Last week, our group of more than 25 southern Manitoba-based business partners landed in sunny Flin Flon, ready to connect with local businesses and explore opportunities in the region over the next three days.
We were greeted at city hall and introduced to the region by the mayors of the City of Flin Flon, the Town of Creighton (SK) & the Village of Denare Beach (SK). The three border communities work closely together through the FDC Regional Economic Development Commission, an interprovincial- intermunicipal organization that provides leadership in economic development initiatives undertaken on behalf of the three communities.
At the welcome session, delegates also enjoyed a presentation from Hudbay Minerals Inc. about their more than 90 years of business in the region and what we could expect on our tour of their New Britannia mill in Snow Lake!
Next we walked down the street to Uptown Emporium, an incredible one-stop-shop for all things local! Uptown Emporium is expanding economic opportunities for artists in northern Manitoba by marketing and selling hand-crafted products made in the north, supporting the economic development of small business owners and by extension, enhancing the north’s tourism sector. It was a perfect stop during #SmallBusinessWeek2023.
We rounded out day-one with a networking reception at Johnny’s Social Club and the Northern Visual Arts (NorVa) Centre. Johnny’s is a popular local music venue, sharing a wall with the Norva Centre, a non-profit art gallery and studio in the thriving Flin Flon arts and cultural scene! We learned that Flin Flon was the first community in Manitoba to have a Director of Culture and Community Initiatives.
On day-two we made the two-hour drive from Flin Flon to Snow Lake to visit the hometown of Chuck Davidson and learn more about all the resource development activity and other opportunities in the region!
As usual, our first stop in a new community was a meeting with town officials for an introduction to the community. We discussed workforce and municipal funding challenges as well as economic diversification opportunities with CAO Alex Fisher and councillor Sharon Meuse.
Next, we visited new local business. Good Times coffee shop opened earlier this year and is providing a much-needed daytime gathering place for the community. It also features the town’s tourism kiosk, a Tourism Recovery Fund initiative from Community Economic Development Fund to showcase local attractions.
Following lunch, we suited up and had a tour with Hudbay Minerals if the New Britannia mill! Gold, silver, copper and zinc ore is mined eight kilometers outside of town at the Lalor mine and trucked in to be processed at New Britannia mill.
After visiting the local mining museum, we had a wonderful networking dinner with the local business community at the Snow Lake Motor Inn and even had a chance for a quick hike and photo at Wekusko Falls on the drive back to Flin Flon!
Our third and final day started out foggy which, in Northern Manitoba means flight delays. We took advantage of the time and squeezed in a couple extra stops. We began with the mandatory photo with the town’s namesake, Flintabbatey Flonatin, followed by a visit to the Flin Flon Station Museum.
We were able to fit in a brief driving tour of Flin Flon’s Saskatchewan sister city, Creighton. Next, we stopped by local treasure, The Orange Toad Café for a hot beverage and visited Community Futures Greenstone, conveniently located next door. Community Futures is a community-based economic renewal initiative funded by the Government of Canada and directed by local volunteer boards.
Delegates had the opportunity to try out the underground mining simulator at the Northern Manitoba Mining Academy (NMMA). Located in one of Manitoba’s most prolific mining belts in the world, the NMMA provides mining and construction-related trades training. Working with University College of the North and the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, NMMA provides world-class facilities for field-based undergraduate courses and graduate students and research doing field work.
Across the parking lot from NMMA, we toured the Whitney Forum, home of Canadian junior ice hockey team, the Flin Flon Bombers! Delegates toured the facility, which houses an indoor skating arena, walking track, and the Bombers Hall of Fame and learned about the facility’s importance to the community.
We capped off our time in Flin Flon with a climb up the Bakers Narrows Scenic Tower which provides a beautiful 360-degree view of the surrounding lakes and terrain, the perfect photo op before the short flight home to Winnipeg.
Thank you to all of our tour participants for joining us and to all the local officials & business leaders who shared their community with us for three days!
Interested in joining us for an upcoming tour? For our last tour of 2023, we’re headed to Steinbach and Niverville! Click here to learn more.