From the peak of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park to the rushing waters and hiking trails at Kakabeka Falls, there is no doubt that Thunder Bay, Ontario will satisfy those looking for a scenic getaway in a city steeped in rich Canadian history. However, what many may not know, is beyond the natural landmarks and historical sites lies a unique, vibrant art and music scene with a variety of exhibits and genres.

This region has a knack for developing talented and world-renowned musicians, filmmakers, actors, and artists over the years. Perhaps, you might have even heard of Hugh Le Caine. Born and raised in Port Arthur, now Thunder Bay, in 1914, the composer with an interest in electronic music developed the electronic sackbut synthesizer, recognized as one of the world’s first synthesizers, an instrument used in every genre of music today. 

With its plethora of galleries, theatres and live music venues, Thunder Bay is a hub of artistic culture, and is a must-see for any art connoisseur. 

Prince Arthurs Landing Thunder Bay Arts Scene

© Tourism Thunder Bay

Go on a Public Art Walking Tour Through Prince Arthur’s Landing

Not all art galleries are indoor, at least not in Thunder Bay. Located within Prince Arthur’s Landing at Marina Park, take your own walking tour along the city’s waterfront where you’ll discover over a dozen written pieces by local and national writers as well as numerous larger-than-life-sized monuments. 

Be sure to give it the time it deserves as each piece was carefully thought out to offer significance to the history of Northwestern Ontario and the sites on which they reside. There you’ll find pieces like the three cedar lanterns on Pier 2, which feature vibrant artwork that aims to depict Man’s relationship to the water and to nature.

Discover Ancient Artifacts and Regional History at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery

Prefer to stay indoors? As the largest public gallery between Sault Ste. Marie and Winnipeg, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery has artifacts and exhibits to pique the interest of the historian in you. The gallery maintains a permanent collection of over 1600 items with more than 20 exhibits a year highlighting the talents of regional, national and international artists alike. Staying true to the roots of Canadian culture, the gallery displays a significant collection of woodland art, a native art that depicts traditional legends and myths. 

Ensure you don’t miss a detail by taking one of the gallery’s educational tours or workshops. Visit their website to keep an eye on upcoming special events or signing up for art classes that are suitable for those of all ages. 

Enjoy a Stage Performance at Magnus Theatre

Are you a fan of theatre and live musicals? Thunder Bay has an attraction just for you. The Magnus Theatre was founded by British director Burton Lancaster in 1971 and has been entertaining locals and attracting tourists to Northwestern Ontario ever since. 

When in town, visit their box office or website to pick-up tickets to a performance. Notable performances have included SHOUT! The Mod Musical, an Off-Broadway musical, as well as A Wonderful Life, a musical based on the classic Frank Capra film titled, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra

© Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra

Take in Classic Music Courtesy of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra

For the classic music connoisseur, a visit to the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra (TBSO) is a must. A tradition spanning over 50 seasons and the only fully professional orchestra between Toronto and Winnipeg, the TBSO harnesses the talents of 30 full-time musicians to bring you sound that even Beethoven would be proud of. 

The choice is yours, choose from a great classical set or something that you can bring the kids to at a children’s concert. 

Get Up Close and Personal with Live Music at Algoma House

Whether you’re a professional musician or just someone who wants to take in some live music, the Algoma House is home to both. An intimate atmosphere allows guests to get up, close and personal with new and interesting sounds from talent that might be from anywhere or any genre. 

Whether you’re an established artist or just starting out, you are also welcomed to bring your talents to Thunder Bay, by requesting to play at the Algoma House. 

Attend Bluesfest Thunder Bay

Get your groove on by the shores of Lake Superior at Marina Park during Bluesfest. Sarah McLachlan, Bryan Adams and Johnny Reid are just some of the talent that has headlined this yearly summer festival in the past. Be sure to check out the official Thunder Bay Blues Festival website for more information on upcoming events.

Interested in finding out more about what Thunder Bay has to offer? Check out some other notable attractions in Northwestern Ontario.

Special thanks to the staff at the Comfort Inn in Thunder Bay, ON for their suggestions.

Choice Hotels in Northwestern Ontario