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North Bay is a city in Northeastern Ontario, Canadamarker. It is the seat of Nipissing Districtmarker, and takes its name from its position on the shore of Lake Nipissingmarker.


Apart from First Nations tribes, voyageurs and surveyors, there was little activity in the Lake Nipissing area until the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1882. The CPR started its westward expansion from Bonfield, Ontario (previously called Callander Station) where the first spike was driven into a sunken railway tie. Bonfield, Ontario was inducted into Canadian Railway Hall of Fame in 2002 as the CPR First Spike location.

That was the point where the Canada Central Railway extension ended. The CCR was owned by Duncan McIntyre who amalgamated it with the CPR and became one of the handful of officers of the newly formed CPR. The CCR started in Brockvillemarker and extended to Pembrokemarker. It then followed a westward route along the Ottawa River passing through places like Cobdenmarker, Deux-Rivières, and eventually to Mattawamarker at the confluence of the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers. It then proceeded cross-country towards its final destination Bonfield (previously called Callander Station). Duncan McIntyre and his contractor James Worthington piloted the CCR expansion. Worthington continued on as the construction superintendent for the CPR past Bonfield. He remained with the CPR for about a year until he left the company. McIntyre was uncle to John Ferguson who staked out future North Bay after getting assurance from his uncle and Worthington that it would be the divisional and a location of some importance.

In 1882, John Ferguson decided that the north bay of Lake Nipissingmarker was a promising spot for settlement. North Bay was incorporated as a town in 1891. The first mayor was John Bourke. More importantly, Bourke developed the western portion of North Bay after purchasing the interest of the Murray Brothers from Pembroke who were large landholders in the new community. The land west of Klock Avenue (Algonquin Avenue) was known as the Murray block. Bourke Street is named after John Bourke. Murray Street is named after the Murrays.

Cementing North Bay's status as a railway town, it was selected as the southern terminus of the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway (T&NO) in 1902 when the Ross government took the bold move to establish a development road to serve the Haileybury settlement. During construction of the T&NO, silver was discovered at Cobalt and started a mining frenzy in the northern part of the province that continued for many years. The Canadian Northern Railway was subsequently built to the town in 1913.

The Georgian Bay Canal was a mammoth transportation system that proposed to connect the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Oceanmarker. The entire passageway from the Ottawa River to Lake Nipissing and down the French River to Georgian Baymarker was surveyed, mapped and ready to go in the first decade of the 20th century. Financing became the giant hurdle and as time passed, transportation patterns changed and interfered with the earlier practicality of the giant venture. Despite this, there were groups who still hoped it would happen as late as 1930.

North Bay grew through a strong lumbering sector, mining and the three railways in the early days. The town benefited from strong community leadership and people like Richardson, Milne, McNamara, Browning, McDougal, Carruthers, McGaughey, George W. Lee, Senator Gordon, T J Patton, Charlie Harrison, and many others are responsible for its development. In 1919, John Ferguson was elected mayor of North Bay and continued to serve as mayor until 1922. North Bay was incorporated as a city in August 1925.

The Dionne Quintuplets were born in Corbeil, Ontariomarker, on the southern outskirts of North Bay in 1934. This miraculous birth had a tremendous impact on tourism in the area. In fact, the Dionnes may have saved the economy in the district during the Depression and beyond. North Bay and area lived off this legacy well into the 1960s. Many visitors to the area discovered lakes and summer retreats that were easily accessible and the businesses thrived on the tourist dollars.

In January 1968, the City of North Bay amalgamated with West Ferris and Widdifield townships.

The current engines driving North Bay's economy are the university and college population, the hospitals (awaiting construction of a modern new district hospital, which has experienced delays), a military installation at the airport, tourism, and a stable provincial government service centre.

On March 17, 2007, North Bay was announced as the winner of 2007 Kraft Hockeyville contest. North Bay received $50,000 to upgrade their local arena, Memorial Gardens, and also hosted an NHL pre-season game between the New York Islanders and the Atlanta Thrashers.

Geography and climate

North Bay is located approximately 330 kilometres (210 mi) north of Torontomarker, and differs in geography from Southern Ontario in that North Bay is situated on the Canadian Shield. This gives rise to a different and more rugged landscape.

North Bay is geographically unique in that it straddles both the Ottawa River watershed to the east and the Great Lakes Basin to the west. The city's urban core is located between Lake Nipissing and the smaller Trout Lakemarker.

North Bay, critically situated at the junctions of Highway 11 and Highway 17, remains a major transportation centre for Northern Ontario. It is the southern terminus of the Ontario Northland Railway, and is served by the Jack Garland Airportmarker.

The area of North Bay contains a number of ancient volcanic pipes, including the Manitou Islandsmarker and Callander Baymarker and many exposed dyke and five named batholiths (Timber Lake, Mulock, West Arm, Powassan and Bonfield).

The climate in North Bay is common to most places in Northern Ontario. North Bay tends to be a less humid climate than that found in Southern Ontario due somewhat to the distance from the Great Lakesmarker and less warm than some other locations in Northern Ontario due to cooling from Lake Nipissingmarker. On May 31, 2002, a tornado caused minor damage near the city. Two more tornadoes touched down on Lake Nipissing on August 20, 2009. This storm was a part of a chain of tornadoes that caused large amounts of damage in other parts of Ontario.


Looking northwest down Main Street, from a pedestrian/cyclist overpass near Chippewa Creek

North Bay is more economically diverse than many other Northern Ontario communities, although a large percentage of the city's jobs are public sector in nature with health, education and government dominating the list of the city's top employers.

North Bay is the home of Nipissing Universitymarker, founded in 1992, and of Canadore Collegemarker, founded in 1967. Approximately 7,000 full-time students (and thousands more part-time students) are enrolled at the two post-secondary institutions, which share a campus in the west end of the city.

North Bay is the site of CFB North Baymarker (22 Wing), a North American Aerospace Defense Commandmarker control center, with operations formerly taking place inside a facility located deep underground, similar to, but on a much smaller scale than, the famous Cheyenne Mountainmarker base in Colorado. As of October 2006, Operations were moved out of the "Hole" to the David L Pitcher Building near the north entrance to the Underground Facility. Although historically 22 Wing was a sizable operation, today it employs approximately 500 personnel. North Bay is also home to The Algonquin Regiment, A Coy, a Canadian Forces Army Reserve unit. B Coy of The Algonquin Regiment is located in Timminsmarker.

The service industry, tourism, and transportation also play a significant role in the city's economy, as well as primary industry companies.

In recent years the city has gained prominence as a hub of arts and culture in Ontario, due to its vibrant community of artists, musicians, actors and writers. In 2004, the TVOntario program Studio 2 selected North Bay as being one of the top three most artistically talented communities in the province.

In August 2009, the comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall began filming their mini-series Death Comes to Town on location in North Bay.


The city includes the neighbourhoods of Birchaven, Camp Champlain, Champlain Park, Cooks Mills, Eastview, Feronia, Gateway, Graniteville, Hornell Heights, Lounsbury, Kenwood Hills, Marshall Park, Nipissing Junction, Pinewood, Sage, Ski Club, St. John's Village, Sunset Park, Thibeault Terrace, Thorncliff, Trout Mills, Tweedsmuir, Wallace Heights, West Ferris and Widdifield.

Waterfront development

The city has big plans for the waterfront. In the 1980s a mile long waterfront park/promenade was developed along the Lake Nipissingmarker shoreline adjacent to the downtown core. Eventually such attractions as a mini-train ride and (more recently) two antique carousels (largely crafted by local artisans) were installed and quickly became very popular with tourists and locals alike. Now, work is getting underway on a large new multifaceted community park that will be developed on the former Canadian Pacific Railway yards that separated the downtown core from the existing waterfront park. In August 2009 a new pedestrian underpass opened connecting the downtown core to the waterfront for the first time since the CPR laid down tracks. Several more carousels, botanical gardens, a children's area and an extended mini-train ride will be among the park's attractions. The new community waterfront park is planned for completion by the year 2011 and is expected to transform the look and feel of the city centre and become a major tourist attraction for the city and region.



North Bay is located at the easternmost junction of Highway 11 and Highway 17, which are both segments of the Trans-Canada Highway. The two highways share a single route through the city core, between Algonquin Avenue and an interchange at Twin Lakes, along an urban expressway route with reduced but not fully-controlled access. Major arterial streets intersect directly with the expressway, while minor streets end at a network of service roads connecting them to the arterials. At Algonquin Avenue, Highway 17 continues westward to Sturgeon Fallsmarker and Sudburymarker, while Highway 11 heads north toward Temiskaming Shoresmarker. At the eastern interchange, Highway 17 heads eastward toward Mattawamarker, Pembrokemarker and Ottawamarker, while Highway 11 widens into a freeway and heads southerly toward Barriemarker.

Highway 11 and Highway 17 both formerly had business spur routes through downtown North Bay, Highway 11B and Highway 17B, although both have been decommissioned by the province and are now designated only as city streets. North Bay is also served by Highway 63, a route which extends northeasterly from the city toward Thorne, where it crosses the Ottawa River and becomes Quebec Route 101.

North Bay is served by the North Bay/Jack Garland Airportmarker, which serves both as the city's main commercial airport and as a military airstrip for the adjacent CFB North Baymarker.

Train and intercity bus service in the city operates from the North Bay railway stationmarker, a joint terminal on Station Road.

The city operates a public transit system, North Bay Transit.

Major streets

  • Airport Road
  • Algonquin Avenue
  • Cassells Street
  • Chippewa Street
  • College Drive
  • Fisher Street
  • Highway 11
  • Highway 17
  • Lakeshore Drive
  • Main Street
  • McKeown Avenue
  • McIntyre Street
  • O'Brien Street
  • Pinewood Park Drive
  • Trout Lake Road

Community profile

Aerial view of North Bay and Lake Nipissing.
  • Population in 2006: 53,966
  • Land area: 314.92 km² or 121.6 sq mi
  • Median total income of persons 15 years of age and over ($): 20,802
  • Median family income ($) All census families: 53,668
  • Average value of dwelling ($): 160,000
  • % of the population with a university certificate, diploma or degree: 50.7
  • According to the 2006 census, North Bay is:
92% White, 6% Aboriginal, and 2% Visible Minorities

Mother tongue Demographics

  • Total 62,675 (100.0%)
  • English 48,870 (78.0%)
  • French 10,245 (16.3%)
  • Non-official language 2,890 (4.6%)
  • English and French 481 (0.8%)
  • English and non-official language 160 (0.3%)
  • French and non-official language 10 (0.0%)
  • English, French and non-official language 10 (0.0%)
Based on the Canada 2006 Census.

Prominent people

Prominent people who live or have lived in North Bay include:

Cartoonist Lynn Johnston lives just outside the city in nearby Corbeilmarker, and the famous Dionne Quintuplets were born on the outskirts of the city between Corbeil and Callander. Roy Thomson, 1st Baron Thomson of Fleet started his empire in North Bay in 1931 when he purchased an AM radio station in Iroquois Falls, CFCH, and moved it to North Bay. Thomson Park in North Bay is named in his honour.

Sister cities


  1. Tornado causes minor damage in North Bay

External links

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