Bill Barilko billboard sign welcomes people to Timmins
TIMMINS -- The famous faces of singer Shania Twain and hockey player Steve Sullivan greet people as they drive through Timmins, and now, so does Leafs' legend Bill Barilko.
The billboard was unveiled Wednesday evening on Highway 101 east, across from Porcupine Lake.
Barilko, a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player, scored the goal that won the Leafs the Stanley Cup in the spring of 1951.
Later that summer, in August, he disappeared on a fishing trip outside Timmins along with Henry Hudson.
They died in a plane crash, but Barilko's body wasn't discovered for 11 more years.
"The story and the history and a lot of things are dying now, and in order to keep something alive, I think a billboard would be great because as people see that if they don't know who Bill Barilko is, it's going to get their minds moving a little bit. And maybe Google and see a little bit about the situation," said Mark Fera, memorabilia collector.
"It's one of those shining examples of grit and determination that should be passed on to future generations," said Kevin Vincent, billboard organizer.
Family, friends and fans gathered for the historic event, including Barilko's cousin.
"After 69 years of this story, ongoing story I might add of my uncle, my uncle's story and aftermath, we're humbled by it. My brother and I talked at length since my parents have deceased. It's just an honour to be up here; that others have decided to recognize my uncle and remember Henry Hudson as well," said Barry Klisanitch.
Money from fundraising efforts, organized by Vincent, is what paid for the new sign.