Skip to content

The long and winding history of knitting bees in Timmins

In this edition of Remember This, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre recalls that during the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of Canadian volunteers knit millions of items to be sent overseas, and the Porcupine gold camp stepped up to the challenge!
1421 - Knitting Circle 1940-45 for boys overseas
A group of Ukrainian women held a knitting circle in Timmins from 1940 to 1945 to send articles to the boys overseas. Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre

From the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre:

As Canadian men were fighting overseas during the First and Second World Wars, Canadian women were at home doing their part to support the effort.

Urgent pleas went out for knit articles of clothing to be sent to troops and civilians. These included hats, mittens, and sweaters for army, navy and air force personnel; bed shirts and dressing gowns for hospitals; and civilian clothing for those who had lost their homes in the bombings.

A booklet of official knitting patterns approved by the National War Service Committee, published in 1941, provides a list of all registered women’s organizations in Canada and includes two groups from the region: the Porcupine Chapter No. 84 O.E.C. War Service Fund in South Porcupine, and The War Beavers Club Fund in Timmins.

In addition, the Porcupine Advance is dotted with announcements of knitting groups, knitting bees, and knitting teas happening all over the gold camp. Women were urged to attend the Red Cross “workrooms” at the Bardesonna Residence, on the corner of First Avenue and Birch Street South, daily from Monday to Friday to contribute knitted supplies.

Children were not excused from the frenzy. On Monday mornings at the Birch Street Public School, girls were learning the craft and after five months, had contributed 34 pairs of socks and 75 scarves. Many hands and feet were no doubt kept warm by their hard work!

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 and look for more Remember This? columns here.