Silver Islet, east of Thunder Bay, once home to hundreds of miners, now a seasonal cottage community
A small, now largely seasonal cottage community east of Thunder Bay, Ont., is celebrating a big milestone this year.
Residents and property owners in Silver Islet are celebrating 150 years since the precious metal was discovered in the area, which led to the construction of the now-long-abandoned mine in Lake Superior that gave rise to the settlement.
“We have a lot of history here,” said Halina Gooder, the former president of the Silver Islet Campers Association, who just ended her most recent term, adding that many original families still have property there.
“Just to keep people aware of their heritage, really,” she added, as to why this year’s commemorations are important.
A mining expedition found silver on a small rock outcropping in Lake Superior near the Sleeping Giant in 1868 and mining started soon after. The Silver Islet community that housed hundreds of miners was built on the nearby shore and included family homes, a general store, hotel, jail and other amenities, Gooder said.
The mine ceased operation in 1884 as silver prices fell and a shipment of coal — which powered the pumps that kept the underwater mine shafts from flooding — didn’t arrive.
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