LONG LAC LOOMS UP – A TYPICAL CANADIAN GOLD CAMP, BORN OF ROCK, LAKE, BUSH AND MUSKEG
New camp affords great spectacle of winning gold from the Pre-Cambrian Shield, staged by a hard-boiled, jolly crew of prospectors, engineers, freighters, and rustlers who find and make new mines and build new towns from a chaos of primitive conditions ̶ Written for “Gold” in the field by Ted Elliott
WE stood on the deck of the ferry, Jim Murphy and I, as it chugged home from Centre Island. Toronto’s cubistic palisades of big business distinctly etched in the afternoon sun shut out a goodly portion of the Northern heavens.
“Getting more like New York every day,” I declared, with a nonchalant wave toward the skyline.
“Yes,” replied Jim, in a non-committal tone that was more of a gesture to convention than conviction. “Ripley1 ought to know about that.”
“About the foundations of Toronto’s business section being laid over three hundred miles to the north.”
“I’m serious. The path-finders, the prospectors, the engineers, the muckers and a host of others, the men of
the Northland laid the foundation for many of those buildings.”
“Oh, I get you. You mean the mines.”
“Exactly,” agreed Murphy, “and the spaces between those buildings intrigue my imagination more than the
commercial palaces, themselves.”
“Come out of the clouds, Jim. Explain yourself.”
“Just this. If the resources of the north country in general, and the mines from Rainy River to Rouyn, in particular, have had such a profound influence on Toronto’s skyline to date, what will be the eventual result
when the present crop of discoveries have come into production?”
“Do you think many of them will?”
“No doubt about it,” shot back Murphy. “I know one district in Northern Ontario that for richness will out-pork Porcupine2.”
“Where’s that, may I ask?”
“The Little Long Lac area in the Port Arthur mining division.”
Jim Murphy was right. Several weeks ago I had the opportunity of seeing for myself this spectacular region whose possibilities are as yet unrealized by even the most optimistic of mining men.
The Wilderness Bristles with Activity
From Nipigon eastward on the Canadian National line from Port Arthur to Long Lac the countryside is agog with enthusiasm which increases in feverish activity until the tremendous climax is reached in the vicinity of Long Lac itself. For over a hundred and fifty miles the wooded wilderness is bristling with the energy of men who are delving into the overburdened pre-Cambrian shield for gold ̶ yea, much fine gold!
To-day, over three dozen incorporated companies and syndicates, and hundreds of individuals have staked, and are still staking, great stretches of this promising hinterland. Those who are credited with knowing the region say that there are still vast areas of virgin territory awaiting the claim-hungry prospector. The present staking activity is concentrated particularly along the Sturgeon River, north of Jackpine Station.
Every conceivable stage of development is exhibited within the precincts of this latest lusty rival to the older gold fields of Canada, and more and more prospectors come in on every train. New organizations are being formed almost daily to develop the seemingly inexhaustible supply of promising claims. Usually, as soon as
the formation of the company or syndicate is completed, plans are made for the placing of a field crew on the
property. The claims are thoroughly prospected and the most likely location for intensive operations is decided
Wherein Long Lac Differs
The Little Long Lac area differs from the other gold camps in Ontario in several respects. Within the comparatively short space of three years this region has progressed from obscurity to the white light of intense
public interest. Wherever veins of commercial importance have been found their extent and richness have been peculiarly consistent. At the Little Long Lac property, for instance, the mine officials say that the diamond drill has revealed good values almost any place along a vein whose length and depth has not as yet been fully established. No one knows just how extensive the deposits really are.
Ideally suited for prospecting, the Little Long Lac and Long Lac district is traversed from east to west by the transcontinental line of the Canadian National Railway. To the north and south numerous small lakes and rivers give access to the territories lying inland. There are three well-defined canoe routes that have been used from time immemorial by the Indians who took their furs out to the posts of the Hudson’s Bay and Revillon Freres that are established at strategical points along the routes right away up to James Bay.
(continued in Part 2)
1 Ripley’s Believe It or Not! began in 1919 as a newspaper cartoon feature named after its creator, Robert Ripley. It described bizarre events and items.
2 In 1903, construction began on the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway running north from North Bay towards Cochrane. The railway opened up Northeastern Ontario to prospectors, leading to the Porcupine Gold Rush and the Cobalt Silver Rush. In 1934, the name Porcupine still resonated among mining men.
01a View of Little Long Lac mine office in 1934. From left to right, T.H. Rea, George Rayner, Tony Oklend, Joseph Errington, J.H.C Waite, and two pilots, Boual and George. Rayner Construction had the contracts with Ontario Department of Northern Development to link local mines with roads. Tony Oklend was co-discoverer of Little Long Lac mine with Tom Johnson. Joseph Errington, associated with Sudbury Diamond Drilling CO., financed the mine’s development. Geraldton Public Library.
01b Masthead of Gold Magazine featuring articles and graphics from August 1934. Author’s Collection.
01c Location of the Little Long Lac, Sturgeon River, & Kowkash Gold Areas in 1935. Note that no highways/roads link these area.