The City of Thunder Bay has a number of Sister City arrangements with communities outside of Canada which include:
These communities are similar in size and bear similarities in such characteristics as climate, geography and industry. The objectives of "Sister Cities" is to promote friendship, goodwill, education, economics and tourism between municipalities.
In 1980, Thunder Bay linked with the port city of Duluth, population 85,000. Our common shipping heritage, cultural and geographical similarities, and close proximity made becoming Sister Cities natural. Thunder Bay and Duluth citizens regularly visit each other's communities for business or pleasure. A successful art exchange between the Tweed Museum of Art and the Thunder Bay Art Gallery was sponsored, in part, by the Sister City Committee.
Our linkage with Gifu City, population 400,000, is a continuation of Thunder Bay's relationship with Yanaizu, Japan that began in 1998. Yanaizu merged into Gifu City in 2006. Gifu City has taken advantage of the surrounding natural resources to create both traditional industries including Mino washi and agriculture and tourism opportunities such as cormorant fishing. Gifu University for Education and Languages has been conducting annual student exchange programs with a focus on language and culture with Lakehead University in Thunder Bay since 1988. As well, high school students, citizens and dignitaries from both communities participate in regular exchanges.
In 1977, the City of Little Canada linked with Thunder Bay. Located north of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, the community was founded in 1844 by a French-Canadian farmer, voyageur and trader, Benjamin Gervais. The city hosts an annual celebration called Canadian Days with Thunder Bay. Little Canada has 10,000 residents who enjoy a picturesque rural landscape surrounded by metropolitan activity from the nearby Twin Cities.
In 1974, Thunder Bay linked with its first Sister City, Seinäjoki, population 30,000. Located in the Southern Ostrobothnia district of Finland, Seinäjoki is an important regional centre for the arts, commerce and transportation. Seinäjoki is recognized globally for the cultural and administrative buildings designed by Alvar Aalto, considered among the five foremost architects of the 20th century. A large number of people from Seinäjoki have relocated to Thunder Bay, making our city one of the largest Finnish communities (possibly the largest) outside Finland.