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Flin Flon
City
City of Flin Flon
Main Street in Flin Flon
Main Street in Flin Flon
Flag of Flin Flon
Flag
City boundaries
City boundaries
Flin Flon is located in Canada
Flin Flon
Flin Flon
Location in Canada
Flin Flon is located in Manitoba
Flin Flon
Flin Flon
Location in Manitoba
Country Canada
Provinces Manitoba and
Saskatchewan
District (Saskatchewan) Northern Saskatchewan Administration District
Region (Manitoba) Northern Manitoba
Founded 1927
Incorporated January 1, 1933
Area
 • Land 11.55 km2 (4.46 sq mi)
Elevation
300 m (980 ft)
Population
 (2021)
 • Total 5,099
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
Forward sortation area
R8A
Area code(s) 204
Website http://www.cityofflinflon.ca/

Flin Flon (pop. 5,185 in 2016 census; 4,982 in Manitoba and 203 in Saskatchewan) is a mining city, located on a correction line on the border of the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with the majority of the city located within Manitoba. Residents thus travel southwest into Saskatchewan, and northeast into Manitoba. The city is incorporated in and is jointly administered by both provinces.

History

Founding

Dog Sled Race Flin Flon Manitoba Feb031954
Dog Sled Race (1954)

Flin Flon was founded in 1927 by Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting (HBM&S) to exploit the large copper and zinc ore resources in the region. In the 1920s, HBM&S invested in a railway, mine, smelter, and a hydroelectric power plant at Island Falls, Saskatchewan. By 1928 the rail line reached the mine.

The town grew considerably during the 1930s as farmers, who were impoverished by the Great Depression, abandoned their farms and came to work at the mines. The municipality was incorporated on January 1, 1933, and in 1970, the community reached city status. The city has continued to be a mining centre with the development of several mines adding to its industrial base, although its population has been in decline. With a scenic setting and a number of nearby lakes, Flin Flon has also become a moderately popular tourist destination.

Flinty Statue 2
The town is named after the fictional character Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin

Origin of the name

The town's name is taken from the lead character in a paperback novel, The Sunless City by J. E. Preston Muddock. Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin piloted a submarine through a bottomless lake where he passed into a strange underground world through a hole lined with gold. A copy of the book was allegedly found and read by prospector Tom Creighton.

When Tom Creighton discovered a high-grade exposure of copper, he thought of the book and called it Flin Flon's mine, and the town that developed around the mine adopted the name. Flin Flon shares with Tarzana, California, the distinction of being named after a character in a science fiction novel.

The character of "Flinty", as he is locally known, is of such importance to the identity of the city that the local Chamber of Commerce commissioned the minting of a $3.00 coin which was considered legal tender amongst locally participating retailers during the year following its issue. A statue representing Flinty was designed by cartoonist Al Capp and is one of the points of interest of the city. In 1978, the National Film Board of Canada produced the short documentary Canada Vignettes: Flin Flon about the origin of the city's name.

Geography

Flin Flon in the Fall
Flin Flon in the fall
2009-0520-WhitneyLake-FlinFlon
Lake Athapapuskow, near Bakers Narrows Provincial Park and the airport; the photo was taken in late May, demonstrating that snow is possible (though unlikely) even that late in the year.

Flin Flon straddles the provincial boundary of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with the majority of the city being located in Manitoba. The 2011 census reported 5,363 residents in the Manitoba portion and only 229 in the Saskatchewan section; the Manitoba portion has a land area of 13.88 km2, while the Saskatchewan portion has a land area of 2.37 km2. Due to the zig-zagging nature of the Saskatchewan-Manitoba boundary, the Saskatchewan section of town lies south of the Manitoba section, not west. The city's Main Street crosses the provincial boundary just south of its intersection with Church Street; Hudson Street crosses the provincial boundary between its intersections with 5 Ave E. and Harrison Street, adopting the new name South Hudson Street at the point of crossing; an undeveloped stretch of Channing Drive briefly crosses into Saskatchewan before reentering Manitoba just west of the city's rural Channing neighbourhood.

The town of Creighton, Saskatchewan, is immediately adjacent to Flin Flon. Nearby lakes include Kipahigan Lake.

The majority of Flin Flon's surface topology is exposed Canadian Shield bedrock, hence the nickname "the city built on rock". Due to this and climatic factors, agriculture is generally not possible, although grain farming is found 130 kilometres (80 mi) southeast in The Pas, Manitoba.

Climate

Flin Flon experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb). There is a wide range in seasonal temperatures, with warm summers and bitterly cold winters. Temperatures in January have an average low of −22.9 °C (−9.2 °F) and an average high of −14.7 °C (5.5 °F). Temperatures in July have an average high of 24.1 °C (75.4 °F) and an average low of 13.6 °C (56.5 °F). The highest (reliable) temperature ever recorded in Flin Flon was 101 °F (38.3 °C) on 19 July 1941. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −51 °F (−46.1 °C) on 15 January 1930.

Climate data for Flin Flon, 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1927–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 9.5
(49.1)
11.7
(53.1)
18.0
(64.4)
29.4
(84.9)
33.5
(92.3)
36.0
(96.8)
38.3
(100.9)
35.6
(96.1)
32.5
(90.5)
25.0
(77)
15.5
(59.9)
8.3
(46.9)
38.3
(100.9)
Average high °C (°F) -14.7
(5.5)
-10.2
(13.6)
-2.1
(28.2)
7.3
(45.1)
15.0
(59)
21.1
(70)
24.1
(75.4)
22.6
(72.7)
15.0
(59)
6.3
(43.3)
-5.0
(23)
-12.4
(9.7)
5.6
(42.1)
Daily mean °C (°F) -18.9
(-2)
-14.9
(5.2)
-7.6
(18.3)
1.8
(35.2)
9.4
(48.9)
15.8
(60.4)
18.9
(66)
17.5
(63.5)
10.8
(51.4)
3.0
(37.4)
-8.0
(17.6)
-16.2
(2.8)
1.0
(33.8)
Average low °C (°F) -22.9
(-9.2)
-19.6
(-3.3)
-13.0
(8.6)
-3.6
(25.5)
3.8
(38.8)
10.4
(50.7)
13.6
(56.5)
12.4
(54.3)
6.5
(43.7)
-0.4
(31.3)
-11.0
(12.2)
-20.0
(-4)
-3.6
(25.5)
Record low °C (°F) -46.1
(-51)
-43.3
(-45.9)
-40.0
(-40)
-29.4
(-20.9)
-15.0
(5)
-2.8
(27)
0.0
(32)
0.0
(32)
-10.0
(14)
-21.7
(-7.1)
-34.4
(-29.9)
-43.3
(-45.9)
-46.1
(-51)
Precipitation mm (inches) 17.5
(0.689)
16.7
(0.657)
15.1
(0.594)
20.3
(0.799)
40.9
(1.61)
69.0
(2.717)
77.9
(3.067)
63.7
(2.508)
63.4
(2.496)
29.0
(1.142)
21.7
(0.854)
22.5
(0.886)
457.6
(18.016)
Rainfall mm (inches) 0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.2
(0.008)
7.9
(0.311)
39.3
(1.547)
69.3
(2.728)
77.9
(3.067)
63.7
(2.508)
64.2
(2.528)
21.0
(0.827)
1.1
(0.043)
0.0
(0)
344.5
(13.563)
Snowfall cm (inches) 17.5
(6.89)
16.7
(6.57)
15.0
(5.91)
12.4
(4.88)
1.6
(0.63)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.7
(0.28)
8.1
(3.19)
20.6
(8.11)
22.9
(9.02)
115.5
(45.47)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 6.6 5.6 4.6 4.6 8.6 9.9 12.2 10.4 10.6 7.4 6.4 6.6 93.5
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 0.0 0.0 0.11 2.1 8.4 10.0 12.2 10.4 10.5 5.4 0.36 0.0 59.3
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 7.0 5.6 4.6 2.5 0.38 0.04 0.0 0.0 0.20 2.3 6.0 6.7 35.3
Source: Environment Canada



Canadian Shield geography in the Flin Flon, Manitoba, region. Lake seen is Big Island Lake.

Demographics

Combined population history of the City of Flin Flon
Year Pop. ±%
1931 2,374 —    
1941 8,860 +273.2%
1951 9,899 +11.7%
1956 10,771 +8.8%
1961 11,106 +3.1%
1966 10,201 −8.1%
1971 9,344 −8.4%
1976 8,560 −8.4%
1981 8,261 −3.5%
1986 7,591 −8.1%
1991 7,449 −1.9%
1996 6,861 −7.9%
2001 6,267 −8.7%
2006 5,836 −6.9%
2011 5,634 −3.5%
2016 5,185 −8.0%
2021 5,099 −1.7%
Population history of the Saskatchewan portion of the City of Flin Flon
Year Pop. ±%
1931 —    
1941 —    
1951 —    
1956 537 —    
1961 588 +9.5%
1966 527 −10.4%
1971 471 −10.6%
1976 408 −13.4%
1981 367 −10.0%
1986 348 −5.2%
1991 330 −5.2%
1996 289 −12.4%
2001 267 −7.6%
2006 242 −9.4%
2011 229 −5.4%
2016 203 −11.4%
2021 159 −21.7%
Population history of the Manitoba portion of the City of Flin Flon
Year Pop. ±%
1931 2,374 —    
1941 8,860 +273.2%
1951 9,899 +11.7%
1956 10,234 +3.4%
1961 10,548 +3.1%
1966 9,674 −8.3%
1971 8,873 −8.3%
1976 8,152 −8.1%
1981 7,894 −3.2%
1986 7,243 −8.2%
1991 7,119 −1.7%
1996 6,572 −7.7%
2001 6,000 −8.7%
2006 5,594 −6.8%
2011 5,405 −3.4%
2016 4,991 −7.7%
2021 4,940 −1.0%

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Manitoba portion of Flin Flon had a population of 4,940 living in 2,280 of its 2,533 total private dwellings, a change of -1% from its 2016 population of 4,991. With a land area of 13.14 km2 (5.07 sq mi), it had a population density of 376.0/km2 (974/sq mi) in 2021.

Also in the 2021 census, the Saskatchewan portion of Flin Flon had a population of 159 living in 73 of its 100 total private dwellings, a change of -21.7% from its 2016 population of 203. With a land area of 2.01 km2 (0.78 sq mi), it had a population density of 79.1/km2 (205/sq mi) in 2021.

Canada 2006 Census Population  % of Total Population
Visible minority group
Source:
South Asian 15 0.3
Chinese 0 0
Black 10 0.2
Filipino 30 0.5
Latin American 0 0
Arab 0 0
Southeast Asian 0 0
West Asian 0 0
Korean 0 0
Japanese 10 0.2
Other visible minority 0 0
Mixed visible minority 0 0
Total visible minority population 65 1.1
Aboriginal group
Source:
First Nations 290 5
Métis 655 11.4
Inuit 0 0
Total Indigenous population 950 16.5
European 4,755 82.4
Total population 5,770 100

Transportation

A typical street in Flin Flon
A typical street in "uptown" Flin Flon

Road

Flin Flon is accessed by Manitoba Provincial Trunk Highway 10, Saskatchewan Highway 106 and Saskatchewan Highway 167. The city also runs a small public bus system.

Air

The city operates Flin Flon Airport, which is located southeast of the city, immediately west of the Bakers Narrows Provincial Park. The airport has a single asphalt runway, and has regular flights to and from Winnipeg through Calm Air. There is also an airport in nearby Channing, MB for small aircraft use.

Rail

The Hudson Bay Railway operates railway freight service on its railway line between The Pas and Flin Flon.

The rail line to Churchill was washed out in June 2017 and remained out of service for over a year when then-owner Omnitrax refused to repair it. The City of Flin Flon purchased shares in One North, one of the partners of purchasing consortium Arctic Gateway Group Limited Partnership. The rail line was subsequently repaired by Cando Rail Services and Paradox Access Solutions.

Culture

Arts

Flin Flon has an active local arts & culture scene. The Flin Flon Arts Council has been instrumental in building the local arts scene of late, and has also brought high-quality performers, such as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, into the community for special events. The R.H. Channing Auditorium in the Flin Flon Community Hall often hosts concerts and theatrical performances, including those produced by the local theatre troupe "Ham Sandwich".
In 2010, the Northern Visual Arts Centre (or NorVA) was established as a studio and gallery space for local visual artists. NorVA frequently hosts workshops, concerts and other community arts-based events.
Every two years, the Flin Flon Community Choir, directed by Crystal Kolt, performs a musical production for the community. In 2013, the Flin Flon Community Choir presented Chicago: The Musical, to great acclaim. Past performances have included Beauty and the Beast, Fiddler on the Roof, and Bombertown, among many others.
Culture Days, a national festival celebrating arts and culture, is a popular event in Flin Flon. Culture Days is held on the last weekend of September each year. In 2013, Flin Flon ranked seventh in the country for the number of free events (including concerts, workshops, artist talks and kids' activities) offered to community members and visitors.

Flin Flon is the fictional home of the comic book superhero Captain Canuck

Sports

Flin Flon Bombers 3
Retired jerseys that include some NHL greats
Flin Flon Bombers 1
Flin Flon Bombers home game at the Whitney Forum

Flin Flon is the home of the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and the birthplace of NHL great and Hall of Fame member Bobby Clarke. As captain of the team, he led the Philadelphia Flyers to NHL Championships in the 1970s, and was also a star on Team Canada 1972 in the Summit Series. Other NHLers hailing from Flin Flon include Ken Baird, Ken Baumgartner, Matt Davidson, Kim Davis, Dean Evason, Al Hamilton, Ted Hampson (who was the second player to ever receive the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy), Gerry Hart, Ron Hutchinson, George Konik, Ray Maluta, Tom Gilmore, Dunc McCallum, Eric Nesterenko, Mel Pearson, Reid Simpson, David Struch, and Ernie Wakely.

Cuisine

Flin Flon has a small restaurant scene, which reflects the size of the town's population. However, in recent times it has earned for itself a unique position in the Prairie culinary scene with hybrid meals. Famous in this respect is the Saucisse de Toulouse and poutine, a dish used to celebrate important days like Canada Day.

Economy

Main employers

Flin Flon mining
Prior to the smelter closure in June 2010 (seen here with its 251m-high stack), pollution was a major issue as demonstrated by the yellow trail, which was seeded by the aerosols from the copper smelter.
Flin Flon Manitoba Five Largest Private Sector Employers (circa 2007)
Company Service Number of Employees
Hudbay Mining 900
Flin Flon School Division Education 137
Victoria Inn Hotel 57
Walmart Retail 32
Canadian Tire Automotive Supplies and Service 30

Mining

The economy of Flin Flon is and has always been primarily reliant on base metal production (primarily copper and zinc with lesser gold and silver). Since the late 1910s, approximately 17 mines have operated in the Flin Flon vicinity, with the only remaining mine in operation being the 777 Mine, with a planned closure of May 2022.

Sphalerite (zinc) concentrate is produced and processed on-site to refined zinc while chalcopyrite (copper) concentrate is produced and sold for external copper production, a result of the closure of the Hudbay smelter in July 2010. Although processing of any sulphide material usually emits large amounts of sulfur dioxide, the Hudbay plant uses a zinc pressure leaching (ZPL) process which greatly reduces emissions.

DC Electric Locomotive
A DC Electric Locomotive, used at the main plant, is on display at the Flin Flon Museum.

In 2009, Prairie Plant Systems discontinued operation at the mine due to the expiry of their lease and the uncertainty regarding the pending closure of the mine, which occurred in 2011.

Notable people from Flin Flon

  • Jared Abrahamson, actor
  • Ken Baumgartner (born 1966), ice hockey player
  • Bobby Clarke (born 1949), hockey player
  • Dean Evason (born 1964), hockey coach
  • Tom Gilmore (born 1948), hockey player
  • Al Hamilton (born 1946), hockey player
  • Marshall Lawrence (born 1956), blues musician and psychologist
  • Ray Martynuik (1950–2013), hockey player
  • Andrea Menard (born 1971), actress and singer
  • Eric Nesterenko (born 1933), hockey player
  • Mel Pearson (1938–1999), hockey player
  • Dennis Schneider (born 1942), politician
  • Birk Sproxton (1943–2007), poet and novelist
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