North Bay, Ont, incorporated as a city in 1925, population 53 651 (2011c), 53 966 (2006c). The City of North Bay is located on a northeastern bay of Lake NIPISSING, at the junction of highways 11 and 17, some 345 km north of Toronto and 365 km northwest of Ottawa. As the traditional "Gateway to the North," the city is administrative seat for the District of Nipissing. North Bay lies roughly along the historic "Nipissing Route" of the FUR TRADE, where the portage of La Vase connected the waters of Trout Lake and the Ottawa and Mattawa rivers with Lake Nipissing, the FRENCH RIVER and Georgian Bay.
Its development awaited the slow progression of settlement up the Ottawa Valley and from southern Ontario that was initiated by the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1882). Later rail connections were made to Toronto (1886) and to the resource areas northward (1904). Town status (1891) followed by city status befitted North Bay's role as a regional supply centre and key rail point. It did not "boom" in the manner of many northern centres, but it also avoided the "bust" cycle so intimately associated with such resource-based growth.
The city's geographically advantageous position supported a variety of economic endeavours. It remains a major fur centre: its wild-fur auctions are among the largest in the world. Wood and wood products remain important. Recently, information technology, processing and general manufactures have supplemented traditional industries and tourism. North Bay is also home to a military base, NIPISSING UNIVERSITY and Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology. North Bay's population is largely of British origin with a strong French Canadian presence and notable elements of Dutch, Italian, Scandinavian and German stock - beneficiaries of a prosperous urban life with proximity to the "Near North." Among the historical developments celebrated are the DIONNE QUINTUPLETS (born in nearby Corbeil) and the invention of the ice-skating sport of RINGETTE, which was first played in North Bay in 1963.