The City of Thunder Bay Archives has launched an online exhibit on the history of City Parks.

Parks have been an important part of Thunder Bay life for over a hundred years. The Parks Boards of the two cities of Fort William and Port Arthur began developing parks for public use in the late nineteenth century. Today, over 100 parks and 32 km of recreational trails are enjoyed by citizens and visitors.

This exhibit highlights the history and development of six parks. It presents photographs and original documents such as deeds to land, construction plans, maps, brochures, and articles. Viewers can use these documents to explore the park history for themselves. The exhibit also includes the history of the Port Arthur and Fort William Parks Boards and The City of Thunder Bay Parks Department. Visitors to the exhibit can also discover fun facts about Thunder Bay’s parks and participate in a skill testing quiz.

“Parks are a key part of public life,” said Park’s Manager Paul Fayrick. “But they don’t just appear on their own. They require considerable planning, development and maintenance. The City Archives has a wealth of material about this process.”

“What we’ve put online so far is only a start,” said City Archivist Matt Szybalski. “We encourage everyone to come in and research the history of their favourite park. We’ll guide you through the process. We encourage you to share any stories or additional information you may have on these parks, or on our exhibit, with us.”

The exhibit is compiled from information held at the City of Thunder Bay Archives and from the City’s Parks Division. Some material were also supplied by the Thunder Bay Public Library and the Thunder Bay Historical Museum. Partial funding for the exhibit was provided by Young Canada Works.

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