Thunder Bay, ON, May 11, 2015 – Fort William Historical Park's amphitheatre will be rocking as it hosts Fort Fest; a community music festival taking place July 17 & 18. Taking the stage will be Bret Michaels, Loverboy, Blue Oyster Cult, Great White, Harlequin, The Romantics, Tommy Tutone plus a variety of local talent. Tickets are on sale now! Friday $20, Saturday $30 and weekend pass $45.

Fort Fest is a two-day family friendly music festival; gates open Friday, July 17 at 5pm and Saturday, July 18 at 12pm with entertainment to 11pm both nights. Nightly 19+ After Parties to follow at the David Thompson Astronomical Observatory from 11pm-1am, $10 per night. Weekend RV camping will be available. New for 2015, Fort William Historical Park has RV rentals. Two night minimum stay and weekend pass required for camping during Fort Fest weekend. Fort William Historical Park's historic site will be fully operational for guests to enjoy throughout festival weekend. Make your reservation today by calling 473-2344 or visit for more details.

"Fort William Historical Park is thrilled to announce Fort Fest and welcomes the community to celebrate with us. We are committed to regional economic development and hosting a large scale music festival is a key strategic element in the promotion of tourism in the region. Not only is Fort Fest going to be one of the biggest summer concerts in Northern Ontario, it is also a multicultural celebration showcasing food, sport and entertainment from the Americas. It will be a guaranteed good time with something for everyone! "

For more coverage of the mega-concert announcement, ticket information and festival lineup, visit


Contact: Sergio Buonocore
General Manager 807 473-2341

FWHP Opens Canada Gateway Centre in Grand Marais, MN

The Fort William Historical Park Canada Gateway centre was unveiled with plenty of heritage colour and fanfare in Grand Marais, Minnesota on May 27th.

More than 300 school children and residents turned out for the grand opening of Centre, which represents a partnership between Fort William Historical Park and American entrepreneur, David Parsons of Parsons Management and owner of the Grand Marais Inn. The project has been in the planning stages for three years.

The initiative is aimed at increasing cross-border visitation to Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario.  The Centre features prominent Fort branding, including a variety of dynamic, interactive touch-screen displays and heritage exhibits, along with information on Thunder Bay and Ontario.

Addressing the ceremonies were Grand Marais Mayor Sue Hakes, David Parsons of Parsons Management, Assistant Deputy Minister of Tourism, Tourism Planning and Operations Division, Shirley Phillips, and FWHP General Manager Sergio Buonocore.

Grand Marais was targeted by Fort William Historical Park because of the high volume of tourist traffic that passes through the town especially during the summer months, and its relatively close proximity to Thunder Bay. However, for the last several years, there has been a decline in the number of vehicles crossing the border from Grand Marais into Ontario.

"There is a saying, you go fishing where the fish are," said FWHP General Manager Sergio Buonocore in his remarks to the gathering, referring to the tourist activity in Grand Marais. "It is our hope that the Canada Gateway Centre will enable us to re-connect with our good neighbours south of the border and let them know that we are open for business, not only for Fort William Historical Park but for Thunder Bay and Ontario as well."


The centre ties-in nicely with the Fort's existing major billboard and branding campaigns which have grown dramatically over the past two years, with boards dotting the landscape along the I-35 and Highway 61 highways in Minnesota.

Festivities were kicked off with a small procession led by costumed Fort staff that went from Harbor Park in the heart of the city to the Centre.  Cars stopped along the parade route and tooted horns at the costumed interpreters while passing the Centre. 

Onlookers received free Fort William Historical Park T-shirts and admission passes. Opening remarks will be highlighted with the firing of cannons and muskets.

The Centre is set to be open year-round with longer operating hours during the summer months.

The event received coverage from Thunder Bay and Grand Marais media and WDIO-TV in Duluth, Minnesota.


Fort William Historical Park Wins Westjet Award

For the second consecutive year, Fort William Historical Park (FWHP) has won the 2009 up! Magazine Value Award.  Up! magazine is the in-house publication of Westjet Airlines.

FWHP was singled out for the terrific value offered to its customers. Value Awards winners are chosen by Westjet travellers who select "places, businesses and events that deliver a great bang for the travel buck and provide a high-quality and unique travel experience that over-delivers when compared to other similarly priced offerings...." 

In the view of readers of up! magazine, the benefits and rewards of the travel experience offered by the award recipients are greater than the cost.

FWHP was among 200 organizations to receive the honour.


FWHP Wins Aboriginal Diversity Award

Fort William Historical Park (FWHP) has added yet another plaque to its ever-growing award wall. The Fort is the recipient of the Excellence in Diversity Award that was presented at the Northwestern Ontario Aboriginal Youth Achievement and Recognition Awards ceremony held April 30th at the Victoria Inn.  

The Fort was recognized for employing First Nations and Métis people and for being committed to keeping traditional culture alive and growing through its varied educational programs.  

Since the Fort's opening in 1973, aboriginal culture has played an important role in the Fort's fur trade story, where First Nations people have been employed as historic interpreters at the Ojibwa Native Encampment and as resource staff for the variety of educational and community programs offered by FWHP.  The Fort's Learning Wigwam and its attendant Sleeping under Bark program as well as the Ojibwa Keeshigun Native Festival have stood out among innovative programming highlighting the role of First Nations peoples in the success of the fur trade and the development of Canada.

More recently, FWHP has also partnered with the Métis Nation of Ontario in securing summer student placement positions in the Fort's Native Heritage Program.

Receiving the award on behalf of FWHP were Peter Boyle, Manager of Historical Operations, and Elliot Cromarty, Native Heritage Interpreter.



Tourism Minister Enjoys Inaugural Visit

For Tourism Minister Monique Smith's inaugural visit to Fort William Historical Park, Fort General Manager Sergio Buonocore made a special request with the Thunder Bay weather office.

"We wanted to save you from the -40°C we've been having lately, Minister, so we put the fix in at the weather office," joked Sergio.

Indeed balmy climes were in store as Minister Smith, Deputy Minister Drew Fagan, Assistant Deputy Minister Shirley Phillips and Senior Communications Advisor Lisa DiLollo, donned heritage blanket coats before embarking upon their first visit to the Fort January 20th.

The Minister's entourage encountered a blend of the historic with the contemporary, beginning with a sleigh ride to the Native Encampment where they experienced a smudge ceremony and a sampling of bannock.   

The group also noted the variety of programming happening around them, as school and community groups were enjoying dog sled rides, sliding hills, shinny (roughly akin to field hockey) and an indoor performance provided by local singer/songwriter Rodney Brown.

The Minister also enthusiastically fired a brass cannon and chatted with Lakehead University students who were trying their hand at heritage cooking in the Historic Kitchen. The group also got to study firsthand the damage incurred from the June flood and the Fort's concerted and innovative efforts to minimize potential damage in the future.

The tour concluded by meeting Fort staff in the Great Hall and viewing videos on "Rock the Fort" and "Fort William: Hinge of a Nation."  In her remarks, the Minister praised FWHP staff for their entrepreneurial approach, innovation, dedication and determination to overcome challenges from the succession of devastating floods in recent years.