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Location DB > Canada > Ontario > Cobalt > Heritage Silver Trail
Heritage Silver Trail
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 Database Info
created by vladatron on 3/23/2007 11:09 AM
last modified by PhotoSeeker on 2/21/2009 9:35 PM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled by its creator as Public, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
Many sites to visit throughout the town. Absolutely worth the visit.
 Basic Information
Type: Outdoors
Status: Abandoned
Accessibility: Easy - Just take the tour
Recommendation: drop everything - must see
 Physical Information

Cobalt, Ontario
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  •  Hazards
     Interesting Features
    Over 400 abandoned mines are situated in close proximity to the town.
     Security Measures
     Historical Dates
    Built: 0
    Closed: 0
     Required Equipment
     Recommended Equipment

    Cobalt is a town in the district of Timiskaming, province of Ontario, Canada, with a population of 1,221, and an area of 2.11 square kilometres. Population density is 582.9 per square kilometre.

    In 2001 Cobalt was named "Ontario's Most Historic Town" by a panel of judges on the TV Ontario program Studio 2, and in 2002 the area was designated a National Historic Site.

    Silver was discovered in the area in the summer of 1903, during the construction of the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario railway from North Bay to the communities of Haileybury and New Liskeard, north of Cobalt. Within a few years the area was one of the largest silver producing areas in the world. Speculation over mining stocks led to riots on Wall Street in New York City. In 1911 silver production exceeded 30,000,000 ounces. Mining continued until the 1930s, then slowed to a trickle. Activity renewed in the 1950s then slowly dropped off, and there are no longer any operating mines in the area. However, one mill still operates in the area, and there continues to be exploration, including exploration for diamonds.

    The silver mines of Cobalt, and the prospectors and miners that discovered them and worked the mines, have left an indelible mark on Canadian history, and the town is known as the birthplace of hard rock mining in Canada. The ore in Cobalt was close to surface, which meant that men with limited experience could prospect and begin mining, and then hone their skills as the mines went deeper. Those who learned their trade in Cobalt moved north, discovering gold in Kirkland Lake and Timmins and further afield in Canada and around the world.

    The mining activities in Cobalt have also left a significant environmental legacy. Millions of tons of mine waste rock and mill tailings were dumped on the land and in local lakes. In Cobalt ores, silver was associated with arsenic minerals. Little of this arsenic was ever recovered - most of it ended up in the tailings and waste rock. Today this arsenic contaminates surface water in the area and poses risks to the environment.

    The Cobalt area is also laced with many miles of underground mine workings, as well as surface trenches, pits and shaft openings. As a result, there are risks of collapse, or subsidence of underground mine workings, and many areas that have been fenced off to prevent entry.

    Visitors to Cobalt can visit the Cobalt Mining Museum, which boasts the world’s largest display of silver, as well as "The Bunker" which is a military museum, and a firefighter's museum. The Heritage Silver Trail is a self-guided driving tour of several mine and mill sites in the area. The trail is well marked, guiding visitors around the backroads of Cobalt. At each site, signs are posted, identifying the site, and providing a brief description of the site. The Trail guides visitors to many of the remaining mine headframes in the Cobalt area, some of which are quite picturesque, and stand as an important reminder of Cobalt's past.

    Visitors can also take a tour of an old underground mine. Tours start at the Mining Museum, and are guided by museum staff. The narrow damp tunnels of the mine give a real appreciation for the conditions under which miners worked, and tour guides sprinkle the tour with many stories to help bring the past to life.

    Also noteworthy is that in 2001 the town voted overwhelmingly to stop adding fluoride to the drinking water.

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     Photo Galleries
    Click to view gallery
    Fri, Mar 23rd, 2007
    posted by Anonymous
    12 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Fri, Mar 23rd, 2007
    posted by vladatron
    14 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Right-of-Way Mine
    Thu, Aug 14th, 2008
    posted by Intrinsic
    10 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    PhotoSeeker's August 2008 Visit
    Sun, Aug 24th, 2008
    posted by PhotoSeeker
    19 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    McKinley-Darragh Mine
    Thu, Nov 13th, 2008
    posted by Intrinsic
    5 pictures

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     Moderator Rating
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    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Opheliaism on 2/22/2009 4:53 AM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Feb 22 09 at 4:53, Opheliaism validated this location
  • on Feb 21 09 at 21:35, PhotoSeeker changed the following: Web Links
  • on Nov 13 08 at 4:17, Emperor Wang validated this location
  • on Nov 13 08 at 3:07, Intrinsic added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Nov 13 08 at 3:06, Intrinsic created a new gallery
  • on Oct 25 08 at 21:56, tribeachpunk validated this location
  • on Oct 25 08 at 15:58, PhotoSeeker updated gallery picture
  • on Oct 25 08 at 15:58, PhotoSeeker updated gallery picture
  • on Oct 25 08 at 15:58, PhotoSeeker updated gallery picture
  • on Oct 25 08 at 15:58, PhotoSeeker updated gallery picture
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