Why I Live Here: THUNDER BAY
Remote and perched on Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world, Thunder Bay boasts a diverse population and a history that dates back to Paleoindians thousands of years ago. That’s why award-winning filmmaker Kelly Saxberg (50) and her husband, Ron Harpelle (55), a historian at Lakehead University, devote themselves to telling Thunder Bay’s stories. The couple met as university students in Manitoba, travelling together for years before Ron landed his job at Lakehead in 1996. Since then, they’ve co-founded the annual Bay Street Film Festival, shining a global spotlight on both local filmmakers and the city itself.
The price is right
Ron: “Real estate is a good deal here, and it makes a big difference to be comfortable. Our productions are international; we fly around the world and we have the ability to make films without having to worry so much about the high cost of living. We do pay what we call the ‘Thunder Bay Tax.’ That’s the price of a flight to Toronto. It’s two minutes to go through security, and then it’s an hour and a half, and you’re at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.”
Window on the world
One of everything
Ron: “Thunder Bay is a good place for anyone to get away from the much larger centres and have a more comfortable and quiet existence but still have all the opportunities you could want for food and entertainment. Everybody knows the Hoito, which is the Finnish restaurant. It’s world famous. We like Bistro One, which was in [restaurant guide] Where to Eat in Canada. We have the symphony, and there’s lots of outdoor and indoor sports. We’ve got a new hospital because we’re a regional hub, and people come here for serious health-care issues … [and] a good ratio of doctors to patients.
AT A GLANCE
Average home price $193,000
Health care Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre provides full services, including cancer care and advanced diagnostic imaging. St. Joseph’s Care Group manages eight facilities.