Friends of Grain Elevators


Maurice Mailhot guides tour of his terminal.

If you tour a grain terminal, you will make a memory you won't soon forget. That's the opinion of most of the 500 people who attended our Open Doors Thunder Bay tour.

Unfortunately, given port security restrictions, tours of the interiors of grain elevators have been restricted. We do, however, conduct tours of the waterfront on request featuring grain elevator history. Contact us if you are interested.

We have recently released a self-guided waterfront tour option in collaboration with the City of Thunder Bay. Scroll down to discover more details!

Self-Guided Waterfront Tour

Friends of Grain Elevators is pleased to announce the release of our self-guided grain industry tour on the Thunder Bay Tours App! This full crosstown tour takes you from one end of the waterfront to the other, stopping at interesting sites related to the city's historic and modern grain trade.

Here's what you can expect:

  • 31 fascinating points of interest, each with a narrated audio history along with a written transcript of the narration
  • Photographs of each point of interest
    • Some sites along the tour are semi-vacant due to demolitions or disasters, so these photos will help you envision the huge structures that were once standing!
  • Audio snippets from the award-winning Voices of the Grain Trade oral history collection
    • Listen as workers of the Thunder Bay grain industry share personal stories alongside our historic audio narration

Complete the tour at your own pace, on your own time -- Only your phone or tablet is necessary! The full tour takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete, but it can also be easily broken up into three parts: South End (approx. 1 hour), Intercity (approx. 30 minutes), and North End (approx. 1 hour).

Untitled design

The self-guided tour was made in collaboration with Thunder Bay Tourism and using the Thunder Bay Tours App.

Before you set out, be sure to download the app on your phone or tablet. The tour itself can also be downloaded onto your phone through the app to use without data.

PLEASE NOTE: The self-guided tour does NOT involve touring the interiors of any point of interest. Please be mindful of private property and view each site from the safety of your vehicle or from the roadside/sidewalk.

Richardsons Terminal Tour

Here are some image and video footage examples from a previous tour of Richardsons Terminal in July of 2022. This is some of what you may experience during your tour, including information throughout the tour from an actual grain elevator worker. They are happy to answer questions you may have.


Worker Unloading Grain

The worker slid each port open to drain the grain from the train into the elevator, then came back to close the ports before moving the train along. The train sat inside the elevator.

Grain Pouring

Here is a video of the grain pouring into the elevator from the train.








The View

You can see the closed-down elevator from the top of the new one.


The View

A beautiful view from the very top of the elevator.



Sleeping Giant "Nanabijou"

Taken from the top of the Elevator, you can see the Sleeping Giant (Nanabijou)


Loading Grain

Here is a video taken from the top of the Elevator looking down onto the shipping dock. We watched as they loaded the grain into the ship. You can see how much powder comes off the grain and why they added more ventilation systems into the elevators over the years.

Voices Directory

Visiting Thunder Bay?