Age-Friendly Thunder Bay


Age-Friendly Thunder Bay


In 2007 the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated a Global Age-Friendly Cities Project that examined all aspects of older adults’ lives within selected cities around the world (WHO, 2007). Our research has been based on the WHO’s project and draws upon methodologies used internationally.


The Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health (CERAH), located at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, ON, Canada conducted research (2006-2010) that addressed two research questions: 


1. How does the physical, social and cultural environment in Thunder Bay currently support and provide challenges to the quality of life and independence of its aging population? 

2. How can the physical, social and cultural environment in Thunder Bay be modified to better support the quality of life and independence of the aging population?


Specifically, the purpose of the research was to have older adults and community members who interact with them identify supports and challenges within Thunder Bay related to older adults’ quality of life and independence according to the following categories: information and advocacy, health and community, transportation, outdoor spaces and buildings, respect and social inclusion, housing, community and workforce participation, safety, social participation and recreation.


The findings of our research documented how age-friendly the city was, and to what extent Thunder Bay was a supportive environment in which to grow old.


In addition to the university’s involvement, in the spring of 2009, Thunder Bay citizens came together as a stakeholder committee to join this research and promote Thunder Bay as a good place to grow old.


What is an Age-Friendly City?


The Age-Friendly Thunder Bay research was modeled after the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities project.


In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed a Global Age Friendly Cities Guide to help cities assess their age-friendliness (WHO, 2007). This guide included eight categories and a checklist of community qualities to assist cities with their own self-assessment. The categories are as follows: transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, community support and health services, and outdoor spaces and buildings. Figure 1. below represents the age-friendly categories visually.




Figure 1. Age-friendly categories

Source: World Health Organization Age-Friendly Cities: A Guide, 2007.



Information and Advocacy



Health and Community






Outdoor Spaces and Buildings



Respect and Social inclusion





Community and Workforce Participation