There's little doubt that the Parker Brothers classic 'Monopoly' is the most replicated board game of all-time. There are currently well over 600 variations listed online.
Everything from celebrity themes like 'Elvis-opoly' and the 'Michael Jackson Edition', to food and drink themes like 'Chocolate-opoly', 'Brew-opoly' and 'Cocktail-opoly', as well as many corporate tie-ins. There are also countless geographical, national, and local editions, and 'The City with the Heart of Gold' is no exception.
Timmins On-Board, released in 2002 and signed by then Mayor Jamie Lim, is the local clone and was an initiative of Northern College.
"It was a project that was conceived with the notion of raising funds for bursaries," said Nicole Gingras of the Northern College Foundation.
Although she wasn't in her current position at the time when it was printed, she became very familiar with the game. At one time, the college had 'quite the supply.'
"We had them in a storage room where there was water damage, so a lot of them were damaged. We have a select number on hand still," she said.
The game is no longer available for purchase, but 2000 copies of the game were printed, which means there are likely many copies lurking in basements and attics throughout the city and beyond.
Gingras said some of the copies were autographed by Shania Twain, who was still in the peak of her popularity at the time. Her face is displayed prominently on the box, along with the ill-fated Shania Twain Centre.
The game was published by a company called 'Help on Board', an organization dedicated to cause-related issues, who made similar games for many other Canadian cities, such as Calgary, Halifax, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon, as well as American cities like Denver, Salt Lake City, and Memphis.
"The game was novel so it attracted a lot of attention, and we sold it in high visibility locations. We did make some money for bursaries and we did cover all our costs, however at the end of the campaign we gave them away as gifts and prizes," said Northern College President Fred Gibbons.
The graphics on the game board itself include such local imagery as the Hollinger Mine headframe, a pile of timber, blueberries, the Hollinger Park millennium gate, a snowmobile jumping over Northern College, and a pair of loons.
Despite the game being just 15 years old, it is a bit of a time capsule.
The game lists 46 local organizations and business sponsors, and according the the directory provided in the game, several did not even have websites at the time.
Some of the names and businesses on the board are no longer in operation in Timmins, such as 'Bucovetskys' and 'Teletech'.
The game features some charming local twists on Monopoly. Instead of the four railroads, there are four recreational properties - McIntyre Arena, Gillies Lake, Hollinger Park, and The Barn (now known as Carlo Cattarello Arena.)
Instead of being sent to jail, unlucky players are sent to 'PJV Hoyle Pond' which is now a Goldcorp mining operation.
Oddly enough, there are two properties called 'Chartwells' directly beside each other, listed for two different prices.
"Certain board locations were strategic in playing the game, so we sold those spaces for a premium" said Gibbons.
The Timmins On Board version of 'Boardwalk', the most expensive property in Monopoly, is of course 'Northern College Alumni'.
More comparisons between the two games:
|TIMMINS ON BOARD
|HOW MANY CAN PLAY?
|2 to 8 players
|2 to 6 players