The original campus of Lakehead University is located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a city of 117,000. The city itself is situated on a large crescent bay (from which it gets its name) on the northern-most shore of Lake Superior, the largest of Canada's Great Lakes located in northwestern Ontario. Thunder Bay itself is approximately 700 kilometres from Sault Saint Marie, Ontario to the east, 700 kilometres from Winnipeg, Manitoba to the west, and 500 kilometres from Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota to the south. This places the city in the midst of one of the largest, most scenic, unspoiled tracts of forests and lakes in Canada. The apparent isolation has made Thunder Bay a self-contained community.
The university is situated on 150 hectares of scenic, wooded land overlooking the city. A small stream, the McIntyre River, flows through the campus and a dam complete with fish ladder makes possible a small artificial lake, Lake Tamblyn, which adds to the scenic beauty of the many trails winding across the campus. The university trails are an integral part of the Thunder Bay's extended network of trails strategically placed throughout the city.
Thunder Bay also offers community auditoriums, play houses, libraries, theatres, galleries, museums and a variety of recreational and fitness centres affording its citizens and visiting students with a wide variety of pastimes and interests. For the more venturesome, situated as it is in the midst of a land of lakes and forests, outdoor recreational opportunities abound with fishing, hunting, hiking, cycling, canoeing, kayaking, and sailing. Winter pursuits include downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, and snowshoeing.