Flin Flon

by • February 26, 2016 • #ExploreMB, Cultural Immersion, Fun & Games, Historic Places, Surprising DiscoveriesComments (20)40699

Flin Flon: Cool mining town with a storied past

Flin Flon has been a a mining centre since Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company (now Hudbay Minerals) started in 1927. But this town, which is buried in the Boreal forest on the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, is a gem for many more reasons.

Here are our top reasons why Flin Flon is unlike any other Manitoba town.

It’s our only town named after a science fiction character

Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin was the central character in a turn-of-the-century science fiction drug store novel, The Sunless City, written by J.E. Preston-Muddock. Legend has it that a tattered copy of the paperback was found in the boreal forest in 1914 by explorer and prospector Thomas Creighton, who came to Flin Flon looking for gold like many others. In the story, Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin sets out in a homemade submarine to explore a bottomless lake and ends up journeying to the centre of the earth. On his way down, Flin Flon describes a lake lined with gold and silver. When the actual town was founded by Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting, Creighton’s nickname for the settlement stuck. Since 1962, an 8-metre-high statue of the town’s namesake (designed by cartoonist Al Capp of Lil Abner fame) has greeted visitors to Flin Flon. The roadside attraction is easily the most recognizable for Manitobans, and also the winner of the 2015 Roadside Madness competition.

It’s a town built atop impenetrable rock outcrop

The Precambrian Shield was deposited almost two billion years ago, formed by a series of underwater volcanoes. Flin Flon was built on top of the shield. When you build a town on rock, ingenuity is a must. Take the town’s sewer boxes, for example. Tunneling underground was impossible so town planners had to think, well, not outside the box, but in it. In the early 1930’s, University of Manitoba engineering professor Dr. Norman Hall created Flin Flon’s unique network of above-ground wooden sewer boxes. The boxes snake around the area and became the settlement’s first sidewalks.

It’s home to the tallest free standing structure in Western Canada

Flin Flon Smokestack

At 251 metres, the Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Company’s smokestack (aka The Stack) dominates the skyline. While it’s not the Eiffel Tower, the smokestack is a unique landmark in Western Canada.

It’s an official supplier of NHL stars

Flin Flon Bombers

The Flin Flon Bombers hockey team are the junior squad of the Philadelphia Flyers. The FF Bombers launched in 1927 and since then have churned out tons of future NHL stars including Bobby Clarke, Reggie Leach, Blaine Stoughton, Gene Carr, Chuck Arnason, Gerry Hart, Ken Baumgartner and Mel Pearson.

It’s an outdoorsman’s paradise

Flin Flon Trout Festival

Flin Flon Trout Festival

People come from all over the world for the annual Trout Festival held during July’s Canada Day long weekend. Flin Flon is at the heart of northern Manitoba’s Lake district and home to enormous lake trout, burbot and northern pike.

It’s a fit community

Flin Flon Boardwalk

Flin Flon’s community path started as a boardwalk along the shores of Ross Lake. Better known as Flinty’s Boardwalk, it now spans half the town and showcases the various types of indigenous rocks and natural beauty of the region. The path follows a gentle grade then climbs steep cliffs. At the top of the 2.2 kilometre trail, you’re rewarded with a spectacular view of the town.

It has an interesting agricultural past

Flin Flon garnered huge publicity in 2002 when the Canadian Government contracted an inactive underground copper/zinc drift for the mass production of medicinal marijuana. For four years, they produced about 400 kilograms of medicinal marijuana each year. The operation was located several hundred metres underneath the town for security and climate reasons. In 2009, operation ceased but the mystique lives on.

It’s a part of American 20th century art history

In 1970, Frank Stella, one of the lions of twentieth century American modern art, created some of his best graphic prints in Flin Flon. At the time Stella was teaching at a university in nearby Saskatchewan. His colourful paintings (which he likened to Matisse) are called the Flin Flon Series and hang in private collections and museums around the world.

And it’s the town behind this amazing ballad.

Need we say more?

Related Posts

20 Responses to Flin Flon: Cool mining town with a storied past

  1. Geraldine E McDonald Mize says:

    Was born in Flin Flon in 1938 at the Cottage Hospital. Lived in the house at the top of the stairs. My Dad, Sandy Mcdonald, was the timekeeper for the hockey games and janitor at the Hapnot school. I’m now in Tennessee but think of Flin Flon so very often, and always with pride.

  2. Gary Davis says:

    Flin Flon, My Home Town. Lived their until my nineteenth year. Moved to Wpge. Later moved to Snow Lake, Think of Flin Flon, pretty much every day. Constantly think of old friends, and the schools I attended: Willovalle, Parkdale, Hudson, and the Old Hapnot Junior High in the late sixties. Played a lot of hockey, in Flin Flon, Most friends have since past. Miss them all. Go Bombers!

  3. Don’t know if I’ll ever move back but the ‘peace and quiet’ and ‘cool climate’ remain with me compared to central SK.

  4. Connie Nelson says:

    Good Ol’ Flin Flon. A good conversation starter when travelling is to let those you meet that you are from Flin Flon..

  5. don prefontaine says:

    My brother Wayne, sister Joylene & I all lived and worked there in 1966-67. we had a great time with a lot of good memories. I worked at the Coca-Cola plant and Wayne worked at Central Meats. Went back there last summer for a couple days to see the town. 50 years latter town looked the same.

  6. Marg says:

    Always went to Flin Flon for the hockey!! Often wonder if any Adolph’s still live there?

  7. Shirley Pockett Dunlop says:

    grew up in Flin Flon went to Ross Lake School then uptown to junior high moved away but it will always be my home town miss the lakes and fishing

  8. Shelby Bonazew says:

    I was born and raised in Flin Flon and still live there in a cabin at
    Bakers Narrows and would not consider even leaving! I love it and always have.It was a fabulous place to grow up in!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *