Combining pioneer spirit and small-town vibe, Timmins retains some of the charm and mythology of its history as a gold-miners’ destination. Founded in 1912 by mining developer Noah Timmins, the town was once a major stop for prospectors, who panned along the shores of nearby Porcupine Lake. These days, the precious metals may be gone, but mining remains a dominant industry, with zinc, copper, nickel and—most recently—diamonds pulled from the ground.
When looking for Timmins attractions, start with a lesson in the area's 20th-century history at the Timmins Museum and National Exhibition Centre, on the southeastern edge of town. Featuring a gallery that brings together artifacts and stories from the Porcupine Camp, the museum provides a look at one of Canada's most important gold-mining operations. For a perspective on the town's current industries, take advantage of the free tours organized by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce every summer. These popular Timmins attractions give visitors a behind-the-scenes view of mills and mines that make up the backbone of Timmins life.
Timmins is also home to a wide variety of wildlife. Travelers can revel in over 275 acres of protected wilderness at Cedar Meadows, a spa and resort area just a few kilometres northwest of Timmins Museum. Spotting moose, deer, bison, mountain goats and elk is one of the top things to do in Timmins for nature enthusiasts, and the resort's woodland paths invite leisurely strolling. After a day of canoeing along the Mattagami River or taking a public wildlife tour, Cedar Meadows visitors can luxuriate at the Nordic-inspired spa, or select a signature steak and cocktail in the Voyageur Dining Room.
For a look at what drew gold miners and fur trappers alike, head east of town to Porcupine Lake, edged by a variety of neighborhoods that range from college hangouts to garden-decked, family homes. Locals enjoy the many fishing spots tucked along the shore, and bicyclists will appreciate the 10-kilometre loop that winds along the lake.
In addition to gold and diamonds, another gem to come from Timmins was country superstar Shania Twain. A major street is named after the singer. Fans can catch glimpses of Shania memorabilia around the city, especially at the airport and public library. Every August, the town is home to the International Shania Twain Fan Convention, where fans gather to chat about all things Shania.
The town's launch of a music star is no surprise, given its emphasis on an array of music styles, from karaoke in downtown pubs to an annual classical music event in winter, the Porcupine Music Festival. The most popular gathering is the summer concert series, showcasing local musicians from June to August.
Whether perusing a gold nugget plucked from the waters of Porcupine Lake or grooving to local bands, travelers will find an array of things to do in Timmins. As Shania Twain once sang, "Honey, I'm home, that feels much better," and visitors to her hometown are likely to feel that same sense of community.