Month: October 2017

Oct. 17 – Lake Superior Evening in Marathon

Peninsula Harbour - 1884
Peninsula Harbour, the main Harbour at Marathon, Ontario, 1884.


7 P.M to 9 P.M.., October 17th
Moose Hall, 6 Stevens Ave.
Marathon, Ontario


1. Peninsula Harbour’s “Thin-layer Cap” Environmental Cleanup Project
2. Peninsula Harbour Environmental Monitoring, an Overview


3. CPR Construction in the Peninsula Harbour / Heron Bay Area – A Brief History – 1883-85

Free of Charge – Refreshments will be Served

Presented by the Peninsula Harbour Remedial Action Plan

Historical Presentation Tops off Evening:

After presentations about the Lake Superior environment, specifically cleanup in Peninsula Harbour, Thunder Bay historian and former head of engineering at the Red Rock mill, Bill Skrepichuk, will top off the evening with a presentation of local historical interest to Marathon, Pic River and area residents. Bill’s presentation is entitled, “A brief History of CPR Construction in the Peninsula Harbour / Heron Bay Area during the 1883 – 1885 era.” Bill’s talk will focus on the role of Lake Superior, especially Peninsula Harbour and Heron Bay, as materials were transported westward to build the railway. More information about Bill’s talk, along with sample historical photos, will be posted here, as this information becomes available.

thin-layer cap material
Sand and granular material stockpiled at the former mill in Marathon for use in the thin-layer cap harbour remediation project, 2012.

Presentations Focus on “Thin-layer” Cap

The evening starts out with presentations providing an overview of summer, 2017 environmental monitoring carried out in Peninsula Harbour at Marathon, Ontario. The presentations will provide an overview of the “thin-layer cap” project, completed in 2012, to deal with mercury and PCB contamination in Peninsula Harbour. This overview will be followed by a presentation, including photos, of the extensive suite of environmental monitoring completed during summer, 2017. Much of the monitoring is aimed at determining the effectiveness of the capping project. Representatives of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and Environment and Climate Change Canada will be in attendance.

Background: Peninsula Harbour Area of Concern Sediment Capping Project

Elevated levels of mercury and PCBs accumulated in the Jellicoe Cove portion of Peninsula Harbour adjacent to the former pulp mill. The source of harbour mercury was a chlor-alkali plant which at one time operated beside the pulp mill.  To create clean habitat for plants and animals and to accelerate natural recovery, Environment Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and industrial partners put in place a project to cap this contaminated sediment with clean sand. The project was completed during the summer of 2012. The integrity of the cap and “re-colonization” of the area by bottom dwelling organisms, including plants, will be monitored for the next 20 years.

View an online presentation, including photos, about the capping project.

View photos of the project taken during a public tour organized by the Peninsula Harbour Remedial Action Plan.

What is the Peninsula Harbour “Area of Concern?”

In the late eighties, Peninsula Harbour was designated as one of several “Areas of Concern” around the Great Lakes for which a Remedial Action Plan would be required because a review of available data indicated that water quality and environmental health were severely degraded. Further monitoring showed high levels of contaminants in fish and sediment, loss of fish habitat, and degraded fish and benthic communities (worms and insects that live on the lake floor). These problems were caused by discharge of wastewater from the municipal sewage treatment plant, a former pulp mill, and associated chemical plant, and log booming. The situation resulted in six of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement’s 14 beneficial use indicators (BUIs) of ecosystem health being deemed as impaired.

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Grain Shipping: An Important Part of Thunder Bay’s History

Richardson International Limited owns two grain elevators in Thunder Bay, Ontario, one of which will soon be marking 100 years of operation.

PHOTO: Richardson’s International facilities in Thunder Bay. 

Helping to move grain from the Canadian prairies to locations around the world, the Thunder Bay grain elevators operated by Richardson’s employ approximately 100 people. Based in Winnipeg, the company also takes a keen interest in the community of Thunder Bay. Richardson’s has had a representative on the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan (RAP), or harbour cleanup plan, for many years.

While there aren’t as many grain elevators as there once were, Thunder Bay still has the largest grain storage capacity in North America and hundreds of thousands of tonness of wheat, canola, soybeans, flax and oats are stored in  silos before being shipped.

In 2014, Richardsons announced that it had more than doubled its capacity in the Port of Thunder Bay by purchasing and re-opening the “Current River Terminal”, formerly part of Viterra Inc. and located near Richardson’s  original “Heritage Terminal”. The Viterra elevator had not been used in three years and required cleanup and repairs. Both terminals are nearby one another on the Current River section of the waterfront.

The Current River Terminal has a storage capacity of 235,000 tonnes, while the Heritage Terminal holds 208,000 tonnes. This makes for a combined storage capacity of 443,000 tonnes.

Shipping has been the backbone of the Thunder Bay economy from the early days of the fur trade to the building of the railway, and beyond. During the late-1970s and 1980s the Port of Thunder Bay was the busiest it had ever been thanks in large part to grain shipments to the former USSR. Presently, the eight grain elevators along the Thunder Bay waterfront are able to store more than 1.2 million tonnes of grain, in particular wheat, and supply it to such fast growing markets as the Middle East and Africa.

More information about the economic impact of the Port of Thunder Bay … 

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