Iconic McIntyre headframe in Timmins to get $500K facelift
TIMMINS -- The historic remnant of Timmins' mining history has been in need of repair, according to the city's parks and recreation manager, Gerry Paquette.
Standing 175 feet above the city for nearly 100 years, he said it's important to preserve this iconic northern structure.
"The McIntyre headframe is arguably the most recognized landmark in the Porcupine area," Paquette said. "It has great significance with our past."
Exterior damage has accumulated over the years, he said, including one of its roofs that needs replacing and several openings that need sealing. The structure's concrete supports also need repair.
The city council approved a restoration project worth more than $500,000 Tuesday, to be carried out by a local contractor in the next few months.
A report presented to the council showed that the federal government's "Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program" will cover around three-quarters of the cost, with the city paying for the remaining portion.
Being a treasured time capsule for the north's history, the curator of the Timmins Museum National Exhibition Centre, Karen Bachmann, said keeping it maintained will only benefit the community.
"The McIntyre head-frame represents, first of all, our industrial heritage, it represents our social heritage ... everybody knows where it is in the community," Bachmann said. "Once we can actually go back up there and do some wonderful things, it'll kind of be a fun place to be."
The headframe is currently owned by Newmont Porcupine and being used as a water pumping station for its nearby open-pit mine.
Once it is no longer needed for that, Paquette said the city will take over its ownership, with the intention of developing it into a tourism attraction. He said the vision is to create a destination for arts and culture.
"It will be an area that the public can tour, walk around," he said. "There will be trails, benches, tables."
The goal is to give people the opportunity to create more memories in the community with the headframe.
Bachmann said the structure has housed plenty of history since its construction in the early 1920s. One of her favourite quirky stories is one of a miner named Sal Salamonie, who would often take people on tours of the McIntyre gold mine.
In the 80s, she said the flamboyant miner once took a group of nuns into the depths of the mine and poked a bit of fun.
"One old lady said, 'Oh my gosh, this seems very deep,'" Bachmann recounted.
"He looked at her and he said 'Yes madam, sister, you know what? This is the closest to hell you'll ever be.' There were always those fun, salty stories."