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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Gold, silver and shit 2005

2nd Finglish trip August 2005 #13

A piece of Finnish history, before going to the mining towns of Timmins, Porcupine, Kirkland Lake and Cobalt. The name can't make a man worse, but the man can make his name worse...

In 1959, a family of Finnish extraction named Suni advised

the Ontario Department of Municipal Affairs that the

word paska ('shallow' in Cree), as in the name Paska Township,

was a vulgar word for exrement in Finnish. Municipal Affairs advised

the Department of Natural Resources of the offending

names Paska Lake and Paska Creek, and Canadian National Railways

of the embarrassingly named Paska siding. As there was a large

Finnish population in Northern Ontario, especially in Thunder Bay,

250 kilometeres to the southwest, the township, the siding,

and the two natural features were renamed - after the Suni family.

Alan Raybur: Naming Canada, Stories about Canadian Place Names

University of Toronto Press, 2001

Finnish immigrants John Pennanen and Victor Mattson found gold in 1906 on the shores of Night Hawk Lake near Timmins in Ontario. The official history tells that in 1909, Harry Preston slipped on a rocky knoll and the heels of his boots stripped the moss to reveal a large vein of gold. But anyway, Finns were first.

Timmins Finnish Seniors Home Kulta-Koti Golden Home was founded in 1985. Once in Timmins-Porcupane there were two Finnish halls, leftist Workers Hall - Vörkkeri and co-op's Harmony Hall - Konsumeeri, two Finnish lutheran church and the famous Revontulet - Northern Lights Athletic Club.

Kirkland Lakes's Finnish Evangelic Lutheran church was built in 1937. It had 131 members in 1954, but only visiting pastor from Timmins. Maybe the tough gold diggers were more interested in other things than worship. In 1921 the Finns of Kirkland Lake had a meeting to invite people to the newly founded Kylväjä commune near Rostov in Soviet Russia. Many devoted comrades went there, but many came back disappointed.

Cobalt is named "Ontarios Most Historic Town". From 1903, when silver was found, to 1930 Cobalt was a bustling mining town, today it is a National Historic Site of Canada.

Next Finnish Summer Camp Udora Ontario

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