Archive | Canadian Mining History

Yukon woman’s role in Klondike gold rush to be honoured at Toronto ceremony (Canadian Press – January 10, 2019)

https://www.thestar.com/

WHITEHORSE—An Indigenous woman is being inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame for the first time. Kate Carmack of Yukon will be recognized as one of the handful of prospectors whose discovery of placer gold set off what the Hall of Fame describes as “one of the world’s greatest gold rushes” in the Klondike more than a century ago.

In 1999, the organization recognized four men who were known as the Klondike Discoverers by inducting them into the Hall of Fame for locating the site where the gold was found on Rabbit River in 1896.

But the president of Yukon Women in Mining says many stories also say Carmack may actually have found the first gold nugget while fishing with her family. Anne Turner said Carmack was “missed” in the first round of recognition but it’s “really exciting” that she is finally being honoured. Continue Reading →

Klondike Kate: Shaaw Tláa, part of the prospectors group who kicked off the Yukon gold rush, is finally recognized for essential role in Canada’s mining history – by Jordan Faries (CIM Magazine – January 10, 2019)

http://magazine.cim.org/en/

Shaaw Tláa – also known as Kate Carmack – was an often overlooked but essential part of the prospecting group that kicked off the historic Klondike Gold Rush. Carmack was the rumoured discoverer of the first nugget of Yukon gold and became, for a time, the wealthiest Indigenous woman in America, but was nearly forgotten by the industry she had a central role in launching.

Carmack was nominated to the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame (CMHF) in October, almost two decades after the four male members of her prospecting party that made the discovery were recognized.

The induction, which places her on equal footing with the other four and acknowledges her as “instrumental” to the expedition’s success, comes as researchers aim to correct a trend of underrepresentation of the contributions of Indigenous women to Canada’s mining history. Continue Reading →

Celebrating a century of mining at Yukon – by Anne Turner (nee Lewis) and Lindsay Wilson (Northern Miner – January 8, 2019)

Northern Miner

http://www.yukonminingalliance.ca/

http://www.yukonwim.ca/index.html

Anne Turner (nee Lewis) is the executive director of the Yukon Mining Alliance (YMA). Lindsay Wilson is communications manager at YMA.

It was finding gold at Rabbit Creek and along the riverbeds of the Klondike that forever changed one of the world’s final frontiers — the Yukon Territory — and cemented the region’s roots as an inspiring Canadian mining district.

Yukon’s rich mining history continues to provide exciting discoveries, varied commodities and significant opportunities for northerners and investors alike. As we kick off 2019, we reflect on our history and the last year that has proved — through achievements, advancements and accolades — that Yukon is a mining district to follow and to celebrate.

In 1896, a hundred-thousand stampeders journeyed north, following the news of “Gold, gold, gold!” and “The Klondike gold rush begins” in papers from Seattle to San Francisco. Kate and George Carmack, Skookum Jim Mason, Dawson Charlie and Robert Henderson discovered placer gold at Rabbit Creek (later renamed Bonanza Creek) on Aug. 26. Continue Reading →

The story of Klondike Kate Carmack and the (modern day) sisters who moil for gold – by Joe O’Connor (Financial Post – January 4, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Five sisters are modern pioneers linked to a colourful prospecting past that includes Carmack, whose lying husband took credit for the Klondike strike and cheated her out of her fortune

During the summer, when by fate of their unpredictable schedules the five Bjorkman sisters actually find themselves together at their parents’ log home on Whiskyjack Lake, Ont., the conversation inevitably turns to rocks.

Jessica Bjorkman, the eldest sister at 38, might, for example, start talking about what she found or didn’t find, or the bear she had to run off, or the view from a B.C. mountain ridge that was so perfect she couldn’t quite believe it was real. Continue Reading →

Excerpt from “Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold” – by Deb Vanasse (December 12, 2018)

Kate Carmack was recently inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame for her part in discovering the Klondike gold fields. She is the first Aboriginal woman inducted into the Hall of Fame. Deb Vanasse has written the definitive story of Carmack’s fascinating life. It makes a terrific Christmas gift! Click here to order a copy of “Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold”: https://amzn.to/2yF7wZs

Deb Vanasse is an American writer of seventeen books, many of which are set in Alaska. She first became interested in the story of Kate Carmack when she hiked the “meanest miles” of the Chilkoot Trail, where as a young woman Kate packed for prospectors over the summit. After 36 years in Alaska, she now lives in Oregon, where she continues to write while doing freelance editing, coaching, and writing instruction. She is a co-founder of 49 Writers. www.debvanasse.com

Good Gold, Lotsa Gold – Excerpt from Chapter Ten

In addition to wealth, one of the key outcomes of what became known as “Discovery Day” in the Klondike—August 17, 1896—was a mosaic of stories that frame the event, dramas in which Kate plays various roles from supporting actress to chief protagonist, depending on the cultural context. Continue Reading →

Kitimat: a century of boom and bust: The heady dreams of a 50,000 population city turned out to be just that – by Walter Thorne (Northern Sentinel – December 1, 2018)

Northern Sentinel

By 1950 there wasn’t much happening when you looked northwest across Douglas Channel from Kitamaat Mission. It was still rather quiet, pristine and devoid of human presence. Even the pioneer ranchers of the estuary had all disappeared, leaving only a few buildings and artifacts.

The five hundred or so souls of Kitimaat Village had it all to themselves. But a new development scheme had been proposed and the Haisla were about to witness one of the most rapid and profound transformations to the landscape ever seen in B.C. – the Alcan project.

Development of the aluminum smelter and accompanying town got underway in April 1951 when the first barges and towboats arrived with pile drivers and bulldozers. But while this was to be the grand-daddy of all booms, it was not the valley’s first. The first was five decades earlier in 1900 when developer Charles Clifford began to promote Kitamaat in earnest, describing its harbour as the finest on the Pacific seaboard without exception. In 1903 Clifford was elected MLA for Skeena and continued to be an avid promoter of Kitimat. Continue Reading →

The Lure of Gold in Alberta’s History: Part II – by Michael Donnelly (Alberta’s Historic Places – November 29, 2018)

https://albertashistoricplaces.wordpress.com/

Michael Donnelly is a freelance historian.

In 1896, gold production in Edmonton reached $55,000,[i] with local banks purchasing gold dust off miners at $15 an ounce.[ii] No small amount for a town of roughly 1200 people. However, this amount was nothing compared to the following year when parties of gold seekers, upon news of rich gold strikes in the Yukon, began outfitting themselves in Edmonton on their way to the Klondike. By the summer of 1898, the stampede was over with local merchants having taken in $500,000.[iii]

When parties slowly began arriving in Edmonton by train in the summer of 1897, the business community quickly seized upon the opportunity and began actively advertising Edmonton as the, ‘All Canadian Route to the Klondike’, ‘The Back Door to the Yukon’, and ‘The Poor Man’s Route to the Yukon.’[iv]

By Christmas, there were people from Chicago, eastern Canada, the Atlantic seaboard, Europe, and Australia camped in small groups all over town. Historian J.G. MacGregor wrote that by mid-winter 1898, “…the town was knee deep in Klondikers.”[v] Continue Reading →

The Lure of Gold in Alberta’s History: Part I – by Michael Donnelly (Alberta Historic Places – November 27, 2018)

https://albertashistoricplaces.wordpress.com/

Gold! It was dreams of golden wealth and the promise of adventure that drew thousands of young men west to California and British Columbia in the 1800s. Although never achieving the spectacular wealth in gold of its neighbors to the west, Alberta witnessed its own gold rush in the 1860s, and over the subsequent decades many people passed through the province on their way to other mining frenzies that swept across the northwest. Many prospectors settled in the province and became leading members of Alberta’s burgeoning communities.

The First Gold in Western Canada

The 1849 rush in California brought ‘Forty-Niners’ from the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and Midwest who traveled overland and by sea. Ocean travel also brought Peruvians and Chileans, Mexicans, Australians, Europeans, and Chinese. In the spring of 1858, the easier diggings long since worked out in California, news arrived in San Francisco of discoveries on the Thompson and Fraser Rivers – to the north in British territory.[ii]

By July, it was estimated that 30,000 “half-wild Californians” had passed through the sedate, trading outpost of Fort Victoria on their way to the mouth of the Fraser; 3,000 having arrived in one day.[iii] Continue Reading →

This Week in History: 1858 There’s gold in this collection of early B.C. ephemera – by John Mackie (Vancouver Sun – November 23, 2018)

https://vancouversun.com/

Legendary collector put together 45 pages of letters, posters, maps and illustrations of B.C.’s gold rush period in the 1850s and 1860s.

In January 1862 somebody in London wrote a letter to James Cooke in the Kootenays. At the time, few people knew anything about B.C., a four-year-old colony in one of the most remote parts of the British Empire.

So they put all their geographical knowledge into the address, which is long and detailed: “Fort Shepherd, near the mouth of the Pend Orielle River, in Vicinity of Colville Mines on Columbia River, British Columbia, North America.” Cooke was the post manager at Fort Shepherd, a small Hudson’s Bay Company trading post just south of today’s Trail. You’ve probably never heard of it, because it closed in 1870.

It’s hard to say if Cooke received the letter, but by March 1862 it made it to Port Townsend, Wash., where it was postmarked. Eventually it found its way into the collection of Gerald Wellburn, a legendary collector of B.C. stamps and ephemera. Continue Reading →

After the fighting, a nation changed – by J.L. Granatstein (MACLEAN’S Magazine – November 2018)

https://www.macleans.ca/

J.L. Granatstein is a former Director and CEO of the Canadian War Museum and author of many books, including Canada’s Army: Waging War and Keeping the Peace.

From party politics to standard of living to national identity, the Great War transformed Canada

The Great War, lasting from August 1914 to November 1918, had a huge effect on Canada. In the hothouse atmosphere created by the conflict, attitudes changed faster, tensions festered more quickly and events forced governments and groups to take new positions at an unheard-of pace. The war changed everything.

First, there was the military aspect. In 1914, Canada had a tiny standing army, a two-ship navy and no air force. By the end of the war, 620,000 men and women had put on a uniform, an extraordinary effort from a population of just eight million.

The army had a corps of four divisions and 100,000 men fighting in France and Flanders and winning laurels, while the casualty toll over four years approached almost a quarter-million killed and wounded. Some 22,000 men served in the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Air Force, and the navy patrolled Canadian waters with some effectiveness. Continue Reading →

Mining warfare in WWI: During the critical battles of World War One, skilled miners – many of them Canadian – made Allied victories possible – by Cecilia Keating (CIM Magazine – November 04, 2016)

http://magazine.cim.org/en/

In the First World War trenches cleaved Europe from the North Sea to Switzerland. While the battlefield above ground was static, a secret subterranean war raged underground.

The British Army began to form specialist army units of trained tunnellers in 1915, initially recruiting men from poor coal mining communities in Britain. Their job was to create a labyrinth of long underground tunnels that extended under enemy lines and could be packed with explosives, and to dig ‘camouflets’, smaller mines used to collapse enemy tunnels. They were also tasked with building extensive networks of tunnels behind Allied lines, allowing for undetected movement of men and supplies.

Faced with growing demand for skilled miners, the British government appealed to Canada to raise tunnelling units, or ‘companies’, in September 1915. The first was mobilised in Pembroke, Ontario and recruited men from mining centres in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Almost 300 men left Saint John on Jan. 1, 1916. The second, comprised of men from Alberta and British Columbia, left Halifax three weeks later. The third was formed of Canadian miners who had joined the armed forces and were already fighting in Europe. Continue Reading →

Excerpt from “Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold” – by Deb Vanasse (October 29, 2018)

Kate Carmack was recently inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame for her part in discovering the Klondike gold fields. She is the first Aboriginal woman inducted into the Hall of Fame. Deb Vanasse has written the definitive story of Carmack’s fascinating life. Click here to order a copy of “Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold”: https://amzn.to/2yF7wZs

Deb Vanasse is an American writer of seventeen books, many of which are set in Alaska. She first became interested in the story of Kate Carmack when she hiked the “meanest miles” of the Chilkoot Trail, where as a young woman Kate packed for prospectors over the summit. After 36 years in Alaska, she now lives in Oregon, where she continues to write while doing freelance editing, coaching, and writing instruction. She is a co-founder of 49 Writers. www.debvanasse.com

Gold I Bring – Excerpt from Chapter One

The Roanoke is loaded with gold. Bags, cans, boxes, and crates cram its lower deck, jammed with a whopping ten tons of the precious metal panned and sluiced by lucky devils in the northern wilderness. Only a year ago, few had heard of the patch of low mountains and dense northern spruce now known as the Klondike. But these days, like an incantation of magic, the very word Klondike invokes abundance, the vindication of the American dream and the triumph of the individual in its most measurable manifestation: wealth.1 Continue Reading →

[Bill James] Former Falconbridge CEO was ‘a miner’s miner’ – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – October 19, 2018)

In 1982, Mr. James joined Falconbridge Ltd. as CEO at a time when the great
nickel company was in deep trouble….Not surprisingly, the layoffs garnered
resentment from some quarters.

According to Sudbury native Stan Sudol, owner and editor of RepublicOfMining.com,
a joke making rounds at the time was,  “Bill James dies and goes to hell, but the
devil kicked him out, because he kept shutting down his furnaces.” But eventually it
was Mr. James who had the last laugh – by 1984, Falconbridge was back in the black.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Canadian mining company Falconbridge Inc. had a big problem in the early 1980s. Its operations in war-torn Zimbabwe were in chaos. Rebels opposing leader Robert Mugabe were firing at Falconbridge’s Blanket gold mine security force with rocket-propelled grenades. Workers there were also getting hungry, with food provisions running low due to blockades. Thirteen-thousand kilometres away in Toronto, Falconbridge’s chief executive didn’t mess around. Bill James flew 24 hours to Zimbabwe and went straight to the dictator’s office.

“Bill wasn’t a wallflower. He’d barge into anyone’s office,” said Bill McNamara, a longtime friend of Mr. James and a lawyer with Torys LLP. Mr. James’s demands, delivered in his signature loud, gravelly baritone, were simple: He wanted food for his employees and assault rifles for their protection.

“Mugabe’s looking like someone’s hit him on the head with a two-by-four,” Mr. McNamara said. “[Thinking,] ‘Who the hell is this guy?’ ” But here’s the thing. Mr. Mugabe knew that without that mine in operation, Zimbabwe would suffer economically. The next morning, five truckloads of maize showed up at the mine, along with a dozen AK-47s. Continue Reading →

Kate Carmack will be joining nation’s mining hall of fame (Whitehorse Star – October 11, 2018)

https://www.whitehorsestar.com/

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame (CMHF) will welcome five individuals who have made lasting contributions to Canada’s mining industry – including a Yukon legend.

Kate Carmack is included in the inductees. She will be joining the Klondike Discoverers, who were originally inducted as a group in 1999. The group included George Carmack, Robert Henderson, Skookum Jim Mason and Dawson Charlie.

Each have traditionally been credited with the discovery that led to the Klondike Gold Rush, which would essentially establish the Yukon. New information has been uncovered that Kate Carmack also played an integral role in the discovery. Continue Reading →

Odds ‘n’ Sods: My three ‘Eureka!’ moments as a Canadian explorer – by James Wade (Northern Miner – October 2, 2018)

http://www.northernminer.com/

The excitement of a mineral discovery is a “Eureka!” moment, and this is the story of my three Eureka moments. I’m 77 years old now, so some of the details may be misted by time, but the big picture is correct.

For the first six years of my life I lived in Copper Cliff in Ontario where my dad worked for Inco in the smelter. In 1946 we moved to Joeburke, Ont., which was a whistle stop along the CNR main line between Gogama and Foleyet.

The developing Joeburke Gold Mines gold mine was a mile or so into the bush from the rail line, and my family moved to the area to be part of the developing gold mining community. It didn’t work out that way, but that’s another story. Continue Reading →