hoito fire thunder bay

Doug Ford slammed for mixing up Thunder Bay and North Bay in tweet about Ontario city

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is taking some heat online today (as he so often does) for... well, for a lot of things — but none of them are as offensive to some, it seems, as putting the wrong word in front of "Bay" when tweeting about a northern city.

Piggy-backing on a thoughts-and-prayers-type statement from one of his ministers on Thursday morning, Ford (or whoever runs his Twitter account) made an error more critical than it seemed at face value.

"A tragic moment in Thunder Bay and the northwest with news of the Finlandia Club and Hoito on fire last evening," tweeted Minister of Northern Development, Greg Rickford, of a devastating fire that all but destroyed one of the city's most historic buildings last night.

"Thoughts for the community on the impact to this iconic club and history," wrote Rickford. "Take good care."

Ford chimed in with a quote tweet, writing "Very sad to learn about this devastating fire. Thank you to the first responders who acted quickly. My thoughts go out to all of those affected in #NorthBay."

The tweet was up mere minutes before angry Ontarians started getting all up in DoFo's mentions to remind him that Thunder Bay and North Bay are different cities.

"Over 1,000 km between Thunder Bay and North Bay," wrote one Twitter user when sharing a screenshot of the soon-deleted tweet from Ford. "Maybe someone get Doug Ford a map of Ontario for Christmas?"

"Geography is hard, eh Doug?" quipped another.

But it wasn't merely the idea of Ford being "dumb" or "sloppy," as one person put it, that got people upset — for residents of Northern Ontario, the mix-up was a slap in the face they appear to have grown all too used to.

"The cornerstone of the Finnish community in Canada and you think it's in North Bay? Once again, not everyone is from Toronto," wrote one Twitter user to Ford.

"The ultimate Southern Ontario insult... [Doug Ford] incorrectly calling Thunder Bay North Bay instead," wrote another with some eyeroll emojis. "Thinking of all those affected by the fire at the Finnish Labour Temple last night."

Ford's original tweet tagging North Bay was deleted in swift order, replaced with another containing the correct city name in its place.

This didn't do much to pacify critics. If anything, they only seemed more incensed.

So, just after 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, the premier's Twitter account addressed the backlash, writing "In a rush to acknowledge the terrible tragedy in #ThunderBay, we tagged the wrong town on twitter this morning. I am so sorry for the mistake. My heart is with the people of Thunder Bay."

Again, it only seemed to make things worse, inviting a flood of new insults about Ford's competence.

While the flub was almost certainly a simple mistake, as opposed to an insult or a genuine demonstration of Ford's inability to differentiate between two cities that lie nearly 12 hours apart, it certainly seems to have struck a nerve that was already kind of raw.

"What's one of the worst ways a Southern Ontarian can offend a Northern Ontarian? Misplace their city/town on the map of Ontario," reads one response.

"Pretty sad when our own premiere can't get that right. #DoBetter #VoteFordOut2022."

Lead photo by

Premier of Ontario photography

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