These are some of your most searched records at the City of Thunder Bay Archives.

File titles and descriptions are listed as they appear in the original records and have not been edited. These file listings may contain different spellings, inaccuracies, or terms which are now considered offensive. They have been left in this original format for historical authenticity.

  • (A) The records are available for everyone to view.
  • (A*) Some records might need special permission to view. Archives staff will perform a quick review upon request for access and may require you to file a formal request for some files or documents.

We have photos on the City of Thunder Bay Archives Flickr site! New photos added regularly.

If you require a PDF in an accessible format, contact our Municipal Accessibility Specialist.

Aerial Photographs

These photographs, taken in various years between 1949 and 1987, give a bird's-eye view of the City and its surrounding area. One of our most frequently used series, these photographs show the growth of the City, and what the land had been used for. All aerial photos are scanned and easily searched on the public computer at the City Archives.

Series 92 - Aerial Photographs, 1949-2002 (A)

Fort William Annual Reports

The City Archives has a large collection of annual reports from departments of the City of Fort William between 1903 and 1966. For example, some of the reports come from the Police Department; Medical Health Officer; City Engineer; Fire Department; Auditor; Industrial Bureau; Parks Board; Building Inspector; Waterworks; Street Railway; Poundkeeper; Tourist Department; Telephone Department.

Series 16 - Fort William Annual Reports, 1903-1966 (A)

By-laws and Council Minutes

By-laws and Council Minutes are available for the City of Thunder Bay and the former Cities of Port Arthur and Fort William. These date back to the 1880s and show municipal laws and council decisions relating to various issues of the day. By-Laws and Council Minutes are available to see on microfilm at the City Archives.

Series 1 - Fort William Council Minutes, 1892-1969 (A)

Series 3 - Fort William By-laws, 1892-1969 (A)

Series 17 - Port Arthur Council Minutes, 1884-1969 (A)

Series 19 - Port Arthur By-laws, 1884-1969 (A)

Series 148 - City of Thunder Bay Council Minutes, 1969-1997 (A)

Series 98 - Thunder Bay Original By-laws, 1970-1997 (A)

Indexes to Fort William and Council Minutes

This index is a virtual goldmine for researching the municipal history of the City as it provides access to the Fort William Council Minutes from 1901-1968, and the Port Arthur Council Minutes from 1884 to 1969.

Series 2 - Fort William Indexes to Minutes, 1901-1968 (A)

Series 18 -Indexes to Port Arthur Council Minutes, 1884-1969 (A)

Fire Insurance Plans

Plans held at the City of Thunder Bay Archives were created and used by fire insurance underwriters to set rates for their customers. These plans detail the layout, material construction and use of buildings, as well as information relating to street plans, property lines, fire alarms, and water works. Fire Insurance plans date back to 1908 for the City of Port Arthur and 1919 for Fort William. They are a good source for historical property information. All of the Fire Insurance Plans in our collection are scanned and easily searched on the public computer at the City Archives.

Fort William City Clerk's Files

Between 1903 and 1969, the City Clerk's office in the City of Fort William accumulated a great deal of information for administrative and decision making purposes. Today, this material is an excellent resource for research purposes. It can provide detailed information on past legislation, business initiatives, and a variety of community issues and projects. The City of Port Arthur has similar files, but most of the files are from after 1950, with only a few files from before that time.

Series 4 - Fort William City Clerk's Files, 1903-1969 (A*)

Series 29 - Port Arthur City Clerk's Files, 1884-1969, predominantly 1950-1969 (A*)

Port Arthur Public Utilities Commission

Two series document public works for the Municipality of Port Arthur: the Port Arthur PUC Files and the Treasurer's files regarding PUC matters. Complemented nicely by a series of records generated by the Treasurer for Port Arthur which dates back to 1898 (Series 102), these series have much information to offer regarding the historical operation of telephone, electrical power, street railways and waterworks.

Series 55 - Port Arthur Public Utilities Commission Financial Records, 1904-1969; predominantly 1968-1969 (A*)

Series 88 - Port Arthur Public Utilities Commission Files, 1914-1969 (A)


The City Archives photograph collection shows a variety of events, places and municipal representatives. Collections come from of various city offices such as the Fort William City Clerk's office, City of Thunder Bay Planning, Mayor's Office, Fire Department and Environment division. Many of the photographs are scanned and easily searched on the public computer at the City Archives. Most photographs that have not been scanned yet may be scanned for a fee. Some photographs are available on Flickr.

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