From luck to riches in Kirkland Lake – by Tijana Mitrovic (CIM Magazine – April 06, 2021)

An accidental discovery of gold that helped establish one of Canada’s most valuable mining camps and important newspapers

When William Henry “Bill” Wright came across a visible gold vein in Kirkland Lake in 1911, he could not have known that the deposit he had just found would become one of Canada’s most prosperous mining camps, home to seven gold mines.

Wright was born in the English town of Sleaford in 1876. He worked as a butcher’s apprentice before joining the British army in 1897, serving both at home and abroad during the Second Boer War.

He came to Canada 10 years later, and worked odd jobs in northern Ontario before going to the Cobalt and Porcupine mining camps. Along with his brother-in-law Ed Hargreaves, Wright headed to the Kirkland Lake region, where prospectors had previously searched for gold. They spent much of their time hunting for food as well as searching for promising ground to stake.

In July 1911, the two men were prospecting when Hargreaves got lost hunting for rabbits and fired a shot to attract Wright’s attention. As Wright looked for him, he came across a quartz outcropping where he distinctly saw gold.

The two men staked their claims the next day on what would become known as the Kirkland Lake Break. Out of the three claims, two were directly on the main break.

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