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How Miller Lake became 'The Slimes' and then something else

This edition of Remember This looks at the natural sacrifices made in the interest of industrial progress
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An early view of the Hollinger Mine in 1912  showing Miller Lake in the foreground. Timmins Museum

From the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Center:

Wherever industry takes root the surrounding landscape is bound to be transformed by industrial processes.

Timmins has taken this fact in its stride over its 107 year history. In the interest of resource extraction much of the natural world surrounding us has been sacrificed.

One such example is Miller Lake which used to be located between the T.N.O railway and the Hollinger mine. It’s hard to imagine but at the turn of the century this place was a premier fishing spot with crystal clear waters and a pristine lake bed covered in fine sand.

By the 1920s an accumulation of tailings from the Hollinger Mine consisting of finely crushed rock, cyanide and waste water was slowly filling the lake and choking it out of existence. The little lake’s decline was dramatic and by the mid-twenties what was left of the water would often evaporate in hotter months creating a toxic quagmire earning the site the unsavory nickname “the slimes”. 

There was a two-plank walkway to traverse the foul expanse, and many did make use of this shortcut. If one wasn’t careful one could find oneself sinking in the toxic sludge. Eventually this site was rehabilitated, a cap of clean fill covered what remained of the desolate landscape.

The reimagined site had a new life by the1930’s as first class athletic field, which we know today as Hollinger Park. 

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 at www.timminsmuseum.ca and look for more Remember This? columns here.




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