The Gateway to the New West

Calgary is rebranding. In their new video, it is not 'Cowtown' anymore.
Calgary is rebranding. In their new video, it is not ‘Cowtown’ anymore.

THUNDER BAY – Calgary is the heart of the new west. Thunder Bay is the gateway to the west. Calgary is a forward looking city that embraces change, and excitement. Thunder Bay is a city with more potential than most cities in Canada. 

When many people think of Calgary, it used to be all they would think of is the Calgary Stampede. Calgary has endorsed its past but at the same time is reaching forward to create its future.

In rebranding itself, Calgary has taken a complete approach. They are making sure everything is working forward in a positive way. The heritage of the west is being embraced but not the whole. Calgary is changing and the city is reflecting that change. It is moving forward.

Calgary is a vibrant, clean, fun and exciting city. It embraces enthusiasm, and has a civic pride that is second to none in Canada.

There is a special attitude in Calgary. A spirit of independence, entrepreneurship, and the strong attitude that Calgary is the greatest place to live in the world.

That entire approach is paying off for Calgary. The City of Calgary is ranked as the best place in Canada to live.

Thunder Bay is not doing so well

Thunder Bay
Money Sense Magazine ranked Thunder Bay #20 in 2011


Money Sense Magazine
Thunder Bay’s 2012 Ranking was in the forties.


Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay has fallen from #20 in 2011 to #92 in 2013 – This should be sending a strong message that work to improve is needed.

Calgary is ranked by Money Sense Magazine as Canada’s Best Place to Live in 2013. The city made the climb from sixteenth place in 2011 to top the list. In 2011, Thunder Bay was ranked the 20th best place to live.

Metis Centre Mural
Bright murals make the city a better place, and share the heritage while embracing the future.

In 2013, Calgary is topping the list. Thunder Bay has fallen to 92nd on the list. So in the same time period, two years, Calgary has climbed to the top, while Thunder Bay is now on a course to drop off the top 100 listing.

To many of us in Thunder Bay, we have the same ‘Calgary Spirit’ and believe that we live in the best place to live in the world. 

However we need to embrace change to make sure we are the best. It takes more than words.

There are many positive signs in our city that the economy is climbing. However that positive economic news is not moving Thunder Bay up the list at Money Sense.

If you are a golfer, and you want to be the best you need to study what the best golfers do. You can’t just buy the same clubs, play the same balls, and wear the same clothes. It takes careful study and the honest determination to improve.

In Thunder Bay if we want to improve our ranking, we have to admit that we have room for improvement. Often that key component is missing it seems at times. 

Kam River Park
Urban Greenscapes and a team of volunteers were cleaning up the jewel that is the Kam River Park – The results show!

Business owners and volunteers were in the downtown Fort William Business District and Kam River Park on the weekend cleaning up.

The message to their customers and fellow residents is that “We Care”.

Thunder Bay
Spring cleaning started on Monday City crews were out on May Street sweeping up winter’s grime.

Business owners care. Shelby Ch’ng at Unveiled Bridal Boutique is representative of the new spirit and attitude in Thunder Bay that continues to emerge. Her Boutique is a positive jewel in the midst of the downtown Fort William Business District. 

Across Thunder Bay there are many similar jewels. Stop by the Sovereign on Red River Road and enjoy some of the best wings you will have anywhere. Visit the Bay and Algoma Business District and you can embrace the Kitchen Nook, Global Experience, and many other really great businesses. The Mad House offers great food. There is the Hoito – Thunder Bay’s fixture restaurant, but you can also check out the Thunder Bay Restaurant for a real change of scene.

We have many amazing places in our city. We have many amazing people.

But our city is falling. In many cases asking the question why is being answered by either silence or denial. We must do much better than that. Much better.

Embracing change is a key component to moving forward.

Mayor Hobbs is working to build a new attitude embracing Thunder Bay’s future. The Mayor has been front at centre building bridges. It has been a task that many don’t seem to understand. Thunder Bay now has a far more solid relationship with Fort William First Nation. 

Fort William First Nation, with newly sworn in Chief Georjann Morriseau is moving forward. 

The path forward means respecting the past, and embracing the future.

Thunder Bay cares!

Clean Green and Beautiful
Clean, Green and Beautiful is the goal. At City Hall, recycling bins are in place.

Embracing change is one of those lessons Thunder Bay must learn to embrace. Many are simply stepping up and embracing change and doing what the messages in the slogans are saying.

We have ‘Clean Green and Beautiful’ and we have ‘Respect’ – Both are worthy. 

Working with a positive attitude and realizing that change needs to happen, and that change is vital for the future is really important for the future of our city.

James Murray


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