Things to do in Thunder Bay
I am an honourary Thunder-Bay-ian, being married to one and having visited here three times. I have driven the 16 hour trek from Toronto and I have also visited by air. Having one of the best tour guides in these parts, here are some tips.
1. Bring a toque and mittens, no matter what time of year. If you are, what they would call, a "Southie", then you may think that August is the best time for warm days and lovely "cool" evenings. However, in Thunder Bay, an August evening can mean having to turn on the space-heater and sport your favourite toque if you go outside before sun-up.
2. Bring golf clubs. Although I'm not a golfer, Thunder Bay is golfing country. EVERYONE golfs. And even more fortuitous for golfers, because Thunder Bay is close to the time-zone line, it doesn't get dark in the summer until well past 10 p.m. making it completely feasible to play a full 18 holes after supper.
3. They aren't called Beaver Tails, here they are called Elephant ears. Get it right.
4. Resign to the fact that Tim Hortons is outnumbered by Robin's Donuts, in a ratio of 5:1.
5. Persians are a delicacy that only Thunder Bay has the privilege of knowing. A simplified description would be, a cinnamon bun type donut covered in a thick, creamy icing with little red "cherry" flavoured specs. The Persian Man, a bakery that sells these, closes at 4 p.m.! But it's been said that "The Five Star" has the original recipe. They run out early in the day as well.
Also, to assist in sharing this delicacy with the rest of the world, if you order in advance, they'll give you a dozen persians with the icing in a separate container, for you to freeze and then take to other parts of the world.
6. Port Arthur vs. Fort William. Which part of town are you from? It makes a difference!
7. Coney Island is in New York, but apparently, all the Coney Island Cafe's came to T-bay. You can get a pretty great coney dog from a handful of mom'n'pop cafes in the Great North. Coney sauce is like a weird purréed chilly without any beans and it's spread on top of hotdogs or hamburgers. When you're in one of these high-class establishments, with grease clinging to the rafters and the menu overhead in black press-on letters on a white sign, never, ever ask them if you can have tomatoes on your hamburger. The choices are ketchup, mustard, onions and coney sauce, you tourist idiot!
8. There is only one cinema and the price of admission is $7.50. On Tuesday nights, it's $4.25.
9. Terry Fox ended his journey on a stretch of highway just outside of T-bay. Visit the memorial site.
10. Never say "cottage"; say "camp". I.e. We're going out to Dan's camp this weekend. If you happen to slip "cottage" out into a conversation, you will be instantly balked at for your snootiness.
11. If you stay up past your bed-time, and you happen to be at the In-Towner Bar, be aware that you might run into some fun-loving, drunk locals with no pants on. We're not sure how the pants stores stay in business in Thunder Bay.