Flin Flon

Flin Flon, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, incorporated as a city in 1970, population 4,982 in Manitoba, 203 in Saskatchewan (2016 census); 5,405 in Manitoba, 229 in Saskatchewan (2011 census); area 13.87 km2 in Manitoba, 2.37 km2 in Saskatchewan. The city of Flin Flon is situated along the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, 743 km northwest of Winnipeg. The Saskatchewan part of Flin Flon is jointly administered by the two provinces. Flin Flon is named after the fictional character Professor Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin (created by J.E.P. Muddock), the adventurer-explorer hero of The Sunless City (1905).



Development

Extensive mineral deposits were discovered at the site in 1915, although it was more than a decade before production began. Construction of a railway link with The Pas (1928), development of a power source at Island Falls on the Churchill River (1929) and successful extraction processes facilitated development. In 1927, New York businessman H.P. Whitney of New York helped form the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company Ltd. (HBMS).

By 1930 production began at what became Canada's largest zinc refinery and third-largest copper smelter. Many families left the Prairies for Flin Flon during the 1930s, determined to make new lives for themselves. The HBMS also established satellite mines within the region, including around Snow Lake, a community to the east. In addition, they bought mines such as the Rattan mine near Leaf Rapids to the northeast.

Cityscape and Economy

Flin Flon was developed initially in an unplanned manner near the mine and plant. Costs of materials and the rocky terrain led to construction of small houses and businesses with minimal amenities. Redevelopment and newer residential areas have improved the cityscape. Flin Flon is still dependent on mining, though tourism is also important.

Cultural Life

Flin Flon a regional service and recreation centre and hosts an annual Trout Festival in July. The town is home to the Flin Flon Bombers, a Junior A hockey team in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The town is also known for having produced a number of National Hockey League players, including Bobby Clarke.


Further Reading

  • Valerie Hedman et al, Flin Flon (1974); Stephanie Jarvis et al, Flin Flon: A Visual History, 1933-1983 (1983).