serious, long-standing issues facing the police service” and to ensure effective and nondiscriminatory policing is provided.

How to immigrate to Thunder Bay, ON

The Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OINP) is the best option to immigrate to Thunder Bay.

Provinces can submit candidates for permanent residency under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). These immigrants will be required to live and work in the provinces for a minimum of two years before being allowed to move to another province.

Create an express entry profile with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and you will be included in the express entry pool.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Thunder Bay a Safe Place to Live?

In recent years, there have been concerns regarding Thunder Bay’s safety due to crime levels increasing sharply. Fortunately, the City of Thunder Bay has set out a community safety and well-being strategy which aims to tackle crime by getting to the root of the problem.

The strategy involves:

  • Using evidence-based crime prevention programs that have been proven effective by engaging with the Thunder Bay community.
  • Collaborating with community partnerships.
  • Making efforts to prevent discrimination against marginalized groups.


In conclusion, Thunder Bay is an excellent city for people who love to be around nature and are looking for a place to start a family or enjoy a more tranquil and stress-free life in Thunder Bay for immigrants.

With such low rent and property prices, Thunder Bay would also serve as a beautiful city for those looking to relocate after retiring.

Thunder Bay probably won’t be the city for those who enjoy living a fast-paced city life, urban environments, and hot weather; however, visiting and looking for yourself surely can’t hurt!

read also life in New Westminster or life in Sarnia.

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