In spite of the warnings that Northern Ontario would die “as soon as the ore runs out,” in my heart I always rejected that feeling of impermanence. The Pollyanna in me thinks there is still a bright future on the horizon.
In 1903, silver deposits were discovered in Cobalt. It was likely the most significant event in the history of Northern Ontario. At that time, the area was uninhabited wilderness.
By 1910, more than 3,000 men were employed in underground mining; the population of the town was 6,000 and nearby Haileybury had a population of 5,000. Depending on various sources, there were between 38 mines and/or 100 mines or mining companies in the Cobalt area.
Interest in the earth’s treasures below the ground brought prospectors and mining men from all over the world. In the ensuing years, mines were established to the east, north and northwest of Cobalt at South Lorraine, Lady Evelyn Lake, Elk Lake and Gowganda.
Excitement ran high when early reports of free gold in quartz had been found in the Porcupine in 1909. Swastika, Larder Lake, Virginiatown and Kirkland Lake soon boomed with new development and gold mines.
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