Tapiola Lives On!!!
Tapiola is a hidden gem and has been considered Thunder Bay’s best kept secret. It’s a beautiful spot for wanderings and nature walks in its enchanted forest and for great cross-country skiing in the winter. Tapiola has been owned by the Finlandia Association since the 60’s and was sold in the summer of 2020 to new owners Arlene Thorn and Joe O’Hearn. A new era of Tapiola begins with a vision of a community who will extend the use of the property as a nature/eco-centre.
Tapiola gets its name from the Finnish national epic poem called the Kalevala, which describes the enchanted realm of Tapio, the ruler of the forests. Tapiola is featured in the works of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The Finnish community in Thunder Bay, who have held mid-summer festivals and winter events there for decades, were heartbroken that Tapiola would be lost to the community with the sale. It was a special moment when the new owners and individuals from the Finnish community came together to create the Tapiola Association, a not-for-profit organization, for the continuation of the ski trails, community events and further service to Tapio and the re-creative forces of nature.
The property is a 13 acre open space, gardens and field house combined with a ‘Finnish Kitchen and Sauna’ across the road. The property across the road gives access to the beautiful North McIntyre River where decades of children have played in the waters and the community has held concerts, events and enjoyed the saunas.
The Forest trails are rented from the City of Thunder Bay and maintained summer and winter by a group of volunteers who trim the trails and cut the grass, groom the snow for skiing, maintain the lights for night skiing and have kept up the buildings.
Tapiola provides fantastic skiing at an affordable price. The terrain is rolling without any large hills; perfect for family outings and workouts as intense or relaxed as you want to make them. There is a total of 3.5 km of maintained set tracks for classic cross country skiing – a choice of 3.5km loop, 2km loop, 1.5km loop or a 1km loop. The 1km is relatively flat and lit from 5:30 - 8:30. All trails begin from the corner of the field house. There is ample parking on Pento Road.
Come to Tapiola dressed, ready to ski and enjoy the trails as there are no indoor change rooms or facilities. Please bring your membership pass or a day pass of $10 per person can be purchased on-line at www.tapiolaski.ca or cash can be put in the box on site. The website also sells organic merino wool and wool/silk clothing manufactured in Europe. The sales of the clothing provided funds for the maintenance and further development of the property.
The campus is home to the Northern Lights School, offering a Waldorf-inspired holistic education www.northernlightsschool.ca The school’s mission is to re-imagine education in Thunder Bay. Waldorf education is a world-wide movement and is supported, for example, in Finland by the government. The school is growing each year, grade by grade, and is looking to further serving children and youth needing an alternative approach to education that creates a deeper connection to nature, to themselves through the arts and to a future that serves the renewal of the earth, their community and the world.
The Tapiola Association invites you to join in with the community events and becoming part of it’s new vision. See our events page for details. We also invite you to visit and enjoy the campus and trails throughout the year.