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Local History Resources

City Archives

Archives and Other Sources of Primary Documents


Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society

  • In addition to artifacts and exhibitions, the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society maintains archives with valuable information regarding the history of Thunder Bay and its early inhabitants. Detailed descriptions of archival collections are available online.

Thunder Bay Public Library

  • The local history collection of the Thunder Bay Public Library includes newspapers and news clippings, photographs, and genealogical materials including an index to obituaries. The collection can be accessed at the Brodie Resource Library, and some materials are also available online.

Lakehead University Archives

  • Located in the Chancellor Paterson Library, the Lakehead University Library Archives houses records originating from the University as well as material relevant to industrial, business, social, cultural, and religious activities in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. Lakehead's Northern Studies Resource Centre also has a large collection of newspaper records available to the public.

Northwestern Ontario Archivists' Association

  • The Northwestern Ontario Archivists' Association is a regional chapter of the Archives Association of Ontario, serving local archives and archives workers.

Archives of Ontario

  • The Archives of Ontario serves as the archives for the Ontario Provincial Government, as well as collecting a variety of material from the private sector. This site provides exhibits and an online database of all materials.

Library and Archives Canada - Bibliothèque et Archives Canada

  • Library and Archives Canada acts as the archives for the Federal government, and also collects materials from a wide range of other sources. This site allows you to search the entire collection, and also includes exhibits and a guide to genealogical research.

Fort William: The Gateway to the Gold Fields, to the Wheat Fields

  • This book, written in 1898 by Town Clerk E.S. Rutledge, has been entirely digitized by the Toronto Public Library and is available for viewing through the Ontario Time Machine site. It includes photographs and statistics, and encourages people to travel to and do business in Fort William.

World War One: Thunder Bay Centennial Project

  • Local heritage institutions, including the City Archives, have partnered to produce this developing exhibit about the First World War and how it impacted the people of the Lakehead.

Online Archival Databases


Archives Association of Ontario Archeion Project

  • Archeion is a searchable gateway to descriptions of archival collections from archives across Ontario. This AAO project includes details and contact information for AAO member holdings.

Thunder Bay District Obituaries and Social Notices Indexing Project

  • This volunteer project has developed an index of social notices, death notices, obituaries, estate notices, and in memoriams for Fort William, Port Arthur, and Thunder Bay newspapers for the period 1900-present. The indexes are hosted by the Thunder Bay Public Library.

  • The portal at provides a single access point to search the online collections of a wide variety of Ontario-based archives and heritage institutions.

  • Managed by the Canadian Council of Archives, provides single-search access to holdings at more than 800 institutions based in Canada.

Select Bibliography of Published Works


Arthur, Elizabeth, comp. Thunder Bay District, 1821-1892: A Collection of Documents. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1973

Beaulieu, Michel S. and Southcott, Chris, North of Superior: An Illustrated History of Northwestern Ontario. Toronto: Lorimer, 2010.

Braun, Harold S. A Northern Vision: The Development of Lakehead University , Thunder Bay: Lakehead University, 1987

Grant, Diane, The Street Names of Thunder Bay. Thunder Bay: Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, 1999

Mauro, Joseph M. Thunder Bay: A City's Story, [Thunder Bay]: Joseph Mauro, c1990

Mauro, Joseph M. Thunder Bay: A History: The Golden Gateway of the Great Northwest . Thunder Bay: [City of Thunder Bay], 1981

Scollie, Frederick Brent, Thunder Bay, Mayors & Councillors, 1873 – 1945 . Thunder Bay: Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, 2000

Tronrud, Thorold J. and Epp, Ernest, Thunder Bay: From Rivalry to Unity. Thunder Bay: Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, 1985

Worrell, Peter B. Policing the Lakehead Thunder Bay: Board of Commissioners of Police, 1989