PORCUPINE TARTAN OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED AS A SYMBOL OF THE CITY OF TIMMINS

June 5, 2017 – A ceremony was held at the Regular Meeting of Council on June 5, 2017, proclaiming the Porcupine Tartan as an official symbol of the City of Timmins, giving members of the public a chance to view the tartan.

 

Local author and amateur historian Diane Armstrong tells the tale:

“Eva Connor was born Eva Gibbens in Earlton, Ontario and moved with her husband Alfred and two daughters, Shirley and Norma, to various locations with his job as an Operator for Ontario Hydro. His job brought him to Timmins where Eva turned her weaving hobby into an art. By 1956, a shy, quiet Eva was already an expert weaver, who had made countless kilts, upholstery fabrics and draperies. She shared her love of weaving with several members of what is believed to be the first Weaver’s Guild in Northern Ontario.

To honour the north with its gold mining roots, in 1956, Eva designed and patented a tartan, which she named The Porcupine Tartan. Gold is the predominant colour, but the other eight colours in the fabric represent the area’s vast natural resources and its cultural diversities.

For a few years, the Porcupine Tartan enjoyed great popularity and the fabric was woven by Eva and members of the Guild. Scarves and neck ties were worn proudly by the members of the community, the Chamber of Commerce and the First South Porcupine Girl Guide Company. Suits cleaned by local dry cleaners were returned to their owners with a tartan handkerchief tucked into the pocket.

Then Eva and Alf moved to Calgary and interest in The Porcupine Tartan diminished.

I rediscovered two ties in my own possession in 1999 and wanted to bring the tartan back to life. It took four years of research before I found Eva’s daughter, Shirley Connor Boyce, and plans were made to have local weavers begin the manufacture of the tartan. Difficulties were encountered in matching the colours, so the plan was put on hold in 2003.

In May, 2016, a local highland dance instructor, Marnie Ferguson Lapierre suggested a Tartan Tea be held, and was capably hosted by Karina Douglas Takeyesu, at the Timmins Library. Karina is a competent historian at the library and it was she who learned that a company in Scotland could match the colours, so 60 years after its creation; The Porcupine Tartan could be produced once again.

Things moved quickly after that and together, Marnie, Karina and I made a presentation on September 19, 2016 to the Mayor and Council of City of Timmins, requesting that they adopt the Porcupine Tartan as an official symbol of the City. Resolution #16-470, was passed unanimously on October 17, 2016.

Shirley Connor Boyce, daughter of the late Eva Connor, granted her permission for the City of Timmins to reproduce the Porcupine Tartan; use it for promotion and to be used as the Official Symbol of the Corporation of the City of Timmins.

A bolt of the tartan was ordered from Scotland and to introduce it to the public, Shirley Connor Boyce and her daughter, Beverly Bridger came from Calgary to honour their mother and grandmother, whose memory will be preserved in the City she loved.”

 

 

Media Contact: Heather Duhn, Corporate Communications Coordinator

705-360-2600, ext. 2212     heather.duhn@timmins.ca