Construction is underway in Terrace Bay to improve the amenities at what is arguably the best beach on Lake Superior’s North Shore. The Township of Terrace Bay is working with Parks Canada to build a pavilion that will include an office for the Lake Superior Marine Conservation Area, a township meeting hall, a picnic area and washrooms. Leading from the pavilion is a boardwalk extending eastward along the entire length of the beach. At its terminus is a nature trail leading to a pair of Parks Canada Red Chairs on a point overlooking Lake Superior and the Slate Islands.
Dean Main, Terrace Bay’s community development supervisor, says the beach project is intended to “enhance the quality of life for community residents and to help diversify our economy by attracting tourists to our community.”
Adjacent to the community golf course, the beach was already a popular location for locals and visitors alike. It also includes a boat launch for Lake Superior located in the mouth of the Aguasabon River. Main said the project includes improvements there as well. New floating docks were installed to allow day use docking and better boat launching. The docks rise and fall with the river’s changing water levels. The launch site is now a staging area for the Lake Superior Water Trail, a paddling route leading from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay that is part of the National Trans Canada Trail System. It also provides access to the Slate Islands Provincial Park and the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.
Assisting with funding for the beach project are FedNor ($1.1M), Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation ($1.5M) and the Métis Nation of Ontario ($8,600).
In addition to the waterfront project the Ontario Ministry of Transportation is building a new wayside rest stop in Terrace Bay to better accommodate truckers and travelers along Highway 17. Scheduled to open in 2022, the wayside will have year-round running water, washrooms and commercial vehicle parking. The need to upgrade provincial rest stops became apparent in the early months of the covid pandemic, when many truck stops refused to allow truckers to use restroom facilities.
Main said despite the closure of the U.S.-Canada border, there was a noticeable increase in tourism last summer as many Canadians discovered Lake Superior’s North Shore. He anticipates the increase in tourism will continue into the future.
To better guide travelers and improve its appearance, Terrace Bay has new signage for its amenities. The large timber signs are themed with natural materials. FedNor, Destination Northern Ontario were the funding partners for the signage project.