The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) represents the interests of the Canadian mineral exploration and development industry. The association was established in 1932 in response to a proposed government regulation that threatened the livelihood of Ontario prospectors. The William (Bill) W. Dennis Prospector of the Year Award is presented to individuals or groups who have made a significant mineral discovery, offered noteworthy contributions to the PDAC, or have been involved in some important service or technological invention or innovation that helped improve the Canadian prospecting and exploration industry.
In 1961, while prospecting for a syndicate funded by Fred Jowsey of Denison Mine fame, Walter Baker discovered a 3,000 foot long gold bearing shear west of the Williams Claim that hosted a small gold resource formerly drilled by Teck Hughes.
He would go down in mining history as the old Kirkland Lake prospector who first suggested to Donald McKinnon that claims around the CPR whistle-stop of Hemlo might be worth looking into. Mr. McKinnon did look at those claims in northwestern Ontario and they are now the site of three of Canada’s major gold mines and many in the mining industry, might consider this prospector of wide repute as the “godfather” of the Hemlo mining camp.
Born in 1904 on the east side of Lake Winnipeg in the small village of Manigotogan, Manitoba, Walter Baker began prospecting at the age of nineteen in the Rice Lake Greenstone Belt.
He joined the San Antonio Gold Mine exploration staff in his early twenty’s and prospected almost every summer for that company focusing on virtually all of the remote greenstone belts extending through northwestern Ontario and northeastern Manitoba up until 1950. That year, he accepted a prospecting position for Teck Hughes and for the next nine years worked for that company using Kirkland Lake as a base.