The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.
Karen Bachmann is the director/curator of the Timmins Museum and a local author.
HISTORY: Newspaper articles highlight the unbridled enthusiasm seen in the early days of the Porcupine Camp
OK, I’m feeling the pressure. This is the first article I get to pen for Timmins’ 100th anniversary, and it has to be special – so, of course, I’m frozen at my keyboard, awaiting Divine Intervention (or a third cup of coffee).
How to begin? What is there to be said?
Sadly, the stuff I should be writing about I am afraid to say, I have already written – the beginnings of the camp, the development of Northern Ontario, etc. … So, I pray your indulgence as I present to you a small piece based on the items from the front page from the very first Porcupine Advance newspaper, published on March 28, 1912 (Vol. 1, No. 1).
I have chosen to do this because the tone of that first newspaper and the articles presented back then really do illustrate the unbridled enthusiasm that was rampant in those early days of the Porcupine, and of the Town of Timmins.
The headline for this auspicious new publication really just says it all – “The Birth of the Porcupine! Canadian Gold-mining History Made in a Day!”
This large statement stems from the officially “drop” of the Dome Mine’s stamps, an event thrown open to members of the general public and the grand poo-bahs of Canadian industry and politics.
Local residents decorated their businesses and residences with flags and bunting. Fifteen private rail cars were added to the local train (in 1912, if you were anyone of huge consequence, you owned your own rail car that could be added to the train or pulled by your own locomotive, allowing you to arrive in style without having to mix with the masses – the equivalent of today’s company limo, or private airplane). And to deal with the unwashed masses, the Pullman Company indicated that it was sending up 20 extra railcars filled with guests for the grand opening.
And what a grand opening it would be – a special formal smoking concert was held on the Friday night at the Rex Theatre – admission by special invitation only, as the building was not big enough to accommodate all of the guests.
Trains from Timmins and Schumacher ran to the Dome Mine “at close intervals,” starting at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, bringing in guests and locals. Visitors were lucky enough to get a peek at the underground workings, while on the surface they were treated to a tour of the 40-stamp mill and the process of turning out gold bricks.
This public hospitality was the first of its kind in any mine in North America, an indication that this just wasn’t any old mining operation.
The day was rounded out with a luncheon for dignitaries and a special dinner, in the evening, for 175 guests at the Majestic Theatre, catered by William Prestwich, the former steward of the Toronto Club, and served by 30 professional waiters.
Apparently, the party went on until the wee hours of the morning, leading the Advance reporter to declare that “the birth of the Porcupine will make history”.
Not to be outdone, at the McIntyre Mine, C.B. Flynn, vice-president of operations, announced that plans for the 400-ton mill were well on their way to fruition, and that a special offering of 60,000 shares was issued to help finance the construction.
At $5 a share, the deal was pretty sweet because several veins encountered at the 150- and 200-foot levels caused a change in the underground works. Drifting on the ore bodies was decided to be the course of action as opposed to continuing with the cross cuts. Those veins ran several thousand feet and delivered a “large tonnage of ore.”
For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: http://www.thedailypress.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3427825