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
- Abitibi Power & Paper Co., 1926-1947
- Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Division 63, 1903-1968
- Canadian Broadcasting Corp./C.B.Q., 1974-1988
- Canadian Car & Foundry Co., 1917-1923, 1944-1979
- Canadian Pacific Railway, 1906-1940
- Chapples Ltd., 1950
- Commercial Motion Picture Co., 1914, 1931
- Consolidated Press, 1939-1961
- Crawley Films, ca. 1950
- Daily Times-Journal, 1965-1970
- Fort William Brick & Tile Co., 1892-1984
- Great Lakes Lumber & Shipping Co., 1948-1950
- Great Lakes Paper Co., 1948, 1950
- Hudson’s Bay Company, 1823-1971
- J.V. Welch Co., 1897-1983
- Moran & Co., Fort William, 1930-1933
- Newago Timber Co., 1856-1958
- North West Company, 1806-1809
- Ontario Hydro, 1926, 1974
- P.H. & P. Co. (R.S. Piper Co.), 1905-1906
- Port Arthur Coal Handlers’ Union, 1911-1917
- Port Arthur Shipbuilding Company, 1909-1966
- Royal Edward Hotel, 1928-1977
- St. Andrew’s Cemetery, 1878-1940
- Scandinavian Boarding House, 1911-1914
- Silver Islet Mining Co., 1870-1884
- Steep Rock Iron Mines, 1890-1979
- Thomas Marks & Co., 1874-1893
- Woodside Bros. Foundry, 1888-1903, 1922-1923
- Workman’s Cooperative Association Restaurant, 1924-1947
- W.S. Piper Hardware Co., 1890-195?
- Young & Lillie, 1918-1964
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
- The Canadian Club
- Citizen’s League of West Fort William
- Diocese of Keewatin Anglican Mission
- Fort William Caledonian Society
- Fort William Little Theatre
- Fort William Loyal Temperance Union
- The Fort William Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- The Fort William Patriotic Society
- Fort William Police Athletic Club /Fort William Police Association
- Fort William Police Protective Association/Fort William Police Association
- Friends of White Otter Castle
- Golden Gateway Lodge, Fort William, #384, A.O.L.W.
- Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (John McIntyre Chapter)
- Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (Lady Grey Chapter)
- Intercity Development Association
- Kaministikwia Club
- Ladies’ Orange Benevolent Association
- The Lakehead Film Society
- Lakehead Planning Board
- Lord’s Day Alliance, Fort William, Port Arthur Branch
- Mission to Seamen
- The Moral and Social Reform Council of Fort William
- 19-25 Club of Fort William
- Northwestern Ontario Archivists’ Association
- The North Western Ontario Art Association
- Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade
- North Western Ontario Conservation Federation
- Old Fort William Reconstruction Collection
- Ontario Farm Service Force
- The Ontario Women’s Institute of Westfort
- Port Arthur Club
- Port Arthur Police Association
- Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild
- St Paul’s Anglican Church
- Thunder Bay Chambers of Commerce
- Thunder Bay Economic Development Corporation
- Trinity United Church
- Ukrainian Canadian Committee, Fort William Branch
- Ukrainian National Federation of Canada
- Wartime Housing Community Club of Fort William
- West Algoma Council of Women
- Westfort Community Centre, Teen Town
- Yes For Canada! Thunder Bay Committee
- YMCA, Fort William
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
- Allison, John
- Andrews, John
- Auger, Rosalee
- Barrie, Anne J.
- Beckwith, Wendell
- Black, Bernard I.
- Borg, Helmer (Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners)
- Brown, Clifford (Port Arthur, Duluth & Western Railway)
- Brown, Robert
- Brown, W.S.
- Carpenter, E.A.
- Chochla, Mark (railway school cars)
- Coombs, Alfred
- Crawford, Jessie
- Crittall, Jean
- De La Ronde family
- Denis, George
- Denis, Keith
- Dick, Andrew
- Dobie, William Currie
- Doty, James D.
- Draycott, Walter MacKay
- Duncan, G.R.
- Dyke, Gertrude
- Dyke, John A.
- Eakins, George E.
- Eberts, Herman Frederick
- Faires, Richard
- Frue, William Bell (Silver Islet Mining Co.)
- Hancock, H. Sydney
- Heald, Ethel May Grover
- Hill, A.T.
- Horne, J.T.
- Kelly, John M.
- Kelly, Dr. Mary Isabel Mackay
- Kittredge, Belle
- Lake Superior voyage diary (Anon.)
- Laskin, Saul
- Macgillvray, George Brown
- Machin, C.J.
- Matthews, Ross Munro
- McDougall, Neil (Port Arthur Semi-Centennial)
- McKellar, Peter
- McKillop, D.B.
- McVicar family
- Murray, the Rev. S.C.
- Nordstrom, Einar
- Penny, Louise (Lake Superior Regiment)
- Piper, Carson
- Powell, George
- Robertson family
- Ross, Bernard Rogan
- Slack, Hiram Worcester
- Smith, David
- Stephenson, Fred (Fort William playground movement)
- Taylor family
- Wadsworth, V.B.
- Wass, Charles
- Watsyk, John
- Widnall, Art
- Wilson, William
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
- City of Fort William, 1905-1969
- City of Port Arthur, 1870-1969
- City of Thunder Bay, 1970-1981
- Government of Ontario, 1780-1987
- Crown vs. Oliver Prevost, 1898-1899
- Government of Canada, 1871-1967
- Municipality of Neebing, 1892-1923
- Municipality of Shuniah, 1873-1891
- Port Arthur Electric Light Collection, 1883-1901, 1906
- Province of Canada, 1864
- Thunder Bay Jail, 1882-1977
- Thunder Bay District Liquor Licence Inspector, 1887-1917