Archive | Northern Ontario History

Sculptor helps gold mining town celebrate 100 years – by Marc Montgomery (Radio Canada International – July 8, 2019)

Radio Canada International

Northern Ontario’s history is tied to that of mining. It was back in 1919 that a rush for silver in the north led instead to a discovery of gold and a another sort of rush.

This led to the development of several mines and creation of the township of Teck, eventually renamed Kirkland Lake in 1972. Renowned bronze sculptor Tyler Fauvelle has created a lifesized recreation of a period prospector which has been placed near the Toburn mine, the first of several which once flourished, and are now gone.

“Although the artwork is a tribute to all of the Kirkland Lake Gold Camp prospectors, I did include some features representing some of Kirkland Lake’s legendary prospectors. I hope visitors will enjoy looking for those symbols, and learning about the local history behind them,” says Fauvelle. Continue Reading →

FIRST PERSON: My grandfather was one of Canada’s colourful Hudson’s Bay Company fur traders – by Gordon Miller (Globe and Mail – July 2, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

In 1939, I stood in the cemetery at Gogama, Ont. My grandfather, James Slater Miller was being buried on the side of a hill. It overlooked the forests and lakes he travelled by canoe and dog team for almost 50 years.
He was one of the last of the fur traders who married Indigenous women, raised families, manned the trading posts and ruled these vast territories as judge, jury, doctor and mediator for the Hudson’s Bay Company.

They, along with the Indigenous population, adventurers, missionaries, doctors and teachers, kept the country together and made it strong. A news item published in the Sudbury Star the day before read: Continue Reading →

A woman’s view of Inco – by Mia Jensen (Sudbury Star – June 29, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

In 1974, Inco started hiring women for the first time since the end of the Second World War. Cathy Mulroy, then 19, was the second woman in line for a job. Now, she’s written a book about her experiences.

Mulroy worked on the anode casting wheel in the copper refinery. Her job was to empty the molten metal arriving in hot cars from the smelter, into the furnace. It was hot, grimy work, but for Mulroy, the labour wasn’t the difficult part of her experience.

“Over the years, I was kind of a person who believed in people’s rights,” she says. “I was never quiet. So right off the bat, I started getting into trouble.” Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Lake Superior Silver Island – by Kaaria Quash (CIM Magazine – June 3, 2019)

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

Silver Islet was one of Canada’s most profitable silver mines, until it was destroyed by a storm over Lake Superior

Located on a small rocky island just off the northern shore of Lake Superior, Silver Islet mine was once the most lucrative silver mine of its time – until it was swallowed by the raging waters of the lake.

For 13 years, it provided some of the highest quality silver in the world. Large nuggets of the metal were discovered there, some so pure they did not need to be smelted. Over the course of its lifetime, the mine produced 2,605,786 ounces of silver, worth $3.25 million.

The Montreal Mining Company first started digging for its treasure in 1868. Developing the mine was not easy, however, and the unpredictable nature of Lake Superior made it an engineering nightmare to maintain. Continue Reading →

The Hunt for the Singing Atom – by C. Fred Bodsworth (MACLEAN’S Magazine – August 15, 1948)

http://www.macleans.ca/

Gold’s old stuff; miners on the Trail of ’48 want uranium, the stuff that can chirp in their ears or flatten a city

WHERE Northern Ontario’s broad Abitibi River tumbles through the spruce-walled gorge of Otter Rapids and lunges northward on its final 90-mile dash for James Bay and the sea, I stood over one of Canada’s newest radioactive ore discoveries and listened to its tune of disintegrating atoms, the theme song of the atomic age.

Locked in a brown-red vein of ore at my feet there was possibly bread-and-butter stuff for scores of potential atom bombs, but the tune of cracking atoms I heard could have been drowned out by the snap of a jenny firecracker.

Detected and amplified by the Geiger counter which hung at my waist, a wondrous little electronic gadget which smells out disintegrating atoms of radioactive ore as keenly as a cat smells out fish, the atom tune in the Geiger’s earphone sounded merely like raindrops spattering on a tin roof. Without the Geiger to translate it into sound, those thousands of disintegrating atoms Would have been as undetectable as the 40-pound sturgeons which, so the natives say, lurk in the Abitibi’s khaki-colored water offshore. Continue Reading →

The Chronicler of Northern Ontario – by Patti Vipond (Muskoka Region.com – May 16, 2019)

https://www.muskokaregion.com/

British-born author, educator and Order of Canada member Michael Barnes tells how he went from being a Fleet Street copy boy to a backwoods teacher in Northern Ontario’s wilds.

“In Canada 100 years ago, there was an expression that someone was a ‘hustler’,” says Michael Barnes, author of over 50 non-fiction books, a member of the Order of Canada, 2018 Who’s Who in Canada notable and Minden resident since 1999. “Today a ’hustler’ is a low-life character, but years ago a hustler was a guy who really went out there, worked, and received great approbation from other people. I’ve always considered myself a hustler.”

That description of Barnes, using its vintage definition, is entirely apt. As a lad in his hometown of London, England, he worked as a copy boy at the Daily Express newspaper on Fleet Street while also independently fixing and selling old typewriters. When soldiers who had been teachers didn’t return after the Second World War, young Barnes stepped up and taught. Continue Reading →

Bruce Hutchison rediscovers THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY (Northern Ontario) – by Bruce Hutchison (MACLEAN’s Magazine – March 17, 1956)

https://www.macleans.ca/

“This land of shaven stone and stunted trees was called Ontario, but . . . the north was a separate province in everything but political arrangements, its people a separate breed, its life turned forever northward

IN COBALT I met two ruined men. One of them, being Chinese and therefore a philosopher, took ruin calmly and grinned at me from behind his restaurant counter like a gentle old monkey. The other, a broken miner, having no gift of philosophy, pointed to the tortured hills of Cobalt, the pyramids of crushed rock and the lurching mine towers. “She’s gone,” he said, “murdered, crucified and dead from hell to breakfast.”

The Chinese proprietor—speaking in an odd mixture of English and French—told me that the fatal mistake of his life had been to settle in Cobalt. His restaurant in Montreal had employed eight French-Canadian waitresses and had earned him a modest fortune, now lost. Here he was his own cook, waiter and dishwasher, trapped in Cobalt. Still, he rather liked it. The people were so nice, so gentile. Continue Reading →

HISTORY: Museums offer first-hand account of local history – by Karen Bachmann (Timmins Daily Press – March 8, 2019)

https://www.timminspress.com/

Timmins Museum curator Karen Bachmann talks about opportunities to get historic accounts “from the horse’s mouth.”

Three things I learned this week: 1) Never believe them when they say “it’s a done deal”; 2) Never say “yes” when you really mean “no, thank you” and 3) Never, ever, let someone else tell your story.

The first two I already knew – I just needed to be reminded of those principals. The last came as a hard lesson – especially for a curator who should, at the end of the day, know better.

Museums in particular are coming a little late to the party – while we house artifacts and objects and images, that stuff really is nothing without a story that makes it all come to life. I can have people walk through my collections area and look at artifacts, but the “stuff” becomes real for them when I can tell them a story that related to that artifact. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Uncover the gripping history of Ontario’s gold mining industry in NORTHERN GOLD

 

World premiere March 6 at 9 pm ET on TVO and tvo.org

February 27, 2019 (Toronto, ON) - From Alibi Entertainment and producer, director, and writer Catie Lamer, TVO Original Northern Gold shines a light on Canada’s complex history of mining, its current effects on the economy, politics and environment, and the shadowy business of high-grading (the theft and smuggling of millions of dollars in gold).

“Many people are probably unaware of Timmins’ own Gold Rush – a part of Ontario’s legacy that is seemingly forgotten – not by all, but by many,” says Lamer. “This once-famous working town is now facing an identity crisis – like many towns in Canada built on the back of one industry.”

“Gold is one of the most scrutinized commodities in markets around the world, and the history of gold is frequently romanticized,” says John Ferri, Vice President TVO Current Affairs and Documentaries. ” Northern Gold gives a voice to the people who are rarely heard from – those directly involved in extracting it.” Continue Reading →

Former Sudbury Falconbridge General Manager/President Gord Slade passes away (Sudbury Northern Life – January 9, 2019)

https://www.sudbury.com/

Gord Slade was a community leader

Gord Slade, a Sudbury community leader and philanthropist, died Jan. 8, just a few weeks before his 90th birthday.

Slade, a graduate of McGill University (1951), retired from Falconbridge Ltd. after 32 years of service in 1984. He held the post of president of the Canadian Nickel Division and general nanager, Sudbury Operations, after serving in areas of increasing responsibility.

In an interview for the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, Slade said, “My objective was to be a shift boss, make $10,000 a year and be as well liked as my dad.”

After retirement, Slade worked as a mining consultant and continued to participate on the boards of several mining corporations.

He was a leader in the Canadian Institute of Mining (Sudbury Branch chair, and vice-president for District 3), and was a recipient of the CIM Fellowship Award (1997). Continue Reading →

Throwback Thursday: A brief history of mining in Sudbury Northern Life – by Callam Rodya(Sudbury.com – March 2, 2017)

https://www.sudbury.com/

With two of Sudbury’s most important employers, Vale and Glencore, reporting healthy profits last week, we asked the Greater Sudbury Archives to dust off some old footage and photos from the earlier days of this fledgling industry, to give you a brief history of mining in Sudbury. Continue Reading →

A golden route north: Railway believed it was on track to help expand early 20th-century N. Ontario fortunes – by Chad Beharriell (Sault Star – September 6, 2018)

https://www.saultstar.com/

In the early days of the 20th century, a local railway had big dreams for its economic role in Northern Ontario. The early 20th century, Northern Ontario was one of expansion and exploration. Industries expanded with the technology-at-hand and exploration sought tradeable resources and new transportation routes.

The Bruce Mines & Algoma Railway (BM & A) represented those parallel drives and within its history is the chapter of one man’s work to add to both. Chartered in 1899 by the Rock Lake Mining Co., the standard-gauge BM & A was created to run north 15 miles (24 kilometres) from Bruce Station on the local Canadian Pacific (CP) rail line to the company’s copper mill at said lake.

The initial goal was to ship concentrated ore westward to a smelter in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Following the Thessalon River valley, and receiving an Ontario government subsidy, the line was finished in the Fall of 1901. Continue Reading →

Silver Islet 150: Former mining village near Thunder Bay, Ont., celebrates milestone year – by Matt Prokopchuk (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 20, 2018)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/

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. Continue Reading →

NORTHERN ONTARIO’S DREAM TO SECEDE, REBORN: ‘WE’RE TREATED LIKE A COLONY’ – by Joseph Brean (National Post – April 11, 2018)

http://nationalpost.com/

NORTH BAY — They called it Aurora. It was to be a new province in Canada, carved out of Ontario’s hinterland, so far northwest of Toronto it is a different place, practically Manitoba.

That was in the 1940s, when Hubert Limerick’s New Province League led the push for northern secession. It was hardly the first time, nor the last. The latest effort has taken the form of a revamped and renamed political party with a motley slate of candidates, now set to launch an ambitious election campaign in northern Ontario ridings.

Their aim is to seize the balance of power in what they hope, after June’s election, will be a narrowly divided legislature at Queen’s Park. Then, they want to seek a referendum on the creation — against all constitutional odds — of a new province. Continue Reading →

HISTORY: Porcupine rose from ashes of 1911 fire – by Karen Bachmann (Timmins Daily Press – March 25, 2018)

http://www.timminspress.com/

Karen Bachmann is the director/curator of the Timmins Museum and a writer of local history.

TIMMINS – I can’t remember what romantically inclined poet first said it, but the adage was very true – the Porcupine Camp did, “like a Phoenix, rise from its ashes” after the great Porcupine fire of 1911.

For those of you unfamiliar with the event, here is the New York Times version of what happened, printed on July 13th, 1911: “Hundreds of lives were lost and millions of dollars’ worth of property was destroyed in the forest fires which swept the Porcupine mining district in Northern Ontario yesterday.

“The mines burned include the Dome, the North Dome, the Preston, the East Dome, the Vipond, the Foley O’Brien, the Philadelphia, the United Porcupine, the Eldorado Porcupine, the Hollinger, the Standard Imperial, the West Dome and the Success. Continue Reading →