Man! I Feel Like a Government Subsidy

by Mark Steyn

Sad news. The Shania Twain Centre in Timmins, Ontario, is to be demolished. It will now become an open-pit gold mine, instead of a bottomless-pit subsidy sucker. Amidst the tears, this account of the brief life of Timmins’ No, 1 tourist attraction is a thing of beauty:

For those of you who are not up on their Ontario geography, the city of Timmins is located about seven and a half hours north of Toronto. It has a population of 43,165 and the current temperature is -34 celsius. I don’t even want to know what the windchill is…

Who the hell is going to travel hundreds of miles to visit a museum about a country music singer? They do that for Elvis. But Elvis is Elvis and Graceland is in Memphis. Timmins is not Memphis. There are other things to do in Memphis. In Timmins it’s the Shania Twain Centre and then it’s the open pit gold mine.. . . . Yes, I know Shania Twain is huge. But if Jesus had been born in Timmins I doubt the crowds would have been much larger. Say what you will, but at least Bethlehem is warm.

I spent the best part of a winter in Timmins many years ago. It’s conveniently situated for, er, Cochrane. You can catch the Polar Bear Express to Moosonee at Hudson’s Bay. The first weekend I was there, the temperature hit –43. I can’t remember whether that was Fahrenheit or Celsius, and indeed, if I recall correctly, that’s somewhere around the point where they cross over anyway, so who cares? My point is that, had the Shania Twain Centre existed back then, I’d still have checked as to the proximity of the parking lot before venturing out.

Mr. Anderson above makes a more general observation on the nature of government: Why would you let the same people who think a tourist attraction in Timmins makes sense run your health-care and education system?

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