Sleeping Giant eat of Thunder Bay

The first major accomplishment of road-building in this area was the Nipigon Highway between Thunder Bay and Nipigon, which opened in 1924. After a steel decked bridge spanning the Nipigon River was completed (1937) a further 92 km (57 mi) highway was completed east to Schreiber, just west of Terrace Bay.

About half the highway between Thunder Bay and Nipigon either under construction or four-laned (as of 2010)

Terry Fox Monument and Lookout

The Terry Fox Monument, situated in the northeastern outskirts of Thunder Bay, is a public monument commemorating cancer research activist Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope. The monument, which depicts Fox, is open to the public and offers a panoramic view of Thunder Bay and its surroundings.

In 1977, at the age of 18, Terry Fox lost his leg to bone cancer, and while in the hospital, he was overwhelmed by the suffering endured by other cancer patients. He vowed to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research and started the Marathon of Hope in 1980 in St. John’s Newfoundland. He ran about 26 miles (42 kms) every day until reaching just outside Thunder Bay, after 143 days, when cancer had reappeared in his lungs. The monument marks the Marathon of Hope’s incomplete end-point. He succumb to the disease on June 28, 1981 at the young age of 22. Since his passing, the annual Terry Fox Run  is held in over 60 countries and has raised over $750 million for cancer research.

The Terry Fox Monument was built here in 1982, so Canadians making thei cross-counry treks (cyclists typically travel west to east for the tail wind, and runers typically go east to west for the cooling headwind) can stop and reflect on TErry;s leagacy.

East Loon Lake Road

About 8 km along the East Loon Road is the Thunder Bay Amethyst Mine, where Ontario’s provincial stone, amethyst, is mined and sold.

Amethysts were discovered near the Ouimet Canyon (midway between Thunder Bay and Nipigon) during the 1955 construction of a road to a forest fire lookout tower (McTavish Tower). Amethyst production started in 1960 and continues today.

At the East Loon Road is a clearing beneath which the Trans-Canada natural gas pipeline lies buried. It is marked by little yellow numbered signs on white posts, and a strip of cleared land through the forest which is gradually growing over again. The right of way provides a route for new plant species to be introduced into the area.

Ouimet Canyon

From here a gravel road leads north 12.07 km to the spectacular Ouimet Canyon. A vertical joint (fissure) in the rock has been eroded over many centuries to a depth of 107 m and a width of 152m. Rocks fallen from the vertical sides have accumulated at the bottom, which is protected from the warm summertime air of; to create an Arctic micro-climate that allows several arctic plant species to thrive, such as Arctic wintergreen, the moss Aulocomnium acuminatum, and the Iiverwort Temnome setiforma saxifrage. Visitors should approach the lip of the canyon cautiously, since there is no protective barrier.

Sleeping Giant Park

Sleeping Giant Park is quite visible from many points in Thunder Bay. TThis provincial park was cvreated in 1944 and has breathtaking views of Lake Superior and the surrounding area are available from the Top of the Giant Trail and Thunder Bay Lookout. The park has over 100 km of incredible hiking trails, and let visitors exxplore spectacular geological features including the ‘Sea Lion’ and Tee Harbour. The park’s boreal forests also are inhabitted by a wide range of wildlife  including deer, wolf, fox, lynx, and over 200 bird species. In the winter, there are oveer  50 km of groomed skate and classic trails for cross-country skiers.

Red Rock

Nipigon Bay and Vert Island, east of Thunder BayNo traveller can tall to notice the rusty red layers of stone which give the area (and the town) of Red Rock its name. The name which geologists give to this local pocket of soft red rocks Is “Sibley Group”. The rocks of the Sibley group would have eroded away a long ago, except for the protective layer of volcanic rock that lies on top of them. Travelers will observe high, steep-sided hills, with the two layers of rock clearly visible

Nipigon River Bridge

Nipigon River BridgeThe Nipigon River connects Lake Nipigon and Lake Superior, and runs past the town of Nipigon. The Nipigon River is Lake Superior’s largest tributary and it was very near here that the carved wooden hero of the children’s book, “Paddle·to·the Sea”, began his epic journey. The flow in the Nipigon River is slightly augmented by diversion of some of the water from the Ogoki River, far upstream, which normally flows into James Bay via the Albany River. By international agreement, this water diversion scheme (and another farther east near Terrace Bay) were built to provide additional water for Canadian hydroelectric power production at Niagara Falls.

The Nipigon River Bridge was a steel deck truss road bridge when it opened in 1937, a crossing that even today remains the only paved route linking eastern and western Canada.

In order to widen the Trans-Canada Highway to 4 lanes, the new bridge was needed. The future westbound bridge opened late in 2015, and the bridge would open to four lanes when the eastbound bridge would be completed in 2017. In 2016, The new cable-stayed Nipigon River Bridge on Highway 11/17 was damaged, and for a period closed the highway link between Ontario and the rest of Canada. The only option for motorists driving across northern Ontario is to cross the U.S. border, there being no alternate road routes north of the Trans-Canada

Trans-Canada Highway Itinerary Map

Use mouse to drag/move map. Click on “+” or “” to zoom in or out. “Satellite” combines map & photo.