High-grading: Timmins’ worst-kept secret? – by Frank Giorno (Timmins Today – November 25, 2016)


Author Kevin Vincent launches his new book — a dramatic telling of the 1986 Aquarius Gold Robbery

Kevin Vincent, Timmins author and chronicler of the city’s second largest industry, gold high-grading, launched his second volume of stories dealing with the thefts of gold from the city’s gold mines, this volume dealing with the brazen Aquarius Gold mine theft of 1986.

The launch of Bootleg Gold Vol.2 was held at the Timmins Public Library Tembec room, last night, to a packed room of guests that included Timmins Mayor Steve Black, and Gregory Reynolds, former editor of the Timmins Daily Press and someone who also has many stories on the topic.

Vincent has been working for 30 years at collecting and telling the stories of more than 100 years of high-grading or gold thefts from Timmins gold mines since the very early days of the Porcupine gold rush and the founding of Timmins in 1912.

If it was up to Kevin Vincent, Timmins’ gold mining stories about rascals, robbers, rogues and characters would rival those of the Klondike if not outshine them. As he indicated in his first volume of Bootleg Gold, if gold mining was Timmins’ primary industry, high-grading followed as its second.

“Shortly after I got here in 1984 (to work with a local TV station news department), this amazing thing happened in January, 1986 — a gold robbery at the Aquarius gold mine, which is just past the Kettle Lakes turnoff on the south side of Highway 101,” Vincent recalled.

The gist of the Aquarius gold mine robbery was that a couple of guys showed up around midnight and a young 21-year-old security guard let them in. One of the people who showed up that night was formerly employed with Redpath, a mining contractor who helped to sink the mine’s shaft.

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