thunder bay

Dec. 5th Presentation: Trekking Superior’s Ice

Many of us who live around Lake Superior have skated on the big lake’s ice. Some of us have hiked the ice to nearby islands, ice caves or points of interest. Still others have travelled even further by ice and distances of over 50 km / 31 mi. have been completed by skiers from around the lake.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 5th, at the Mary J.L. Black Library in Thunder Bay, local historian Bill Skrepichuk will present an account of a much longer trek on Superior’s ice. Bill’s presentation, complete with graphics, outlines the story of over 3000 troops that trekked remote stretches of Superior’s ice in 1885. The troop movement was part of efforts by Canada’s government to move troops westward to the present day Winnipeg area to quell unrest. Various sections of the Canadian Pacific Railway around Superior’s North Shore were incomplete at the time, hence the lengthy treks over the ice, including the following stretches of Lake Superior.

  • Port Munro (just west of Marathon,) to McKellar Harbour (west of Neys Provincial Park)
  • Jackfish Bay (east of Terrace Bay) to Winston Harbour (east of Rossport)
  • Kama (east of Nipigon) to Red Rock.

Bill Skrepichuk’s presentation is extremely well researched and is based upon the book he wrote entitled, “Troop Treks of 1885: Documents and Illustrations.” Hard and soft cover copies of the book will be available at the presentation which is free of charge. Everyone is welcome.

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RAP Harbour Kayak Tour – August 28

A kayak tour of Thunder Bay Harbour cleanup projects and environmental issues will take place beginning at 9 a.m. on August 28th.

You’re invited!

Thunder Bay’s harbour cleanup plan, or Remedial Action Plan (RAP), invites experienced kayakers with their own kayaks to get up close with harbour environmental issues and projects on August 28th.

Centered on the lower Kaministiquia River and nearby portions of Lake Superior, this guided event is a chance for experienced kayakers to learn first-hand about harbour environmental issues and projects centered on water quality, habitat, and fish populations. The event is also a chance to get an up-close view of several harbour industries. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free of charge. A light lunch will be provided. View tour details and video footage of a previous RAP kayak tour below.

1’13” Video Clip – 2015 Nipigon Bay RAP Kayak Tour on the Lower Nipigon River.


When: Sunday, August 28, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Starting and ending at Mission Island public boat launch beside McKellar Marine at the end of 107th Avenue, off 106th Street. (106th Street is on the way to Mission Marsh.)

McKellar Island Boat Launch
The event begins and ends at the McKellar Island Public Boat Launch (also called the 107th Avenue Boat Launch). Access Thunder Bay’s Harbour Islands from Thunder Bay’s east end. Head east on Pacific Avenue from Simpson St. and turn right onto Island Drive. Proceed along Island Drive over the bridge across the McKellar mouth of the Kam River. Turn left onto 106th St. Proceed along 106th St to 107th Ave. Turn left onto 107th Ave and proceed a couple of hundred meters to the public boat launch.

(or 107th Ave.)

(or 107th Ave.)

Why: To learn about Thunder Bay harbour environmental projects, progress and issues.

Registration: Contact Jim Bailey –  jfbailey @ lakeheadu dot ca if you would like to participate. Please copy Kirsti Salmi – ksalmi @ lakeheadu dot ca. All participants must register & return waivers by email before August 19th, 2016.

Safety & Rules:

Safety is our primary consideration. All participants must be experienced kayakers of intermediate or higher skill level with their own kayak and safety equipment. The group will be accompanied by certified kayaking instructor Lise Vaugeois. Note that this is not a kayaking instruction course but rather a harbour tour focused on the lower Kaministiquia River and adjacent portion of Lake Superior.

If you are interested in participating email Jim Bailey at the Lakehead University Remedial Action Plan office – jfbailey @ lakeheadu dot ca. Please copy Kirsti Salmi – ksalmi @ lakeheadu dot ca. If you have any questions, feel free to give Jim a call – 807-343-8514.

Thunder Bay PAC Meeting June 1st, 2016

Thunder Bay PAC Meeting June 1 at Richardson’s Grain Elevator

The Public Advisory Committee (PAC) to the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan will meet at 7 p.m. on June 1st at the Current River Terminal of Richardson’s International grain elevators, located on Thunder Bay’s waterfront near the mouth of the Current River (link to map of meeting location). Thanks to Richardson’s for offering the meeting room at their facility. The meeting is free of charge and everyone is welcome to attend.

Directions to the meeting:

Map of meeting Location

Click here if you would like to access directions to the meeting which can be printed..

Richardson’s Current River Terminal is at 303 Shipyard Road. To get to the terminal proceed to the intersection of Cumberland Street North and Grenville Avenue. This intersection is just east of the Current River bridge. Turn down Grenville Avenue toward Lake Superior. After the underpass, take the first right onto Shipyard Road. Proceed several hundred meters along Shipyard Road. A large RAP sign will be placed at the entrance to Richardson’s Current River Terminal. Proceed to parking in front of the Millwright’s shop where meeting participants can gather prior to being escorted to the boardroom. (Note that Richardson’s has two terminals, a main terminal accessible via the overpass to the marina and a Current River Terminal, accessible via Grenville Avenue/Shipyard Road. The PAC meeting is being held at the Current River Terminal.)

The central topic on the agenda will be a presentation by Environment and Climate Change Canada research scientist Dr. Mark McMaster about “Fish Tumours and Other Deformites”, one of several impairments which led to Thunder Bay being designated as a Great Lakes Area of Concern.

Information about Dr. Mark McMaster and his research, including an 8 minute audio clip, or podcast.

Information about “Fish Tumours and Other Deformities”

Current Status: Requires further assessment.

Delisting Criteria:

This BUI will no longer be impaired when a survey of 100 white suckers (Catostomus commersoni) – and more if available – encompassing a diverse age range indicates a liver tumor prevalence rate of less than 5%.

The agenda and complete information package for the meeting can be accessed below (note the “Zoom” or enlargement feature, top right, in the map of the meeting location):

Thunder Bay PAC Meeting – March 23

Check in for the event on Facebook here!

The Public Advisory Committee to the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan, or harbour cleanup plan, will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 23rd in Room ATAC 3004 at Lakehead University. Parking is available right beside the ATAC building and is free of charge.

A presentation on “Bird and Animal Deformities” will be made at the meeting by Doug Crump who works in the Wildlife Toxicology Group at Environment and Climate Change Canada. Discussion will also be had on the letter to the editor about a mercury clean up plan in North Harbour, Thunder Bay. Everyone is welcome to this free meeting.

Doug Crump has a wealth of experience in Great Lakes wildlife toxicology. For many years he has traveled extensively throughout the Great Lakes region, in both Canada and USA, collecting data including contaminant levels in herring gull eggs. Doug has been active at sites on Lake Superior in Thunder Bay and nearby Black Bay. The photo accompanying this post was taken while Doug was at work on Granite Island in Black Bay in 2013. This full set of photos from Doug’s 2013 field work on Granite Island provides an excellent demonstration of the work Doug carries out throughout the Great Lakes.

Bird and Animal Deformities have not been reported within the Thunder Bay Area of Concern although the status of “Requires Further Assessment” remains in place. Deformities in cormorants have occurred at a nearby colony on the Gravel Islands on Black Bay (Ryckman et al 1998). In the period of 1988 to 1994 the incidence of deformities was the lowest in the Great Lakes at 1.2 per 10,000, still elevated compared to areas outside the Great Lakes. Doug Crump’s presentation will provide more recent information useful in determining whether this item can be removed from the list of environmental impairments in Thunder Bay.

“Delisting Criteria” for this impairment, that is the rationale upon which a decision may be made to remove “Requires Further Assessment” status, is centered on contaminant levels in wildlife tissues. The delisting criteria for Bird and Animal Deformities can be read here.

You can also access the meeting online by computer, tablet or mobile phone. You can text questions to the presenter. We’ll be livestreaming meeting audio and you’ll be able to see meeting presentations as well. Join the meeting several minutes early to ensure everything is working properly. Ensure your volume is on and up.

Click here beginning at 6:45 p.m. on March 23rd for livestream audio of the meeting.


Livestreaming is being done on a trial basis and in the event of technical problems the on-site meeting will take precendence and the audio livestream will be discontinued.