PDD Geoguessr Challenge #18: Duluth’s Sister Cities – Thunder Bay, Canada

Thunder Bay, Canada. Photo based on an interpretation of aerial imagery by Microsoft Flight Simulator.

The last of the sister cities in this series is the first. Thunder Bay was the original sister city of Duluth, a relationship that formally began in 1980. While the Twin Ports is the largest metropolitan area on Lake Superior, Thunder Bay is the largest city, with a population of 110,000.

Duluth and Thunder Bay have more in common than just a Great Lake. They are both the hometowns of famous musicians. Duluth has Bob Dylan. Paul Shaffer grew up in the city that is now Thunder Bay (the city only took on the name Thunder Bay in 1970, after the merger of two cities and two townships). Before working for more than 30 years as the musical director for David Letterman, he played organ for the band Fabulous Fugitives while in high school in Thunder Bay. After high school, he appeared briefly in one of the the first IMAX films, North of Superior, a documentary about Northern Ontario. He went on to be one of the band members in the first season of Saturday Night Live in 1975 and in 1982 co-wrote the number one U.S. Billboard Dance Club hit “It’s Raining Men.”

Unlike Bob Dylan, Paul Shaffer maintains an active relationship with his hometown, whether that’s through giving a few words of encouragement at the start of the pandemic or giving an interview to The Walleye, Thunder Bay’s alternative arts and culture magazine.

Of course there is more to a city than the most famous people associated with it. The podcast Thunder Bay certainly changed how I saw Duluth’s northern neighbor. It takes an unflinching look at hate crimes against indigenous people in Thunder Bay. In 2023, the podcast became the basis for a four part documentary series.

The song “My Home Town,” which is approaching a million views on Youtube, discusses the pride people have in Thunder Bay while at the same time addressing some of the challenges faced by the people living there.

You can test your own familiarity with Thunder Bay in this five-round Geoguessr challenge. Each round has a time limit of 5 minutes.

PDD Geoguessr Challenge #18: Duluth’s Sister Cities – Thunder Bay, Canada

How to Play Geoguessr

GeoGuessr can be played on a laptop or desktop and on Android or IoS mobile devices with the GeoGuessr app. Just click on the link that fits how you play and create an account to start playing.

Every game consists of five locations based on a theme chosen by the game creator. You are shown a Streetview image stripped of all the informational labels that are normally overlayed onto the image. Unless the challenge specifically restricts it, you can move around and look for clues like street signs and business names to find out where you are. The image below shows a basic overview of the Geoguessr screen layout and controls.

Once you think you know the location — or are nearly out of time — you use the inset map to place your marker where you believe the round started. After you hit “Guess,” you will see how close you were to the correct location and how many points your guess earned. The closer you are to the location, the higher your score, with a maximum score of 5,000 points. On a map that covers a small area, like the Gary-New Duluth neighborhood, being off by a few blocks will cost you a lot of points. On a map that has locations from around the world, you will get nearly all the points just for finding the right city. The maximum error for a perfect score also changes by map size, but in general if you are within 50 feet (15 meters) you will always get the full 5,000 points.

Not often, but every now and then, GeoGuessr gets a little buggy. If the underlying Streetview imagery has changed since the game was made, sometimes it repeats the last round, gives a black screen, or doesn’t allow a guess to be made. If that happens, please let me know and I’ll update the challenge.

At the end of the five rounds, an overview screen shows your score for each round in addition to your guessing time and how far off you were from the correct location. The correct locations and your guesses are also shown on a map and you can click on any of the round numbers to review the locations. Additionally, the final screen in a challenge will show how you rank compared to the top scorers of the challenge. When choosing your user name, keep in mind that your user name and score per round will be visible to other players of the challenge.

If you have feedback on this challenge or ideas for future challenges, please share them in the comments below.

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