Today at City Hall, Mayor Steve Black, along with members of the Porcupine Toastmasters Club, declared the month of October to be Toastmasters Month in Timmins.

Toastmasters is a volunteer-run program that helps people learn how to speak in public with confidence. Lisa Wilson, Area Director of the Porcupine Toastmasters Club, says the program really helps people with their speech skills.

“Most people come initially to learn how to public speak,” she said, “so to be able to stand up in front of people and actually give a speech.”

“We don’t make toast,” she added, “My step children honestly think I’m going there to eat toast every week.”

The program was first called “Toastmasters” because, initially, it was about giving a proper toast at a wedding. It’s since evolved into an international organization that helps people speak in a clear and effective manner, helping people overcome barriers to a measurable performance in virtually every endeavor and line of work.

Toastmasters International has grown to over 15,900 clubs in 142 countries worldwide. The Porcupine Toastmasters Club is in Area 2, located in Division North. It’s comprised of 17 clubs, with over 300 members in the communities of North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins. It assists in the development of essential communication skills, performing a valuable service for its members and those who embrace their message of opportunity, initiative and good fellowship.

The Porcupine Toastmasters Club also provides leadership opportunities for its members, but at its core, it’s about a supportive and positive learning experience where members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in self-confidence and self-growth.

“It’s effectively, […] it’s an education,” Wilson said, “So you get to come, you work at your own pace. So it’s not something [where] you have to come and give a speech every week. But, it is a club. We are all volunteers and we just help each other out.”

The Porcupine Toastmasters Club actually came close to closing recently.

“It’s been here 29 years,” Wilson said, “and a few years ago, it almost went under. But we had someone who was really keen and kept it going. And we’ve just been able to pick back up. And we were about 14 members at the end of last year.”

The 29 year old program will have a lot to celebrate for its 30th year next year.

“Next year we will have a 30th anniversary. We’ll have some kind of party to celebrate it,” Wilson said.

If anyone isn’t sure about whether they’re right for Toastmasters, Wilson says it really is for everyone.

“This is the thing,” she said, “there is no age limit, no denomination, no nothing. There is nothing that stops you from coming. It’s [for] anyone who wants to improve their communication skills.”

Toastmasters also helps people with their interview skills and thinking on your feet when speaking publicly.

“It helps with your ability to think in the moment,” said Wilson, “it’s amazing and it really does help you communicate better.”

The Porcupine Toastmasters Club meets every Monday evening from 7-9 PM at the French Catholic School Board, Building C. All are welcome to come check it out.

For more information, head to