Canada's Forgotten Silver Boom Town
by Douglas O. Baldwin
Many people know about the famous Klondike Gold Rush. Few people realize that the stampede for silver found in Cobalt, Ontario, at the beginning of the twentieth century far surpassed the Klondike in terms of riches, profits and long-term impact.
The boom that the discovery of silver touched off was one of the most colourful and exciting ever seen in Canada. After silver was discovered during the construction of the Temiskaming & Northern Ontario Railway, mining quickly became one of the Province's most important resources. The unequalled richness of the silver found, and the sheer quantity available even by surface hand-picking made the Cobalt camp vault on to the international stage. And the people came in droves. Located approximately 550 kilometres north of Toronto near the Ontario-Quebec border, Cobalt soon became the centre of mining activities in Canada.
The early history of hard rock mining in Ontario comes from the lessons learned in the Cobalt camp. The town of Cobalt sprang up literally overnight to serve the needs of the prospectors, mining companies and miners. At the height of the silver boom, Cobalt had a professional hockey team in what later became the National Hockey League. Cobalt housed the first Ontario Provincial Police station, a stock exchange and an electric streetcar system that linked Cobalt with the towns of North Cobalt, Haileybury and New Liskeard to move the workers needed for the mines. Cobalt also had a state-of-the-art compressed air plant and hydro-electric generating station to serve the needs of the more than 100 mines operating in the area between 1904 and 1924.
In 2003, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada commemorated the Cobalt Mining District as a National Historic Site of Canada. This books attempts to capture the Cobalt that made history.
ISBN: 9780968035474 | WMPub#8094 | 11" x 8½" | 374 pages, trade paperback | $60.00
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Romance of Discovery
Chapter 2: Cobalt Fever
Chapter 3: Birth of a Mining Boom Town 1903-1908
Chapter 4: Extracting the Ore
Chapter 5: From Service to Commercial Town 1909-1914
Chapter 6: Epidemics and Conflagrations
Chapter 7: Life in a Mining Boom Town
Chapter 8: Death, Education and Politics
Chapter 9: Law and Order in a Boom Town
Chapter 10: An Uneasy Co-existence
Chapter 11: Cobalt At War
Chapter 12: The Life of a Silver Miner
Chapter 13: Labour Unrest 1906-1920
Chapter 14: After the Silver Vanished