Pros and Cons of living in Thunder Bay – Ontario, Canada


Thunder Bay, Ontario, a picturesque, quiet and lovable city situated on the stunning Lake Superior is a place ideal for those who want to live somewhere with a sense of community and to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life.

Famed for its beautiful panoramic views and expansive natural scenery, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to move to Thunder Bay.

This article will provide you with all you need to know about the city, including a list of pros and cons, the cost of living, quality of life, and information about the safety of Thunder Bay with links to websites that will provide you with further information.

If you’re considering moving to Thunder Bay for work, to start a family, or just for a change of scenery, read on to find out why it might be the place for you.

Pros and Cons of living in Thunder Bay

1. Location

Thunder Bay is a city located in Northwest part of the province of Ontario. This city is a great place to live for those who’d like to embrace the peacefulness of small-city Canadian life without being too far from the States.

If you have family or friends in the Upper Midwest of the US and you’re considering moving to Canada, Thunder Bay is a fantastic option that allows you the easy access of returning to see your loved ones without so much as hopping in your car and setting off whenever your now much more relaxed schedule will allow!

Downside: However there are downsides to Thunder Bay’s location. Despite being in the same province, it is a long sixteen-hour drive or two-hour flight to Toronto.

For those planning on moving from Toronto to Thunder Bay, bear in mind that visits to the big city might need to be planned in advance.

The closest Canadian city to Thunder Bay is Winnipeg, which is a seven and a half-hour drive in normal traffic. If being situated close to Canada’s big cities is a priority for you, Thunder Bay may not fit well for you.

2. Nature and Climate

Thunder Bay boasts a whole range of beautiful landmarks, landscapes, and sights to see, and is an ideal place for engaging in your favorite outdoor activities.

For those who love to skicanoe or hike, you’re in luck! With a huge variety of different trails and even a canyon, plus the chance to visit the beautiful Cascades or Kakabeka Falls.

Whether you have a passion for the adventure of the outdoors or simply enjoy a waterside view, Thunder Bay is the place for anyone with a love for nature.

Downside: For those who don’t like the cold, Thunder Bay might not be so appealing.

The average temperature from November to May ranges from -15ºC to 9ºC, with expected highs in the summer of 17ºC.

If you’re moving from a place with humid springs and hot summers, invest in some warm winter gear and make sure you’re well prepared for quite a different climate before moving.

3. Jobs and Employment

Thunder Bay has a range of growing sectors, including in accounting, aerospace, mining, and IT, making it a great city to locate to, for both people experienced in their careers or looking to start a new one in the aforementioned fields.

For those looking to start their own business, the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce can help you out by offering professional development and opportunities for networking, and they have even created a handy Small Business Resource Guide to help you start and manage your business. If you’re looking to work for The City of Thunder Bay, try visiting their website to find out more information and apply easily for jobs.

Downside: Although it seems that there are plenty of job opportunities available in Thunder Bay, the unemployment rate currently stands at 9.6% , which is significantly higher than employment rates in Toronto and Winnipeg.

Before moving to Thunder Bay, take some time to think about your employment options and make sure you have some savings in case finding a job proves to be more difficult than in the bigger cities of Canada.

4. Diversity in Thunder Bay

Since 2000, Diversity Thunder Bay has worked hard to establish a community that is free from racism and discrimination of every kind.

For indigenous peoples living in Thunder Bay, there is Negahneewin College, an educational institution that helps to bridge the gap between white Canadian and indigenous students through offering a range of courses and programs, scholarships, bursaries, and student support services.

Downside: Unfortunately, despite community efforts, racism still remains a problem in the city today. Local police released a report called “Broken Trust” in December 2018 concluded that a “crisis of trust” existed between the police and indigenous residents. One of the key barriers to implementing change in the police force is money.

The OIPRD (Office of Independent Police Review Director) has urged the Thunder Bay police to address the “serious, long-standing issues facing the police service” and to ensure effective, nondiscriminatory policing is provided.

5. Cost of Living in Thunder Bay

If you currently live in one of Canada’s major cities, you’ll be pleased to hear that the cost of living in Thunder Bay is considerably lower.

According to the Rental Market Report 2018, renting a two-bedroom in Thunder Bay will cost you an average $1037 per month, a whopping $600 cheaper than the average two-bedroom rent prices in Vancouver! And for those thinking about moving from Toronto, you’ll be pleased to hear that renting a one-bedroom apartment in Thunder Bay will cost you a mere $883- that’s 58% cheaper than your average Torontonian one-bedroom

It’s no wonder that Thunder Bay was ranked number 1 out of 227 major urban international cities for affordable housing!

It’s not just the rent prices that are low- if you prefer not to travel by car, a monthly transit pass in Thunder Bay will cost you just $77.50, a small fee that’s bound to save you a big amount.

Compare that to the $156 for a monthly travel pass in Toronto!

6. Thunder Bay Quality of Life

With low costs of living and so much nature, you might already have an idea of the quality of life in Thunder Bay.

Living in a congested and densely populated city with expensive rent and few natural areas to unwind in can inevitably take a toll on both your mental and physical health.

Thunder Bay allows you to live a life free from the stresses of crippling rental and transport costs, with clean fresh air, wide-open spaces to exercise in, and great job opportunities in a wide range of sectors. Say goodbye to stuffy indoor gyms, poor air quality, and money problems, and say hello to life in Thunder Bay!

Thunder Bay is also a wonderful place for raising your family and boasts 38 elementary schools 3 middle schools, 8 secondary schools, a university, two colleges, and a medical school amongst others.

The range of schools means you won’t have to worry about school districts or oversizes classes and you can ensure your child gets the good education they deserve.

Thunder Bay is committed to ‘providing superior water from Lake Superior, all while protecting the water source’ and has released a report describing statistical details and their pollution control process.

Is Thunder Bay a Safe Place to Live?

In recent years, there have been concerns regarding the safety of Thunder Bay due to levels of crime increasing sharply.

Fortunately, the City of Thunder Bay has set out a community safety and well-being strategy which aims to tackle crime by getting to the root of the problem.

The strategy involves using evidence-based crime prevention programs that have been proven to be effective, by engaging with the Thunder Bay community, collaborating with community partnerships, and through making efforts to prevent discrimination against marginalized groups.

It seems that a lot of the crime in Thunder Bay is related to substance abuse and anecdotal evidence on the web points out that so long as you’re not going to Thunder Bay to buy drugs, there’s no need to worry.

Although Thunder Bay might have had the highest murder rate in Canada of 6.38 homicides per 100,000 people, this is significantly lower than homicide rates in several US states such as Louisiana, Alaska, and Missouri to name but a few.


In conclusion, Thunder Bay is a great city for people who love to be around nature and are looking for a place to start a family or simply enjoy a more tranquil and stress-free lifestyle.

With such low rent and property prices, Thunder Bay would also serve as a wonderful city for those looking to relocate after retiring.

For those who enjoy living a fast-paced city life, urban environments, and hot weather, Thunder Bay probably won’t be the city for you; however, visiting and taking a look for yourself surely can’t hurt!

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