A History of Peng You Taiji in Thunder Bay





Thunder Bay’s Master Ambassador! *
He’s done it again…  Taiji Master Peng You has put Thunder Bay on the map once more, both nationally and internationally.
Thunder Bay has long been known around the world as ‘The Taiji City” due almost entirely to Master Peng’s relentless efforts.
We also have long had a loyal and strong Taiji community which has been and continues to be connected with, for example, two of our former Sister Cities Duluth, Minnesota and Jiaozuo, China.
The Canadian National Martial Arts Championships here in 2022 brought in Taiji and Kungfu club participants from across the country.
Due to Master Peng’s lobbying on our behalf Thunder Bay was even designated initially in 2022 as the host for the World Taiji Championships, a colossal event that turned out to be beyond our present capacity to hold. But as a result we had the eyes of an amazed world upon us for the better part of two years.
Historically we’ve had Taiji groups attend events in the US, Mexico and especially China where Thunder Bay has been in the spotlight many times.
We’ve had top in the world Taiji Grandmasters here to give workshops and seminars.
Our Taiji Park is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the world to practice Taiji.
So it was appropriate that on March 17 in Toronto Master Peng was officially recognized by Wushu Canada and elevated to Wushu Canada Duan Wei Level 10, the highest level in Canada. In fact there are only 2 others that have received that recognition and honour. It is based on years of teaching, competitions, achievements, contributions and recognition in Chinese Martial Arts in their communities – in Canada and worldwide.
We are fortunate indeed to have such a great ambassador for our city, one who proudly shouts out to the world that Thunder Bay is a great place to be!
*submitted to the Chronicle Journal & TB Newswatch Mar 20.

Held on  Sat., Dec 9, 2023 at the Branch 5 Legion, our annual Taiji Christmas Party, finally back after a long Covid hiatus, was a resounding success!!!
There was great food, prize draws, Taiji demos and music provided by Master Peng, Cheryl and Gilbert Mathieu.

On Sunday, Mar 19, 2023 a very successful 42 Forms Competition Routine Workshop was held by Master Peng  at the Peng You Taichi Academy.

January 2023
Unfortunately, despite all the amazing efforts of Master Peng, Wushu Canada decided to cancel Thunder Bay’s accepted bid for the 2024 World Taiji Championships.
Master Peng had spent much time, energy and money to succeed in getting the bid.
Many thanks to him for all that he did!!!

The Dec 4  2022 Tai Chi Christmas Drop-in at the Academy was a hit with around 50 people participating.
Thanks to the Association Executive for their efforts.
Perhaps next year a normal Christmas party will be possible.

The National Martial Arts Championships that came to Thunder Bay at the end of July 2022 was a resounding success!
For more details go to the History of Peng You Taiji in Thunder Bay page: Events

Sat., Apr 30 – The weather cooperated and about 40 participants joined in for Taiji at the Park.
This was followed by the first Annual General Meeting in 2 years at the Academy.
Welcome to our two new Executive members:
Bev Cadene & Kathy Dutchak
And sad farewell to Susan Vanderwal, our very own Lappe Sword Lady!
Thanks Susan, for many years of hard work and enthusiasm!

Our longtime Chairman Wayne Bilbrough is set to receive some well deserved recognition (Thank-you Betty Anne Nurse for all your work in putting this together!):
The Peng You Taiji Quan Association is pleased to announce to the membership that Wayne Bilbrough is the recipient of City of Thunder Bay’s ‘Citizen of Exceptional Achievement Award’. Wayne is to receive  the “Spirit of Thunder Bay’ which is the City’s highest award for volunteerism. This award honours and recognizes Wayne who has for over 45 years, volunteered his time and efforts to improve and enrich our community, promote Taiji and the Association.
(Due to the pandemic, the city has chosen to combine years 2020 – 2022 award presentations on June 28th VIRTUALLY. Viewing details are provided below).
Wayne has enriched our Association in many ways:
Wayne has shown exceptional leadership and meaningful volunteer contribution within and for the Association. He has always promoted Taiji while taking on various roles and tasks including Executive Committee Chairperson. He has provided extraordinary leadership during many of our Association events including the 2006 Taiji International Forum. He has contributed significantly to the process of building the ‘International Taiji Park’ at the Marina.  His other volunteer duties included meeting organization, maintaining membership information and managing special projects including the annual ‘Association’s Christmas Party’. Most recently, he organized and designed our annual project for membership Christmas Cards.
Other organizations that Wayne was and continues to be involved in as a dedicated volunteer:
Soccer: Wayne played an integral role (1975 – 2012) in developing recreational and competitive youth soccer and contributing to the successful evolution of soccer in Thunder Bay. He started Volunteer Pool Soccer Club with mini-soccer when soccer was only played at the competitive level with a limited number of teams. He was involved with the club from its inception until they decided to cease. At one time there were 2000 children playing in the club. He held the role of coach, President and served in various administrative positions. In the past he held positions on the Youth Soccer League including President, and on the executive, including President, of Soccer Northwest.
Carvers: Since 2010 Wayne continues to volunteer as a member of the Thunder Bay Carvers. He has held the positions of President, Treasurer, event / demo organizer and promoter of the club’s work. He is and continues to be involved with the ‘Save Our Carousel’ project at Chippewa Park.
We are most fortunate to have Wayne as a valuable and contributing volunteer and member of the Association. Congratulations to Wayne on receiving this well deserved Award!
The City’s 45th annual award presentations are to taken place virtually (TV) on TUESDAY JUNE 28 @ 6:30 PM.
This event will be broadcast & viewed through 3 sources….
Shaw Spotlight Channel 10, TBay Tel Digital TV Channel 110 & City of Thunder Bay Website, City Council page at www.thunderbay.ca/watch.council.
2021 Taiji Christmas gathering…
A description of the event from Assoc Chairman Wayne Bilbrough:
We have not been able to meet as a Tai Chi community for over 2 years. Although last year’s “Christmas meal” was great, it did not allow us to be together.  If we can’t meet indoors, we decided to have an outdoor meeting where it was easy to do social distancing. We did Tai Chi in the park. We planned it for the first weekend in December just as we did for our Christmas dinners. However we had an unexpected storm that delayed it until December 12. A beautiful sunny day. There were over 20 people attending in spite of the chilly air. They had a good time and members did and watched Tai Chi for over an hour. There were lots of treats available. Lets hope we can be back to our usual Christmas dinner next year, but this was a lot of fun and a chance to meet.

Summer 2021thankfully saw the successful return of Tai Chi in the Park with Master Peng.


*Spring 2021   The business promotion called “Community Votes Thunder Bay” was held… the Peng You International Tai Chi Academy won a Gold medal!

*The first Christmas Taiji Workshop on Zoom
with Master Peng was held on Tues., Dec. 22, 2020 at 2:30 pm.

*Being unable to have our traditional Christmas Party the first Christmas Take-out Dinner from the Taichi Chef was held on Sun., Dec 20. The amazing Chinese food was ordered in advance and picked up via drive-by at the Academy.
(See Nov 2020 Taiji Post in Main Menu)

*The Thunder Bay 50th Birthday Celebration & Fundraiser
on Tues, Aug 11, 2020 
was a resounding success!

Because of the generosity of our Taiji community $1000 was raised ($500 was the goal) for The Underground Gym!

Trip to China, summer 2018

Thunder Bay’s Taiji Master Peng You and three of his students recently journeyed to the birthplace of Tai Chi, the Chen Village on the outskirts of Jiaozuo, China for the 2018 Chen Zhenglei Taichi Symposium. There they did advanced level training and joined in the celebration of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei’s 70th birthday.

On arrival in Jiaozuo* the group was given royal treatment by officials of the city, including: Mayor Xu Yixian; the First Deputy Mayor Yang Qingjiu; the Director of Foreign Affairs Li Peng; and several others. Besides travel assistance and accommodation the city framed a canvas print of Thunder Bay’s Tai Chi Park (‘Jewel of the Marina’ by Brian Nieminen which was brought as a gift for GM Chen from the Peng You Taiji Association), and treated the travelers to two amazing banquets.

At the Chen Village, after registration and accomodations, there was a three day event called the 8th Chenjiagou Kungfu Elite Tournament. Master Peng You’s student Brian Nieminen competed in two forms and was awarded a silver and a bronze medal.

Four days of intense training followed, students Bill Climie and Mitch Albert studying Old Frame One and Nieminen Old Frame Two.

Master Peng You received one of the highest possible honours – he became an ‘In Chamber Disciple’ of the Grandmaster in a rare and very elaborate ceremony.

Although the Tai Chi was the highlight of the trip there was some time for sightseeing and holidaying as well.

It was a once in a lifetime experience for the group and hopefully will help raise the level of Tai Chi practice for Thunder Bay practitioners as  Master Peng You and the students share what they’ve learned!

* Through the ongoing efforts of Master Peng You and the Sister City Committee, Jiaozou recently became Thunder Bay’s newest sister city and donated, including shipping, three beautiful bronze sculptures (now installed at the Tai Chi Park at the Marina) to our city.

Host Chen Bin explaining the gift for GM Chen:

Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony…

for the statues from Jiaozuo City on Monday, May 21/19 at 11:00 am with the delegation from Jiaozuo!


Here is a video about Master Peng’s 2017 trip to Jiaozuo with Thunder Bay First Nations kids – includes PowWow’s on the Great Wall and at the birthplace of Taiji….    https://youtu.be/wMtOBCz_JZI 

Recent Events:

World Taiji Day in Thunder Bay, Sat., Apr 28, 2018

 At the International Taiji Park at the Marina….

  • The 10 Day Tai Chi Retreat in Cancun was a resounding success!

Here is our Thunder Bay group with our Mexican amigos at the Shaolin Temple in the jungle in Cancun!!!

  • Tai Chi Christmas party: Saturday, Dec 2 / 17 at the Polish Legion, 209 N Cumberland St. The traditional turkey dinner was fabulous!        The Taiji participation and demos – 8 Forms; Taiji Fan and Taiji Sword were awesome and the music by Gilbert, Bill and Allan was a perfect ending to a fabulous evening.                                                                                        Special thanks were extended to the hard working executive and all the volunteers who helped out and the businesses that provided gifts and support.And a standing ovation was given to Master Peng for his amazing year of accomplishments.                                                                                      Lastly a special tribute was made to our Association Chairman Wayne Bilbrough for his relentless and energetic contributions to Taiji for well over 20 years. As was pointed out he has not practised Taiji himself in the past but if anyone is interested they may contact him about the new form created just for him – Taiji Woodcarving!
  • Tai Chi Fan on Canada Day 2017, Thunder Bay, ON

*  AMAZING!!!   Tai Chi Master Wang HaiJun in Toronto at Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei’s Light of Tai Chi Gala  banquet, June 21, 2017 – also on our youtube channel:

* Master Peng in Mexico

Experiencia inolvidable este año, en retiro con el gran maestro Peng You.

Posted by Terapia Saludable Montaño on Thursday, September 1, 2016

Guinness World Record

When Jiaozuo set a Guinness World Record with 52,000 people doing Tai Chi at once, many Tai Chi groups across the world, including us joined in. See the current Taiji Post for more information about it.


Find out more about Taiji Park.


The Moon Gate and the Yin-Yang Taiji pad: