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Port Arthur for the Colonial Exhibition is probably the finest
and best display of mineral of this class which has ever been got
together on this continent, and will no doubt go far to convince
the mining world of the richness of the mineral deposits in West

" Why is there not more actual mining going on at Rat Portage
if the mines are so rich as you state ?"

" It is all owing to the action of the Dominion Government
in raising the dispute with regard to the boundary. That the
mineral is there, there can be no doubt. A large amount of capital
and numbers of mining men were attracted there some six years
ago. A number of mines were started, but as no titles could be
got for the lands, no issue of mining stock or bonds could be
made, and those who embarked in these enterprises found it
impossible to induce large capitalists to invest their money
under such circumstances. This difficulty will continue until the
Dominion Government cease their pretensions or the Council
decides the matter."

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" What about the timber resources of the country ?*'
" There is about 15,000,000 acres of land in this particular
belt and there is more or less pine scattered through it, but we
<3an safely estimate one-half the area as being pine lands and
placing the average quantity per acre at the very low estimate of
5,000 feet, it will yield about 40,000,000,000 feet. There is an
Abundance of the finest quality of white poplar and spruce, both
most desirable for the manufacture of pulp, and the magnificent
water powers will give facilities for the manufacture of this and
numberless other articles."

" What are the prospects of the railway you have referred to?"
" It will be easily seen that a railway passing through such a
<;ountry as I have just described, which would no doubt become
rapidly developed upon the construction of the road, and if we
take into consideration the quantity of timber alone that would
, be produced, will be furnished with ample traffic. Add to this the
traffic incidental to a large and productive population engaged in
agricultural, mining and manufacturing pursuits, which would no
doubt find their way into this country if opened by the railway.
The railway is projected from Port Arthur to Winnipeg, and must
-consequently get a share of the through traffic."

" What are the present means for settlers reaching the country?*'
" By the Canadian ^Pacific Railway to Port Arthur, or if the
intending settler is going to the Rainy River district, to Rat
Portage by the Canadian Pacific Railway, from which place they
can reach Rainy River by Lake of the Woods. The means of
access to this section at present is very limited, but the proposed
railway will remedy all that. There can be no extensive settle-
ment until the railway is built."


(By George Mitchell, March 30th, 1887.)


The proprietors of this well-known property, Messrs. Dobie
& Co., last fall engaged the services of Mr. Bouchire, an English
mining expert and practical mineralogist, to make a thorough

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examination of the ore which is highly refractory, and to decide
upon the most economical mode of treatment Mr. Bouehire at
once erected a large furnace and necessary apparatus, but after
live weeks' work obtained no satisfactory results from the experi-
ments. He then recommended the trial of a steel furnace, which
will shortly arrive, and the work will be resumed in the spring.
The ore from this mine, though refractory, is immensely rich.
The owners have money at their command and are determined
to work the property as soon as they see their way clear with
respect to the proper machinery.


In September laat the Keewatin Lumbering and Manufae-
turing Co., on whose limits a portion of the above company's
claims are located, served an injunction on the miners to stop
further operations.

Since then little work has been done, excepting some surface
prospecting. Recently, however, arrangements have been made
and are now nearly completed, which will permit the resumption
of work at an early date. The principal veins on this property
are the following :

The "Combination," a six-inch lead blue trap. Very rich speci-
mens have been taken from here. A prospect shaft, forty-two
feet deep, has been sunk.

"Ada G." A number of test pits have been sunk on this vein,
but as yet the width and extent are indefinite.


This vein shows a total width of vein matter of twenty feet.
A shaft of twenty feet has been put down on the foot wall, and
a twelve-foot drift on the vein. The character of the ore is
similar in many respects to that of Pine Portage. There is quite
a network of gold bearing leads intersecting this property, all of
which will be thoroughly prospected during the coming summer.
Substantial buildings have been erected and a good waggon road
built to the dock, which is about a mile distant from the camp.

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Last summer's prospecting work has showed up this vein in
great shape. It is now evident that besides the main lead there
are others branching oflF from it, all carrying coarse and fine gold
in paying quantities. Some of the specimens taken from portions
of the vein opened last fall are exceptionally rich, but the whole
of the gangue pans out very satisfactorily. The width of the vein
varies from four to eight feet as far as it is exposed at present.
A transfer of a part interest in the property is on the tapis^
and the probabilities are that the sound of stamps will be heard
in the neighbourhood before long. The Sultana is situated oni
Indian Reserve No. 38B, which fact has hitherto been detrimental
to placing the property on the market. Now, however, this diffi-
culty has been overcome, the Indians having surrendered to the
Dominion Government that portion of their reserve. It is, there-
fore, likely that a title will issue for this location and others
contiguous io it, within a reasonably short time.

(Later, April 30th, 1887.)

Daley and Huggins have shut down work on the " Minerva"
until navigation opens. They are making an eflfort to get five;
head of stamps on the ground.

A number of mica discoveries were last fall added to those^
already located. One of these owned by Messrs. Bulmer, Parsonst
& Chaloner shows up big. The vein occurs in the Laurentian;
formation south of the North-west angle, and in American ter-^
ritory, and can be traced two miles. The samples shown from-
here are of a better class than any other mica on the lake.

Down below White Dog, on the Winnipeg River, Dr. Scovil
and Mr. Matheson, of the Hudson Bay Company, have surveyed
a claim on which there is a big deposit of fair mica. The vein:
will be prospected in the coming spring.

Nothing further has been done in the famous Falcon Island
mica mine, owned by Messrs. Matheson and Macpherson. This is.
a very extensive bed of mica and yields sheets eight inches square.

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Some preliminary work was done two years ago, but to all appear-
ance ground was broken in the wrong spot. Some likely looking
specimens of the wine coloured mica were brought in last week
from the vicinity of English River, and all through that country
and the valley of the Winnipeg River numerous croppings of this
mineral are found.

There appears to be an early prospect of titles being issued for
mining properties on certain Indian Reserves. Last October the
Indians of Reserve 38B, near this place, were induced by the
Government to relinquish their claim to that part of the reserve
where several mining claims have been surveyed, and it is pro-
bable that the Government will place a price per acre on the
land and give patents for same without delay. Their action, if
carried out, in other portions of the section, will materially
enhance the value of our mining district, as quite a number of
valuable deposits are known to exist on several of the reserves
which, heretofore, have not been prospected on account of the
Indian title preventing their location.

The Winnipeg Free Press says : — Those who have mines on
the Lake of the Woods are only awaiting a settlement of the
titles question to commence work. Among the specimens on view
in Mr. Proudfoot's office are several magnificent ones from the
Heenan mine, on Hay Island, ten miles from Rat Portage. The
quartz is heavily pregnated with the precious metal, and would
yield at the rate of over $1,000 per ton. The proprietors of this
property have had an assay of rock, chosen indiscriminately from
the mine, made by Prof. Chapman, of Toronto, and the result
shows $606 per ton. The professor makes special reference to
the quality of the ore, which is calcareous in its nature, and easily
mined and separated. A considerable amount of money has been
spent on this property in the erection of buildings and testing
shops. The vein is eighteen inches wide and is most promising,
and the owners intend tunnelling with a view to reaching it.
There are besides the vein referred to, a number of other veins
distributed over the location, showing indications of both gold
And silver.

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Mr. A. L. Russell, P.L.S. and D.L.S., returned from a month's
surveying expedition by yesterday's train from the east apparently
in good health. Meeting Mr. Roland, who was employed on this
party, a Sentiifiel representative elicited the following brief items
respecting their general experience : —

" The route to the scene of Mr. Russell's surveys of Indian
reservations was along the (for the most part) frozen rapids and
chutes of the Nipigon River, and from the Little Flat Rock rapids
across the magnificent inland sea known as Nipigon Lake. This
immense water stretch possesses a deeply indented coast line of
nearly 600 miles. Voyaging along this route in summer was of
course familiar to the entire party, but the experience of travel-
ling on snow-shoes over the frozen chain of lake-like expansions
composing the swift flowing Nipigon River, was to some of us
quite a novel one.

" This river measures some 33 miles from its source at Victoria
Falls to its inlet into Nipigon Bay, Lake Superior. No less than
fifteen falls of more or less magnitude occur in its impetuous
course. Many of these falls are of unrivalled grandeur, and even
in their present partially frozen-over state, present new charms
and impressions from every point of view.

" The topography of this country is perhaps more diversified
with islands, lakes and streams, with rocky mountain ranges and
fertile belts interlarded therein, than any other portion of Ontario.

•' To the south and westward of the big lake with the euphoni-
ous Franco-Indian name of Nipigon, much fertile land and good
timber abounds, and the country in the neighborhood of the
English church mission, where the Indians cultivate a great
variety of root and other crop, is no exception.

" This mission was established some ten years ago by the late
Bishop of Algoma (Fauquier), who endeared himself to the small
but devoted band now permanently settled in Mclntyre Bay on
the south side of Lake Nipigon. Here some five or six frame
and log houses, including a good school, have been erected, under

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the superintendence of Rev. Mr. Rennison, a graduate of Trinity
College, Dublin.

*' This well chosen site has not yet been secured to the Indians.
I am, however, informed upon good authority that both the
Dominion and Ontario Governments are about taking steps to
construct a good wagon road from Red Rock on the Canadian
Pacific railway to this mission. This is rather a better route for
the road promised to the Nipigon people by Mr. Conmee, M.P.P.,
during the closing days of last session, and for which the sum of
$1,000 has been voted in this year's estimates. Mineral lands
have been applied for in this vicinity. " Possibly,'* observed the
intelligent chief of the band, " the Government think we have
moved away. And as white men have already applied for mineral
lands right at our doors, we should like to see this question of
ownership settled in a friendly way, as we don't want to keep
out miners or settlers."

"During our trip we experienced some unusually severe
weather, notwithstanding which work was vigorously carried on
every day. Over 11,000 acres of land were instrumen tally sur-
veyed, and repeated observations were taken upon clear nights
throughout the progress of the work.

" In addition to the above survey, consisting of some twenty
miles of line cutting and traversing, Mr. Russell also made a
track survey across Lake Nipigon by pacing and prismatic com-
pass bearings, thereby fixing the position of many islands and
essential points in this lake of magnificent distances. This latter
proved a most fortunate undertaking, as on the return trip, and
during a piercingly cold north-east wind and blinding snow storm
of sleet, our Nipigon Indians, who might reasonably be supposed
to know the route thoroughly, became hopelessly lost, and it was
only owing to the fact of Mr. Russell's observations on the up
trip and his early detection of their aimless and irregular course
that saved us being placed in a very unenviable position to say
the least.

" Indians like others are often slow to admit their errors, but
in this case they frankly admitted that " Indian was positively
lost." Many of the traverses from point to point in this section
-are extremely long and consequently travelling in stormy weather

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is perilous work indeed. It was on one of these long stretches
that the party under Mr. Peter Warren Bell, Inspecting Chief
Factor of Hudson Bay Company, only a few days before became
so entangled among the north-western archipelago during a
similar storm, that they lost much valuable time and a few of
their dogs before reaching their destination. Beyond a few
frost bites none of our party sustained any injury. Not so with
our snow-shoes however, for notwithstanding the most indefatig-
able eflforts at their repair, owing to the deep and uneven and
yielding surface of the snow everywhere, little else than the
frames remain for future use.

'* The fur trade near the lake is said to be fairly good this sea-
son, but owing to a decided paucity of supplies at the Hudson
Bay Company's interior post of Nipigon House, the Indians com-
plain that they would be compelled to seek other sources of sup-
plies. Our party were, however, fortunate in obtaining just
sufficient food for time actually employed. This, under the pecu-
liar circumstances of the case, may be looked upon as a very great
concession on the part of the Hudson Bay Company. Mr. Russell
proves to have been an old acquaintance of the agent at this post
(Nipigon House) and this doubtless accounts for his successful
negotiations respecting the commissariat department.

" Arriving at Red Rock we were unpleasantly surprised at the
blank left in the lovely foreground of the pleasing panorama as
seen from the Nipigon bridge. I refer to the total demolition of
the "Nipigon Hotel," so successfully conducted by the genial
explorer of Lake Superior, Mr. Duncan McEachren, who unlike
Marius of Carthage, is up and active as ever.

" In addition to the above reserves on the Big Lake, another
reserve was last season surveyed by Mr. A. L. Russell, for the
band of Chippeways belonging to Red Rock and Lake Helen.
This reserve is on the west bank of the Nipigon River near its
inlet to Lake Helen, where the Chief Pierre Deschamps and other
civilized Indians have made comfortable homes and well cultivated
gardens. Here also reside the most experienced and trusty
voyageurs and guides to the numerous fishing places of note.
Among the best known of the guides I may mention Pierre Bon-
netcarie, Jose Bouchard, John Watt, Alexe La Ronde and Dennie

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Is worthy of more than a passing notice, as it has been pro-
nounced by sportsmen, for the past 15 years, the king of trout-
streams. Until quite recently the trouble, expense and time neces-
sarily involved in reaching the north shore of Lake Superior
deterred all but the most enthusiastic from making the trip ;.
however, since the opening of the North Shore Division of the
Canadian Pacific Railway on November 2nd, 1885, the journey is-
a pleasure, and accordingly a fresh page will this year have beem
turned in the history of the Nipigon. Sportsmen may now take
passage from any of the American cities, and after connecting
with the Canadian Pacific Railway never leave their car until
they reach the Hudsons' Bay Post of Red Rock, at the mouth of
the river, where guides, Indians, canoes and tents can be engaged^
and all the necessary provisions for the trip may be purchased
either at Port Arthur or Nipigon ; the general system followed i&
to make Port Arthur the visitor's headquarters, and base of oper-
ations. Nothing need be brought excepting fishing tackle, which
can be purchased better in the east than here. Provisions and all
necessary camping supplies are nearly as low in price at either
Port Arthur and Nipigon as in the east, and buying them on the
spot prevents the traveller being hampered with much that ia
useless, and totally unfit for a journey up the river. The usual
rates for the rent of canoes are 50 cents to $1.00 per day, men
from $1.00 to $2.00 and their board. The trout season extends
from May 15th to September 15th, the best fishing season being^
from the first of July until the close of the season, the water
usually being too high in June. A nominal license fee is charged
by the Government, but it is expected that this will soon be done
away with, and that the river will be perfectly free to the sports-
men of all nations. It is not necessary to say anything in favour
of the fishing which is so justly celebrated all over America ; the
chief complaint from those who are in the habit of going there is.
that they get too many fish, more in fact than they can possibly

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use. A six pound trout is no uncommon occurrence, although, of
course, the average is not so large, from one and a-half to three
pounds being the weight of those usually caught.

The Nipigon is not the only trout stream on the north shore
of Lake Superior ; there are very many others which of them-
selves would make any country celebrated, but their importance
is to a certain extent overshadowed by the Nipigon, about which
so much has been said and written ; of course this latter river
being navigable for canoes makes it more easily fished than many
of the others. In Thunder Bay itself are many fine streams in
which trout may be caught : the Mackenzie River, fourteen miles
east of Port Arthur ; Carp River, 14 miles south ; and Blend
River, 25 miles east, have all local reputations for the size and
quantity of their trout, while within a radius of six miles there
are as many streams in which large quantities of small trout may
be caught any afternoon in summer. The principal of these are
Current River, McVicar's Creek, Six Mile Creek and Mclntyre
River, while on the north shore, east of Nipigon, nearly all the
streams are well stocked, besides possessing the advantage of
very rarely having been visited by any one.


Upon margin of large plan of Mining region accompanying
this work will be found a small sketch of the Nipigon River from
actual instrumental surveys, shewing principal portgages, rapids,
and fishing pools, between the Virgin or Grand Falls, and the
crossing of the C.P.R.R. at Red Rock or Nipigon.

The above maps were specially prepared by Mr. A L. Russell,.
D.L.S., and Provincial Land Surveyor, of Port Arthur, to whom
the writer is also indebted for valuable information relating to
the " mineral region/' now attracting so much attention from
foreign and native capitalists.


Is beautifully situated on natural terraces sloping down to the-
shores of Lake Superior at the head of Canadian Lake Naviga-

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tion, and at the terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway on Lake

The following are the distances from it to the undermentioned
places, viz.:

Nipigon, via the O.P.R 67 miles east.

Ottawa " " 874

Montreal, " " 994

Quebec, " " 1,140

Winnipeg, " " 430 miles west.

Regina, " " 786

Calgary, " " 1,269

Canmore, " ** 1,336

Vancouver, " " 1,900

Toronto, via C.P.R. Steamer and Owen

Sound 650 miles east.

Toronto, via N.W.T. Co.'s Steamer and

Samia 700 miles.

Sault Ste. Marie, by steamer 265 "

Duluth, Minn., by steamer 180 miles s. w.

St. Paul, Minn., by steamer and rail, via

Duluth 335

It may be reached during the entire year by the following
routes, viz.:

By the Canadian Pacific Railway (Eastern Division), which
-connects with all the railway systems of Ontario, Quebec, the
Maritime Provinces, the New England and Eastern States, for
All points south and east of Chicago. By the Canadian Pacific
Railway (Western Division), which connects at Winnipeg with
the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba systems from St. Paul,
Minneapolis, St. Louis, and all points south and west, and after
July 1st, 1886, solid trains will be run from Port Arthur to and
from Vancouver, British Columbia, making direct connection with
steamers for Victoria, Portland, Oregon, and all points on the
Pacific coast as far south as San Francisco.


Are situated near the Mouth of the Pigeon River, which is
distant by water 40 miles from Port Arthur ; the Falls are still
in a natural condition, the surroundings never having been

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■destroyed by the ruthless hand of man. The river here tumbles
perpendicularly over a ledge of rock 90 feet high, into a solid
stone basin below. Pigeon River forms the International boun-
•dary line between Canada and the United States ; the State of
Minnesota being the American bank, while the District of Algoma
forms the Canadian one. Ten miles further along the coast the
Grand Portage is located. It is over this celebrated portage that,
in the days before railways were known in the North- West, the
supplies of the North-Western fur traders were taken to the
interior posts, and it is the only place or route in the United
States where British goods can be taken through without any
bonding or Customs regulations, the river and the portage being
•common to the people of both nations.



Brief reference was made in foregoing pages of this work
iio the above question, since which writing, however, important
developments have taken place. It is unnecessary to refer at
length to the dispute which arose between the Federal and
Provincial Governments in regard to the boundaries of Ontario
and Manitoba (familiarly known as the Boundary Question), as
the subject was an important issue in Canadian politics during
^several campaigns, and the points in dispute were discussed
through the press and on the platform in every part of the
Dominion. Suffice it to say, however, for the benefit of those
who are not conversant with the question, that owing to this
-dispute no titles could be obtained for lands within the boun-
daries of this disputed territory. For years this matter has
retarded the settlement of the country and the development
-of the timber, mineral, and agricultural lands. The important
•question of the ownership of the land has at last been set at rest
by the decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
-of England, to which tribunal the case was referred for final
hearing. The verdict of that body gave the Province of Ontario
-control of the lands within the disputed boundaries. Although

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this final decision was given nearly three years ago patents were-
not issued, owing to a subsequent contention being raised in
regard to the extinguishing of the Indian title. This case had
also several hearings in the courts, and a verdict in every instance
being favorable to the Province, the Government finally decided
to issue patents for all claims in the Rainy River district. The
following announcement by the Commissioner of Crown Lands^
restores confidence in the future of the district, and has already

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Online LibraryWalpole RolandAlgoma West, its mines, scenery and industrial resources .. → online text (page 13 of 17)