I am not what you would call a world traveler, even in my own region of Canada. I have lived most of my life in two southern cities, Winnipeg and Regina. But this month I pushed the envelope a little with a rare visit to the near north.
Flin Flon is a mining community which straddles the Manitoba – Saskatchewan boundary, just into the northern half of both provinces. It’s firmly located in the Pre-Cambrian shield, and the scenery is rugged and breathtaking.
It reminded very much of northwest Ontario where my grandfather first built a cottage in the late 1920’s. That’s about the same time that the Whitneys of New York first began mining for copper and zinc and other metals buried in those rocks.
The name Flin Flon comes from Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin, the hero of a long forgotten fantasy novel. A giant statue of Flinty, designed by cartoonist Al Capp, celebrates that colourful history.
Enormous trout and other fish are still regularly pulled from the waters of Lake Athapapaskow in Baker’s Narrows Provincial Park. More than 5,000 people live in Flin Flon, and some of them live in two provinces all the time. The boundary is a crooked line that wanders through the western part of town, and some folks literally sleep in Manitoba, and get up to eat breakfast in Saskatchewan, or vice versa.
It’s a wondrous world that most of us southerners will never see because it takes an eight hour drive, or an expensive plane ride to get there. That’s what the locals are faced with when they need anything major in the way of health care.
It costs a lot more to fill your gas tank and put fresh fruit and veggies on the table. Summers are fabulous, especially when it’s warm and sunny.
Winter is a different story indeed. Maybe I’ll check that out after I get my knees fixed.
I’m Roger Currie.
You can listen to Roger Currie’s commentary by clicking on this link below: