The City of Thunder Bay's Forestry & Horticulture Section manages well over 30,000 trees within the city limits. These trees are important assets of the city that provide scores of benefits to citizens and other infrastructure. On February 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. Different species and ages of trees can better defend against natural and human-made threats. Unfortunately, a lot of trees struggle in our northern urban environment, which can shorten their life span and reduce their growth.

Benefits of urban trees

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

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 like the emerald ash borer, and invasive plant species such as European phragmites, wild parsnip, Japanese knotweed, and Himalayan balsam, can wreak havoc in the city. Find out which plant species that you shouldn't plant in Thunder Bay with our 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 tackle the invasive plant species that are 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 with a specific species of a specific size for each location. Please do not plant trees on your boulevard. We generally do not plant conifers on boulevard as they easily become 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 reccommend 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. The willful or negligent damage to a city-owned tree is against the Tree By-law and constitutes an offence under the Municipal Act. 


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