The City of Thunder Bay Archives preserves, promotes and makes public the City's corporate history. Have you ever wanted to research your family's past, or wondered about the history of your home? Are you interested in the history of the City and its services and attractions? We have many documents in our archives collection that can help you answer these questions. We invite you to search the archives.

Royal Visit to Fort William and Port Arthur 1951

Explore Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh's visit to the Lakehead in 1951 on our Flickr site.

Princess Elizabeth waving, with the Duke of Edinburgh and Mayor of Fort William


World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project

We are part of the World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project. You can also to contribute to this community project!

City of Thunder Bay Flickr

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

Visiting the archives

Hours and location

Regular Hours:

Monday-Friday: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

We are open to the public from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. We encourage you to book an appointment so our staff can serve you better. Book your appointment online or call (807) 625-2270 or email


Harry Kirk Archives and Records Centre

235 Vickers St. N.
Thunder Bay, ON


Email the Harry Kirk Archives and Records Centre



Book a research appointment

The City Archives is open to the public from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. We encourage you to book an appointment so our staff can better serve you. Book your appointment online or call (807) 625-2270. 


Before visiting us, please be sure to read the Rules for Researchers section below. 


You can ask for a behind the scenes tour of the Archives by emailing Tours can also be given to school groups. Please book the tour more than a week ahead.

Request a Tour

The City Archives holds public open houses throughout the year. Please check the Events Calendar.


The City Archives keeps the corporate records of the cities of Thunder Bay, Fort William and Port Arthur. We also have land registry records for Thunder Bay and the surrounding townships. You can search our collection using our online search portal

Local history reference library

We also have a small local history reference library and historical directories for visitors to use at the Archives.

We do not have historical newspapers or records of private businesses, organizations, or individuals. View our Local History Resources to locate these records in Thunder Bay.

Rules for researchers

The Archives holds very fragile, one-of-a-kind materials that need to be handled very carefully by staff and researchers. We have some rules about how researchers should handle documents:

  • Do not remove materials from the Archives.
  • Use only pencils to take notes, no pens.
  • Do not make marks on a document or erase anything from a document.
  • Wear the gloves provided and be very careful when handling materials.
  • Take items out of a box or folder one at a time and keep all items, files, and documents in the same order you find them.
  • Credit the City of Thunder Bay Archives when publishing photographs or quoting from materials in our collection.


You can use your own camera or phone to take pictures of documents.

Photocopies and microfilm printouts

Photocopies and microfilm printouts are $1.00 plus tax per page. The student rate is $0.50 plus tax per page.

Digital copies of photographs and documents

High-resolution digital copies of photographs and other documents already scanned are $5 per image; students can have the first five images free.

Using images for publication

Using images for publication is subject to approval. The cost for images approved for publication is $20 per image. Researchers must sign an agreement about how photographs and other images can be used.

User Fees 

For a full list of other fees that may apply please visit our page on User Fees.

Research application

The Archives is open and accessible to everyone. When you visit the Archives for the first time, we will ask you to fill out a research application. Please bring some form of ID.

Archival access and privacy

The public can access most of the documents in the City Archives. Some of our documents contain sensitive or personal information and an Archivist will have to review these documents to decide if they can be made available.

Restricted documents

If you want access to restricted documents, you may have to sign a research agreement or submit a Freedom of Information request.

Freedom of Information

If you want to see current City records, or records that are not yet in the public City Archives, you will have to submit a Freedom of Information request.

Donating to the Archives

The City of Thunder Bay Archives mainly collects records created by City departments through our Records Management Program. If you would like to donate records to the Archives, please contact us by phone or by email.


The Archives does accept donations of documents, photographs, and other materials documenting the history of Thunder Bay, particularly when related to municipal government or municipally run programs or projects. Records of former Mayors, Councillors, committees, or individuals who have made significant contributions to the life of our City are also welcome.


The City of Thunder Bay Archives cannot accept all donation offers. In many cases where the donation cannot be accepted, we will work with you to find a suitable home for those records.

Contact Us

Harry Kirk Archives and Records Centre
235 Vickers St. N.
Thunder Bay, ON, P7C 4B1
E-Mail this contact
Map this Location