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Timmins, Ontario

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Timmins, Ontario

This article is about the city in Ontario, Canada. For other uses, see Timmins (disambiguation).


Timmins, Ontario, Canada
Motto: The City with a Heart of Gold

Coordinates: 48°28′N 81°20′W / 48.467°N 81.333°W / 48.467; -81.333Coordinates: 48°28′N 81°20′W / 48.467°N 81.333°W / 48.467; -81.333

Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
District Cochrane
Established 1912
 • Mayor Tom Laughren
 • Governing Body Timmins City Council
 • MPs Charlie Angus (NDP)
 • MPPs Gilles Bisson (ONDP)
 • Land 2,979.15 km2 (1,150.26 sq mi)
Elevation[2] 294.70 m (966.86 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 43,165
 • Density 14.5/km2 (38/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code FSA P4N, P4P, P4R, P0N
Area code(s) 705 and 249

Timmins is a city in northeastern Ontario, Canada on the Mattagami River. At the time of the Canada 2011 Census, Timmins' population was 43,165. At 2,961.52 square kilometres (1,143.45 sq mi), Timmins was Canada's largest municipality in land area until 1995, when the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo, Alberta, was created, although it remained the largest municipality in Ontario until 2001, when it was superseded by the newly amalgamated cities of Kawartha Lakes and Greater Sudbury. It is the 69th largest metropolitan area in Canada, although the statistical boundaries for Timmins' metropolitan area coincide with its municipal boundaries.


Archaeological and historical studies indicate that the first people to settle in the Timmins area were nomadic tribes such as Ojibwa and Cree dating back to 7000 BC.

During the late 17th century, explorers and fur traders established outposts in the north to capitalize on the fur trade. The Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company later developed several trading posts along major routes in northern Ontario. The rivalry between these two trading companies resulted in the need to get their furs to market as soon as possible and this led to the development of the Porcupine Trail, a trading route that connected the Abitibi River to the Mattagami River and passed directly through present-day Timmins.

In reaction to favourable provincial Geological Survey reports, construction of the railway northward, and major silver discoveries in Cobalt in 1907, the region became a popular destination and home to dozens of prospectors eager to explore the areas around Porcupine Lake. After several false starts, in 1909 two prospectors discovered the "Golden Staircase", a rich vein of gold that led to the Dome Mine. Within days the Porcupine Gold Rush began, and a huge mining camp formed at Porcupine Lake, a few kilometers east of modern Timmins. The Porcupine Camp is one of the first localities in the world to have its entire history documented by photography: Harry Peters photographed the Porcupine Camp from its inception, and documented the Great Fire of 1911. Shortly after the completion in 1911 of a new spur line of the Temiskaming & Northern Ontario Railway, the Great Porcupine Fire swept through the camp, causing great loss of property and more than 200 deaths.

Timmins was a company town.[3] It was founded by Noah Timmins in 1912 following gold discoveries in the Porcupine Camp. By 1912 the Hollinger, MacIntyre, and Big Dome Mines were founded. The new town had already grown larger than the original mining camps to the east on Porcupine Lake. Situated 680 kilometres north of Toronto, the camp attracted men and women eager to find their fortune in gold mining. Starting in 1907, the area became home to dozens of prospectors who explored the areas around Porcupine Lake and the Frederick House River. The City of Timmins owes its birthright to the riches of the Canadian Shield. On June 9, 1909, Harry Preston slipped on a rocky knoll and the heels of his boots stripped the moss to reveal a large vein of gold, which later became the Dome Mine. This vein was several hundred feet in length and was 150 feet wide. Benny Hollinger and his partner Alex Gillies later discovered the Hollinger Gold Mine which was founded in 1910.[4]

The rail system which began to operate around Timmins in 1911 accelerated the growth of the Camp. Until then, travelling to Porcupine was done by canoe and foot from Haileybury. That same year, two days after the first train arrived in the Porcupine, the entire Camp was destroyed in the fire of 1911. Due to the importance of the gold discoveries, very few people abandoned the camp and the area was rebuilt within two months. In 1912, Noah Timmins founded the town to house the employees of the Hollinger Mine. The 1920s and 1930s were prosperous years. The Great Depression did not adversely affect the economy of the area. Jobs were available from any of the mines and lumbering facilities and farming also offered opportunities for the residents of the area. A third important event in the history of the Camp was the decline of the gold mines in the 1950s. Until then, the community had been sheltered from the Great Depression and its effects on the economy. The discovery of base metals in the 1960s increased the value of the industry and today the city continues to prosper because of numerous additional gold deposits and important zinc, copper, nickel, and silver finds. Secondary industries, such as lumbering, government and business services and tourism have also helped to maintain this growth.[5]

Discovered by Alexander Olifant (alias Sandy McIntyre), the McIntyre Mine the last of the most important gold discoveries in the Camp. Many other gold mines would open up in the area around the Porcupine Camp in the next 60 years. However, no other gold mines discovered to date have ever equaled in value of importance than the first mines in the Timmins area, called the Big Three. Most of the people who came to the Porcupine area settled around Porcupine Lake and the Dome which is situated one mile from the lake. Four miles down the road, around the McIntyre Mine, the hamlet of Schumacher was established, which was named after Frederick Schumacher who was a supplier of 'miracle medicines' in a dry camp used as medicinal therapies. The downtown core of Timmins today was in fact the location for the company homes for employees of the Hollinger Mine. [6] Shortly after Timmins was founded it experienced its first general mine strike in November, 1912. Mine operators hired gun thugs[3] during the 1912-1913 strike, prompting the intervention of the Ontario Provincial Police, which had itself been formed in 1909 partly in response to lawlessness connected with the gold rush.

On February 10, 1928, smoke began to curl up from the main Hollinger Mine shaft house. Hundreds of miners escaped to the surface, but news soon spread that others had been trapped underground. In the end, 39 miners succumbed to the smoke and to carbon monoxide poisoning. An inquiry into the disaster recommended that mine rescue stations be set up in major mining camps. In 1929, the Porcupine Camp received the first mine rescue station in the province of Ontario. On February 2, 1965, another fire in the MacIntyre Mine gained international attention. Stompin' Tom Connors, the famous Canadian singer, composed and recorded a song about the events, entitled Fire in the Mine. Tom was living in Timmins and this was one of the first songs he wrote. The dates are included in his lyrics.

In 1973, the provincial government of Ontario amalgamated all the municipal jurisdictions within a 3,200 km2 (1,200 sq mi) area, including the Town of Timmins, South Porcupine, Schumacher (Tisdale Township), Mountjoy Township, Porcupine (Whitney Township) and the many of the other smaller surrounding communities which created the Corporation of the City of Timmins. The new city was the largest city in Canada by area until the incorporation of Wood Buffalo, Alberta in 1995. The city's nickname became "The Super City" before the name "The City With A Heart of Gold" was adopted.

In the 1990s, the City of Timmins became a regional service and distribution centre for Northeastern Ontario. In addition to its business based on natural resources, new areas of manufacturing, high technology and a labour-intensive service industry have emerged. The city's key industries include mining, forestry and manufacturing value-added wood products, metal fabrication, retail, service industries, and government.[7]


Timmins' economy is based on a boom-and-bust business cycle. The city's economic state is controlled by its major industry, mining. When gold and base-metal prices are high the city's economy booms; however, when those prices drop the local market historically dips with it.

Despite the current economic crisis and the slump in forestry, the city's economy is relatively healthy thanks to high gold prices. Timmins' other industries include forestry, tourism, recreation, health care, education, commercial and industrial commerce and telecommunications. The community has been undergoing a moderate boom in gold mining, with several new underground mining operations opening up and a large scale surface mining reclamation project currently underway in the east end and another in a more centralized location in the planning stage by Goldcorp Inc..

The Timmins and District Hospital is a major referral health care centre for northeastern Ontario, particularly the Cochrane District, but like all of Northern Ontario Timmins is still considered medically underserved. The city is serviced by the Victor M. Power Airport. It has scheduled service to numerous southern and northern Ontario locations via Air Canada Jazz, Bearskin Airlines, Thunder Airlines and Air Creebec with Porter Airlines offering direct service to downtown Toronto beginning January 16, 2012. Timmins Transit provides regularly scheduled local bus service and Handy-Transit for those with disabilities. The city is also serviced by Ontario Northland Motor Coach Services.

Timmins is evolving into a regional governmental, transportation, industrial, commercial medical, and recreational centre for much of Northeastern Ontario and the James Bay coast line, Nishnawbe Aski Nation. The city has a regular annual market draw of 120,000+ people, which has been steadily growing in recent years with the discovery of diamonds in the region. The De Beers Victor Project is located near the First Nation James Bay community of Attawapiskat, and is Ontario's first diamond mine.


Timmins is near the northern periphery of the hemiboreal humid continental climate (Dfb). Timmins has very cold winters, being in northern Ontario, but temperatures in late summer and fall tend to be among the coldest for any major city in any Canadian province, although during the spring and summer it can get very hot. Timmins also holds Ontario's record low for September, which is −12.1 °C (10 °F).

Climate data for Timmins Victor Power Airport (1981−2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high Humidex 6.9 10.7 21.8 32.1 41.1 43.0 44.0 42.0 40.1 32.9 20.8 17.1 44.0
Record high °C (°F) 7.6
Average high °C (°F) −10.6
Daily mean °C (°F) −16.8
Average low °C (°F) −23.0
Record low °C (°F) −44.2
Wind chill −54.2 −53.7 −45.8 −37.1 −18.8 −8.5 0.0 −4.0 −9.3 −19.2 −38.0 −54.2 −54.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 51.8
Rainfall mm (inches) 3.2
Snowfall cm (inches) 57.8
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 17.5 14.0 13.5 11.1 12.6 14.7 14.4 14.3 15.8 16.5 19.3 19.8 183.6
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 1.6 1.1 3.7 6.9 11.7 14.7 14.4 14.3 15.6 13.5 6.9 2.7 107.2
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 17.7 14.0 11.8 6.6 2.1 0.14 0.0 0.0 0.62 5.9 15.5 19.3 93.5
Source: Environment Canada[2]


The city's mayor is Tom Laughren. He was sworn in on December 8, 2006, succeeding Vic Power, the city's longest-serving mayor (who served for a total of 19 years non-consecutively) in the Timmins City Council.

Eight councillors serve with the mayor to complete the municipal government. Those eight councillors are elected to one of five areas of the city through a ward electoral system; rural parts of the city elect one councillor each, while the urban core of the city elects four at-large councillors. Councillors are elected to a four-year term. The council currently consists of Gary Scripnick (Ward 1, Mountjoy), John Curley (Ward 2, Porcupine), Noella Rinaldo (Ward 3, Schumacher), Pat Bamford (Ward 4, South Porcupine) and Todd Lever, Michael Doody, Andrew Marks and Steven Black (Ward 5, downtown Timmins).[8]

Provincially and federally, the city is located in the Timmins—James Bay electoral district. Previously, Timmins had been part of the Timmins electoral district from 1949 to 1979. It was represented by former Timmins mayor Karl Eyre from 1949 to 1957, as a Liberal member in the House of Commons. In 1957, Murdo Martin, a Timmins fire fighter was elected under the CCF banner. He was re-elected in 1958, and then as a New Democrat in 1962, 1963 and 1965. Trudeaumania swept through Timmins as well, and Martin was defeated by Timmins businessman Jean Roy, who held the Timmins riding from 1968 to 1979. In 1979, the riding was redistributed, adding new areas south to Cartier, near Sudbury, and west to Lake Superior. The new riding of Timmins—Chapleau was represented by Roy's Liberal successor Ray Chénier from 1979 to 1984 and then Aurèle Gervais, a former mayor of Iroquois Falls, who was swept into office as a PC in the Mulroney landslide of September 1984. Gervais was defeated by the New Democrats' Cid Samson in 1988. Samson lost to Timmins lawyer, Peter Thalheimer, a Liberal in the 1993 federal election. Timmins-James Bay was formed in time for the 1997 federal election. Reginald Belair served as a Libeal MP from 1997 to 2004. In 2004 and 2006, the NDP candidate, Charlie Angus won the seat. He remains in the House of Commons as of the 2011 federal election.

Provincially, Timmins had been part of the Cochrane South riding, which existed from 1926 to 1999. Since 1943, the riding has alternated between CCF-NDP and Progressive Conservative representatives. Iroquois Falls lawyer Bill Grummett held the riding for the CCF from 1943 to 1955, when he was defeated by Timmins mayor Wilf Spooner. Spooner went on to serve in the cabinets of Premier Leslie Frost and John Robarts, as Minister of Lands and Forest and Minister of Municipal Affairs. In October, 1967, Spooner was defeated by Rev. Bill Ferrier, a United Church minister, who ran for the NDP. Ferrier successfully defended his seat against Spooner in 1971 and won again in 1975 against Alan Pope. Pope won the seat in 1977 and held it until 1990. Gilles Bisson won the riding for the NDP in 1990 and served first as MPP for Cochrane South from 1990 to 1999 and then as MPP for Timmins-James Bay, from 1999 to present.

Tourism, Art & Culture

Some of the main tourist attractions within the city include: The Timmins Museum and National Exhibition Centre, Cedar Meadows Wilderness Tours, Kamiskotia Snow Resort, Porcupine Ski Runners Cross-Country Trails and Chalet, Hollinger Golf Club, Spruce Needles Golf Club, the Sandy Falls Golf Club, the McIntyre Community Building and the Timmins Snowmobile Club.[9] Snowmobiling impacts the Timmins economy as tourists from all over North America travel to explore area trails.

Hollinger Park is one of the city's main recreational spaces. The park is divided in two sections, the north side being the public park area, with the south side having a regulation sized baseball diamond and two soccer fields for more organized outdoor recreational endeavours. The baseball park has been home to the Timmins Men's Baseball League since 1985. Former Timmins resident Shania Twain played a concert at Hollinger Park on July 1, 1999. An estimated 22,000 people attended the outdoor concert.

The Pioneer Museum is located in Northeastern Ontario approximately 30 miles east of the City of Timmins, in Connaught. It is a small community with 400 people, looking to preserve their local heritage. The surrounding areas consist of Barbers Bay, Dugwal, Finn Road, Hoyle, Ice Chest Lake, McIntosh Springs and Nighthawk. Local history in the area dates back over 300 years; back to the days the natives and the Hudson Bay Company frequented the land and navigated the waters.[10]

La Galeruche Art Gallery, located at 32 Mountjoy Street North (Centre Culturel La Ronde), provides local francophone artists with a venue to exhibit and sell their work.[11]

The Porcupine Miner's Memorial tribute is a statue of the miner, head frame and tablets bearing the names of 594 miners killed in mining accidents were unveiled in 2008. The following year, the statues of a mother and two children were unveiled to commemorate those families left behind.[12]

Timmins Murals painted by Ed Spehar, Gary Bostrom and Paulette Brozowski, three of our local and accomplished artists. Much of their work now graces the sides of buildings or is on display inside public buildings. These murals reflect the history of Timmins including the founders of the city. Murals are available for viewing at the McIntyre Community Centre, Hollinger Park, the Northern Tel Building, the Maurice Londry Community Centre, the CM Shields Library, Golden Avenue Public School, the Timmins Public Library, the Victor M. Power Timmins Airport and Theriault Catholic High School.[13]

The Timmins Public Library was constructed in 2005 with locally manufactured products, using wood as the main structural material, making efficient use of our natural resources while reducing construction waste. The eco-friendly design was recognized by the Green Building Initiative and the building achieved a 3 Green Globes rating for its efficient use of resources and sustainable development.[14]

Timmins is also a staging point for wilderness outfitters in the district that offer northern wilderness experiences, such as fishing trips, eco-adventures and Arctic excursions. There's a boat launch located just south of the Mattagami River bridge off Algonquin Blvd which provides both summer and winter access to that main water course.

Kettle Lakes Provincial Park, situated just east of the city centre is dotted with 22 deep, spring-fed kettle lakes which are reachable by trails and roads. Popular lakes in the area include Gillies Lake, Papakomeka Lake, McArthur Lake, Bigwater Lake and Hersey Lake. Some of the parks activities in summer include swimming, camping (day and overnight), paddling and fishing. In the winter the park offers cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails.


The local police force is the Timmins Police Service, established in 1912. Provincial highways in and around Timmins are patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police from the South Porcupine Detachment.


Timmins has multiple neighbourhoods owing to historical and geographic circumstance. They are generally culturally homogenous but are of varied socioeconomic status. However, this variation is generally less than that which can be seen in major urban centres. For more, see


Postsecondary education

The main postsecondary institution in Timmins is Northern College, a College of Applied Arts and Technology. The city also has a local campus of Collège Boréal and Laurentian University's Université de Hearst. Collège Boréal / Université de Hearst has a new campus between École Secondaire Catholique Thériault and Timmins High and Vocational School on Thériault Blvd. Algoma University also offers degrees in Social Work and Community Development on the Northern College Campus in South Porcupine.

School boards

Five school boards serve the City of Timmins.

High schools


Main article: Media in Timmins

In 1952, broadcast pioneer J. Conrad Lavigne launched CFCL, the first French-language radio station in Ontario.

Notable people from Timmins

See also: List of mayors of Timmins.

Notable athletes


Canada 2006 Census Population  % of Total Population
Visible minority group
South Asian 10 0
Chinese 125 0.3
Black 140 0.3
Filipino 115 0.3
Latin American 40 0.1
Southeast Asian 50 0.1
Other visible minority 30 0.1
Total visible minority population 510 1.2
Aboriginal group
First Nations 1,465 3.5
Métis 1,690 4
Inuit 25 0.1
Total Aboriginal population 3,280 7.7
White 38,665 91.1
Total population 42,455 100

The 2006 census indicated that Timmins was 91.1% White, 7.7% Aboriginal, and 1.2% Visible Minorities.[19] After several years of decline, the city's population has grown again, with an intercensal population estimate of 44,507 in 2008 and a rapid increase in new retail development projects in the city's west end.[20]


According to the 2006 census, 53% of the population listed English as their first language (Anglophone) and 39% listed French (Francophone), 2% were listed as learning both at the same time and 6% have neither English nor French as their first language (Allophone).[19]


See also

  • Dome Mine, 1910–present, 17,228,109 troy ounces of gold produced
  • Hollinger Mines, 1910–68, 19,327,691 troy ounces of gold produced
  • McIntyre Mines, 1912–88, 10,751,941 troy ounces of gold produced
  • Kidd Mine, 1966–present
  • List of francophone communities in Ontario


External links

  • City of Timmins official website
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