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Timmins history: The role of schools in treating the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918

In 1918, Spanish influenza became a worldwide epidemic, and the fledgling community of Timmins was not spared.

As museum director-curator Karen Bachmann tells us, taking care of the large number of patients was a challenge.

“Schumacher Public School had just been built.  It was not opened in September because it was commandeered as a hospital.  That was full.  They used the school at the Dome Mine as well.  That was also full,” she narrates.

“So at the time there were three doctors and those poor men ran around between doing house calls, taking care of the people in the hospitals and just basically trying to keep everything together.  That was Dr. Moore, Dr. McInnis and Dr. Minthorn.  They commandeered a lot of nurses as well.  There were some nurses who had come back from the front, so they helped minister.”

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Volunteers were also pressed into service, doing laundry, cleaning and performing other necessary tasks.

By the time the epidemic subsided, 120 people in the mining camp had died.

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