Specialized Manufacturing

Manufacturing has been a strong industry for Thunder Bay since 1912. With Thunder Bay's central location within Canada and close proximity to the US border there is an extensive transportation network that allows businesses in Thunder Bay to ship, import and export materials and finished products quickly and efficiently. That's why companies like Bombardier, and its predecessors, have been operating diverse and successful manufacturing facilities here for over 100 years.

 

Industry Diversification

Workers assembling a commuter train car

Streetcars, railcars, and subway coaches have been manufactured in Thunder Bay for over 100 years. Transportation Equipment Manufacturing remains a strong industry for Thunder Bay.  Aerospace parts are newer to this sector, but growing at an incredible rate.

Paper packaging

Local access to coniferous and deciduous trees has fueled Wood Product Manufacturing for over 100 years. New innovations and investments are expanding the traditional product offerings.

ICT Manufacturing image

With strong computer science programs at Lakehead University and Confederation College there is a steady stream of knowledge workers for ICT Manufacturing. The Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre and Lakehead University's CASES Building/Research support programs provide entrepreneurs support for business growth and product development.

man looking through microscope

The recently incorporated Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute specializes in molecular imaging based technologies. Their dedication to research and innovation has encouraged new practitioners to locate in Thunder Bay to work in Life Sciences Manufacturing.

Image of large mining equipment

Thunder Bay is a gateway for mining in Northern Ontario. With six currently operational mines and 4 new gold mines being developed in the next 5 years, there is a great need for businesses in Mining Machinery Manufacturing.

Food manufacturing workers

Industries such as Food and Beverage Manufacturing that are reliant on cold, clean water find advantages in Thunder Bay being located so close to Lake Superior.

Aircraft being assembled

Aerospace automated software and product parts are some of the fastest growing industries in Thunder Bay. Confederation College recently celebrated the grand opening of the TEC Hub, which will enhance their Aerospace Manufacturing program. It provides state of the art equipment for students to train with and will contribute to the development of a skilled, employment ready workforce in aerospace product parts manufacturing and aircraft maintenance. The TEC Hub also acts as a research and business incubator.

Number of Business Locations by Industry 2017
NAICS 2012 Total
31-33 Manufacturing 177
  311 & 312 - Food, Beverage and Tobacco  25
  311 - Food manufacturing 22
  312 - Beverage and tobacco product manufacturing 3
  313 - Textile mills 1
  314 - Textile product mills 3
  315 - Clothing manufacturing 1
  316 - Leather and allied product manufacturing 2
  321 - Wood product manufacturing 23
  322 - Paper manufacturing 3
  323 - Printing and related support activities 12
  324 - Petroleum and coal products manufacturing 2
  325 - Chemical manufacturing 6
  326 - Plastics and rubber products manufacturing 8
  327 - Non-metallic mineral product manufacturing 8
  331 - Primary metal manufacturing 1
  332 - Fabricated metal product manufacturing 21
  333 - Machinery manufacturing 12
  334 - Computer and electronic product manufacturing 7
  335 - Electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing       3
  336 - Transportation equipment manufacturing 9
  337 - Furniture and related product manufacturing 6
  339 - Miscellaneous manufacturing 24

 

Educated and Skilled Labour Force

Staff discussing work planThunder Bay is home to an educated and highly skilled labour force that is dedicated to supporting manufacturing in the region. There have been recent investments in both research and development, as well as in innovation centres in Thunder Bay, which are strengthening and diversifying specialized manufacturing operations.

 

 

Major Employers

Bombardier manufacturing workerThunder Bay is currently home to over 177 manufacturing businesses, which makes up just over 5% of its labour force. Internationally recognized companies, such as Bombardier and Resolute Forest Products, have a proud history of operating in Thunder Bay.

 

 

 

The following is a list of globally recognized manufacturing companies currently operating in Thunder Bay:

Bombardier manufacturing worker Bombardier Transport Canada
Bombardier, and its predecessor companies, have been operating in Thunder Bay since 1912. This location focuses on producing rail cars; most specifically bilevel commuter rail cars, light rail vehicles, subway cars, and railway coaches.


Arial photo of Resolute FP Canada facility Resolute FP Canada Inc
Resolute Forest Products, and subsidiaries, produce a diverse range of forest products including: market pulp; tissue; wood products; newsprint; and specialty papers. Their products are sold domestically and internationally to more than 40 countries.


Toromont CAT logoToromont CAT
Toromont CAT supplies and services new and used CAT equipment. There are over 300 machine models and attachments in their product line.


Dingwell's logoDingwell's Machinery & Supply
Dinwell's manufactures machine parts for a wide variety of industries and specializes in servicing the transportation, mining, pulp & paper, and construction industries. Their services include: machining, casting, forging, fabrication, and manufacturing. Thunder Bay is their Canadian headquarters.


Venshore manufacturing facility Venshore Mechanical Ltd
Venshore Mechanical is Northwestern Ontario's largest multi-trade contractor. They provide fabrication and mechanical services for a variety of industries including forestry and mining.


Valmet Forward logoValmet Ltd
Valmet is a global developer and supplier of technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. The Thunder Bay location has over 50 years experience designing and engineering air systems equipment for the tissue, pulp, and paper industry.


Parmalet logoParmalat Canada
Parmalat Canada is a food manufacturer specializing in dairy products. Pharmalat has been in business in Canada for over 120 years. Parmalat is known for producing milk and dairy products, as well as fruit juices, cheese products, cultured products, and table spreads.

Visit and search the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Business Directory to review a full listing of business successfully operating in Thunder Bay.

Research and Innovation

Specialized Manufacturing is a growing industry in Thunder Bay, with research and innovation centres encouraging development and diversification in this evolving sector.

Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre logoNorthwestern Ontario Innovation Centre
This Northwestern Ontario focused team supports not only entrepreneurs but all busi-nesses in the region that are working on innovation. Becoming a member of this or-ganization provides you with access to business advice, market research,  develop-ment assistance, as well as funding and networking opportunities.


Confederation College logoConfederation College TEC Hub
This state of the art facility will support the College's engineering technology programs, enhance the Aerospace Manufacturing program, and contribute to the development of a skilled employment ready workforce for the aerospace product parts manufacturing and aircraft maintenance sectors. It will also host vibrant research incubation and technology transfer services supporting the region's advanced manufacturing technol-ogy and resource sectors.


Confederation College logoConfederation College - Partners in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OCEA)
This program is dedicated to promoting youth employment through entrepreneurship. They provide business development support, workshops, and mentorship opportunities.


NOFIA logoNorthern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance (NOFIA)
NOFIA is a non-profit organization dedicated to agricultural innovation in Northern On-tario. They create partnerships to enable research, innovation, and commercialization of agricultural products and technologies.

Testimonial: Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre

NOIC logo"Canada investment through FedNor. The enhancements maximize space and create an open and interactive work environment that's conducive to collaboration."

- Judy Sander, Manager, Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre

FedNor recently confirmed a $355,860 investment to improve the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre in Thunder Bay

For additional information please contact the Development Officer at (807) 625-3960 or visit our Contact Us page.

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