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The city's name is derived from the surname of Tom L. Thompson, a local prospector who discovered gold in the Burntwood River north of present-day Thompson in 1894. The discovery sparked a small gold rush and led to the founding of mining settlements such as Piney, Dome City (later renamed South Gillam) and Creighton. In 1956, these three communities amalgamated to form modern-day Thompson when they were joined by Selkirk settlers moving westward along Highway 6 into Manitoba's Interlake region during an era known as "the great migration". Thompson was incorporated on June 1st 1960 with its first mayor being D'Arcy Johnson Sr., who also became Manitoba's first native born premier when he won election for that position in 1969 at age 36 years old (he served until 1973).