THUNDER BAY – January 1st was Thunder Bay’s Birthday. On January 1st, 2016 our city turned forty-six-years old. Thunder Bay was formed with the amalgamation of Port Arthur and Fort William in 1970. The celebrations for our city’s birthday are a quiet tradition in Thunder Bay. No official cake, no civic parade, no celebrations of serious note.
Thunder Bay should take pride in our city’s birthday.
The City of Thunder Bay is celebrating some important dates, so far, the City’s birthday remains without formal celebrations. Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs stated in December, “Thunder Bay City Council is committed to celebrating arts and heritage as a key contributor to quality of life in our City, as identified in our Becoming Our Best 2015-2018 Strategic Plan. One of our Strategic Goals is to celebrate key anniversaries that are a significant source of civic pride.”
Having a celebration of the city’s birthday could be a way of setting civic New Year’s Resolutions, and of encouraging people in our city to take a little time on the first day of the year to reflect on how to make our city a better place.
Thunder Bay is set to celebrate our city as “The City of the Poppy” as a part of showcasing our city’s remembrance of World War One yet celebrating the city’s birthday remains on the back burner at best. It could be a showcasing of the city on its birthday, but it remains apparently since 1970 remains off the radar screens at City Hall.
Perhaps a goal for City Council and the Mayor might be taking on the celebration of Thunder Bay’s birthday as a directive to enjoy the city’s birthday.
Thunder Bay’s name was decided in a referendum. That vote had been held 23 June 1969.
The name of the new city and the referendum likely set in place a pattern that has continued to this day There was a massive debate with a majority of people wanting either Lakehead or The Lakehead as the new name for the city. Thunder Bay was the third choice. The vote split between the two Lakehead choices, and “Thunder Bay” was the victor. The final tally was “Thunder Bay” with 15,870, “Lakehead” with 15,302, and “The Lakehead” with 8,377.
Perhaps the debates in years since over the Community Auditorium, the Waterfront Development at Prince Arthur’s Landing, and today the ongoing debate over an event centre were born in that first referendum.
With all of the great facilities in our amazing winter city, having a true birthday celebration in Thunder Bay should be something that our community embraces.