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About Us

Located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Fort William Historical Park (FWHP) is Northern Ontario’s leading destination attraction. The Park is a multifaceted tourism attraction, living history museum, educational hub and entertainment facility that attracts visitors from across North America and around the world year-round.

FWHP serves as the region’s anchor tourism attraction and is a major economic stimulator. The Park offers exciting festivals and events, innovative Indigenous cultural programming, immersive education programs and day camps, wedding and conference facilities, and a full-service campground.

FWHP is a direct branch of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, which supports delivery of high-quality cultural tourism experiences to Ontarians and visitors to Ontario. The Ministry works to improve quality of life and promote economic growth by supporting and delivering tourism and cultural experiences, supporting the arts and cultural industries, and championing participation in sport and recreation activities across Ontario.

Bringing Life to History

FWHP features Fort William, one of North America’s largest living history sites, which brings to life the 19th century fur trade. Fort William was the North West Company’s key inland headquarters (1803–1821), serving as a major centre of commerce during the North American fur trade. It was also the location of the annual Rendezvous, which provided an opportunity for people from Indigenous, French-Canadian, and Anglo-Scottish communities to come together to trade goods, share knowledge, exchange ideas and build relationships. The living history site includes an Anishinaabe encampment, heritage trades complex, working farm, and 50 authentically reconstructed buildings and structures.

David Thompson Astronomical Observatory

FWHP is also home to the David Thompson Astronomical Observatory (DTAO), one of Central Canada’s largest publicly accessible telescopes. The DTAO is named after one of Canada’s greatest explorers and cartographers, David Thompson, who joined the North West Company in 1797. During his tenure with the North West Company, David Thompson mapped almost four million square kilometres of North America. A large-scale copy of this map is currently displayed in Fort William’s Great Hall. The observatory also features a collection of authentic period astronomical  instruments like those that would have been used by David Thompson and a meteorite collection.

David Thompson Astronomical Observatory gate arch

Land Acknowledgement

We respectfully acknowledge that Fort William Historical Park is located on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg of Anemki Wajiw (Thunder Mountain), Fort William First Nation, signatory to the Robinson-Superior Treaty of 1850. We also recognize the historic and ongoing contributions of all First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Mikinaak Minis (Turtle Island, North America). We appreciate the privilege to share a part of their storied past on the lands that First Peoples have kept since time immemorial.

Awards

Fort William Historical Park has received numerous awards and recognitions for its economic and social impact, legacy in the community, customer service, innovation, teamwork, and community partnerships. Notable awards include:

National Cultural Tourism Award

Tourism Association of Canada

Canadian Signature Experience

Destination Canada

Rainbow Registered

Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce

#SafeTravels Stamp

World Travel & Tourism Council and Tourism Industry Association of Ontario

Travellers' Choice Award

Trip Advisor

Best Historic Site or Museum in Ontario

Lake Superior Magazine

The Russell K. Cooper Living History Site or Heritage-Based Museum Award ​

Ontario Historical Society

Top 100 Festivals & Events in Ontario

Festivals & Events Ontario

Commitment to Quality, Tourism Partnership Award, Strategic Partnership Award

Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce

Best Indoor & Outdoor Wedding Venue, Best Place to Get Married, Best New Event

The Walleye Magazine