IMMINS - Visitors arriving in Timmins are now being greeted by Shania Twain at the Victor M. Power Airport.
City officials hope that a series of rotating displays in the city will help attract the attention of tourists.
When it was announced that the Shania Twain Centre would be sold to Goldcorp as part of its Hollinger open-pit gold mine, city officials began to search for a new focal point for tourism.
Now, six months later, Guy Lamarche and the tourism department are still working away at the project. But the group is confident a wide array of attractions will exist for sightseers.
“I cannot state that anything in particular will replace the draw that the Shania Twain Centre brought in,” said Lamarche, the city’s manager of tourism, events and communications. “But I can certainly speak to my vision. Right now, we need to find an attraction that will be complementary to what we had here before, which I do have a plan for, which was approved by council earlier this year.”
The plan doesn’t currently have a contingency for a replacement attraction, but it will make use of the items formerly housed at the Centre.
“This plan includes the refurbishing and relocation of a number of assets that used to be the Underground Mine Tour and the Shania Twain Centre,” said Lamarche. “We’ll be spreading these out around the city, so that they can become somewhat of an attraction in their own right.”
The idea of making use of what is already available is a first step that Lamarche and his tourism team have already begun to put into place.
“We currently have the Olympic torch and outfit which Shania wore when she carried the torch through the city a number of years ago on display at the airport,” said Lamarche. “We don’t plan on making it a permanent installment there, but it gives you an idea of what we have in mind for items of interest like this.”
A rotating series of displays could potentially find a place in different places of interest throughout the city.
“We really want to find a place within the city to place items like the statues, implements, the Hollinger House, the trapper’s cabin, the blacksmith shop,” said Lamarche. “All of these items will be placed back into the community at some point, some sooner than others.”
Both the trapper’s cabin and the Hollinger House will find a place in the community very soon.
“These two items will find a place within the next month to six weeks,” said Lamarche. “We are working out a contract for that right now and you’ll begin to see the Shania Twain exhibits around the community.”
Lamarche hopes these attractions will draw more interest when placed into the community in a variety of areas.
“We are currently setting up meetings with Shania Twain’s representatives concerning the changing of these static displays and the frequency of those changes,” said Lamarche. “I don’t want to leave the Vancouver torch run outfit at the airport forever. At some point that has to change.”