I write a love letter to the reviled. To one whose very name has become synonymous with racism, violence and corruption. Worse yet, I understand that many of these charges are valid and accurate depictions of character.
I write a love letter to the city of Thunder Bay in Northern Ontario. Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” This is a tough sale in Thunder Bay. Award-winning bestsellers have been written about the city’s plague of dead Indigenous teenagers.
The arrest of both the mayor and the chief of police have made national news (and inspired many Dukes of Hazzard jokes). More often than not, the city is the murder capital of Canada. All accurate. Guilty as charged. An accurate, yet incomplete, portrait.
In order to drive across Canada, there is no choice but to pass through Thunder Bay. This is the only city of more than 100,000 people that the Trans Canada Highway slices through in the 18 hours of driving between Sudbury and Winnipeg.
Most comment on how beautiful the city is and that a return visit is in order. Few return, however. Thunder Bay is a layover, not a destination.