Shuniah, named after the Ojibwa word “zhooniyaa” for “money” or “silver”, was settled largely due to silver mining potential identified in the mid-19th century. An act of the legislature was passed in 1873 to organize the Municipality of Shuniah, consisting of the Townships of Pardee, Crooks, Blake, Paipoonge, Neebing , McIntyre, MacGregor, McTavish, the Village of Price Arthur’s Landing, Thunder Cape and the islands north of the American Border.
In 1874, Thunder Cape and Silver Islet were removed from the Municipality of Shuniah and in 1891 a multi-township was created. Each township constituted a ward. Prince Arthur’s Landing was incorporated into a town in 1884 called Port Arthur. The Town of Port Arthur expanded in April 1892 and May 1906 with the addition of land from MacGregor Township. When the City of Thunder Bay was incorporated in 1970, McIntyre was annexed from Shuniah and this took all industry and most of the commercial properties out of Shuniah.
In 1976, legislation was enacted to change the Municipality of Shuniah into the Township of Shuniah, consisting of MacGregor and McTavish Wards. The Corporation of Shuniah created an organized ward system for political purposes, with each township electing one council member and one from the island ward. The first election was held on June 20th, 1873, with John McKellar as the first reeve.
From 1994 to 2014, the township reeve has been Maria Harding. On October 27, 2014, Wendy Landry was elected as Reeve and as of January 26, 2015 the title of the Head of Council was changed from Reeve to Mayor.