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Timmins is a city in northeastern Ontariomarker, Canadamarker on the Mattagami River. At the time of the Canada 2006 Census, Timmins' population was 42,455. At 2,961.52 square kilometres (1,143 sq mi), Timmins was Canada's largest municipality in land area until 1995, when the regional municipality of Wood Buffalomarker, Albertamarker was created, although it remained the largest municipality in Ontario until 2001, when it was superseded by the newly amalgamated cities of Kawartha Lakesmarker and Greater Sudburymarker. It is the 69th largest metropolitan area in Canada. The city's slogan is "The City with a Heart of Gold".


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 7,000 BC.

During the late 1600s, 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 favorable provincial Geological Survey reports, construction of the railway northward, and major silver discoveries in Cobaltmarker 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 Minemarker. 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. The renowned Harry Peters photographed the Porcupine Camp from the beginning of its inception, and the Great Fire of 1911 was one of his first achievements. Shortly after the completion of a new spur line on the Temiskaming & Northern Ontario Railway, the Great Porcupine Fire swept through the camp in 1911 causing a vast amount of destruction and some 200+ deaths.

The Town of Timmins 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.

Sunrise over downtown Timmins
On February 10, 1928 smoke began to curl up from the main Hollinger Mine shaft house. At first no one could understand how fire could take place in a hard rock mine. Hundreds of miners escaped to surface, but news soon spread that others had been trapped underground. In the end, 39 miners succumbed to the smoke and carbon monoxide poisoning. Out of the suffering some good came, 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. Stompin' Tom Connors, the famous Canadian singer composed and recorded a song about the events, entitled Fire in the Mine.

In 1973, the provincial government of Ontario amalgamated all the municipal jurisdictions within a 3,200 km² (1,240 square mile) 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 landwise for a period.

The mining of gold was the catalyst (The Big Three, Dome, Hollinger and McIntyre), but during the early 1960s, base metals such as silver, zinc, copper, and nickel were discovered (Texas Gulf Sulphur), breathing new life into the Porcupine economy and to this day mining remains the dominant industry in the area. Forestry is also important to the local economy.

Recently, the city's Schumacher neighbourhood has experienced problems with sinkholes, due to water erosion in the large subterranean network of abandoned mining tunnels beneath the area. The situation has attracted some media attention; a story on the topic aired on the Americanmarker Fox News Channel in 2004. So far, the city has managed to avoid tragedy, as nobody has died in a sinkhole incident.


City Hall Engineering Building, formerly the main public library
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 explodes, 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 Districtmarker, but like all of Northern Ontario Timmins is still considered medically underserved. The city is serviced by the Victor M.marker Power Airportmarker. It has scheduled service to numerous southern and northern Ontario locations via Air Canada Jazz, Bearskin Airlines, Thunder Airlines and Air Creebec. 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 Baymarker 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 Attawapiskatmarker, and is Ontario's first diamond mine. In 2007 the city began a new program called the "The Lay Roots Program" to attract new business and new residents.



Hollinger Park grandstands
The city's mayor is Tom Laughren. He was sworn in on December 8, 2006, succeeding Vic Power, the city's longest-serving mayor.

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. Councillors are elected to a four-year term.

The council currently consists of Gary Scripnick (Ward 1, Mountjoy), Michael Doody, Denis Saudino, Steve Adams and Jack Slattery (Ward 5, downtown Timmins), Billy Gvozdanovic (Ward 3, Schumacher), Pat Bamford (Ward 4, South Porcupine) and John Curley (Ward 2, Porcupine).

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 Cartiermarker, near Sudbury, and west to Lake Superiormarker. 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 in to 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. In 2004 and 2006, the NDP candidate, Charlie Angus won the seat.

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 and culture

Gillies Lake Board Walk
Chamber of Commerce
Some of the main tourist attractions within the city include: the Shania Twain Centremarker, Timmins Underground Gold Mine Tour, The Timmins Museum and National Exhibition Centre, Cedar Meadows Wilderness Tours, Kamiskotia Snow Resortmarker, 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. Snowmobiling impacts the Timmins economy as tourists from all over North America travel north 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 Standard Tavern Men's Baseball League since 1985. Timmins native Shania Twain played a concert at Hollinger Park on July 1, 1999. An estimated 22,000 people attended the outdoor concert.

On the first Sunday in June of each year, Timmins holds a Multicultural Festival at the McIntyre Community Building. It reflects the unique ethnic diversity of the people in Timmins. You can experience the excitement of different cultures, savour the cuisine and the ethnic costumes. The festival brings together many different cultural groups from within the City. Italian, Croatian, Polish, German, Ukrainian, Scottish, English, French, Irish, Austrian, Finnish, Chinese, Filipino, and Native Cultures as well as others to join together and celebrate the diversity of the community. There are local groups who perform traditional music and dances; a parade displaying the different colourful ethnic costumes; and an abundance of food and ethnic art demonstrations.

There are several ethnic clubs in the area representing the various multicultural groups in Timmins, most notably; the French Le Centre Culturel La Ronde, the Italian Porcupine Dante Club, the Croatian Society, the Polish White Eagle Hall, the Irish Canadian Club, the German Culture Club, the Chinese Club, the Ojibway & Cree Cultural Centre, the Timmins Multicultural Society as well as others.

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. 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.

Some interesting facts and figures on Timmins are: The McIntyre Mine is deep. There are 35 geographic townships and of underground workings, and approximately 500 lakes in Timmins.


The police force is the Timmins Police Service, established in 1912. The Timmins Police Force has recently moved to a new location. The old building did not meet the building code requirements and was no longer a viable building, since it was beginning to be overcrowded. For the main article, view Timmins Police Service.


The Dante Club - Italian Social Club
Timmins has a very large number of communities. They range from less than a hundred residents to the thousands.


Postsecondary education

The main postsecondary institution in Timmins is Northern Collegemarker, a College of Applied Arts and Technology. The city also has satellite campuses of Collège Boréalmarker and Laurentian Universitymarker's Université de Hearstmarker. Collège Boréal / Université de Hearst has a new campus between École Secondaire catholique Thériault and Timmins High and Vocational Schoolon Thériault BLVD. Collège Boréal has moved to it new location on Thériault but Université de Hearst will only moved in January 2010, for the second semester.

School boards

Four school boards serve the City of Timmins.

High schools


The Timmins Daily Press Building

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, Ontario.

Timmins Fire Department

Notable athletes from Timmins


According to the Canada 2006 Census:
  • % Change (2001-2006): -1.6
  • Dwellings: 18,642
  • Density (persons per km².): 14.5

The 2006 census indicated that Timmins was 91.1% White, 7.7% Aboriginal, and 1.2% Visible Minorities. Some evidence suggests that after several years of decline, the city's population has begun to grow 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.


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).


Sister cities


  1. "Retail projects spark space struggles in Timmins’ West End", Northern Ontario Business, July 4, 2008.

External links

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