Historic prospectors Jack Wilson, Sandy
McIntyre and Benny Hollinger have always had a permanent place in the
history books of Timmins.
Now they have a permanent home.
Three bronze statues of the men were
erected in early August in front of the Timmins Museum: National
Exhibition Centre as part of the city's centennial
Three years ago, they were inducted
into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. The Porcupine Prospectors and Developers Association (PPDA) has been raising funds to have
seven-foot statues of the prospectors made and placed in a permanent
spot in the city.
“We received a grant from the
Department of Canadian Heritage for $90,000,” said Dean Rogers,
president of the PPDA. “We met our total of $215,000 which includes
in-kind contributions, and we are still getting funds in.”
Sculptor Tyler Fauvelle, based in
Lively, was commissioned to create the monuments.
“It’s a privilege to create bronze
monuments honouring these hardy, resilient mining pioneers. I enjoy
creating sculptures about landmark events, and about ordinary people
who may have had no idea at the time that their great efforts would
take them straight into Canadian history,” he said.
Wilson (1872-1948) was responsible for
finding the Dome Mine, McIntyre (1869-1943) staked the McIntyre Mine,
and Hollinger (1885-1919) is credited with discovering the Hollinger
The Porcupine Gold Rush started in 1909
and by 2001, the Porcupine Gold Camp had mined more than 67 million
ounces of gold.
Unfortunately, the three prospectors
did not gain a fortune from their historic finds. Hollinger died at
the age of 34, Wilson lost most of his money on wheat speculation and
McIntyre traded his shares for $300 and spent the remainder of his
years as a prospector.
“It really is the most lasting and
tangible expression to commemorate these renowned prospectors,”
Rogers said. “They are an integral part of the city's history.”
More than 40 family members of Wilson
and McIntyre attended the unveiling. About a week later, Federal
Heritage Minister James Moore viewed the statues and rededicated a
plaque from the Department of Canadian Heritage.
“We had high hopes that we could pull
this off and we did. I am pleased with the support of the community
and the businesses who supported this cause,” Rogers said.