How Flin Flon Got Its name
A Journey into Flin Flon, Manitoba/Saskatchewan
There are many ways for a community to be special. For many it’s the people, for others it’s the buildings, scenery or history. And, then there are places distinguished by its very name.
Hockey fans south of the border tend to be amused by a Manitoba town often invoked for the players it has produced.
It’s best known to any for its hockey team (Flin Flon Bombers) and the hockey players in has produced (Including Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke, as well Ted Hampson, Alm Hamilton, Gerry Hart, Ernie Wakley and Ken Baumgartner just to name a few).
We were curious about how Flin Flon came to be named Flin Flon.
Apparently, the name came to be when the town was founded in 1927. It comes from a novel, The Sunless City by J. E. Preston Muddock in 1905. The story involves a prospector named Josiah Flintabbaty Flonatin – Flin Flon for short – who explores a bottomless lake in a submarine, and discovers a land where the city the local currency is tin, the streets are paved with gold, and the city is ruled by women. Flonatin, who is a bachelor, decides to escape the city, and does so by climbing out of a crater, which is actually an extinct volcano.
A copy of the book was allegedly found and read in 1913 by Tom Creighton, a prospector who had been exploring in the area of what would become the town of Flin Flon. The book was actually said to be discovered in Churchill, 288 km (180 miles) to the north. In 1915 Creighton and some fellow prospectors discovered mineralization, and Creighton named the discovery “Flin Flon”.
The character of “Flinty”, as he is locally known, is of such importance to the identity of the city that the local Chamber of Commerce commissioned the minting of a $3.00 coin which was considered legal tender amongst locally participating retailers during the year following its issue.
There is a dog-eared copy of the famous novel in the Flin Flon Public Library. And, a statue representing Flinty was designed by cartoonist Al Capp and is one of the points of interest of the city. In 1978, the National Film Board of Canada produced the short documentary Canada Vignettes: Flin Flon about the origin of the city’s name.
So, even though the name Bobby Clarke is most associated with Flin Flon, it can be said that case could be made that Josiah Flintabbaty, Tom Creightion or even J.E. Preston are Flin Flon’s most important figures.