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Porcupine Dog Race a unique part of local history

In 1922, movie-makers captured the race for a film
2022-01-07 dog race SUP
An undated photo of crowds watching the annual Dog Derby in Timmins. Note E.J. Meyers drug store on the left side of the street.

Dogs and sleigh once ruled the streets one day a year. The Porcupine Dog Race was the oldest established event of its kind on the continent to run each year without a break. Jan. 9, 1924, 98 years ago, the Porcupine Advance celebrated this unique part of our history. 

The first Porcupine Dog Race was in Timmins in 1916 and following that year, it grew bigger and bigger. The course was a 14-mile race and was the main event of winter carnival. It was always compared to the big dog race in Pas, Manitoba, which was a 200-mile race that began the same year. 

A committee organized the annual race and hundreds would gather on the street to watch the race begin and end. Race times were recorded and printed in the Advance every year and a trophy and prize was rewarded to winners. The week before the race, the rules and regulations were also published in the paper.  

In 1922, movie-makers came to the races to create a film about dog races in the Porcupine. An expert was brought north by locally known prospector Johnny Jones to work on the movie and capture the spirit of the sport.

Each week, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Timmins museum has to offer here and read more Remember This columns here.