Thunder Bay Arbor Days

Join us for the City of Thunder Bay’s Arbor Day events! You'll have the chance to help grow Thunder Bay’s tree canopy by planting trees, meet your neighbours, and learn from the City’s urban forestry professionals. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Thunder Bay Arbor Days:

  • Saturday, May 25 in Westfort: Meet at 10 a.m. at the Westfort Playfield parking lot. Planting will continue east along the Woodward Trail.
  • Saturday, June 1 in County Park: Meet at 10 a.m. at the southern entrance to County Park, across from Renfrew Road. Planting will continue throughout the park until around 2 p.m.

Questions? Please contact Urban Forestry at and use ‘Arbor Day’ as the subject

The City of Thunder Bay's Forestry & Horticulture Section manages well over 30,000 trees within the city limits. These trees are important City assets and provide tangible benefits to citizens and other infrastructure. On Feb. 4, 2020, The City of Thunder Bay was proudly recognized as a Tree City of the World, along with eight other Canadian cities and many more around the globe. 

For a comprehensive look at the state of urban forestry in Thunder Bay, refer to the city's most recent (2011) Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP). Our goal is to create a diverse urban forest in the City of Thunder Bay along streets and in our parks. An urban forest of various species and ages of trees can better defend against natural and human-made threats. Unfortunately, many trees struggle in our northern urban environment, which can shorten their life span and reduce their growth.

There are many external organizations involved in urban forest management. To learn more, visit The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), The Ontario Professional Forester's Association (OPFA), and The Ontario College of Trades

Benefits of urban trees

Trees in urban areas are important for urban citizens. Without these trees the quality of the air would be reduced, rainfall events would be more drastic, and energy costs for homes would increase. Below is a summary from the UFMP of the dollar-valued benefits that trees in Thunder Bay provide each year. 

Benefits of urban trees
Benefit categoryTotal annual benefits ($)Average annual benefits per tree ($)Percent of total annual benefits
Stormwater Management 552,362 30 36%
Energy Reduction 455,908 25 29%
Aesthetic/Other 403,056 22 26%
Air Quality 77,383 4 5%
Carbon Dioxide Sequestration 67,178 4 4%
Total 1,555,887 85 100%


Here is a video produced with Shaw Cable that explains the benefits of urban trees.

Invasive species

Invasive insect species such as the emerald ash borer and invasive plant species such as European phragmites (European Reed), wild parsnip, Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam can be an issue in the city. Find out which plant species that you shouldn't plant in Thunder Bay with the Grow Me Instead Guide for Northwestern Ontario

The City of Thunder Bay's Forestry & Horticulture Section is in the process of developing an Invasive Plant Management Strategy to address the invasive plant species currently within our community, as well as prepare for those that will eventually arrive.

Plant a tree

City boulevards are planted by qualified, city-directed contractors. Specific species of plants, of a specific size , are selected for each location. Please do not plant trees on your boulevard. The City avoids planting conifers on boulevard as they are dense and can cause line-of-sight issues. If you'd like a tree on your boulevard, you can request a tree.

Planting a tree of your own, on your property? We recommend you follow our standards for planting a tree

Tree care and pruning

Have a concern with your trees? Learn how to handle common tree problems. If the tree or limb is an immediate hazard or is damaging property, call the city's Infrastructure and Operations Dispatch at (807) 625-2195. 

Learn how to take care of your own trees with our Tree Care and Pruning Guide

Tree Protection Standards and construction zones

You and any contractors are responsible for following our Tree Protection Standards. Willful or negligent damage to a City-owned tree contravenes the Tree By-law and constitutes an offence under the Municipal Act

Tree City of The World

In February of 2020, The City of Thunder Bay was declared a Tree City of The World! The program is run by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsThe Arbor Day Foundation, and Tree Canada.

The program recognizes cities that meet a certain standard for the management of urban forests. Each city must meet or exceed the following five standards. 

  1. Establish Responsibility
  2. Set the Rules
  3. Allocate the Resources
  4. Know What You Have
  5. Celebrate Achievements

By having the staff listed above, we have established responsibility for the care of trees in Thunder Bay. Through the implementation of our Public Tree By-Law and our Parks & Open Spaces Standards and Specifications we have set the rules for tree care in the City. The annual City Budget mentions tree maintenance and our Emerald Ash Borer management program so we are allocating resources to managing urban trees. Our street tree inventory (2015) and park tree inventory (2018) let us know what assets we have, as well as our canopy studies to determine tree cover. Finally, through events like Arbor Day and the Canadian Institute of Forestry's National Forest Week, we celebrate trees in our urban environment.

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