Ontario, Thunder Bay, June 18-19, 2008

23 07 2008
Robin stands at the Peak of Thunder Bay   Robin stands at the Peak of Thunder Bay
Step enjoys a Finnish Sauna

Step enjoys a Finnish Sauna

I guess we were still more wiped out than we thought because we stayed in Thunder Bay for 2 nights, instead of just making a pit stop like originally planned. Thunder Bay has the largest Finnish population outside of Finland, which means there’s an excellent sauna. I have many times gone to Hastings Steam Bath in Vancouver, which I enjoyed, but now it will forever fall short of Thunder Bay’s Kangas Sauna and Spa. We got a nice wooden suite with a lounge room and bathroom, shower room and super hot sauna.(Kangas even has an executive meeting room sauna that seats 9). Usually it takes me a good 20 minutes to break into a sweat, but these Fins really mean it and I was perspiring freely within a few minutes. My only regret is that I had no Birch branches to beat myself with.

Karialanpiirakka

Kangas also supposedly has extra delicious Finnish pancakes in their little restaurant, but we wouldn’t know (until months later when we popped in on the way back) because we ate at The Hoito every chance we got (2). In 1918 the Finnish working men of Thunder Bay got fed up with not being able to get a good meal at a decent price so they all chipped in money and founded the co-operative restaurant, The Hoito, in the basement of the Finnish Labour Temple, where it still is today, and still serves very good food at very decent prices. We tried a bunch of Finnish dishes, which have a lot of stuff like potato and fish casseroles and  karialanpiirakka, a rice stuffed bread patty with egg on it that is a lot more appetizing than it sounds. The second time we went there was a Finnish guy playing accordion outside the door.

The Finnish Labour Temple (right)

The Corner from which the Plane Crash was Viewed

The Corner from which the Plane Crash was Viewed

Thunder Bay has one of those art projects where a sign is posted on the street that you can call a number on your cell phone and hear a little story about that place, and it was all the more interesting that these stories were personal memories of people who live in Thunder Bay. The one we listened to was a guy remembering when he was 5 he was sitting on that corner and saw a plane crash into the bay, and the same day there was a funeral for 2 labour activists who died under very suspicious conditions, and even though they weren’t connected the two events have been linked in his mind as a pivotal day in Thunder Bay history all these years.

For it’s size, it was surprising to find out it supports 2 comic book stores. I talked to the owner of one and he said no one reads the contemporary comics so much, and he can’t even remember the last time he had one ordered in.

The Charming Back Alleys of Thunder Bay

It should also be noted that Thunder Bay has the most charming residential back alleys I’ve ever seen, at least in the neighbourhood we stayed in. They are very narrow and not driven much so they are carpeted in long grass and wild flowers. It made it seem kind of villagey which made it seem like there was good community there, but I really have no idea how the sense of community is.

Step folds Pink Underwear

I noticed most of the pictures of me on this blog I’m doing domestic chores, so here is a pic of Step folding my pink underwear to even things out:

Our Hosts, Don and Fergus

Our Hosts, Don and Fergus (Melissa not shown)

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