To commemorate the centennial of World War One, the Thunder Bay Library Public Library has formed a community partnership to depict life in Thunder Bay during the war.

Jesse Roberts, head of reference services for the Thunder Bay Public Library and unofficial co-ordinator of the World War One Thunder Bay centennial project, said Tuesday that work started about a year ago as “an effort between organizations that are all interested in commemorating the centennial of World War One.”

“It has turned into this gigantic project where we are all contributing research content as well as ideas and information in areas such as local arts and culture, politics, military efforts,” said Roberts.

The partnership includes the library, City of Thunder Bay Archives, City of Thunder Bay heritage advisory committee, Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, Thunder Bay Military Museum, Lakehead University department of history, Northwestern Ontario Aviation Heritage Centre and the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society.

Roberts said the goal of the project is to “provide the Thunder Bay community with a conduit for sharing, honouring and remembering the individual stories, the family memories, the photographs, the documents, the letters and all the ephemera that comes through the family vine in honour of what people did during the Great War.”

Mark Chochla, who participated in the project, said “the war had a profound effect on the Lakehead, disrupting lives of its people, altering the economy, changing social and political relationships.”

Chochla spoke on the first casualty from the Lakehead in World War One, Bill Houston a contractor, athlete and popular individual who’s death shocked and saddened the community.

The library is hosting the project at with stories, photos and documents to be added throughout the next four years.

The library and its partners are also looking for contributions.

To participate, visit the Brodie Library, call 624-4203 or email

Recommended for you