In 1903, work crews constructing the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway (ONTARIO NORTHLAND) uncovered silver nuggets on the shore of Long Lake (Cobalt Lake), causing a stampede of prospectors. The town, named for the presence of cobalt in the ore, emerged on the west side of the lake to provide goods and services for the prospectors and mining companies that purchased the land around and under the townsite. The ethnic core of Cobalt was of British and French ancestry, but many people - primarily manual labourers - came from central and eastern Europe.
Its silver production, ranked 4th in the world in 1910, gave the impetus for exploring the Precambrian Shield. Many who had apprenticed in Cobalt went on to develop the mineral resources of the north. Similarly, the technique acquired to mill Cobalt's silver ore furthered the nation's scientific and technological skills. Cobalt was thus the cradle of Canadian mining, and its success spurred the growth of neighbouring HAILEYBURY and NEW LISKEARD.
Author DOUG BALDWIN
Links to Other Sites
The Voyageur Heritage Network
This site is devoted to the museums, historical societies, cultural groups and institutions in the Rainbow Country, the Near North, the Algoma Country and the James Bay Frontier tourism region.
This site chronicles the growth and regulation of mineral exploration and the mining industry in the Province of Ontario. From Library and Archives Canada.
The website for the historic town of Cobalt, Ontario. Check out the "Heritage Silver Trail" and other links to local museums and cultural attractions.