This sprawling northern riding is one of the least densely populated
in the province.
Aside from Thunder Bay, which serves as the urban centre, the town
of Atikokan is the only other major population area. The Fort William
Indian Reserve is also within the riding, which boasts Ontario's fifth
highest aboriginal population.
In the 1999 redistribution, the new riding of Thunder Bay-Atikokan
combined the old Fort William riding with small portions of the Lake
Nipigon, Port Arthur and Rainy River ridings.
NDP candidate Iain Angus won Fort William in 1975, beating Tory incumbent
Jim Jessiman by just 953 votes. In 1977, Tory Mickey Hennessy defeated
Angus, and was re-elected in 1981 and 1985.
Liberal Lyn McLeod beat Hennessy in 1987, and went on to serve in
the David Peterson cabinet. Re-elected in 1990, she succeeded Peterson
as Liberal leader in 1992 but led the party to defeat in 1995. McLeod
continued to represent Fort William following her resignation as leader
in 1996, and was re-elected in 1999 by a margin of more than 14,000
McLeod decided not to run again in the 2003 election.