Little Long Lac-A Sleeping Bonanza (Part 1 of 3)

Portrait of Joseph Errington in the tribute from the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame.

JOE ERRINGTON  ̶  NO FOOLIN’

“Joe” Errington, son of Simcoe County, drawn as a youth by the call of mining to Sudbury, where he pioneered with the Orford Copper Co. (feeble infant of great portent out of which grew International Nickel) then to Northwest Territories to discover first high grade coal north of the Athabaska, later to explore mining areas of Mexico and the Western States, and then back to his own country to enter his real career as the distinctive Canadian type with force, energy and command of capital, who gets behind the prospector. He is of the 32nd degree of mining men1 who get most of the Canadian deposits, which doesn’t mean things have come easy. Sat steady in the boat when the 1928 boom in Sudbury Basin was led by his Errington mine, controlled by Treadwell Yukon, which today is closed down through zinc and lead slumps and ore complications. He is the kind of developer whose operations are followed by booms in which he does not believe, but does not regard as his function to control, even if he could.

Has a real charm of manner, and a voice of low, mellow pitch, but  ̶  no foolin’. It’s not good to get in his way when he’s into the business of breaking open a mine. If he appears aloof and hard, it doesn’t match the stories of his loyalty for old associates, big and little, matched by hard opposition for those he bumps or who bump him. One can believe that the game means more to him than the winning of the game.

Usually doesn’t get enthusiastic, but he sure feels that Little Long Lac is the thing he has looked for all his life, and intends to give it all he has, believing it will be worth its price and will vindicate its present market rating in dividend returns. His life has been and will continue to be, the open vistas of the North and the opened rocks of a real discovery  ̶  and the great quest for a mine among mines. Has had over sixty years of hard going, but looks as fit as an Olympian athlete, and with a mine like Little Long Lac behind him is expected to go on in his chosen field as doggedly as ever for a long spell of years, and  ̶   no foolin’!1

W. J. L.

One of Ontario’s most remarkable deposits found in an area long neglected, and with few signs on surface  ̶  spectacular in ore developments and in rise of shares from 25 cents to $7.70

Written for “Gold” in the Field by Ted Elliott

One of the most substantial, spectacular and rapid developments in the history of Northern Ontario mining is taking place on the eastern shore of the Little Long Lac, Port Arthur Mining Division, by the company of the same name, Little Long Lac Gold Mines Limited, President, Joseph Errington, veteran Canadian mining developer.

This remarkable property, designated as an important coming producer even by the most conservative, has been the spearhead of one of the most intensive rushes ever undertaken by Ontario prospectors. Though “many have staked and few may be chosen”, the fact remains that a great many operators are working on well-mineralized veins, with gold showings, and diamond drilling, trenching and shaft sinking bid fair to establish more than a single mine in the area. The work now under way is a remarkable commentary on the number of gold mines that may be “slumbering” under clay, muskeg or lake bottom[,] for the Long Lac area showed nothing outstanding to geologists or mining men to indicate its hidden riches. A great flat area with few outcrops, it remained for roving prospectors like Tony Okland[sic] and Tom Johnston[sic] to find “the golden key” to great wealth while persisting to search for gold on claims staked years before and given up for lack of mining interest.

View looking NNE from the mine to Rosedale Point ca 1934. The annotation in pen is wrong, for there is no Mine Road running left to right, which was constructed in 1935. The structure with the cross painted on the roof is the Little Long Lac Hospital, the only building in Rosedale Point not standing today. Geraldton Public Library.

Although the Little Long Lac company has only been incorporated under Ontario charter since January 26, 1933, development has gone forward with such rapidity that to-day a 200-ton mill is under construction. A three-compartment shaft is down 700 feet and workings have been extended for over 800 feet at some levels. Offices, power plant, assay house, and bunkhouse and cookery to accommodate 150 men have been built and are occupied, as well as half a dozen bungalows and a club house for the officials3. In addition to completing this ambitious project, the erection of a power transmission line is being pushed with all possible speed from the Northern Empire Mines, 48 miles to the west.4 Joseph Errington and his mine manager, Alan A. Barton, M.E., are to be congratulated on their creditable accomplishments within such a comparatively brief time.

“Bucked Up” the District

The energetic action of this company is noticeable not only on the location itself but is reflected in the heightened morale and the spirit of the people throughout the whole countryside. Immediately upon the news of the discovery by Tony Okland and Tom Johnson, the original stakers, prospectors poured into the district by the score. To-day over three dozen organizations are actively engaged in exploring the veins and shear zones on their claims, and a surprisingly large number can lay claim to respectable showings of commercial rock on surface, or good indications in drill cores.

What this godsend of activity has meant in a business way to the purveyors of supplies can best be appreciated by those who experienced the lean years that followed Terrible ’29. At every little station from Long Lac to Jellicoe merchandise is piled high along the tracks or waits in strings of box cars on the sidings to be transported down the lakes in boats. Modern editions of the old York boats equipped with marine gas engines pass to and fro, sometimes towing a heavily ladened barge. Launches and canoes fitted with outboard motors piled high with bundles and boxes risk submersion as they chug along from landing stage to some obscure trail at the water’s edge farther down the lake. Everyone is busy and, what is more important, wears the happiest of smiles. They’re making money in the Long Lac country this summer.

From Hardrock Station (now re-,christened Little Long Lac5) to the Little Long Lac mine by boat is more like a trip through a summer resort region. The harsh, rock-ribbed landscape usually associated with lode mining is entirely absent. To skim over the scintillating waters on a flawless July morning in the front of a kicker canoe is an exhilarating experience. On every headland and windswept point freshly cut stakes gleam sharply in the sunlight against the verdant green of the bush. White tents or cabins of freshly-peeled logs interrupt the marching ranks of pine and birch at intervals along the water’s edge.

[Continued in Part 2]

ENDNOTES

1 This rather grandiose title comes from Freemasonry. Freemasonry is made up of three degrees. When someone joins, he goes through the process of receiving the degrees and becomes a third degree Master Mason. At this point, he is a full Member of the Fraternity and a peer to all other Masons throughout the world. The term “32nd degree Master Mason” is often used in a colloquial  sense for a third degree Master Mason.

2 Joseph Errington was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 1993. He passed away in February 1942 at age 70 after a very eventful life.

3 The bungalows and club house are still standing and occupied as residences in the housing subdivision that adjoins the decommissioned mine itself to the east. The community is locally called Rosedale Point. Another subdivision a couple of hundred metres further west is locally called Little Long Lac Townsite.

4 The hydro power line followed the CNR railway to a point just west of Geraldton station, where it angled southward to span Barton Bay of Kenogamisis Lake (aka Little Long Lac).

5 Hardrock Station is located 3 miles east of Geraldton Station on the north shore of Kenogamisis Lake. It is named after “Hard Rock” Bill Smith, discoverer of the property that would become Hard Rock Gold Mines, Ltd. Hardrock Station always retained its original name in spite of what this article suggests.

A photo montage from the Maclean’s magazine article published on February 1, 1935, titled Little Long Lac.

PHOTOS

02a Portrait of Joseph Errington in the tribute from the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame.

02b View looking NNE from the mine to Rosedale Point ca 1934. The annotation in pen is wrong, for there is no Mine Road running left to right, which was constructed in 1935. The structure with the cross painted on the roof is the Little Long Lac Hospital, the only building in Rosedale Point not standing today.

02c A photo montage from the Maclean’s magazine article published on February 1, 1935, titled Little Long Lac.

About EJ Lavoie

Writer and independent publisher with website www.WhiskyJackPublishing.ca
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