expanding the parameters of finnishness

Archive for the ‘Thunder Bay’ Category


Posted by Markus Raty on August 24, 2006

aka: Port Arthur, Thunder Bay, Little Finland

First of all, greetings to all finnophilers from Thunder Bay’s Finns; or at least those whom I came into contact with. They would like you to know that their little slice of Finland in Canada¬†is alive and thriving and invite you for a visit.

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my take on this most eccentric of cultural phenomenoms.

Thunder Bay’s Finnish population¬†began to grow in earnest around the turn of the 20th century as thousands of Finns in search of work settled in the Port Arthur area, soon finding work as loggers. Soon (1931) over 15% of the city’s population were Finnish immigrants and many institutions that we are still familiar with today (Hoito, Canadan Uutiset, succeeded by the Canadan Sanomat) were already in their third decade of operation.

Today, Thunder Bay is home to approximately 12,000 people of Finnish origin, comprising over 10% of its total population. This concentration is borne out by the aging but still grand Little Finland area of the city, whose epicentre is at Bay and Algoma. There, you will find all manner of Finnish shops, restaurants and cultural institutions all of which have benefited from the recent facelift the area has received.

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