Archive | Northern Ontario History

First Nation’s court victory sets precedent for equitable compensation – by John Woodside (Toronto Star – July 21, 2021)

https://www.thestar.com/

More than 90 years after the Lac Seul First Nation’s reserve land was flooded to build a hydroelectric dam, Chief Clifford Bull says his people may finally receive just compensation.

The impact of the dam on the Lac Seul First Nation, traditionally the home of the Obishikokaang Anishinaabeg, was severe. It destroyed the nation’s way of life and many people moved away, Bull says.

“When I talk about total devastation, I mean there were 80 homes that went under … our sacred grounds, campsites, burials were washed up and bones were exposed — skulls were exposed — and that continues to this very day,” he said. Continue Reading →

J.P. Bickell was the Mogul of Molesworth – by David Yates (Shoreline Beacon – July 21, 2021)

https://www.shorelinebeacon.com/

When he died on Aug. 22, 1951, J. P. Bickell was one of Canada’s wealthiest and most powerful men. A millionaire before age 30, Bickell rose from an impoverished background to become a successful mining magnate, investment broker, theatre impresario, patron of the arts, aircraft pioneer, auto racer, adventurer, philanthropist and patriot.

Bickell was also one of Huron County’s extraordinary sons. John Paris Bickell was born on Sept. 26, 1884 in the Molesworth Presbyterian Church manse to Rev. David Bickell and his wife, Annie Paris.

He was the second of four children in a family that saw its share of tragedy. His father died in 1891, his younger brother died in 1892. His older brother died of appendicitis in 1898. Continue Reading →

Without Laurentian’s scholars, Sudbury’s history will be lost – by Dieter K. Buse (Sudbury Star – May 14, 2021)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Column: Over the past 60 years, our most important contribution has been to fill in the empty map of a region largely unknown to the rest of the country

In the present irresponsible dismantling of a university, history as an English program has been kept, but the Francophone component destroyed and the graduate programs terminated.

As a member of that bilingual department, operating with much mutual respect, in 1970/71 we fought to establish the graduate program. During my decades at LU — I retired from meetings and marking but not research and writing in 2005 — the History Department was the only Laurentian graduate program that passed its mandated seven-year review, or process of accreditation, every time.

Yet, due to low enrolment, without considering quality and hardly any cost (frequently we taught grad courses for free), the insolvency axe wielders chopped part of its core. Continue Reading →

” THE STORY OF NICKEL ” 1930s INCO MINING PROMO FILM FROOD MINE SUDBURY, ONTARIO, CANADA


This 1930s black & white educational/promotional film tells “The Story of Nickel”. It was produced by INCO, the International Nickel Company, Ltd., now known as Vale Canada, Limited. INCO as founded following the discovery of copper deposits in Sudbury, Ontario. During World War II, Inco’s Frood-Stobie Mine Mine produced 40% of the nickel used in artillery by the Allies.

For an extensive writeup about Sudbury’s nickel contributions during World War Two: https://republicofmining.com/2016/09/18/incos-sudbury-nickel-mines-were-critical-during-world-war-two-by-stan-sudol/#more-53421

and https://republicofmining.com/2020/07/24/sudbury-basin-nickel-deposits-an-enduring-and-extraordinary-resource-by-stan-sudol-july-24-2020/

Then and Now: In 1923, Ernest Hemingway called Sudbury’s moonscape ‘the weirdest country I have ever seen’ – by Vicki Gilhula (Sudbury.com – April 22, 2021)

https://www.sudbury.com/

The famed writer came north on assignment for The Toronto Star, hoping to get the scoop on a coal deposit

Ernest Hemingway is a towering figure of 20th century American literature and his celebrated life is the subject of a recent excellent three-part Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary series on PBS.

Before his first novel was published, Hemingway was a reporter and it is often noted by biographers that he perfected his simple, unadorned style of writing during his days at The Toronto Star from 1920 to 1924.

Hemingway was just 20 when he started to freelance for The Star. In 1921, he went to Paris as the paper’s foreign correspondent. Between August and December 1923, he returned to Toronto and worked out of the King Street newsroom. Continue Reading →

[Kirkland Lake] Save the Museum of Northern History at the Sir Harry Oakes Chateau! (Change.org)

It has come to our attention that Kirkland Lake’s Town Council will, during their meeting on the afternoon of 20 April 2021, be voting on a proposal to divest the Town of the whole of the property containing the historic heritage building known as the Sir Harry Oakes Chateau and placing the future of the Museum of Northern History in jeopardy.

WHEREAS, the Museum of Northern History at the Sir Harry Oakes Chateau has been a part of the Kirkland Lake community for decades; AND,

WHEREAS, the Museum of Northern History at the Sir Harry Oakes Chateau is the cultural centre of the Town of Kirkland Lake, now acting as the single permanent hub of cultural identity and activity for the community and surrounding area; AND, Continue Reading →

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

https://magazine.cim.org/en/

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. Continue Reading →

Black settlers part of the much more ‘complex history’ of northern Ontario – by Erik White (CBC News Sudbury – February 25, 2021)

https://www.cbc.ca/

New book to highlight the number of multi-racial couples in Cobalt in the 1910s

According to the census, there were 75 Black people living in northern Ontario in 1911. Connie Visser’s grandfather was one of them.

Those roots are still here. The 76-year-old still lives where she grew up in Kerns Township outside of New Liskeard and is one of the 5,000 Black people who live in the north today.

Her grandfather moved from southern Ontario to the Temiskaming district in 1902, but she isn’t sure why. Continue Reading →

Mining town keeps digging its way out of dire predictions – by Diane Armstrong (Timmins Daily Press – January 13, 2021)

https://www.timminspress.com/

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. Continue Reading →

Wanted: stories, memories and tales from the Inco strike of 1958 (CBC News Sudbury – September 22, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Elizabeth Quinlan wants to hear from people who lived through the 3-month strike

A professor of social studies in Saskatchewan is putting a call-out for stories from people who remember the Inco strike of 1958.

The strike involved 17,000 workers who were part of Mine Mill — then, one of the largest unions in Canada — who were pitted against Inco, a powerful company supplying 90 per cent of the world’s nickel.

Elizabeth Quinlan from the University of Saskatchewan is writing a book about the historic event and is looking for anyone who has memories of being affected by the strike. Continue Reading →

Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus announces new book about Cobalt: the town and the metal – by Lydia Chubak (CTV Northern Ontario – September 13, 2020)

https://northernontario.ctvnews.ca/

TIMMINS — He’s a member of parliament, a musician and an author. Timmins-James Bay MP (NDP) Charlie Angus has written a new book–his eighth–and this time, it’s focussed on the town of Cobalt which he calls ‘the cradle of Canada’s mining industry.’

It’s not out yet, but he said he’s already signed a deal with a national publisher.

“We’re going to see this town play I think and an important role. (Cobalt) is a mineral that should not be the blood mineral and a mineral of such toxic environmental damage but a mineral that could actually lead us to a better and cleaner digital future,” said Angus. Continue Reading →

[MINING HISTORY] Elihu James Davis: He Built the Road to Eldorado – by Leslie Roberts (MACLEAN’S Magazine – November 15, 1930)

https://archive.macleans.ca/

An intimate sketch of the man [ Elihu James Davis] whose courage and faith created the T. and N. O., “the discovery railroad which opened Northern Ontario’s treasure chest”

THIS is the story of a man who proved by his foresight and his deeds that politicians do get things done, their traducers to the contrary. What is more, it proves that the smiling goddess, sometimes called Lady Luck, is cast in important roles in the fashioning of any young country, bestowing her favors on those who have the courage to set up new milestones of empire, no matter how the scoffers oppose.

As is the case with all pioneering achievement, it is a story of the faith that moves mountains, of dreams and vision and belief. It is the story of Elihu James Davis, the tanner of Newmarket, whose determination and courage brought into being the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway, hoping thereby to create a new agricultural empire, only to find that Dame Fortune had flung wide the portals to a Canadian Eldorado.

Not even Davis, in the days when the T. and N. O’s. right-of-way was still a figment of fancy, could dream of the riches that were to come. Here was to be a prosperous new farming region, with New Liskeard its market town. Colonists, hearing of the wealth of the soil, would come to join those who were opening up the country. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Basin Nickel Deposits: An Enduring and Extraordinary Resource – by Stan Sudol (July 24, 2020)

Inco World War Two Poster

Notwithstanding the historical hype of the Klondike Gold Rush in Canadian society, the two most important mining events in our history are the discoveries of the Sudbury nickel mines in 1883 and the Cobalt silver boom of 1903.

Both were the result of railroads – the construction of the Canadian Pacific to British Columbia in Sudbury’s case and the building of the provincial Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway, going through Cobalt, which was for the colonization of northern Ontario.

But the similarities end there. Sudbury was built with U.S. capital and strategic technology. Cobalt was largely built and significantly financed by Canadian business and was the start of Canada’s global reputation as mine finders and builders. The two camps had much overlap but were also very distinct in their own rights.

Ohio-born businessman Samual J. Ritchie was the driving force who really started mining production in the Sudbury Basin with the founding of the Canadian Copper Company in 1886. A subsequent merger in 1902 with the New Jersey-based Orford Copper Company, which had the vital technology to separate the nickel from the copper in Sudbury’s complex ore, lead to the creation of the legendary International Nickel Company. (INCO) Continue Reading →

We were first to smelt chromium. And then the fire happened (Soo Today – July 7, 2020)

https://www.sootoday.com/

From the archives of the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library:

Sault Ste. Marie’s Chromium Mining and Smelting Corporation plant was located on Queen Street West between Huron and Hudson, in the area of what is now the city’s transit facility.

The plant first began smelting chromium in in the 1930s, when it was the first instance of chromium smelting in the British Empire. From there, the plant quickly expanded to meet demand.

And then, in 1947, a fire roared through part of Sault Ste. Marie, originating from the plant. Continue Reading →

Over a century of giving: How a pharmacist turned mining speculator became Santa Claus for hundreds of Timmins children – by Tijana Mitrovic (CIM Magazine – June 29, 2020)

https://magazine.cim.org/en/

For over a hundred years, the children of Timmins’ Schumacher neighbourhood have received a little something under their Christmas trees from a special benefactor, a mining entrepreneur named Frederick W. Schumacher.

Schumacher, a Danish immigrant, was working as a pharmacist and patent medicine wholesaler in Waco, Texas, in the late 19th century when he ordered a full train-car of Peruna medicine, meant to cure excessive congestion known as catarrh.

When Dr. Samuel Hartman, the high-society doctor of Columbus, Ohio, who invented Peruna, heard the size of the order, Hartman decided to personally deliver the shipment to Texas. Upon meeting Schumacher, Hartman asked Schumacher to come to Ohio and work for him. Continue Reading →