Visiting Gillies Lake, Timmins: fishing and boardwalking opportuinities in Northern Ontario
Healthy, urban tranquillity
Gillies Lake (1), within the city limits of Timmins, in northern Ontario, offers many opportunities for healthy walks along its boardwark. A walking trail 2.5 kilometres long is now accessible to the public.
A promenade and dock complex is being planned, with a view to enhancing both lakeside walks and canoeing and kayaking opportunities. Bodies involved in these development plans include the Timmins Chamber of Commerce, the Mattagami Region Chamber of Commerce and the Wintergreen Fund for Conservation (2).
The size of the Lake itself is 20 hectares; interestingly, a century ago it was three times this size. A Conservation Area exists within the Lake's surroundings, with interpretive boards offering visitors information about the natural environment.
Gillies Lake is also recognized as a popular spot for fishing. Species present in the Lake include trout, bass, walleye and perch. (The usual Ontario Fish and Wildlife licensing arrangements apply.)
The Lake is named for Alex Gillies, business partner of Timmins mining tycoon Benny Hollinger.
In some ways, Gillies Lake is reminiscent of Ramsay Lake in the City of Sudbury: both these Northern Ontario cities thus preserve large, lakeside recreational opportunities in thoroughly scenic settings, within their urban limits. Some Ontarians have questioned the inclusion of large, rural areas in somewhat notional cities, for the purposes of local taxation; however, given the proximity of Gillies Lake a brisk walking distance from Timmins' Downtown area, such a situation is far from the case here.
Gillies Lake also exemplifies why Northern Ontario has a well-deserved reputation for healthy, wide open spaces, not only in its vast, rural areas but also in various, well-preserved urban parkland facilities. It is said that Finland, the ancestral, heritage homeland of not a few Northern Ontarians, consists of 70% forest, 30% lakes and 100% sky — and certainly the invigorating sense of wide open spaces is present here also, in an urban setting, beside Gillies Lake!
February 13, 2013
(1) Disambiguation: Gillies Lake, Timmins is not to be confused with a lake of the same name on the Bruce Peninsula, Ontario.
(2) Further, press details of this promenade project for Gillies Lake may be accessed at: http://www.timminspress.com/2012/11/28/100000-project-for-gillies-lake
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: Parking opportunities for Gillies Lake include spaces off Park Road, north of Highway 101. 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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