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Manitoba from the Air
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The Location of Flin Flon

The distinctively named Flin Flon[i] is the oldest of Manitoba’s northern mining communities. “The Flin Flon-Snow Lake area has been actively explored for gold and base-metal deposits since the early 1900s. Gold was discovered near Snow Lake in 1913, the Flin Flon sulplide ore body was staked in 1915, and the Mandy Mine, 5 km southeast of Flin Flon, began production as the first base-metal mine in 1916. More than 20 base-metal deposits have been developed in the Flin Flon-Snow Lake area, primarily by the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company Ltd (HBMS).”[ii] Flin Flon itself dates from the 1920s and now includes fifth generation inhabitants producing a sense of community not always found in mining towns. “HBMS operates a metallurgical complex at Flin Flon…. Copper and zinc are the main metals produced, and variable amounts of gold, silver, cadmium, lead, selenium, and tellurium are obtained as by-products.”[iii]

The city is located on the Precambrian Shield near the southern edge of the Northern Coniferous Forest vegetation zone.[iv] Most of the land is covered by dark-toned coniferous forest 1, but in some areas lighter-toned bedrock is visible 2 that may be due in part to mine-generated pollution 3. As is normally the case on the shield, the area is strewn with lakes many of which are named on the relevant 1:250,000 topographic map: Hamell Lake 4, Creighton Lake 5, Meridian Lake 6, Reddy Lake 7, Douglas Lake 8, Bootleg Lake 9, Wekach Lake 10, Boot Lake 11, Mystic lake (north end) 12, Phantom Lake 13, Louis Lake 14, Hapnot Lake 15, Ross Lake 16, Flin Flon Lake 17, Pine Pond 18, Little Cliff Lake 19, Cliff Lake 20, Embray Lake 21, Big Island Lake 22, three arms of Schist Lake—Northwest Arm 23, Inlet Arm 24, and Northeast Arm 25, White Lake 26, Hook Lake 27, and Ledge Lake 28.

Flin Flon Lake 17 is almost completely filled with mine tailings and therefore appears a much lighter tone than the other lakes, except for those in the southeast 29 which are very light-toned because of specular reflection. Creighton 30 in Saskatchewan is located south of Flin Flon Lake and the city of Flin Flon 31, is located between Flin Flon Lake and Ross Lake 16 as well as east and north of Ross Lake 32. A dashed line 34 indicates the stepped boundary between Manitoba and Saskatchewan with a correction jog of over 1½ miles (2.4 km) 33 north of township 66.

A series of light-toned linear features are easily observed because of the contrast with dark-toned coniferous forest areas. PTH 10 35 enters from the southeast and loops north of Flin Flon 36 to enter from the northeast. PR 106 37 exits to the northwest eventually reaching Smeaton over 340 km away in Saskatchewan, and PR 167 exits to the southwest 38 travelling a much shorter distance to Denare Beach just inside Saskatchewan. The Hudson Bay Railway line—a thinner light-toned line 39—follows the eastern shore of the Northwest Arm of Schist Lake crossing it in the north 40 to enter the city from the southeast. Other light-toned features are cut lines followed by power lines 41, one of which 42 leads to a light-toned area 43—the now abandoned Mandy Mine. Finally, a northwest/southeast trending line (light-toned) at the north end of the Northwest Arm of Schist Lake 44 is an abandoned airport; the city’s airport is now located further southeast near Bakers Narrows. The small settlement of Channing 45 is located north of the old runway.

Flin Flon is the oldest of Manitoba’s mining communities and the eleventh largest community in Manitoba. It has managed in the main to survive the ups and downs of mining communities although its population did decline from 6,572 in 1996 to 6,000 in 2001,and to 5,594 in 2006. It has recently achieved some notoriety because Health Canada has let a contact to Prairie Plant Systems Inc. to grow medical marijuana in an abandoned mine shaft in the area.


[i] Flin Flon “was named after Josiah Flintabetty Flonatin (Flin Flon for short), hero of a novel by J. E. Preston Muddock (1905) called The Sunless City. In the novel, Flin Flon builds a submarine and ventures down to the centre of the earth where he finds a city in which everything was made of gold. About 1913, prospector, Tom Creighton found a copy of the book while on a portage on the Churchill River. In 1915 he and his party read the book while spending the winter in the bush. Creighton (a community just to the west in Saskatchewan was named after him) was hunting moose on the present Flin Flon Lake when he fell through the ice. He built a fire to dry his clothes and when the snow melted he saw gold-bearing rock. The next day he and his friends staked claims and named them after the fictional hero” in Holm G. F. op. cit., 2000, 82.

[ii] Young, H. R. op. cit. 1996, 240.

[iii] Young, H. R. op. cit. 1996, 241.

[iv] Scott G. A. J. op. cit. 1996, figure 4.2, 45.

Figure 11.2

The Location of Flin Flon