We’re excited to share an almost complete run of The Porcupine Advance, digitized for the Timmins Public Library:

The Timmins Public Library is pleased to announce that The Porcupine Advance (1912-1950) newspaper is now available online!

Preservation of community newspapers is crucial, as these gems allow us to understand issues over time, they represent the history of a community, and are important research tools for historians and amateur genealogists. The rich history of mining in northern Ontario and in Timmins has been well-documented over the years by its local newspapers. The Library receives local history reference queries from people around the globe on a regular basis and the completion of this project provides worldwide access to the entire newspaper issues with a few simple clicks.

The digitized version of The Porcupine Advance (1912-1950), available from the Library’s website via Our Ontario, is an invaluable tool for those researching historical records of the Timmins area. Full-text search capabilities and digital imaging permits the user to browse, search and download this information, which opens up research possibilities to a completely new level.  In addition to full-text searching, both an Articles index and a Birth/Marriage/Death announcement index exist to facilitate browsing.

We were pleased to work with the Lake family on this project and with DRC Data Repro Com LTD who converted the images from microfilm to digital. We are very grateful to the Government of Ontario (Improving Library Digital Services grant), and to Our Digital World for making this project possible….

About The Porcupine Advance (1912-1950):

The Porcupine Advance (1912-1950) was the first newspaper to serve the Porcupine Camp, Town of Timmins, and surrounding areas. It was founded in 1912 by George Lake. The paper was originally published on a weekly basis, and later twice a week, until it ceased publication in July of 1950. Today, over a century after its founding, Porcupine Advance Printers continues to operate with members of the Lake family on staff.

In the early 2000s, a group of volunteers spent over a decade creating a comprehensive, hand-written index to The Porcupine Advance (1912-1950), on approximately 53,000 – 3″ x 5″ – cards. The information contained on each index card, which will be linked to articles and Birth/Marriage/Death announcements, is currently being entered into the database, and is a work in progress. The Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre is home to a bound set of the newspapers.

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Timmins Public Library also held a local history event over the weekend to celebrate the completed digitization project. Community members brought heritage materials for discussion and a local history enthusiasts’ group held a talk about social media usage for sharing historical materials:

Karina Miki Douglas-Takayesu, a reference librarian at the Timmins Public Library who organized the Local History Discover Afternoon, was pleased by the participants and the number of people who dropped by.

“We’ve been doing these as evening events, sort of informally for the last two years. And I usually invite people from the Timmins Then & Now Facebook group to come out and share some memorabilia and stories,” said Douglas-Takayesu.

Previously, maybe up to 10 people would show up.

On Saturday afternoon, more than 40 people turned up over the two hours, including quite a few seniors who identified many of these items and shared their memories of the businesses associated with them.

“I saw a lot of new faces here, a variety of age groups and definitely a lot of interest,” said Douglas-Takayesu. “We were sort of bringing this (Facebook group) into the real world, giving people a chance to meet each other, show memorabilia and help spark that interest in local history; plus show what the library has to offer with the Porcupine Advance.”