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Thunder Bay 150

Thunder Bay 150

As seen in the Chronicle Journal's Canada 150 magazine.

Thunder Bay is an up and coming city; positioned for growth and poised for a resurgence. Our community is strategically located, naturally beautiful and diverse.

The last 150 years have evolved our city’s economy to what we know it as today. It has shifted from a reliance on the forestry industry as the main economic driver to a new, connected setting powered by a knowledge-based workforce. This shift is reflected in some of Thunder Bay’s major employers, which include healthcare organizations such as Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (Thunder Bay’s largest employer), St. Joseph’s Care Group, the education sector (Lakehead University, Confederation College, and school boards), as well as government organizations on the municipal, provincial and federal levels. It is evident in the innovation displayed by leading-edge organizations like Tbaytel and Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute.

Small businesses are important as ever, serving our community, contributing to a healthy tax base, and supporting a vast network of partners and suppliers. Government support is paramount to their success and longevity, as proven by programs like Starter Company Plus, which provides training, mentoring, and a potential grant to eligible small business start-ups and expansions. It is expected that our government will keep these programs and provide this kind of support ongoingly.

We’re seeing more innovative entrepreneurship, empowered youth, social entrepreneurs, and more women at the helm of local small businesses. We are also seeing an increasing number of small business owners approaching retirement, so the CEDC has made succession planning a priority. Our Business Opportunities site,, is a platform on which retiring entrepreneurs can confidentially list their businesses for sale and investors looking to buy businesses can place ‘want’ ads. We’ve had some success with matching sellers with buyers and will keep marketing and developing the site.

Thunder Bay is the supply base for the mining and mineral exploration industry of Northwestern Ontario, a gold powerhouse, having produced 873,000 ounces of gold in 2015 from just three mines alone. Gold production will remain high for years to come. NWO is also home to palladium mines, lithium deposits and the Ring of Fire, for which Thunder Bay will provide labour, engineering, and service exports.

Other major industry players such as Bombardier and Resolute will continue to make prominent contributions, as will Canada Malt and the terminal grain elevators, Thunder Bay Port Authority, and Thunder Bay Airport. The airport is not only the third busiest in Ontario (by city destination), it is the centre of the growing aviation industry, supporting aviation repair businesses, airline head offices, cargo handling, and nearly 200 aerospace maintenance engineers (AMEs). Aviation is an important industry to Thunder Bay and will become even more so in the future.

A great place to raise a family, start a business, advance your career, and live a fulfilling life, the Thunder Bay CEDC has made it our focus to tell the world what our city has to offer. is an attraction tool we’ve developed to promote Thunder Bay on a global level to appeal to investors and talent abroad. With this resource, people from all over the globe can find everything they need to know when considering Thunder Bay as their next home.

The website brings together comprehensive information conducive to making the transition to Thunder Bay desirable, easy, and very worthwhile. shows the world that there are rewarding, well-paying jobs here, support for business start-ups and expansions, as well as academic opportunities to pursue. Prospective newcomers can see that there are great schools for their children to attend, a lively arts and culture scene, and some of the most affordable housing in Canada. Places of worship, top 10 things to do, quality of life indicators, and the city’s fantastic amenities can be discovered with is linked to statistical economic data, testimonials, as well as the CEDC’s efforts in community health sciences recruitment. We are targeting the website to former residents, skilled professionals, immigrants, and business investors, and we encourage local employers, partners in economic development, and the general public to share it with their networks.

The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) and Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre offers FREE and confidential services to help small businesses start up, expand, and succeed. Their one-to-one business counselling, comprehensive information, consulting, and referral service make them a great first stop if you are starting a business or even thinking of starting a business. The Entrepreneur Centre (EC) can assist you to write a business plan, secure funding, and access other available resources. Call (807) 625-3960 to book an appointment or visit

Thunder Bay CEDC/Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre

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