South Porcupine

South Porcupine, ON, one of five wards in the city of Timmins. Incorporated in 1911, South Porcupine became a part of Timmins in 1973. The town is named for an island in a local river reportedly shaped like a porcupine.

History

Although traces of gold in the Porcupine district had been discovered earlier, serious prospecting began 1906 and culminated in the rush of 1909. South Porcupine was located on the south shore of Porcupine Lake, along a branch line of the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway, then under construction. This position, along with the town's accessibility to a major producer, Dome mine, gave it an initial advantage over neighbouring prospecting communities.

South Porcupine Fire
A forest fire swept into the Ontario town 11 July 1911, killed about 50 people and burned the town to the ground.
(courtesy Peters Collection, Timmins Mining Museum)

On 11 July 1911, however, the town was destroyed by fire. Noah Timmins, owner of the Hollinger mine, established a new town site, also on the railway, that was closer to his own property. Though rebuilt, South Porcupine lost its advantage and thereafter Timmins emerged as the chief urban centre. South Porcupine became a part of Timmins in 1973.