Thunder Bay

Image - Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada: The Transfiguration Ukrainian Catholic Church. Image - Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada: Saint Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Thunder Bay. A city (2016 metropolitan area pop 121,621) on the western shore of Lake Superior in northern Ontario, Canada, created in 1970 by the amalgamation of Port Arthur and Fort William. Its main industries are forest products, transportation, and tourism. In 1981 its total Ukrainian population was 14,015. Ukrainians began to settle in the area in the early 1900s. In 1911 approximately 60 percent of Ontario Ukrainians (1,856 of 3,078) lived there. This ratio dropped over time, although the city’s Ukrainian population increased to 2,394 in 1921, 5,156 in 1931, 8,235 in 1941, and 11,004 in 1951. In 1989, 2,225 inhabitants claimed Ukrainian as their mother tongue.

The first Ukrainian organization, a branch of the Prosvita society in Fort William (est 1906), is still active. Two other Prosvita branches were organized in 1909, one in Port Arthur and the other in West Fort William. A branch of the Ukrainian National Federation arose in Fort William in 1938, and by 1947 it had built its own hall. A Ukrainian Catholic parish was established in Fort William in 1909, and by 1918 it had built the Church of the Transfiguration. A second Catholic parish, dedicated to the Ascension of Our Lord, arose in 1911, and in 1968 a third parish, of the Elevation of the Holy Cross, was created. The Church of the Holy Protectress was built in Port Arthur in 1966. The first Ukrainian Orthodox parish, of the Ascension of the Holy Virgin, was founded in Fort William in 1924, and another, Saint Volodymyr’s parish, was formed in 1935 by 200 former members of the Catholic parish of the Ascension. The Ukrainian Credit Union (est 1949) had over 1,100 members and assets of 3,683,000 dollars by 1985. The local branch of the Canadian League for Ukraine’s Liberation (est 1950), along with the fraternal organizations, bought its own building in 1961.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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