HISTORY: Timely look-back at local pioneer prospectors – by Karen Bachmann (Timmins Daily Press – January 12, 2018)


TIMMINS – Jan. 8th marked the last day for “physically” staking a mining claim in Ontario. As part of the modernization of the mining act, Ontario will move to an on-line mining claim registration process.

Sure, we can’t stop progress; sure, we can’t live in the past; sure, we can’t blah, bah, blah. At the risk of sounding like some romanticized Luddite, the adventure that was prospecting and its impact on the development of Northern Ontario is now just another bit of history.

But that glamourized bit of our history is what seems to interest people; after all, tourists visit Dawson City, Cobalt and Timmins with the hope that they will somehow be able to relive those thrill-seeking times. And what exciting times they were…

Before I go any further, I will admit that being a prospector in the Porcupine in 1907 was not an easy proposition. Waltzing into the hinterland back then was no great picnic; the railway did not venture this way which meant walking and canoeing and, by association, portaging, was the norm.

If you were venturing into the area, you had to be in shape. A prospector carried 75-pound packs that had to be manhandled and lugged through muskeg and uneven ground. Out in the real wilderness, nothing could be taken for granted – who knew what it was really like out there and what anyone could seriously find before the muck and rock was frozen over and buried in the snow?

And don’t forget the inevitable partners – grub stackers, as they were known, made small fortunes off of prospectors (but the money men rarely travelled into the bush themselves).

But as a rule, they were always ready to help out for a nominal fee and a share of the take. And of course, you could count on little stopping points along the way at halfway houses, a.k.a. “tents with airs above their station”.

For the rest of this article: http://www.timminspress.com/2018/01/12/history-timely-look-back-at-local-pioneer-prospectors