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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hot August night ...

It's a busy weekend in Timmins. The annual Kayak Challenge and Festival is on. Last night there was fireworks over the river.  They stopped traffic on the bridge so people could watch the show. It was nice. It was a hot August night in Timmins. So hot that the beer tent filled up by 10:00 p.m. and people were turned away. I don't think they'll quit drinking beer...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ring of Fire ... keep Northern Ontario rocking.

I was amazed today, while covering a news story, to hear a lady talk about the impact of The Ring of Fire. Now for those not in the mining game, Ring of Fire is more than just a Johnny Cash song. The Ring of Fire is the name given to huge series of mining deposits in far Northern Ontario ... way up there by James Bay. It's actually close to the De Beers diamond mine. The woman who is something of a business expert suggested that this mining zone will have the same impact on Ontario as offshore oil on Canada's east coast, or the tar sands in Alberta. That is reassuring. Ontario, thanks to the whiz-boys at Queens Park has become a "have not" province. Twice in the past two years, our credit rating has been scaled back.  So keep buying your cars, cell phones and other consumer goods because it keeps Northern Ontario rocking. By the way, the ring of fire will be mining chromite, a rare mineral that you need for making stainless steel. But you will also find nickel, copper, platinum and palladium. What makes it worthwhile is that this will be one of the largest deposits in the world ... coming from a country that has a stable government. As long as the world doesn't find out that Dalton McGuinty and the Libs are in office. Despite them, mining could eventually make this province wealthy again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Breaking Bad? Yawwwwwwn...

I've begun watching a new TV series... Well, it's not that new, but it is new to me. Hotel Babylon. I read some reviews and decided to give it a shot. It's on Netflix. Hey, for eight dollars a month, who can complain? So I sat down earlier this week, pressed the remote and was pleased to see that it is produced by BBC. So that's a good thing. Sure enough, I am five episodes into Season-1 and I am pleased. The writing is good and the storylines are cool. I find the actors (and their roles) very likable. Television shows are like books I think. Not everyone agrees on what they like. That's how it is with a show called Breaking Bad. I think Debra told me about it first. And now everyone I ask, just raves about it. Okay, so I tried watching it. First episode... hmmmm, Okay I guess. But I just couldn't get into it. So I let it go for a few months, and tried again. It has won several awards. So I had to give it another shot. Hmmm... nope. Didn't thrill me, or leave me wondering at work what the next episode might be. Maybe next year.
So that's that. Spoke with Jennifer this week and she and her guys are back from a holiday in Newfoundland. They all had a wonderful time. I am pleased, not just for Jennifer, but also for the boys. It is nice they get to see more of our great country.  I guess I take it for granted. When we were kids, Dad was in the RCAF, so living in different parts of Canada was normal.
Debra and John were in Europe! How cool is that? I am confident they had a great time.
Timmins has had a wonderful summer, with so many things going on for the 100th anniversary celebrations.  The annual kayak festival is on this weekend, so that will be a good time.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lack of attention ...

I like playing Scrabble ... especially on the computer. It's fast and fun and the scoring is a lot easier since the computer does it for you.  But the problem is that the computer recognizes if you are a strong player, and somehow the computer tries to reduce your chances. I noticed it this week. The computer played the word "miasmal" ... oh sure, that's a word we use everyday eh. It means something unpleasant in the air... okay, fine. So I had the letters TTAEION. After a bit of shuffling and with other letters on the board... I was able to spell ATTENTION.  Good word or what?  Here's the thing. Scrabble did NOT recognize the word. WHAT?  Yeah, that's right, the computer said ATTENTION was not recognized. Wham, bam, slam that laptop down! Miasmal... yeah right, something stinks that's for sure!

Spoke too soon...

On the weekend I wrote a little piece about Timmins prospectors and mentioned that a couple of local fellows are still in the game. Well, I spoke too soon. I was to learn Saturday that we lost Don McKinnon. He was 83 and died late last week. What a loss to the mining exploration community. McKinnon, without exaggeration, was legendary. He spoke his mind, was gruff and brusque, but was one of the most successful prospectors Canada has ever produced. He was a rare breed - a mine finder. Very few prospectors can make that claim. McKinnon was an interesting fellow whether he was having dinner with the President of the United States, which  he did (Reagan), or whether you met him for coffee. He was the same guy either way.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Did you hear 'bout the new king of the klondike...he's from Timmins!

Well, I suppose it’s official now. There’s a nice plaque from Heritage Canada installed outside the Timmins Museum that is part of the new display of bronze statues installed there this past week. The plaque says the gold rush here in Timmins became the largest gold rush in Canadian history …  Just so our good Klondike friends in the Yukon know about that.  It was a nice ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of Timmins. The bronzes are of Jack Wilson who found the Dome Mine, Benny Hollinger who found the Hollinger Mine and Sandy McIntyre who found the McIntyre Mine… those became The Big Three Gold Mines. The Dome never stopped operating. The Hollinger should begin mining again this year and I know that they’re looking hard at the McIntyre … there’s a fabulous gold zone on the 11-hundred level that’s looking very lucrative.
It's not easy to explain the excitement over gold ... unless you live in a gold town. I talk to a lot of people who live and work here and have businesses, and they all agree, Thank Goodness for gold. No matter what else goes on in the rest of the world, as long as the price of gold holds on, everyone here seems happy.
The mines just keep plugging away and we all know the day will come when the mines will close ... well that has already happened a few times, but they keep finding MORE gold. Everywhere you go within a 100 mile radius of Timmins, gold, gold, gold. There are mines in Kirkland Lake, Matachewan, Gowganda, Matheson, ... and any day now, the new Detour Mine near Cochrane is set to become the largest gold mine in Canada. I know people like gold for jewellery but I am kind of glad that more gold in being used now in industrial applications.
So its nice to honour the pioneering prospectors. But don't forget we still have prospectors living here in Timmins who have become multi-millionaires. They're getting on in years, but they still run prospecting companies. So that's a good thing.

By the way, the're still finding gold in The Klondike. Oh yes. It was just a few years ago that a fellow named Shawn Ryan arrived in The Klondike. After checking out the creeks where gold was discovered back in 1898, he was told that all the creeks had been mined out. Folks said there was no more good gold to be found there.

Well, here's the thing, Ryan is a Timmins boy and he cut his teeth on a prospecting crew with his Dad who worked for Kidd Exploration in Timmins. I met him in May, here in Timmins. Ryan said he took one look at the mountain above all the creeks and said he knew that's where he'd be staking his claims. Sure enough, there's a new gold rush on in the Yukon, and they're finding more new gold.
Shawn Ryan, a Timmins fellow, has been officially dubbed as the new "King of the Klondike"!