Visiting Porcupine Float Plane Terminal, Timmins: used by lifelines to many northern Ontario communities

Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Float Plane Terminal, South Porcupine, Timmins, Ontario.
Float Plane Terminal, South Porcupine, Timmins, Ontario. | Source

Sky and water

Strangers to Timmins, a relatively small city in northern Ontario, are often unaware that the city actually has two airport facilities. One is Timmins Victor M. Power Airport, with scheduled connections to many parts of North America.

The other airport facility is frequented by aircraft which prove to be a lifeline to many isolated communities and settlements in northern Ontario's vast expanses.

I refer, of course to float planes — sometimes referred to as bushplanes (1) — and the facility in question is Porcupine Float Plane Terminal, within the Timmins city limits. Officially known as the Timmins/Porcupine Lake Water Aerodrome, it is situated on Porcupine Lake, in which a ramp allows for docking and disembarkation.

One of the most utilized float plane types in northern Canada is the DHC2 Beaver. Other float plane types which have been seen at the Terminal include the Cessna 185 and the Aeronca Champ (2).

For pilots unfamiliar with landing on water, float plane training is undertaken at the facility.

While a fire severely damaged the facility in 2015, the terminal's location and the sheer versatility of the aircraft types which connect the terminal to far flung locations would seem to guarantee the long term viability of the facility.

The facility was in the past particularly busy because of the local mining industry (see in addition under 'Also worth seeing', below).

[NB: The writer is unconnected with the business operating at the Timmins/Porcupine Lake Water Aerodrome; for enquiries about its services, readers should contact the company in question directly.]

Also at Porcupine Lake, which is popular for canoeing and pike fishing, are 8.5 kilometres of trails around the shores of the Lake. Here also is a branch of Northern College and a burial place known as Deadman's Cemetery, where over 70 victims of a tragic fire over 100 years ago were laid to rest (3).

March 15, 2016

Notes

(1) This is also the term used by the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre at Sault-Ste-Marie, Ontario; see also: http://www.bushplane.com/index.php The presence of the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in this northern Ontario town is especially apt because of the prevalence of the use of float planes in its area of the Province.

(2) See also: http://ratcliffair.com/id3.html

(3) See also: http://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/forecasts/beaches/ontario/porcupine-lake

DHC-2 Beaver float plane.
DHC-2 Beaver float plane. | Source
Map location of Timmins, Ontario
Map location of Timmins, Ontario | Source

Also worth seeing

In Timmins itself, the Timmins Gold Mine Tour base, situated at the former Hollinger gold mine, depicts local mining life.

In Schumacher , part of Timmins, noted sights include: the landmark McIntyre Community Building, built 1938; Croatian Hall, hub of the Croatian community over many years; the Timmins - Porcupine Chamber of Commerce building, which has an interesting ore display; sculptor Laura Brown-Breetvelt's work 'The Family' in Lions' Park, commemorating the hundreds of miners who died while labouring in Timmins's mines.

...

How to get there: Airlines flying to Timmins Victor M Power Airport include Air Canada, from Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections. Car rental is available at Timmins Airport. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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