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The headframe that became a local landmark (and how it happened)

In this edition of Remember This, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Center looks back on the No. 11 Shaft headframe at the McIntyre Mine.
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The McIntyre Headframe, such an iconic structure for our community, is seen here under construction in the 1920s. Timmins Museum photo

From the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Center:

The No. 11 shaft headframe at the McIntyre Mine is one of the most iconic structures in our community, standing tall on the north shore of Pearl Lake along the highway through Schumacher.

As miners worked underground in the early days of the mine, they discovered that the ore body (the part of the rock which contains the gold) was trending further away from their current mine shaft.

In 1924, the decision was made to sink another vertical shaft down to the ore body and on Oct. 14, the men began the arduous task of cutting the new underground workings and constructing the large headframe aboveground.

The headframe stands at 175 feet tall and is sheathed in tongue-in-groove planks which are covered on the exterior with galvanized iron sheets. This enormous structure was needed to house the pulley systems used to hoist two ore skips and three man cages.

The most demanding part was digging the actual shaft which descended 2.5km into the ground. Men worked in shifts to remove 160,000 tons of rock, roughly 5 tons per shift, which they shoveled by hand. For this, they were paid $5.80 per shift, plus a monthly bonus based on how far they sank the shaft, at $0.25 per foot.

Once completed, the No. 11 Shaft handled about 80 per cent of the material coming out of the mine and operated until the late 1990s when underground production at the McIntyre Mine was terminated.

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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