Entertainment
Timmins, ON plans to sell Shania Twain museum because of poor attendance

The City of Timmins is looking to sell the Shania Twain Centre and its surrounding property to Goldcorp.

Credits: KYLE GENNINGS/QMI AGENCY

BENJAMIN AUBE | QMI AGENCY

TIMMINS, ON - Mayor Tom Laughren said the city is looking to sell the Shania Twain Centre and the land that surrounds it to Goldcorp "for all the right reasons."

On Monday, city council agreed to declare the land and buildings - which include the Timmins Underground Gold Mine Tour - surplus. The declaration kicks off a process that would see the property sold to the mining company, which operates the nearby Hollinger pit.

In 2001, the Shania Twain Centre opened in a new, multimillion-dollar building, which displayed much of the country star's memorabilia from her early years in her hometown and beyond.

The number of visitors at the centre peaked in 2002, at 8,400, but soon went into steady decline, dropping 66% to 2,800 visitors by 2010. Attendance decreased as Twain went years without releasing an album.

During the same period, the Underground Gold Mine Tour's yearly attendance numbers dropped by 36%, from 6,200 to 4,000 visits.

A consultant's report estimates city taxpayers would be paying about $300,000 a year to continue running both attractions.

"In today's economic climate, it's important to make economically prudent decisions," a city report says. "There is a great opportunity to continue featuring both our hometown star and our mining heritage in other, more cost effective ways and the city will be working on a comprehensive plan to continue showcasing this city's proud heritage."

Laughren was quick to point out that, far from severing ties with Twain, the city would continue to display various pieces of the musician's memorabilia at locations throughout the community.

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