Greetings bloggers, rockwatchers, rockhounds, cavers, historians and anyone with an interest in geology. You might like to know about an important event taking place in the northern bush this summer. No, it is not me doing a reading from my book “Rockwatching”. It is a bonafide mining town rock and mineral show. The event takes place in Cobalt, about an hours drive north of North Bay Ontario. It is a region that is the source of many of my mine pictures. Appropriatly it is called “The Rock and Mineral Show and Great Northern Treasure Hunt”, running between July 29th and 30th.
You can visit the miners tavern pictured below or any one of dozens of mines along the famous silver trail. Samples of cobalt and raw silver are still plentiful in the debris scattered through the bush. For pictures you will never find a better place. The town is in my opinion a national treasure and a few years back it won the title of “Most Historic Town in Ontario”. The locals can tell many exciting stories as mining was the exclusive occupation in this place. A train runs from Union Station in Toronto and makes daily connections to the outpost. It seems quite surreal to find such a large and beautiful station so far out in the wilderness.
Other events taking place are the live theater, adit tour where you can take a guided tour underground and of course the festivities in “the blind pig beer tent”. “A Blind pig” is an illegal drinking establishment. Cobalt was the Ontario Provincial Police’s first official detachment and a great deal of money slid beneath the counter to keep the bars running.
One of my favorite Cobalt stories is of the Chinese Laundromat. Apparently a customer had walked in there one evening and the place was sitting in good order, the food was on the stove, the various machines were running but everyone had vanished. It was as though they had evaporated. Nobody ever heard “head nor tale” of them again. Today the laundry is a senior’s centre. Some think that they must have ended up at the bottom of a mine shaft. The underneath of the town is honeycombed with tunnels and locals tell of crazy underground explorations across deep chasms on cast iron air pipes.
Do your best to make it up here this summer, it is a rock lovers dream. There is all manner of natural discovery and adventure and for the historian it is an exploration of raw, untouched history.