The Town of Cobalt, Ontario’s Most Historic Town and a National Historic Site, offers a number of attractions which will interest visitors who want to discover a century.
It was August of 1903 when J.H McKinley and Ernest Darragh arrived on the shores of Long Lake (later to be named Cobalt Lake) and made the discovery that would spark one of the richest silver booms Canada has ever experienced. It would spawn the birth of several discoveries and become the base for what would become a billion dollar Canadian industry.
In all, over 50 mining properties would be worked, however up to 150 mining companies had been formed to mine the wealth of silver in the Cobalt Camp.
At its peak, nearly 10,000 people lived in Cobalt and the town boasted many of the amenities of a large city. It had the only streetcar system north of Toronto, a hockey team which played in the N.H.A. (the forerunner to the N.H.L.) and an opera house. The first Northern Ontario detachment of the O.P.P was situated in Cobalt. The Nugget, the local newspaper, went on to become the North Bay Nugget which still publishes today.
“In the first fifteen years of its existence, the Cobalt silver camp produced nearly two hundred million dollars of ore and added another eighty million dollars in dividends, and Canada became the third largest producer of silver in the world. By 1928, the camp had produced more than $300,000,000 in silver, which was $100,000,000 more than the total value of gold discovered in the Klondike gold rush of 1889.
By the time the boom petered out in the 1920s, the camp had become the fourth largest silver producer ever discovered. Silver exports helped finance the nation's economic expansion and reduced the national debt. Secondary industries such as hydro-electric power plants, explosives factories, and smelters were built to service the needs of the mines. Because the discovery of valuable metals occurred in isolated areas, the mining industry created new towns and helped settle the country.” explains Doug Baldwin.
Although Cobalt is no longer a boom town, the remnants of its glory days are still very present and much effort has been expended to save head frames and foundations of what are now century old sites. What is astounding to most visitors is the sheer size of some of these structures. Some very small, as miners excavated rock by hand through narrow tunnels and passageways and other substantial sites looming over the landscape like Mayan ruins.
Described as one of the most interesting communities in the country, it offers a unique experience for residents and visitors alike. Come for a day, discover a century!!
As you read through the History of Cobalt, you will discover a number of interesting links that will make your visit to our site today just a little more enjoyable.