A Guide to Retirement Care & Senior Living in Thunder Bay

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Thunder Bay often is referred to as the "Lakehead", or "Canadian Lakehead", because of its location on Lake Superior on the Canadian side of the U.S border. Famed for its beautiful panoramic views and expansive natural scenery, this picturesque, lovable city is ideal for those who want to live somewhere with a sense of community and escape the chaos of city life. No matter how you’d like to spend your retirement, Cared Upon is here to help you find a community in Thunder Bay that suits your needs.  

Lifestyle and Activities

Thunder Bay is a great place for nature lovers, boasting a range of beautiful landscapes and opportunities for outdoor activities. The city is near a variety of different trails and within driving distance to the Ouimet Canyon. For even more hiking, outdoorsmen can look forward to a trip to the breath-taking Cascades or Kakabeka Falls. Once you’ve had your fill of fresh air and beautiful vistas, pop downtown to take in some of the city’s vibrant arts and culture.  

In 2003, Thunder Bay was declared a "Cultural Capital of Canada" and has continued to live up to this title. For classical music lovers, The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, established in 1960, has 31 full-time musicians who play at shows held throughout the year. Thunder Bay is also home to the North of Superior Film Association (NOSFA), which features monthly screenings of international and Canadian films at the Cumberland Cinema Centre. The NOSFA also organizes the annual Northwest Film Fest film festival that attracts thousands of movie buffs to the city each year. 

Weather and Climate

The Thunder Bay area experiences a humid continental climate. In Thunder Bay, the summers are comfortable, the winters are frigid and snowy, and it is partly cloudy year-round. The average daily temperatures range from 17.7°C (63.9°F) in July to −14.3°C (6.3°F) in January. With average daily highs in July being 24.3°C (75.7°F) and −8.0°C (17.6°F) in January. Thunder Bay is also a very sunny city, with an average of 2,121 hours of bright sunshine each year. 

Housing Options in Ontario: Finding the Right Fit for You

You may find that as you age, your home care and retirement needs will change. From assisted living to adult lifestyle communities, Ontario offers seniors a range of housing options to fit their lifestyle and health needs. Although the location of your retirement community in Ontario will directly affect the cost, you can typically expect the cost of assisted living to start at $2000-$3000 per month.  

Although a large portion of retirement housing is privately owned and paid for, the government allows you to claim the costs of nursing homes or long-term care facilities through the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC). Depending on the type of care you require and the facility you choose to call home, you can choose to claim for the costs which will be determined by your personal income. To learn more about the Medical Expense Tax Credit, visit the GGFL website

Cost of Retiring in Ontario: Budgeting and Financing

In terms of retirement budgeting, you’ll find that the cost of retiring in Ontario will vary depending on the city you choose to settle down in. For example, as Toronto is one of the most vibrant and liveable cities in all of Canada, you may find that the cost of living is higher than the national average. However, seniors living on a low to moderately low income wishing to retire in Ontario may be eligible for various income support programs.   

Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB): The Ontario Trillium Benefit is a program that provides eligible seniors with payment from a combination of the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit, Northern Ontario Energy Credit, and the Ontario Sales Tax Credit.  

Government Funding  

Seniors residing in Ontario may also access several federally provided financial resources to help them prepare and pay for their retirement. If eligible, you may access funding through federal programs such as the Canadian Pension Plan Retirement Pension (CPP), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), and the Old Age Security Pension (OAS). For more information on Government contributions and your eligibility, visit our care blog

Post-Retirement Income Sources

For seniors not eligible or looking for government funding, there are several different ways they can look to fund their retirement.   

Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs): Using a Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) or a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSAs) you may save up for your post-retirement income, which will be dependent on the amount put into these accounts when you first began saving and the interest you received.  

Investment accounts: Taxable investment accounts, such as stocks and bonds, is a more common form of saving up for a post-retirement income source.   

Employer-sponsored pension plans: You may be eligible for an employer-sponsored pension plan through your employer. This plan involves your and your employer contributing money towards your retirement over the course of your employment.  

To learn more about your post-retirement income source options, visit our resource centre

Access to Healthcare

All residents of Ontario must sign up with the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) to receive free health care and health services. As health care is publicly funded, under OHIP residents are entitled to coverage on health services such as visits to your doctor, hospital stays, medical surgeries, dental surgeries, ambulance services, eligible optometry services, and even travel for health-related services. While these are the standard services covered under OHIP, seniors 65 and up receive extended coverage on optometry services and prescription medication. You can find information on extended prescription medication coverage through the Ontario Drug Benefit program (ODB) on the Ontario Ministry of Health website.  

Additional Resources

For further information, you can visit and/or contact these sources:  

Ontario Senior Living Guide: A comprehensive guide to all things senior living and program-related in Ontario.  

Telehealth Ontario: Call 1-866-797-0000 Toll-free to get access to a confidential health information line.