A Company Town: More Than its Heart of Gold

This exhibit covers the role of the mining trade in the creation of Northern Ontario culture. Looking at Timmins, Ontario, we can examine the variety of influences that mining companies have held in the creation of local cultures through the deep integration of the mining trade in these towns. Looking at aspects like architecture, art, and the landscape, this exhibit will show exactly how mining companies have integrated themselves, not only into people’s lives for work, but also into the way they live.  

I would like to acknowledge that this exhibit was created on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. The majority of the content of this exhibit also is featured on Treaty 9 territory, the traditional territory of Ojibway/Chippewa, Oji-Cree, Mushkegowuk (Cree), Algonquin. Colonialism is an important element to keep in mind for this project, especially as it intersects with capitalism in company towns. Steven High describes this in their book, One Job Town, as the following:  

“If you look at the communities in Northern Ontario – if you go right to Hearst, to Kap[uskasing], to Smooth Rock Falls, to Cochrane, to Timmins – you go all the way down the corridor. In each of the communities, they were colonized by the mill coming in and all of that. But the point of the mill was not to colonize. The point of the mill was to make money. It was part of the capitalist system. And the capitalist system, certainly, has a diminutive power on its principals, on the people, on the worker bees, but that is just how our society works. We are not egalitarian in any sense of the word. Nor should we even think that we ever were.”(1) 

Though I am not emphasizing or trying to tell a specifically indigenous narrative, this perspective is always present in the underlying theme of companies' colonial impact in Northern Ontario.


  1. High, Steven C. One Job Town: Work, Belonging, and Betrayal in Northern Ontario. Toronto [Ontario]: University of Toronto Press, 2018.