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North Bay, Ontario

North Bay is a city located in Northern Ontario, and lies at the junction of the Main Trans-Canada Highway #17 and the Trans-Canada Northern Route Highway #11. North Bay is located 30km E of Sudbury, 60 km W of Mattawa, and 250 km N of Barrie (via #11). North Bay is a city of 51,000 (2023) on the north shore of Lake Nipissing, and is the major commercial centre around Lake Nipissing. North Bay is also a major railway town, with links west and into Ontario’s far north.

The surrounding natural landscapes, including Lake Nipissing, the Mattawa River to the east, the French River to the west,  provide opportunities for outdoor activities such as boating, fishing, hiking, and winter sports including downhill and cross-country skiing.

North Bay also has many cultural institutions, museums, and galleries that showcase the history, art, and heritage of the region.

Visitors arrive from the south (many from Toronto) via its Yonge Street, which morphs in to Highway 11, passing through the Muskokoas before arriving in North Bay. From there hey continue on Highway 11, which becomes the Trans-Canada Northern Route, which arches through renowned mining towns like Temagami, Iroquois Falls, Cochrane, Kapuskasing, Herst, Longlac, Geraldton and Nipigon. Due to its strategic metals mining significance this route was completed during World War II, and it took another 20 years for the Main Trans-Canada Route along the north shore of Lake Superior to be completed. Highway 11 continues west of Nipigon, sharing the path of the Trans-Canada #17 to Thunder Bay, before #11 continues along the southern route closer to the US border to Atikokan and Fort Frances /International Falls before jogging north along the eastern edge of Lake of the Woods through Nestor Falls and Sioux Narrows to Kenora, to rejoin the Trans-Canada.

North Bay History

The area around North Bay was inhabited by the Nipissing First Nation, who  relied on hunting, fishing, and gathering.

The North Bay area was visited  by French  fur traders and explorers in the 1600s and 1700s starting with Samuel de Champlain in 1615. This was commemorated at a plaque alongside the Trans-Canada overlooking the north shore of Lake Nipissing, west of the city. The fur traders set up a number of trading posts along area waterways.

The town of North Bay began to grow in the late 1800s as European settlers arrived to establish communities. The town’s ideal location  Lake Nipissing and proximity to the Ottawa River was important for transportation and trade. The area’s  logging industry  grew quickly, with sawmills processing timber from the nearby forests.

The arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1882 strengthened North Bay’s role as a regional transportation hub.

During World War II, North Bay’s strategic location made it an important site for the establishment of a military airbase, now known as CFB North Bay. The base played a role in air defense and surveillance, particularly during the Cold War. The town also used to the Canadian base for NORAD’s strategic Bomarc missiles until 1967 when Canada decided to abandon its nuclear weapons.

Since WWII, North Bay’s economy has expanded to include manufacturing, healthcare, and education sectors, in addition to forestry,  mining, and transportation.

North Bay Attractions

Discovery North Bay Museum

100 Ferguson Street, North Bay, ON P1B 1W8
Website: Discovery North Bay Museum

Explore the history and heritage of North Bay through exhibits and artifacts, showcasing the region’s past, culture, and contributions.

Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defense

CFB North Bay, North Bay, ON P0H 1P0
Website: Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defense

Discover the military history and aviation heritage of CFB North Bay, featuring exhibits and displays related to aerospace defense.


Capital Centre

150 Main St East
1-888-834-4747 705-474-4747


This 1000 soft-seat performing and visual arts center includes the beautifully renovated circa 1929
Capitol Theatre and the WKP Kennedy Gallery. The Capitol Centre is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 6
pm and Saturday 10 am to 6 pm. The gallery features a range of contemporary and historical art. Gallery is open year round, Tuesday through Saturday

Air Force Park on east side of North Bay

Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defence

Canadian Forces Base, 33 Manston Crescent, Hornell Heights, ON P0H 1P0
(c/o 22 Wing/CFB North Bay, Hornell Heights, Ontario, P0H 1P0)
705-494-2011 extension 2261

The Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defence explores air defence history from the First World War, through the Second World War, into the Cold War and Beyond. Open  Saturday: 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Canadore College Nature Trails

100 College Drive, North Bay
(From Canadore College, or from Highway 17)

The 750 hectare campus has miles of all-season trails. The network goes past Duchesnay Falls, which roar during spring flood and has many scenic overhangs the rest of the year.

Le Carnaval des Compagnons  (Winter Carnival)

early February, all around town
(705) 497-3573

This festival celebrates winter, and is organized by the city’s French community

Lake Nippissing view

Chief Commanda II

 200 Memorial Dr, North Bay, ON P1B 4G6
(Government Dock, Lake Nipissing)
(705) 494-8167

Take a 3 hour or 6 hour boat cruise of Lake Nipissing, to the Upper French River, on the south shore of the lake. Tours include a film presentation. Trips made mid-May to Labour Day.

Dionne Quints Homestead Museum

 181 Oak St W, North Bay, ON P1B 1W8
Seymour @ North Bay bypass (beside the Visitor Information Centre)
(705) 472-8480

The Dionne Quintuplets in 1934 became the first quintuplets ever born in Canada, and created a Depression-era media frenzy. They were put into the care of the Province by legislation, and became a major tourist draw. The original Dionne farmhouse, made of logs, has been restored and furnished with Quints memorabilia. Open daily form Victoria Day weekend to Thanksgiving (October).

Laurentian Ski Hill Snowboarding Club

15 Janey Avenue, North Bay, ON P1C 1N1

This multi-season multi-sport hill including skiing, snowboarding and tubing in winter.  The Laurentian Ski Club formed in 1925 and over the years added ski jumps and chalets were built and re-built on the site numerous times, and in 1999 season was modernized and renamed  Jack Pine Hill, and in  2003 it became the Laurentian Ski Hill Snowboarding Club

Memorial Drive

This scenic road winds along 2 km of shoreline parks, with access to marina facilities and sandy beaches on Lake Nipissing accessible at over 20 points.

North Bay Train Station, gateway to Ontario's North

North Bay Museum

 100 Ferguson St, North Bay, ON P1B 1W8
(On Riverbend Rd, off Highway 11)
(705) 476-2323

This museum, organized in 1977 houses many relics of early lumber, rail, and steamboat days, as well as early pioneer settlement. (705) 476-2323

North Bay Fish Culture Station

10521 Highway 63, Redbridge ON P0H 2A0
(37 km northeast, off highway 63)

This hatchery is an intensive fish culture operation, raising brook trout, lake trout, and splake through the fry and yearling stages. These fish are then released into the area’s lakes and rivers. Open daily year-round except holidays.


North Bay Heritage Train and Carousel

300 Memorial Drive, North Bay, ON P1B 2Y6
Ride the heritage train and carousel set in a scenic park, offering a nostalgic experience for visitors of all ages.

North Bay Mall

300 Lakeshore Drive, North Bay, ON P1A 3N2
Website: North Bay Mall

Shop, dine, and explore a variety of stores, services, and eateries within the North Bay Mall.

Duchesnay Falls

Duchesnay Street, North Bay, ON P1B 8K4

Experience the beauty of Duchesnay Falls, a picturesque waterfall and hiking area, perfect for nature enthusiasts and outdoor exploration.

North Bay, Ontario Area Map