Stories about people stealing gold in Timmins … New book Bootleg Gold – by Len Gillis (Timmins Times – August 1, 2012)

Copies of the book can be ordered online at:

Local author releases new book on high-grading.

For the City of Timmins having been around 100 years, there has to be a thousand stories about high-grading in this city. High-grading, also simply known as stealing gold from the mines, has been going on in Timmins since the day the big mines opened.

It’s no wonder that a local writer has finally made an effort to do some reputable research on the topic and come up with a few of those stories.

Kevin Vincent has authored Volume One of Bootleg Gold, a close look at the impact of high-grading on the gold mining industry here in Timmins, Ontario, — one of the world’s foremost gold mining camps. He has been working on the story and gathering research for 25 years. Vincent has done his homework, starting with exclusive interviews with the late Gregory Evans, the venerable Timmins lawyer who went on to become chief justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario.

Now before members of some of the city’s wealthier families get nervous tummies about what’s in the book, Vincent is quick to assure he wasn’t out to name names. He said he has focused on some of the incredible stories involving the crooks and the cops, and even crooked cops. Besides, said Vincent, “everyone in town already knows the names”.

But there are still plenty of local names in the stories. If you have lived in Timmins for any length of time, you will recognize many of the names and places.

I was personally surprised to learn that the popular Riverside Pavilion was built on the profits of high-grade gold. Not only that, but much of the contraband Timmins gold was sold to the United States Mint.

The book includes a photo of an invoice from the U.S. Mine payable to “the Mountjoy Mine” which obviously never existed, except in the mind of high-grade crook Walter Wilson, who owned a farm in the city’s west end. But Wilson also told the Mint officials he was the owner of the “Mountjoy Mine” and they believed him.

As one might expect, the book is a presented in a newsy, journalistic style, which works well considering that many of the stories are anecdotal and rely on old news clippings from the Porcupine Advance, The Timmins Press and even the Toronto Star.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Times website: