Archive | Northern Ontario History

Book celebrates 100 years of Kirkland Lake – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – September 11, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Mayors and reeves, renowned strongmen and multi-million-dollar lottery winners are among the cast of colourful characters in a newly published book celebrating the centennial of the Town of Kirkland Lake.

Authored by Bill Glover, Gold for a Mad Miner is an anthology of 18 stories celebrating the town’s history, quirks and legends, printed in time to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the town’s founding in 1919. Glover, who was born and raised in Kirkland Lake, said he’s always been interested in storytelling, and this marks the fifth book he’s written.

Though he’s retired now, he spent close to six decades in the mining industry, first working in Sudbury at Frood and Stobie mines, before establishing his own consultancy firm, which took him to Asia, Europe, South America, the U.S. and beyond. Continue Reading →

City mining for gov’t funds to repair headframe – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – September 12, 2019)

https://www.timminspress.com/

The city’s iconic McIntyre headframe is in dire need of repairs. The total cost could exceed half-a-million dollars. But the money isn’t in this year’s budget.

Timmins council on Tuesday approved some repairs to the external layer of the structure — a job which is expected to cost about $15,000 — with the plan is to complete the full repairs next year.

Mark Jensen, the city’s director of community and development services, told council there is a chance the project could qualify for government funding covering up to 75% of the cost. However, there is no guarantee the city will receive financial support from upper-tier governments. Continue Reading →

Excerpt from Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise – by Charlotte Gray (September 11, 2019)

To order a copy of Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise: https://bit.ly/2lHTbYt

Charlotte Gray is one of Canada’s best-known writers of non-fiction, specializing in history and biography, and her books have been nominated for or won most major non-fiction literary prizes. Murdered Midas is her eleventh book, and her second study of a great gold rush. In 2010, she published Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike which was the basis for both a PBS documentary and a Discovery Channel mini-series. She lives in Ottawa and is an adjunct research professor at Carleton University and a Member of the Order of Canada.

Excerpt from Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise 

Had Harry Oakes once again arrived too late for a big strike? In Toronto in the spring of 1911, the thirty-six-year-old stared at the geological charts and topographical maps in Ontario’s Department of Mines, noting the extensive grid of prospectors’ claims superimposed on the region north of North Bay, bang in the centre of the immense expanse of Canada.

On paper, Northern Ontario looked as though government surveyors had already outlined its features and its potential. By now, the provincial bureaucrats suggested, the land had been “tamed.” Oakes traced with his stubby, stained finger the settlements strewn across the grim monotony of forest, rock, water, and muskeg swamp.

The charts recorded only mining camps; the cartographers had ignored the numerous Indigenous communities, although their presence showed up in the Ojibwa or Cree names of several features, such as Lake Temagami. Most of the network of links connecting mining camps consisted of rough, winding trails, but there were also newly laid railway tracks, punctuated at regular intervals by stations. Continue Reading →

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 →