The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario. This column was originally published on June 01, 2009.
For much of its economic history, Thunder Bay’s lake head role made it a transshipment point and transportation node that enabled it to reap the benefits of east-west economic flows – in particular, the grain trade. Thunder Bay’s role as the gateway to the west is about to get an important boost given the continued economic growth in western Canada and particularly the central interior North American economic region of Heartlandia.
Heartlandia – comprising Northwestern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North and South Dakota and Minnesota – is a region at the cross roads of the North American continent and indeed the world.
Heartlandia covers 2.4 million square kilometres with a population of nearly 9 million people and a GDP of about US$405 billion. This economic region contains agricultural production activities, food processing, forestry, petroleum, potash, uranium, coal, mineral and hydroelectric resources as well as substantial manufacturing, research and service capacity.