Biggest Big Event so far [Timmins mining tradeshow] – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – May 30, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – If anyone needed evidence the success of this year’s Big Event mining expo, the lineup of parked cars on both sides of highway near the McIntyre Arena should have been indicative enough.

This fifth-annual Big Event proved to be its biggest ever. “We keep saying the Big Event can’t get any bigger, but then each year we find a way to get in more people and make it bigger than the last year,” said Jay Cornelsen, national marketing director for the event.

To accommodate everyone who wanted to put up a display this year, Cornelsen said they extended the area of outdoor exhibits further up along the Prospectors Trail leading towards the McIntyre Mine headframe.

This year’s Big Event saw about 450 exhibitors from across Canada and the United States. Some came from as far away as California and Utah, said Cornelsen. He added there were about 50 exhibitors from Sudbury alone.

Guy Lamarche, manager of tourism, events and communications for the City of Timmins, said the number of visitors to this event provided a major economic boost to the community.

“The economic impact, direct, indirect and induced on the city’s economy is astronomical and a real boost to the city’s tourism industry and our many hospitality stakeholders,” Lamarche said. “The inventory of hotel rooms was sold out quickly and all available rental cars spoken for. Hopefully many of the exhibitors manning the 400-plus exhibits will return to the city to enjoy our great outdoors and more on future family vacations.”

Since all space on the arena site was occupied by outdoor exhibits, there was no parking available on site. Visitors were encouraged to park their vehicles at the Dusty Baker ballfield where they were provided a shuttle to and from the McIntyre Arena.

Among the new attractions this year was the “Aboriginal Pavilion” with representatives from local First Nation communities and organizations.

Big Event organizers felt it was a timely feature in light of the growing number of mining developments occurring on or near traditional Aboriginal lands. The hope was that it would help to promote positive relations between the industry and First Nations.

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