Timmins is 100 years old this year. We are 39.
We've always enjoyed having a date with cities that are older than us, but this year is special.
Of course, 100 is the new 65 but whatever her age, Timmins has packed in a lot of living since she was born.
There was a lot going on around here before Timmins actually became a city. Before the Porcupine Gold Rush you had the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company fighting it out in the fur trade, and the Porcupine Trail was a highway that connected the Abitibi River to the Mattagami.
The spirit of the fur trade and the excitement of the mineral rushes, repeated many times over the years, have defined the spirit of Timmins.
There have been great fires, gold rushes, big mineral strikes (as in more of that wealth for me, please), disasters that shouldn't have happened, and the folklore that ensues, including Stompin' Tom's ode to the 1965 fire at Hollinger Mine.
None of this is easy. The prices go up and they go down, and so do life and times. Just when you think you are on a roll, things can roll up. Just when you think times are going to be tough for a while, there is a new discovery, new hope and new optimism.
Not an easy way to live, but it is exciting. It teaches you to live in the present.
In Timmins, it is the land that sets the agenda. Its riches, its frustrations, its beauty.
We love coming to Timmins. We love the land, the spirit, the good cheer and the good friends we see again – and new ones who join our family.
Our purpose is to honour the best among us, the people who build the North and cherish it. We focus on a different community each year, but we bring the big wide North with us wherever we go. A big thank you to Timmins for hosting us on your 100th birthday and for being such a big part of this grand land we are lucky to inhabit.
Congratulations to our winners. You make us all stronger with your leadership, your commitment to your communities and the courage to stand up and be counted.
President, Laurentian Media Group