North Bay, Ontario – A Guide for Newcomers to Canada | MyConsultant

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North Bay, Ontario – A Guide for Newcomers to Canada

North Bay, Ontario – A Guide for Newcomers to Canada

North Bay is a vibrant and peaceful community in Ontario 330 km from Toronto.

Located on the north side of Lake Nipissing, it is now the southern terminus for the Ontario Northland railway.  North Bay is known as “The Gateway of the North,” and is a popular summer resort for its beaches, campsites and parks.

Are you considering moving to North Bay, Ontario? Our newcomer’s guide will tell you everything you need to know about this great Canadian city. Welcome to North Bay!

A brief history of North Bay, Ontario

The area around North Bay has a First Nations history that dates back thousands of years. Today, the Nipissing First Nation is located on the banks of Lake Nipissing and is home to a community of Nishnaabeg peoples. They are a part of the Anishinaabe peoples, a group speaking the Algonquin languages. 

In 1882, the Canadian railway reached the area now known as “North Bay;” John Ferguson got off the train and liked the look of the place. He built a log cabin on 288 acres of land that he purchased; this land is today the downtown core of North Bay. More settlers began to arrive to the area and the town was incorporated in 1891.

Then more settlers arrived, more train trips were scheduled, and the lumber industry grew. The town was prosperous owing to its large lumber industry and three railway companies stopping at its station.

Who lives in North Bay, Ontario? Social demographics

According to the 2016 Canadian Census, North Bay has a population of 70,378.  The percentage of visible minorities is small compared to the rest of the country, making up just 3.2% of the local population (compared to Canada’s national average of 22.3%). That said, the local First Nations population is 12.5%, which is higher than the countrywide average of 6.2%.

‘Mother tongue’ demographics in North Bay, Ontario










Non-official language



English and French



English and non-official language



French and non-official language



English, French and non-official language



 Source: 2016 Canada Census

North Bay, Ontario Climate and Weather
North Bay has a climate akin to other cities in Northern Ontario, which is to say that it has hot, wet summers and cold, long winters.  It experiences cold fronts coming off Lake Nipissing and high levels of precipitation throughout the year.

North Bay, Ontario Temperature and Precipitation Summary, 1981 – 2010 

Mean Annual Temperature (°C) 4.3

Mean Annual Minimum Temperature (°C) -0.5

Mean Annual Maximum Temperature (°C) 9.1

Mean Number of Days per Year that exceed 32°C: 1 day

Mean Number of Days per Year that fall below 0°C: 173 days

Lowest Mean Annual Temperature (°C) 2.7

Highest Mean Annual Temperature (°C) 6.3

Mean Annual Total Precipitation (cm) 104.3

Lowest Mean Total Precipitation (cm) 81.3

Highest Mean Total Precipitation (cm) 133.6

Mean Number of Days/Year with > 0.1" Precipitation: 97 days

Mean Number of Days/Year with > 0.25" Precipitation: 53 days

Mean Number of Days/Year with > 0.5" Precipitation: 23 days

Mean Number of Days/Year with > 1" Precipitation: 6 days

Source: Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments

North Bay Public Transit
North Bay Public Transit operates 8 routes in the area. The cash fare is set at $3.00 per ride for adults. Up to 3 children under the age of 12 can travel for free with a paying adult.

Bus Fares and Passes in North Bay, Ontario



Adult Monthly Pass


Student Monthly Pass


Reduced Monthly Pass


Ten Tripper Pass


Day Pass


Single Trip Ticket


Source: City of North Bay

The Top 5 Things to do in North Bay, Ontario

Take a cruise on the Chief Commanda II – North Bay is located on Ontario’s third-largest lake. The Chief Commanda II was built specifically for Lake Nipissing, and it is docked at the North Bay waterfront. From May to September, you can take a cruise with on-board entertainment and fine dining to the French River, the Manitou Islands, Callander Bay and the North Shore.

Visit the Discovery North Bay Museum – The Discovery North Bay Museum will help you understand the history of your new home. It covers North Bay’s arts, history and culture. It is in the old Canadian Pacific Railway Station. In addition to museum visits, they also offer summer camps, ghost tours, and guided experiences. Visit between 10am to 6pm Mondays to Fridays, and 8am to 5pm on Saturdays.

Go for a swim at Marathon Beach – Canadians love to take advantage of the warmer summer months by swimming, boating and fishing in the country’s many lakes. Marathon Beach is a lovely spot on Lake Nipissing, with a sandy beach, changing facilities, a grassy park area and a kids’ playground.

Go for a hike along the Duschesnay Falls Trails – The Duchesnay Falls Trails are a stunning natural landscape located on the north western border of North Bay. Traverse rivers, waterfalls and a majestic forest on your way to the Duschesnay waterfalls.

Learn about Canadian history at The Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defense – The Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defence presents the history of aerospace defence technologies. This is the perfect place for curious kids and adults alike. Visit from 12pm to 4pm Tuesdays to Fridays and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. Do note that you must make an appointment to visit and admission requires a donation.

Immigrant Services in North Bay, Ontario
As a newcomer to North Bay these services will help you and your family get settled in the area.

North Bay & District Multicultural Centre
North Bay & District Multicultural Centre is a valuable resource for any newcomer to Canada arriving to the North Bay area. They are a non-profit organization serving the settlement needs of immigrants and newcomers. In addition to language lessons and community support, they also provide relevant information on citizenship and residency applications, employment support and document certifications.
Address: 100 Main Street East, North Bay, ON P1B 1A8

The City of North Bay: Immigration
The City of North Bay supports newcomers with advice, online resources and administering the Skilled Newcomer Career Loan. You may be eligible for this $5,000 loan (which is not related to the Rural and Northern Ontario Immigration Pilot Project).
Address: 200 McIntyre Street East, North Bay, ON P1B 8H8

The North Bay Public Library
The North Bay Public Library operates one main branch in central North Bay. The library is free to use for all residents of the North Bay area. You can borrow books, magazines, DVDs, CDs and more. You can use their computers for word processing and accessing the internet and print documents for a small fee. They also host workshops, events, kids’ activities and clubs, all of which are free.
Main branch: 271 Worthington St. East, North Bay, ON P1B 1H1

Getting to and from North Bay, Ontario

North Bay is home to the largest airport north of Toronto, the North Bay Jack Garland Airport. You can fly on Air Canada Jazz and Bearskin Airlines to a number of provincial destinations, including Toronto and Ottawa. You can also fly direct to a variety of sun destinations in the winter months with Sunwing.

North Bay is not connected to other cities via passenger rail. Most people in Canada make long distance land journeys via coach bus. Services to and from North Bay are provided by Ontario Northland and Greyhound Canada. TransCanada Highway 17 connects North Bay to Toronto (3.5 hours) via Highway 11; Ottawa via Highway 63 (4 hours) and Montreal (6 hours).

North Bay and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot 

As a newcomer to Canada, you might be interested in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot. This is a new community-driven program in several Canadian cities, including North Bay. You might be eligible to get on a pathway to Canadian permanent residence if you are a skilled foreign worker.

Here are the steps you should take to check your eligibility for the RNIP program:

First, check the IRCC eligibility requirements and the community-specific requirements.
Next, start searching for an eligible job in Sudbury (or another participating community).
Submit your application for recommendation from the local community.
If you are successful in gaining a community recommendation, you are then eligible to apply for permanent residence. 

While the RNIP program is not designed for everyone, it is a great option for those who fulfil its requirements. If you qualify, this could be your ticket to permanent Canadian residency, living and working in North Bay.

Reference list
City of North Bay (n.d.). History | City of North Bay. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].

Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (2016). Historical Climatology: Map generated with Google Maps. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].
Statistics Canada (2016). Census Profile, 2016 Census, Statistics Canada - Validation Error. [online] Available at:[Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].

Tikkanen, A. (2018). North Bay | Ontario, Canada. [online] Encyclopedia Britannica. Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].

The Weather Network (n.d.). North Bay, Ontario - Monthly Calendar. [online] The Weather Network. Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].

Wikipedia Contributors (2020). Nipissing First Nation. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2020].

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