Historical Plaques of
Timiskaming District

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The next plaque was sent in by Mary Crandall


Location: in front of the community college in Kirkland Lake (Northern College)

The Larder Lake gold rush of 1906 was accompanied by discoveries of gold at Swastika and, in 1911, the first strike at Kirkland Lake was made by William H. Wright. The Tough-Oakes became the camp's first gold producing gold mine in 1912. During the peak years of the late 1930's the Lake Shore, Wright-Hargreaves, Teck-Hughes, Sylvanite, Kirkland Lake Gold and Macassa mines along the "Main Break", and other properties in the vicinity, employed about 5,000 men, with a yearly output valued at over 30 million dollars. This structure, the company's vault, is all that remains of the original Tough-Oakes mine buildings.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario

The next 2 plaques were sent in by the McRae Family;
Tom, Cathy, Sarah, Daniel, Matthew, Alexander and Nick


Location: on Highway 11 (where the watershed crosses the highway),
about 14 km northwest of Kenogami Lake

The height of land known as the Artic Watershed crosses Highway 11 at this point. North of here, water drains into Hudson Bay; rivers, lakes and streams to the south flow into the Great Lakes. As the northern wilderness came under development, the erratic line of the watershed defined territorial boundaries. It marked the southern limit of Rupert's Land, the vast territory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1670. Two centuries later, it formed the northern boundary of lands ceded to the Crown by the First Nation Ojibwa in the Robinson-Superior Treaties of 1850.

Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation


Location: in a park on Highway 11, about 3 km south of Thornloe

On October 4, 1922 scattered bush fires which had been burning for some days north of Haileybury were united by strong winds into a holocaust which spread over most of 18 townships and took an estimated 43 lives. Burning out of control between the Englehart and Cobalt areas, it destroyed the communites of North Cobalt, Charlton, Thornloe and Heaslip, while Englehart and New Liskeard were partly consumed. The thriving town of Haileybury was razed except for a few buildings on the shore of Lake Timiskaming. On the night of October 5 the wind dropped and snow and rain helped extinguish the fire. A massive emergency relief programme helped to restore the economy of the area.

Erected by the Archeological and Historical Sites Board,
Archives of Ontario


Location: At the site of the former mission, at the foot of Old Mission Rd.
about 20 kms south of North Cobalt

In 1836 a Catholic mission was established directly across the lake at Fort Timiskaming, a Hudson's Bay Company post, where by 1842 a chapel had been completed. The mission was moved to this site in 1863 and a presbytery was constructed by the Oblates who had commenced missionary work in the region in 1844. A second presbytery was built here in 1867. The Grey Sisters of Ottawa, who had arrived the previous year, then established the first hospital of the Timiskaming District in the old presbytery. In 1878 a frame church, known as St. Claudes was completed. However, in 1877 the mission was moved to the growing agricultural settlement of Ville marie in Quebec.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: Opposite the Cobalt Northern Ontario Mining Museum,
26 Silver St., Cobalt

About 900 yards southwest of here, on August 7, 1903, two lumbermen seeking timber for railroad ties made the initial discovery of the Cobalt silver camp. Named for its discoverers, the McKinley-Darragh mine operated from 1904 to 1927. In the rush of 1905-06, Coleman Township became the scene of the most intensive prospecting hitherto known in Ontario. Though it once boasted over 100 producing mines, the fortunes of the camp waned after 1920, owing to sharply reduced silver prices. After 1960 a firmer market and improved methods of recovery encouraged renewed activity. In its first sixty years, the Cobalt camp produced over 420 million ounces of silver, valued at some $264 million.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario


Location: In Drummond Park, Silver St. & Prospect Ave., Cobalt

Physician and poet, William Henry Drummond was born in Ireland in 1854, and came to Canada with his parents about 10 years later. In 1884 he graduated in medicine from Bishop's College, Lennoxville, serving in rural Quebec before establishing a practice in Montreal. The "Poet of the Habitant", Drummond wrote in the broken English of the French-Canadian farmer and woodsman. His poems, published between 1897-1908, were characterized by humour and pathos. They touch the abiding things of life and have never lost their appeal. In 1905 the poet joined his brothers in a silver-mining venture, the Drummond Mine, located some two miles south-east of this park. Dr. Drummond died here in 1907.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario


Location: In Drummond Park, Silver St. & Prospect Ave., Cobalt



Silver has been an important mineral product for Canada's economy ever since the Cobalt boom which followed the discovery of rich veins of the metal near here in 1903. Although the production of the Cobalt silver mines began to decline in the 1920s, new sources were developed, principally in the lead and zinc mines of British Columbia and Ontario, which have maintained Canada's position in the world as a leading supplier of silver. The Cobalt boom was also important as a stimulus to future mining development in the Canadian Shield, and as an influence on government mining policy.

L'argent est un produit minier important de l'économie canadienne depuis le boom de Cobalt, à la suite de la découverte de riches filons près d'icc, en 1903. Dans les années 1920, la production de Cobalt a diminué mais on a découvert de l'argent dans les mines de plomb et de zinc de la Colombie-Britannique et de l'Ontario. Le Canada est donc demeuré aux premiers rangs des producteurs d'argent du monde. Le boom de Cobalt a eu d'autres effets: il a stimulé le développement minier du bouclier canadien et a influencé la politique minière du gouvernement.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: In the picnic area south of the Montreal River Bridge,
H-Way 11, Latchford

In 1925 the Ontario government began construction of this 200 mile trunk-road between Cochrane and North Bay. The road was intended to link the rapidly developing mining and agricultural communities of "New Ontario" with the province's southern regions. Several sections of rebuilt local roads were incorporated into the gravel highway and the final link was completed through the dense Timagami forest. The highway was officially opened on July 2, 1927, and named in honour of the Hon. G. Howard Ferguson, Premier of Ontario (1923-30) and long-time promoter of northern development. It immediately became an important access route to northern settlements and tourist regions, and later became part of the northern route of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Recreation

The next plaque was sent in by Carolyn O'Neil


Location: in Firemen's Park, Riverside Dr. Swastika

When the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway was completed to Cochrane in 1908, a station named Swastika was opened here at the Blanche River where gold had been discovered by James and William Dusty. In that year, the Swastika Mining Company was formed but low initial yields dampened interest in the region. In 1911, after the discovery of gold at Porcupine, the Swastika mine was expanded, the Lucky Cross mine was opened and prospectors returned to the region. A community of about 450 quickly developed around the station and a post-office was opened. The mines at Swastika soon failed, but with the discovery and development of the Kirkland Lake gold field five miles to the east, the community emerged as an entrepot for this area.

Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Recreation


Location: In New Liskeard, in Riverside Place, at the mouth of the Wabi River

The Little Clay Belt, the rich agricultural belt extending north from New Liskeard, was originally inhabited by the Algonquin First Nations, including Joachim "Clear Sky" Wabigijic and Angela Lapointe who lived by the mouth of the Wabi River. In 1891, William Murray and Irvin Heard settled here and two years later Crown Lands Agent John Armstrong arrived to supervise development. The abundance of good, inexpensive farmland attracted people from southern to "new" Ontario and the town quickly grew. It was incorporated as New Liskeard in 1903 and Armstrong became its first mayor. The Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway arrived two years later, helping to develop New Liskeard into the commercial centre of south Temiskaming.

Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: On the east side of Silver Street just south of Lang Street, Colbalt

Cobalt played a decisive role in the evolution of hard-rock mining in Canada. Between 1903 and the 1920's, the district's rich veins triggered a mining boom which attracted international attention and led to Cobalt's emergence as the silver capital of the world. The history of the industry is written in the surrounding landscape. Open-cuts carved from the rock by hand reflect the earliest surface mining operations. Mining shafts, sunk as operations expanded, are marked by the presence of headframes. Concrete foundations, massive rockpiles and remnants of tailings indicate the location of milling facilities for processing ore on site. Cobalt's former prosperity is still visible in the substantial commercial and financial buildings dominating the town centre. Ultimately, the operations at Cobalt established a cadre of mining professionals and a pool of capital, which sparked further mining exploration and proved invaluable in the development of large-scale gold and copper mining in Ontario and Quebec.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: In Centennial Park, at the northeast corner of Third Street and Fourth Avenue, Englehart

Englehart owes its beginnings to the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway (T. & N.O.), a colonization line designed by the provincial government to open agricultural lands of the Little Clay Belt to settlement and to provide access to the area's vast timber resources. In 1905 the railway stockpiled equipment and materials on the east bank of the Blanche (now Englehart) River, at mile 138, for the line's first major bridge. This drew entrepreneurs to provide services and amenities to the railway workers gathering there. In 1906 Englehart became a divisional point for the railway and work began to build repair shops and an engine roundhouse west of the river. Town lots were surveyed there and sold at public auction. A post office was established followed by stores, a school and churches. The community was named Englehart in honour of Jacob Lewis (Jake) Englehart, the chairman of the T. & N.O. Commission. In 1908 Englehart became an incorporated town and elected its first Council.

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: In the picnic area just north of the Montreal River bridge on Highway 11, Latchford

Latchford began in 1903 as Montreal River Station, a town site and river crossing for the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway, the colonization line designed to open the Little Clay belt to settlement and provide access to the area's vast timber resources. In 1904, a three span iron bridge was built to carry the railway across the Montreal River and construction of a station house and water tank soon followed. The town was surveyed in 1905 and renamed in honour of Francis Robert Latchford (1856-1938), then Ontario Commissioner of Public Works. A brief boom period ensued when silver was discovered to the northwest in 1906 and Latchford became the provisioning and starting point for prospectors travelling up Bay Lake. Latchford was incorporated as a town in 1907 and by 1911 its population was 429. As area silver deposits were depleted Latchford's prosperous timber and pulp mills assured its longevity, giving the town its nickname of "Sawdust City".

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario