Strategic Location

Local Production, Global Market

Thunder Bay enjoys a central location and a well integrated transportation network, allowing companies to maximize the use of air, rail, sea, and road transportation. Our location and transportation infrastructure is ideal for companies that utilize just-in-time shipping methods. With 40% of North America's population within a 1 day drive of Ontario, Thunder Bay is an excellent location to be a Canadian link in a global supply chain.

Transportation infographic


Transport truckThe Trans-Canada Highway is a transcontinental highway system that travels through all ten provinces of Canada between its Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Thunder Bay is very close to the US border at Pigeon River with a 45 minute drive on Highway 61 to the border. Thunder Bay also has direct highway access to international transportation arteries such as ports, rail, and an international airport. With its central location within Canada, trucking is a viable shipping option throughout the country and into the US.

Distances to Major Markets


Airport landing stripThunder Bay International Airport is the 3rd busiest international airport in Ontario, servicing 869,404 passengers in 2018.  With planes departing daily, goods can be shipped across the globe. Economic activity related to the Airport is responsible for an estimated $645 million dollars in GDP annually and over 5000 jobs.



Travel times to major centres


Arial photo of portThe Port of Thunder Bay is a major international inland port. With 400 ships coming through annually, an average of over 8 million tonnes of goods are shipped through the port. Keefer Terminal, at the Thunder Bay Port Authority, handles grain, coal, and potash. The port also handles lumber, steel, machinery, bagged goods, and forest products. By using vessels through The Port of Thunder Bay, businesses have a cost effective shipping method for national and international markets.

St Lawrence Seaway Ports


Arial photo of Thunder BayGoods can be shipped across the continent through the Canadian Pacific (CP) and Canadian National (CN) Railways, both of which service Thunder Bay. With over 20,000 kilometres / 12,427 miles of tracks, Thunder Bay is well connected across Canada and the US. The main line of Canadian Pacific railways runs directly through Thunder Bay, providing convenient and cost effective access to markets and suppliers. Shipping via railway is not only cost effective, but can be more environmentally sustainable than other modes of transportation. Both CP and CN offer intermodal shipping, providing a door-to-door service which provides efficiencies through rail, trucking and sea ports.

Railway Lines from Thunder Bay

Access to Raw Materials

Rock containing goldNorthwestern Ontario is a strong contributor to Canada's gold mining industry, producing 19% of Canada's gold in 2018 (1.05 million ounces)! With 4 new gold mines being developed in the next 5 years, that percentage will grow.

It is forecast that Northwestern Ontario will produce 1.6 million ounces of gold by 2023. The region also produces palladium at the Lac des Iles Mine (mainly for clean air applications in autocatalysts) and has a number of major exploration projects advancing for a variety of commodities, including lithium, cobalt, zinc, copper, chromite and graphite. Toromont CAT provides and services CAT mining equipment in Thunder Bay and the surrounding area.

Arial photo of portNew businesses can also benefit from Thunder Bay being situated along Lake Superior, the cleanest and clearest of the Great Lakes. It stores 10% of the Earth's available fresh water, providing a key resource for industries such as food and beverage manufacturing, deep water cooling, and data centres.

Mining operations map

Success Stories: Venshore Mechanical

CNC operator"As the gateway to Ontario's  Northwest and close proximity to the US border, Thunder Bay offered a great logistical advantage, so [John Jurick] committed to building a new plant in Thunder Bay to be able to supply Western Canada.

Read more about Venshore Mechanical's success in Thunder Bay over the last 30 years.


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


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Why Thunder Bay

Technicians working in lab

Thunder Bay is Northwestern Ontario's commercial, administrative and medical hub.


“We ship every day… Plane leaves here at 5 o’clock every day. Our goods are in their owners hands as quick as 18 hours anywhere in North America.” - Owner, Cinevate Inc.

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