Archives

The archives of the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society holds approximately 130 linear meters of textual records, 1,900 maps and plans, 500,000 photographic images, and extensive ready-reference files on historical, biographical and architectural themes.

Its mandate covers the history of Northwestern Ontario, with a special focus on the City of Thunder Bay and its district. Collections include personal papers and the records of businesses, governments, labour unions, and community and military organizations.

The archives is supplemented by a 2,200-volume library and complete reprography services. It is open to the public from 9am to 5pm, Mondays to Fridays. Appointments are preferred.

Business and Labour Records

The records of businesses and labour unions in the City of Thunder Bay and the Thunder Bay district, particularly from the 1870s to 1960 but also including records from as early as 1806. Significant collections include the Silver Islet Mining Company, Thomas Marks & Co., Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co., Royal Edward Hotels, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Thunder Bay station, C.B.Q.

List of Business and Labour Fonds

Records of Community Organizations

The records of community organizations in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario, primarily from the late 19th century to the present. Includes notable economic organizations such as the Thunder Bay Chambers of Commerce, the Lakehead Planning Board, and the Intercity Development Association, but also social reform groups (The Lord’s Day Alliance and the I.O.D.E., for example) and those geared mostly for recreation such as the Lakehead Film Society and the YMCA. Ethnic clubs are also included here.

List of Fonds of Community Organizations

Personal Papers

Personal papers encompass a wide range of subjects from politics and industrial history to education and the arts. Each deals with some aspect of Northwestern Ontario or, more specifically, with Thunder Bay and its predecessors, Fort William and Port Arthur. There are fonds from Saul Laskin, Thunder Bay’s first mayor; Anne J. Barrie, suffragist; A.T. Hill, Communist leader; Wendell Beckwith, scientist; Helmer Borg, labour organizer; Andrew Dick, lighthouse keeper; Richard Faries, missionary; and William Wilson, farmer, to name just a few. Most fonds are small in size.

List of Personal Papers

Records of Military Organizations

Primarily the records of the Lake Superior Regiment during the two World Wars, but also including some records of peacetime service between the wars and after 1945. Includes the 96th Lake Superior Regiment, the 52nd Canadian Infantry Battalion, the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade, the Lake Superior Regiment (Motor), and the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment.

List of Military Fonds

Records of Government and the Judiciary

The Thunder Bay Museum is not an official repository for the records of any government. However, from time to time records created by governments do become part of the Society’s collections, and fonds have been created for these records. These governments include the cities of Fort William, Port Arthur, and Thunder Bay, as well as the Municipalities of Neebing and Shuniah. A few Provincial and Federal records are also available.

List of Government & Judicial Records