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Timmins history: The beginnings of charitable Christmas giving

‘Tis the season of giving, proven by Socks Timmins and Moose 93.1 collecting donated socks and other groups non-perishable food during last week’s Santa Claus Parade.

Those giving traditions find their roots in the first year the town existed, in 1912.

Looking back on local history, museum director-curator Karen Bachmann says churches and social organizations began it that year.  And in the 1920s and 30s, it was turkey stags at St. Anthony’s Church, organized by Father Thériault and Lap Lapierre, that raised money for the needy at Christmas.

It was usually held overnight on a Friday, to allow shift workers to partake in the food and card games.

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For 75 cents each, men would be heartily fed and engage in card games. “Sometimes, they also brought in things like boxers and they would have boxing matches that you could also bet on, on the side,” says Bachmann. “They had a lot of musical stuff happening as well.  There were bands that played during the evening, there were songs put together, there was a really good time.”

Next week: The main organizer of the turkey stags,and exactly where it’s believed the money came from.

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