Jane's Walk Thunder Bay


Come and explore the back streets along Victoria Avenue as we walk this historic neighbourhood with local artists, area business owners and the Thunder Bay Heritage Advisory Committee.

Jane's Walk Thunder BayJane’s Walk is a series of conversational walking tours inspired by urban thinker Jane Jacobs, that helps put people in touch with where they live and with each other. It bridges social and geographic gaps, creating a space for cities to discover themselves. Since its inception in 2007, Jane’s Walk has happened on the first weekend in May in cities across North America, and is growing internationally. In 2012, there were walks in 85 cities and 17 countries around the world, from Calgary to Canberra, Guelph to Guadalajara. 


Victoria Avenue Alley Ways of History and Art
Victoria Ave Looking East
Guided by: Thunder Bay Heritage Advisory Committee and the Fort William Business District BIA
and Lake Superior Art Gallery.
Date: Saturday, May 4th
Start Time: 11:00 AM
Est. Duration: 2 hours


F W Woolworths (1)     The walk will start at the Lake Superior Art Gallery, orginally the F W Woolworth's Building, built in 1946. Then, in the 60's became McCartney Jewelers and Bourke's Drug Store.

(2)    Leaving the gallery and exiting onto Justice Ave to look at Thunder Bay's Colsolidated Court House. The Thunder Bay seven storey Consolidated Courthouse willThunder Bay Consolidated Court House have space to accommodate 15 courtrooms,Thunder Bay Consolidated Court House including a Multiple Accused High Security courtroom and four conference/settlement suites. The facility will be located between the Brodie and Archibald streets, south of Miles Street, in Thunder Bay’s downtown south core.

The total cost of the contract with Plenary Justice is approximately $473.5 million after 30 years. In today's dollars, this is equivalent to approximately $247.7 million.
Site Area: Four acres
Building Area: 250,000 ft² (23,225 m2)
seven stories (including the mechanical penthouse)

Completion – Fall 2013

Then east across Brodie street, looking to the left is First Wesley United Church and the Ski Haus which is celebrating it's 50th anniversary this year.

(3)      Wesley Methodist Church across from the new courthouse, 1910.  Some of the significant architectural features include triplets of lancet windows with cut stone hood molding found on both towers. The construction material consisted of a contrast of re-brick and cut stone resulting in coursed rubble foundation walls. The church also has a large stained glass window on the central façade. Wesley United was preceded by a much smaller structure. Grace Methodist Church, completed in 1891, and with a capacity of 100 people, was paid for almost exclusively through donations from the parish. This was replaced in 1910 by a new 1,025 seat sanctuary, designed by architects Stinson and Hood, which has sloped coliseum seating in the Methodist style. World War I ended the economic explosion experience by Fort William, and it was not until the amalgamation of the 1920s, creating the United Church of Canada, that Wesley United was able to regain monetary stability

(4)     Heading east along the lane to May Street to look at the former Times Journal Building which is now the home of Victoria's Cupboard. Crossing the street and again east on the lane coming out into the parking lot. The Times Journal building and original business was owned by T.W. Rutledge and Dave Smith and located here at 115 North May Street. In November 1899 the company purchased the presses and assets of the recently defunct Fort William Journal and combined the two papers together, known as "The Daily Times-Journal". In 1906 a new building was constructed on the original site in the Queen Anne Style. The new building was two storeys high, and the front was originally rented to J. W. Crooks & Co. as a drug store and in later years was a series of cafes called the T&H, Palace, Boulevard and Superior. The Times-Journal business office was at the rear of the building with entry from the lane. The second floor was the editorial office, typecasting machines and the book and job printing departments, with the large new presses being in the basement. This building housed the first power driven freight elevator in the entire city of Fort William. Later a more northerly addition was built and although owned by Superior Printing for years was not occupied by newspaper staff until 1960. In 1972 the Times-Journal and News-Chronicle amalgamated(two years after the two cities did), and the operation became one at the Port Arthur ward plant. information about the Daily Times Journal from HOT RODS and JALOPIES:

CBC THunder Bay(5)     The new CBC Thunder Bay building went up in 1989 and the operation was moved over in 1990. The St Joseph's Convent is the white two story building.

CBC Thunder Bay opened its doors and went on the airwaves in what was the St Joseph Convent on Dec. 17, 1973 as CBQ. CJLX was in the building as a radio station before CBQ (CBC) took the building over.

CBC will begin celebrating the CBC's 40 years this summer and hold an Open House for the community on Sept. 27th this fall.

(6)     On the left is St Stanislaus School and then ahead and on your right is the Bank of Commerce facade, the location of the Bank Space Art Place project with Carol Kajorinne. 
Avenue Hotel(7)      Further down is the Former Toronto Dominion Bank which Derek Khani's unique studio space. Across the street is the location of one of Fort William's earliest hotels, The Avenue, which was destroyed by fire and was replaced by the Odeon Theatre

Now heading across the street and looking at the Amethyst Gift Centre which, back in the early 1900's, was the Royal Bank building.


(8)     Taking the lane beside the Amethyst Gift Centre, you come out into a open area. In front of you is George Street andNeil Young to your left, facing George Street is the John Rafferty Office. It was in front of MP John Rafferty's Office where Neil Young would park his Hearse when playing at the 4th Dimension Club.

(9)     On your right is the back of the former Zellers building with it's vines and iron fire escapes that people use for wedding photos.  Also backing onto the parking lot is 414 Victoria Ave East which was CKPR Radio Hall.

Because Senator Paterson owned the Royal Edward Hotel, it was fairly easy to find a home for the new CKPR radio station. Studios were built on the mazzanine floor of the Royal Edward. Land for the transmitter was purchased on Memorial Avenue and the transmitting tower constructed. That tower still functions and sumultaneously broadcasts the signals of 580 CKPR and one other local station.

From the Royal Edward, the studio moved to the Canada Steamship offices, beside the hotel and then to Radio Hall at 414 Victoria Avenue East, in 1948. For awhile, the station also had a second studio in the Prince Arthur Hotel but everything came together finally, at 87 North Hill Street in 1961, which is now the station's permanent home.

"Miss CKPR was created and carved
by Norman Hindell of Fort William in
the 1930's and remains a futur-istic
symbol of the company".

(10)     Next is the Royal Edward hotel and across the street is Norma Jean's (then the Columbia Grill) restaurant where Bambi Bembenek was discovered after she was featured on America's Most Wanted. She was the famous Playboy Bunny who was wanted for murder and escaped to Thunder Bay. Former Playboy Club Bunny and Milwaukee Police Officer, Laurie (Bambi) Bembenek, whose prison escape to Canada 20 years ago popularized the phrase "Run Bambi Run,"  died November 2010.

And last, back along May street to Victoria Avenue and the Confederation College Learning Cafe.

Presented by the Thunder Bay Heritage Advisory Committee, the Fort William Business District BIA and Lake Superior Art Gallery.




Victoriaville Centre   Fort William Business District Lake Superior Art Galler  CAHEP Jane's Walk   

Visit us on Google+

Visit us on

 Lake Superior Art Gallery on Facebook

Visit us on


Victoria Avenue Alley Ways of History and Art

Guided by: Thunder Bay Heritage Advisory Committee. Fort William Business District BIA
and Lake Superior Art Gallery.
Date: Saturday, May 4th
Start Time: 11:00 AM
Est. Duration: 2 hours


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

From TBayNewsWatch






Add Content...