This column was also published on the Huffington Post – the “New York Times” of the web: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/stan-sudol/ontario-mining_b_4885841.html
Klondike Versus Northern Ontario
For crying out loud, I continue to be astonished with our collective Canadian obsession over the Klondike Gold Rush while northern Ontario’s rich and vibrant mining history is completely ignored by the Toronto media establishment, especially the CBC.
Discovery Channel’s recent six-hour mini-series on the Klondike – vaguely based on Charlotte Gray’s book, “Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike – once again highlighted this glaring snub.
Unfairly, the Klondike did have the benefit of terrific public relations due to famous writers like Jack London, Robert W. Service and Pierre Berton, but I still don’t understand how this brief mining boom continues to dominate the “historical oxygen” in our national psyche.
At its peak, the Klondike only lasted a few years – 1896-1899 – and produced about 12.5 million ounces of gold. And unlike the California gold rush that created one of the largest and richest states in the union, the entire Yukon Territory’s population today is about 36,000. Contrast that with booming Timmins with 45,000 hardy souls who have dug out of the ground about 68 million ounces and counting of the precious metal, since the Porcupine Gold rush of 1909.
It’s enough to make to make Benny Hollinger, Jack Wilson and Sandy MacIntyre – the founders of this extraordinary deposit – spin in their collective graves!