The first European settlers, Scottish and Irish soldiers, and early farmers were met with the harsh terrain of the Canadian Shield. It is this rocky shoreline that makes Tay Valley such a spectacular destination for lakeside living. Pristine swimming, mature forests and steep rock faces create the feeling of true Canadiana. To recognize these assets, heritage plaques now mark significant trees, legacy cottages and historic farm properties that have remained in the same families for generations.
As an employer, OMYA has a credible track record. It acquired the former Steep Rock Resources properties in 1988, and made a long-term capital commitment to upgrade and expand the facilities. It earned both its ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14000:1996 certificates. The plant meets environmental regulations for noise, air and effluent.
The company operates an open pit mine at Tatlock and a mill in Perth. The calcium carbonate it produces is slurried and either railed or trucked to customers. It is used in the manufacture of paper, paints, plastic, food and pharmaceuticals and a variety of other industries. OMYA has about 100 employees of its own and provides another 150 jobs for local trucking and mining contractors. It is providing a reliable source of income for them and pumping about $20 million annually into the local economy.
Little has been said about the fact that water for the plant now comes from seven deep wells. They tap into the groundwater and are licensed to pump up to 800 L/min. The wells will be reduced to standby status. The net effect on the river, given that the underground aquifer is not being depleted, may be close to zero. Time will tell. Read more here.. click
Mineral Deposit Inventory for Ontario
Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and MinesPermanent Link to this Record: MDI31F01NW00006
|Deposit Name(s)||Barnes-steep Rock – 2000, Angelstone – 2000, Tatlock Quarry – 2000, Barnes (angelstone) Quarry – 2000, Steep Rock Resources – 2000|
|Related Deposit Type||None|
|Deposit Status||producing mine|
|Date Last Modified||2005-Dec-07|
|Created By||Q Unknown|
|Revised By||D Laidlaw|
Primary Commodities: calcite (filler), marble (building stones), marble (structural materials)
Township or Area: Darling
Latitude: 45° 8′ 58.88″ Longitude: –76° 29′ 55.52″
UTM Zone: 18 Easting: 382183 Northing: 5000672 UTM Datum: NAD83
Resident Geologist District: Southeastern Ontario
NTS Grid: 31F01NW
Point Location Description: Square symbol ‘ Ma 11 ‘ SW of Tatlock and N of Murrays Hill.
Location Method: conversion from mdi
Source Map: OGS 1979, P 1980 MARBLES OF THE PEMBROKE-RENFREW AREA
Sources Map Scale: 1:125 000
Access Description: From Hwy 7 at Perth take the road to Lanark. At Lanark and the junction to Carleton Place (8.7 ml) continue straight. At the 30.9 ml junction turn right onto a gravel road to Tatlock. The quarry is at 31.85 ml on the left.
Exploration and Mining History
Originally opened by Angelstone Ltd (1962/3-1971/2), producing ‘ Temple White ‘ dimension stone from 2 quarries on lots 4 and 5. W. R. Barnes reopened the quarry on lot 4 in 1977 and produced decorative stone chips and calcium carbonate filler. They also built a processing plant in Perth. In 1981 the plant and quarry were purchased by Steep Rock Resources Inc. (a subsidiary of Pluess-Staufer A.G.) The quarry has been operated on a seasonal basis , producing 250,000 tonnes per year for year round operations of the mill (1992). Increased levels of production were expected in 1993 as stripping to the N and S of the present quarry was carrried out at that time. Plant capacity was increased above its previous 250, 000 tonnes limit. The Perth mill produced (1992) : high-grade calcium carbonate filler for the paper industry, decorative aggregate, terrazo chips, poultry grit, agricultural limestone, stucco mix and fine-grained filler for floor tile, wall joint compounds, paints and plastics. Diamond drilling was done by Steep Rock Resources Inc. at Lot 5, Con. 4, see assessment file #19, Darling Twp.
08/14/2000 (C Papertzian) – The quarry lies in the W part of a 17.7 km wide marble belt with minor paragneiss and metavolcanics. The quarried rock is white, coarse-grained (2.8 mm) calcitic marble; one of the purest and brightest (>95 %) of its kind. The units being quarried occur in an 85 m wide zone which contains reserves for over 50 years (1992).
Lanark Residents, Cottagers Battle
Giant Swiss Mining Corporation
By Michael Cassidy,
Tatlock and Ottawa
My wife Maureen and I bought a small cabin at Tatlock three years ago with plans to build an addition, keep things simple, and enjoy Lanark’s rural peace and the clean waters of Rob’s Lake. Little did we know what was brewing just down the road, where a giant Swiss corporation was preparing a huge expansion of a quarry to feed a world-scale processing plant for calcium carbonate products located near Perth.
Three years later we are one of eight individuals or groups who have passed a major procedural hurdle and are appealing the expansion plans of OMYA (Canada) Ltd., which is probably the largest single producer of calcium carbonate products in the world. OMYA’s expansion could have serious adverse impacts on the Tay River near Perth; in the vicinity of the OMYA quarry at Tatlock; and for Lanark residents along the Highway 511 corridor and in Lanark village, because of a projected flow of 40 ton trucks from the quarry travelling the corridor every two or three minutes, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Besides ourselves the appellants include Lanark residents from Glen Tay, Perth and McDonald’s Corners; cottagers from Bob’s Lake; an environmentalist from Stittsville; and the Council of Canadians, whose particular concern is OMYA’s plan to ship water out of the Great Lakes watershed despite stated Ontario government policy to the contrary.
The issue we are appealing is a permit issued by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to allow OMYA to take up to 4.5 million litres of water per day out of the Tay River at Glen Tay, 7 km. west of Perth, to be mixed with calcium carbonate to form a slurry that paper companies and other industries are eager to buy at prices of $150 and up per ton.
Calcium carbonate, better known as limestone or marble, is a major product in industry used in everything from paper and plastics to toothpaste and diet supplements. The former Steep Rock quarry at Tatlock that OMYA acquired in the 1990s has an exceptionally large and pure deposit of this mineral.
Ontario has given OMYA a permit to mine up to 4 million tons a year of calcium carbonate, or calcite and another permit to pump up to 3.6 million litres of water per day out of the quarry for dewatering as its operations move below the level of surrounding lakes. The company has invested hundreds of millions to transform its processing plant at Glen Tay, just off Highway 7, into a state of the art facility.
Apart from one Ontario Municipal Board appeal relating to the Glen Tay plant, OMYA’s preparations for expansion have attracted little notice. While permit applications relating to the quarry were posted on Ontario’s electronic Environmental Registry, few of us have time to be so vigilant as to have seen the posting and responded within 30 days. The permits passed through almost unopposed.
That situation changed when OMYA set out to put the final piece in place for its expansion plan – taking water from the Tay because it had outrun the capacity of local groundwater sources to meet its needs for water. When the permit application was posted to the Environmental Registry, an astonishing 283 letters of concern were sent to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Ninety per cent of these letters called for some kind of environmental assessment.
There was universal concern that OMYA wanted water from the Tay before adequate information had been collected about its ability to meet OMYA’s needs. The Tay watershed is already stressed because it serves as a reservoir of water to help maintain the Rideau Canal at navigation levels during the summer months. Water levels in Bob’s Lake, the chief reservoir lake, drop by four or five feet every summer as water is drawn for the Rideau system.
This concern was compounded by the lack of current data. The last consistent measurement of water flows along the Tay was made over a dozen years ending in 1927. At some times in the year, the Tay is a river of rocks with a flow so low that almost no water gets through to Perth– read the rest here click
In addition to his holdings in Virginia, Peter McLaren also had mining interests closer to home. In 1901 he acquired mines at North Burgess Township from the Anglo Canadian Phosphate Company which had abandoned work on the property a decade earlier when the market price of phosphates had fallen to unprofitable levels. Open trench pits had
originally been dug for extracting apatite49, but McLaren worked them for mica50. In 1910 he made the property and mines a wedding gift to his son William (1880-1932) and daughter-in-law Anna Gemmell McLaren (1884-1975). The mica mine went out of production again in 1923, but William and Anna continued to live on the property. Today the site is occupied by the BurgessWood housing development. Perth Historical Society
Phosphate rock is processed to produce phosphorous, which is one of the three main nutrients most commonly used in fertilizers (the other two are nitrogen and potassium). Phosphate can also be turned into phosphoric acid, which is used in everything from food and cosmetics to animal feed and electronics
Mining in BurgessWood— click here
BurgessWood, a community on the northwest shore of Otty Lake, was once the site of active
apatite and mica mines. The following is excerpted, with permission, from “BurgessWood:
Evolution of a Community,” published by the BurgessWood Property Owners’ Association in
By the year of Confederation, 1867, Perth was a well-established town. But the north shore of
Otty Lake likely remained at least partly virgin forest, old-growth trees towering above the land.
Native people continued to camp sometimes around the lake, where they hunted and fished for
bass, perch, and pike. Logging had begun on nearby land owned by Perth businessmen, and
small-scale mining activities were starting up.
That same year, twenty-year-old Isaac Kenyon arrived at Otty Lake from Manchester, England.
Isaac’s father, Hartley Kenyon, owned shares in the mining operations in North Burgess (now
Tay Valley) township near Otty Lake. Isaac arrived to look into the prospects for his father’s
investment. Isaac Kenyon found work as an analyst for the mining company, operating a
geological laboratory. He boarded just down the road from the mine with the William Watts
family on what is now the Norris property on Otty Lake Sideroad.
The mining operation where young Isaac Kenyon worked extracted two minerals: apatite, a type
of phosphate used in making fertilizer; and mica, used in a variety of industrial applications, such
as electrical insulation and isinglass for oven doors. These two minerals tend to be found
together, along with others such as feldspar and quartzite.
The first recorded commercial shipment of apatite in Canada came from North Burgess
township. Over the years between the 1860s and 1920s, a series of operators leased or owned the
mineral rights on Lots 4, 5, and 6 of Concession 8 in North Burgess, in and around present-day
The mines were of the open pit type—narrow trenches that were normally shallow but could
occasionally run as deep as 100 feet. The mineral output was usually destined for export to either
Germany or Great Britain. The product was transported by scow from a bay on the north shore of
Otty Lake, now called Apatite Bay. From there it travelled to the lake’s south shore, then by
wagon or sleigh to Rideau Ferry, whence it was shipped to Montreal via the Rideau Canal.
Of the various operators, the Anglo-Canadian Phosphate Company maintained the largest
operation, employing about 20 miners on average. Eventually mica would overtake apatite as the
area’s main product.
In 1901, Senator Peter McLaren acquired the mining property lying within present-day
BurgessWood. The property had been idle for 10 years after the Anglo-Canadian Phosphate
Company abandoned it, because of a drop in market prices. Senator McLaren resumed mining
for mica and apatite.
Peter McLaren’s son, William, and William’s wife, Anna Gemmell McLaren, moved there after
their marriage in 1910 to assume responsibility for operating the mines. Many pits had originally
been opened for extracting apatite, but the main pit, a narrow open-cut trench 75 feet deep and
only 10 feet wide, was now being worked for mica.
The mining property included a large frame boarding house with bunks and a communal dining
room for the miners. There were also stables for the horses used in the mining work, and a
culling shed for trimming the mica by hand into commercially usable sheets. The culling shed
was located on what is now 1031 McLaren Road. The place was deserted every winter until the
miners came back to work in the spring.
Just to the west of the miners’ boarding house, the McLarens built a simple white frame home
and named it Forest Lodge. Eventually the McLarens added another log dwelling to the property
now identified as 1049 McLaren Road. Embedded in a hillside was a stone storehouse used to
keep food and possibly dynamite for the mining operations. Nearby were a stone drinking trough
for horses, a well, and a pump. These latter artifacts, as well as the storehouse, can still be seen at
present-day 1062 McLaren Road.
The mining operations came to an end in 1923, as the market for its product petered out.
While current-day volunteers were blazing hiking trails in the area, they discovered remnants of
the mica operations left behind by miners nearly a century ago. Alongside a long deep trench,
they found remains of barrels and buckets, with wooden staves and rusted iron rings partially
intact. There was also a piece of iron driven into a tree, part of a winch system for raising
buckets of mica out of the pit. These evocative artifacts of another era can still be seen on the
As well, an ore wagon was found on the old McLaren property in present-day BurgessWood,
near the couple’s two houses and the miners’ bunkhouse. As the developer of BurgessWood, Dr.
Grover Lightford donated the wagon to the Silver Queen mine at Murphy’s Point Provincial
Park, and members of the BurgessWood maintenance committee volunteered to restore it.
Similar mines in Lanark County
Otty Lake Mine
Location: Lot l, concession VIII, North Burgess township,
Minerals Present: Apatite, mica, scapolite, pyrite, marcasite
Development: The mine was worked in 1871 by Edward Schultze,
in 1873 by Messrs. Morris and Griffin and in
1908 to 1910 by R. Mcconnell. The main opening
is 100 feet long, 15 feet wide and about 40 feet
Geology: Mica and apatite occur in pink calcite at the contact
of dark pyroxenite and dark biotite gneiss. The
mica crystals are badly crushed.
References: de Schmid (1912, p. 176); Spence (1920, p. 55)
Lot 2, Concession VIII
Location: Lot 2, concession VIII, North Burgess township,
Minerals Present: Apatite, mica, calcite, scapolite, wilsonite,
Development: This phosphate mine is reputed to be the first
worked in Canada having been opened in 1855. It
was worked in 1870 by R. Matheson of Perth who
opened a pit 60 feet long and 15 feet deep. The
property was acquired by Kent Brothers in 1907
and the largest pit was 60 feet long, 25 feet
wide and 25 feet deep.
Geology: Mica and apatite occur irregularly in pockets in
leads in light grey pyroxenite.
Reference: Spence (1920, p. 55).
Lot 3, Concession VIII
Location: Lot 3, concession VIII, North Burgess township,
Minerals Present: Apatite, mica.
Development: Apatite was mined on this lot in 1870 from an
8-foot vein by Messrs. Ritchie and Jackson of
Belfast. A shaft was sunk to 30 feet on a 3-
foot vein and drifting was carried out in both
directions on the vein. Several smaller pits
were opened and about 1000 tons of apatite is
said to have been mined. The mine was worked
in 1908 by Kent Brothers of Kingston for mica.
Geology: The mica-apatite veins strike northwest and southeast and average 2 feet in width. Narrow bands of
pyroxenite separate the veins from the country rock
References: de Schmid (1912, p. 178); Spence (1920, p. 56).
Pioneer Mica Miners
25 years ago the late Miss Lillian Smith of Perth donated a now century old six ledger book to the Perth Museum. The ledger was originally part of the American Mica Mining Company operating in North Burgess Township during 1864-65. This pay roll lists the names of many well known district families. To say nothing of showing the differences in wages paid miners 100 years ago and today.
The first name entered in the ledger is that of Thomas Stapleton, a blaster. For the week ending September 24, 1864, Thomas received $5 for four days work at $1.25 per day. Thomas McPharland, pitman, was paid $4.80 for a six day stint at 80 cents a day. John McPharland, a dresser, worked one day that week for 30 cents. For the week ending October 1, Owen Powers, foreman, was reimbursed to the tune of $7.50 ($1.25 per day). G.N. Randall, superintendent of the cutting and directing, was paid $3.21 per day, definitely “top brass” earnings. But he was still far from the class of engineer F. Poole (F. Poole and Associates) whose salary was $6 per day. A. Castle, described as a “superintendent” was paid $1 per day and granted $8.35 in “expenses” from Montreal to the mines. It may be that Mr. Castle was some sort of supervisor whose duties were dignified with a fine sounding title somewhat like discreetly referring to today’s garbage men as “sanitary engineers”.
One hundred years ago the company paid out an average of $219 per week in wages and salaries for 104 days work and a work day was ten hours long. This means that the hourly rates were as follows: blaster, twelve and a half cents; pitman, eight cents; dresser, three cents; foreman, twelve and a half cents; superintendent of cutting and dressing, thirty two cents; engineer, sixty cents.
In the interests of genealogy, a reproduction of the names in the list on the ledger is given:
Foremen: Owen Powers and Peter Powers
Balster: Bernard Berns
Pitmen: Pat White, Peter White, Michael McPharland (#1), Michael McPharland (#2), Thomas McPharland, Francis McPharland, Lawrence Russell, Thomas Stapleton, Thomas Darcy, Michael Darcy, Owen McCann, Michael Carrens, John McNamee, T. Queen, Alexander Parks, Thomas Burns, Arthur Donnelly, Hugh McShane, Hugh Kelly, Michael White, John Ryan, William Whitelaw, James McLade (this could have been McGlade).
Striker: Peter Martin
Balsters: John Donnelly, Thomas Donnelly, Pat K. Morgan, Arthur Fagan, Thomas Drennan, Michael Hanley, Joseph Bennett, Henry Miles, Pat Quinn, Lawrence Russell, Owen Loy
Dresser: John Stapleton
Looking for the Artist of this Carleton Place Painting-The Lime Kiln
I found this yesterday and decided to document it. The Map is here..
Nearby features from geonames.org
|Quig Lake||Lake||45° 9′ 38″ N||76° 19′ 1″ W||1.2km (0.8 miles)||52.3° (NE)|
|The River||Channel||45° 10′ 0″ N||76° 19′ 57″ W||1.5km (0.9 miles)||349.9° (N)|
|Sheas Creek||Stream||45° 8′ 25″ N||76° 19′ 45″ W||1.5km (0.9 miles)||179.9° (S)|
|Taylor Lake||Lake||45° 8′ 36″ N||76° 20′ 34″ W||1.5km (1.0 miles)||222.5° (SW)|
|Clayton Lake||Lake||45° 10′ 39″ N||76° 20′ 44″ W||2.9km (1.8 miles)||333.9° (NNW)|
|Union Hall||Populated place||45° 9′ 38″ N||76° 17′ 33″ W||3.0km (1.9 miles)||75.4° (ENE)|
|Clayton||Area||45° 11′ 0″ N||76° 19′ 57″ W||3.3km (2.0 miles)||355.5° (N)|
|Bowlands Island||Island||45° 11′ 0″ N||76° 19′ 57″ W||3.3km (2.0 miles)||355.5° (N)|
|Rosetta||Populated place||45° 7′ 14″ N||76° 20′ 2″ W||3.7km (2.3 miles)||185.4° (S)|
|Harding Lake||Lake||45° 6′ 56″ N||76° 21′ 57″ W||5.1km (3.2 miles)||214.2° (SW)|
Minerals recorded nearby (within 20 km)
Looking for the Artist of this Carleton Place Painting-The Lime Kiln
This paragraph about the Greer Mines was in the Ottawa Citizen coming from Carleton Place and Almonte. Mines and getting rich quick were hot in those days. Now you can find old historical maps and info by clicking on the link below.
Historical Mining Claim Maps– CLICK HERE
Before Claim Maps were available online, in which current and active claims may be viewed, claims were drawn on linen, paper and, later, Mylar sheets. Despite their age, there continues to be interest in the information provided by these historical mining claim maps.
Recently, the maps were scanned and saved as image files. Maps were assigned file names based on the township or area they covered and, where possible, the year that the map was produced. Image files for the same township or area were combined into a single PDF for that location.
Historical Mining Claim Maps are now available online.
Looking for the Artist of this Carleton Place Painting-The Lime Kiln
1918-1919: Barite vein was stripped, some test pitting. One ton barite, sent to U.S. Work by T.B. Caldwell. 1957-1960: Lanark Silver Mines Ltd., performed magnetic and S.P. surveys, soil sampling and 773 feet of d.d. in 4 holes. (Tweed files 2, 3, 4). 1964-1968: Regional soil and stream geochemical surveys, 30 d.d. holes totalling 3921 feet, surface stripping and a short adit (98 feet) with 2 small cross-cuts. Work by West Branch Explorations Ltd. 1969-1970: Geochem surveys, at least 24 d.d. holes for 5,347 feet, geol. survey and some metallurgical testing by Carndesson Mines Ltd. (Tweed file 9) 1984: Todd Sanders staked out the property in January and in May and June, Lacana Mining Corporation carried out sampling of the main occurrence. In September Homestake Mineral Development Company visited the property and carried out limited sampling. 1986: T. Sanders carried out line-cutting and a VLF-EM survey. 1987: Assaying and a petrographic study of the tetrahedrite-barite zone was carried out.
The once-bustling Renfrew County Village of Black Donald, site of Canada’s most famous graphite mine, has been sentenced to die by drowning. In 1967 the level of the nearby Madawaska River will be raised 150 feet by the new Ontario Hydro Mount a i a Chute dam, then due for completion, and Black Donald will vanish forever.
Terrible loss? No. I’m convinced the place was already dead. Most of the inhabitants fled when the mine was closed years ago. Some dismantled their homes and transported them to new sites, while others simply left everything behind them.
Walking down the main street of Black Donald now is like visiting a ghost town of the old West. Traces of former prosperity are everywhere, yet the pulse of the place has all but ceased. The community Catholic Church, a big steepled frame building, is almost in ruins. Its stain-glass windows are shattered, its pews broken, its altar strewn with fragments of religious statuary.
The Black Donald mine was once the richest flake-graphite mine in North America. While ore containing 10 per cent carbon was considered a good mining grade, Black Donald ore averaged 20 per cent for almost half a century following its discovery in 1894. The mine’s first big setback came in 1938 when, after it was decided that all of the readily – extractable ore had been taken out, the workings were abandoned.
But graphite was suddenly found to be a vital war material is 1942, so Black Donald was re-opened and 50,000,-000 pounds of refined graphite were produced from the workings earlier believed to be exhausted. Although mining continued until 1954 and the mining charter was not actually surrendered until 1962, Ontario Hydro doomed the whole operation with its purchase of the property in 1947 to pave the way for the gigantic Mountain Chute power project.
It would “take between 24 and- 48 hours” for the water to be released at Palmer Rapids to make itself felt at Mountain Chute. There was to be no flash flood and they would let it out at the rate of not more than 1,000 cubic feet per seconds When the Mountain- Chute dam would be sealed off a lake, which would extend a distance, of 20 miles up stream from Mountain Chute to Griffith, on Highway 41 would begin to build up.
Formation of the lake would depend on the speed of the spring run-off and precipitation and the lake would submerge the abandoned Black Donald graphite mine and most of the town of Black Donald, near Calabogie. “Father Dooner’s-Church,”, a frame structure built under sponsorship of the late Monsignor William Dooner during the First World War on the highest point in the district would alone remain to mark the site of Black Donald. . The church was abandoned when the mine was shut down in 1954.
Orla Lambert-Nickell I remember Dad and Mom driving us down to look at the village one last time before they flooded it. It was so sad to see. We walked through the buildings and I still remember a steeple sticking out from the water for a long time
Renfrew , Ontario. Canada. facebook Page
Thank you Mike Dakers for sending this article below.
Black Donald Mines buried under Centennial Lake
By R. Bruce McIntyre – March 4, 2020— You can also read this in the Eganville Leader
The large building on the left was the village’s amusement/dance hall. It was a popular destination on Saturday nights when many residents came to dance or watch a motion picture in the bench seating.
The remains of a rather unique ghost town is not too far from Calabogie, but you won’t find it on a map and you won’t be able to see the old buildings. The once vibrant village of Black Donald Mines is long gone and buried under Centennial Lake.
Centennial Lake covers a mine that, for a time, was a world leader in the production of graphite, the mineral used for lead pencils, stove polish, metallic paints and especially as a lubricant for heavy machinery.
A St. Patrick’s Day fire in 1912 was just one of many accidents or natural disasters that plagued the operations of the mine. A series of mine-shaft collapses in 1950 forced ownership to cease operations and it was the beginning of the end for the mine and the village.
The Black Donald Mines General Store was one of the busiest locations in the village. The store was the only source of supplies for the employees and their families.
Today, that mine, and the busy village that popped up during its heyday, are buried. It was a village where most of the early workers were of French descent who worked alongside a new wave of Irish men looking to improve their lot in life.
The names of some of those early French settlers and Irish miners are still present in the area as some of their descendants still call the area home.
For the first half of the 20th century, the name Black Donald was associated with the mine. Irish and French workers spent long days with artificial lights strung along the shaft to help them find their way.
Today, Black Donald is the name of a lake that is one of the most popular tourist locations in Greater Madawaska, a far cry from working underground in total darkness.
‘Money People’ Got The Mine Operational
The story goes that a homesteader named John Moore literally tripped over rock containing graphite while searching for his cows. That simple discovery led him on a six-year quest in search of ‘money people’ to invest in his find.
In 1895, John Moore met Senator George McKindsey. The Senator gave him two dollars to cover the cost of leasing 167 acres of his land and he would return four months later to pay Mr. Moore $4,000 for all surface and mineral rights on the property.
The very next day, Senator McKindsey sold his newly acquired land to a group of businessmen who formed the Ontario Graphite Company. It wasn’t a bad couple of days for the Senator who pocketed a whopping $42,000 for the sale of the same site from Mr. Moore 24 hours earlier. He left the village bound for Ottawa with a nice little profit of $38,000.
The mine was up and running in mid-1896 with 15 employees and by 1904, the company had a refining plant on site and a workforce of 32 employees. And it showed no signs of slowing down.
A Village Is Born
That year, Rinaldo McConnell took over the day-to-day operations and he realized the potential of the mine and took steps to keep the men motivated in order to increase production. Within the first year of managing the mine, he had several more houses built for the married men and their families, as well as a larger sleep-camp for the other workers. When war broke out in 1914, the demand for graphite was sharply increased and the mining operation continued to grow, adding on to the 77 buildings that dotted the landscape. The growing village grew to 118 during the war and employees were kept busy when not below the surface. New structures were built and among those buildings were a barber shop, a Catholic church, a school and a dance hall. All the buildings were lit with electric lights, except for the school which was located just outside the village. By 1924, the mine reached the peak of its production. It accounted for 94 per cent of all graphite in Canada, but managing the site was no easy task. The operation declined and by 1939 the workforce was down to only seven employees as most operations ceased when the mine was purposely flooded. Although World War II started in 1939 and several mines throughout Canada were heavily involved in the war effort, it wasn’t until 1943 that operations returned to the village and it appeared the resurrection of the mine had begun. Residents cheered when Jack Wilson became the new postmaster in 1944. He told them the new daily mail service from Calabogie was a good sign and things were looking positive for the village. When they raised a beer to toast their good fortune, they thanked Mr. Wilson a second time because he helped them get their beer. Because beer was rationed in wartime, it was often ordered by mail from Arnprior and shipped back to the miners. The war-time boom had most of the men in the village return to the mine, but some replaced their shovels and tools with rifles and joined up to fight for their country. On three occasions the villagers came together to mourn the loss of three young men who left the tight-knit community to go overseas. They gathered to give comfort to the Brydges family after Walter Brydges was killed at Dieppe; they cried when word came back that Nick Danyluck died in a Japanese concentration camp and they attended church to say goodbye to Aldome Scully who was killed during the march to Berlin.
From Village To Ghost Town
When the war ended in 1945, the one-time rosy outlook for the mine and village was beginning to fade after several accidents and weather conditions took its toll. Production was halted several times due to mine shaft collapses. The loss of all electricity after a dam was washed away on the Madawaska River, combined with a fire in some of the key buildings, finally took its toll on ownership. In 1950 underground operations were terminated and by 1954, scrap dealers were called in to salvage whatever they could. The industry that fueled the growth was gone and the village’s fate was sealed. Black Donald Mines was now just another Canadian ghost town. All that remained were a few burned out buildings. The residents who used to spend every Saturday night in the dance hall or had their hair cut at the barber shop or attended church every Sunday morning had long moved away. The one-room schoolhouse that paid Mamie Foran $500 in 1918 to teach the French and Irish children daily lessons was closed when Stella Amell said goodbye to her students for the last time in June,1962. George and Margaret Kelly took over the post office after former Postmaster Jack Wilson passed away. On August 31, 1962, they sorted the mail one last time when the final delivery was made to the rural outlet. Ontario Hydro purchased the site in 1959 with a plan to build the Mountain Chute dam. Contractors were brought in to bulldoze the remaining buildings to make way for the dramatic change of landscape envisioned by Ontario Hydro. In 1966, the dam was built and the operating station was ready to go, when water was released to fill the 8,500 acres headpond. After six months, the flooding ended and the body of water was named Centennial Lake in honour of Canada’s 100th birthday year in 1967. As water cascaded through the sluiceway of the Mountain Chute Generating Station on March 26, 1967, hydro employees gathered to celebrate the first day of operation. Perhaps some of them looked out on to the horizon and wondered where the final traces of Black Donald Mines were buried under the new 150-foot deep new lake.
Looking for the Artist of this Carleton Place Painting-The Lime Kiln
I would love to see an article on this village where my grandparents lived in the 30’s. It is near Fitzroy Harbour. My grandfather Walter Bootland was a mine superintendent or supervisor for the mill there. He left there to work in the gold fields in Noranda but died of leukaemia shortly after, likely a result of lead exposure at Kingdon. Thank you!
Regards Sharon Malone
Here was the first one I wrote.. Kingdon Mine Led Galetta Area from a Boomtown to a Ghost Town now part 2
Less than 40 miles from Canada’s capital city there are 2,000 acres of undeveloped bushlands with some four miles- of waterfront. In that triangle of land bounded by the Ottawa, and Mississippi Rivers, and what is commonly known as the Mississippi Snye. I had no idea what that meant so looked it up. The Snye originates as a branch of the Mississippi River, which enters the Ottawa River at Marshall Bay, upstream of Morris Island
During the years of 1914 to 1930, Kingdon Mining and Smelting Company was among the greatest producers of lead in Canada. In those years the village of Kingdon Mine boasted some 40 homes, a school, community hall, arena, and produced some of the finest baseball and hockey teams in the district.
Tom Lauzon’s General Store was the focal point for evening gatherings when the sports program was not in full swing. It was a “boom” town and remained so until 1931 when the bottom fell out. The inhabitants moved out; some to the northern mining camps; some to the village of Galetta; and others to the industrial town of Arnprior eight miles away.
Within a few years, the place was a ghost town; the old unpainted fronts of the frame buildings that once dotted the main street began to come down; hydro lines were withdrawn; there was no water system left; and the few oldtimers who remained had to revert to the oil lamp and the old village well.
JOHN J. STANTON, retired Fitzroy Harbor farmer and noted historian, tells that his father who homesteaded lots 23 and, 24 on the 7th concession of Fitzroy, stumbled across the lead discovery prior to 1870. A haying bee was. taking place on the Stanton farm and the crew started a fire on a big rock to boil a pot of tea, and they noticed the moulten lead” seeping from the rock.
While the discovery of lead on Laflamme Island, now known as Chats Island, was made prior to 1870, the first work was begun by James Robertson in July, 1884. Some few hundred tons of “hand cobbed” ore (lead or galena cobbed from the calcite matrix) was shipped to Kingston for smelting.
A fire then destroyed, the buildings and equipment and nothing was done until 1914 – when the James Robertson Estate reopened the mine; the shaft was sunk, and under the direction of general manager A. G. Munich, a mill was built and a smelter- erected. By 1931 the main shaft had gone to a depth of 1,448 feet when the price of lead literally evaporated and the mine shut down.
From 1915 to 1931 some 905,000 tons of ore and waste was hoisted. Lead concentrates produced 76,-820,000 pounds along with 657,000 pounds of zinc concentrates. Pig lead amounted to almost 60 million pounds valued at more than $4,334,-000. In October, 1937 the Fort Rouiile Mining Corporation attempted a reclaim operation on the mine, but relinquished its option in 1938 when the price of lead again dropped.
Today, all that’s left is a great white calcite tailing pile looking much like a snowy desert with the ghostlike ends of sluice structures sticking from the huge piles. This fine glistening stone is in great demand for driveways, service station lots and decorative concrete work, but was found later to contain lead. Engineering reports say the Kingdon Mine was never exhausted of ore, but merely shut down due to the abnormally low prices of lead.
Most local mines were iron prospects although one (Clyde Forks) contained barite and minor amounts of copper, gold and silver. According to Archie Guthrie the Clyde Forks Mine shaft was still open in 1963, but it was very unsafe. The ore was taken out by wheelbarrows and the deep ditch by which they were trundled is still there. The ore was taken to Clyde Forks by horse and sleigh and then shipped out by train. At one time the boarding houses around Clyde Forks had been known to stable as many as 35 teams at a time. Why the operation of the mine stopped no one really knows. The most likely answer was that the ore was of poor quality.
Now the mine is hard to spot due to overgrown brush and trees that have grown up through the years. Of course, it all goes back to a favourite family of mine: The Caldwell family. There is no doubt this family had their fingers in everything in Lanark County, and it has been noted they made some money with the Wilbur Mine. Boyd Caldwell, who I have mentioned a few times, put in a little time in a second mine which what was called Clyde Forks/Boyd Caldwell Mine. (Lavant iron mine is on lots 3 and 4, in 12 and 13 concessions)
The Clyde Forks Deposit was first staked by “T. Caldwell” in 1918-1919 and the Barite vein was stripped and there was some test pitting. One ton barite, sent to U.S. Work by T.B. Caldwell.
1957-1960: Lanark Silver Mines Ltd., performed magnetic and S.P. surveys, soil sampling and 773 feet of d.d. in 4 holes. (Tweed files 2, 3, 4).
1964-1968: Regional soil and stream geochemical surveys, 30 d.d. holes totalling 3921 feet, surface stripping and a short adit (98 feet) with 2 small cross-cuts. Work by West Branch Explorations Ltd.
1969-1970: Geochem surveys, at least 24 d.d. holes for 5,347 feet, geol. survey and some metallurgical testing by Carndesson Mines Ltd. (Tweed file 9)
1984: Todd Sanders staked out the property in January and in May and June, Lacana Mining Corporation carried out sampling of the main occurrence. In September Homestake Mineral Development Company visited the property and carried out limited sampling. 1986: T. Sanders carried out line-cutting and a VLF-EM survey. 1987: Assaying and a petrographic study of the tetrahedrite-barite zone was carried out.
A great story from the ice storm that needs to be documented in Clyde Forks
#3 K&P Trail: Flower Station— Hiking
You can join the K&P just out of the village of Flower Station and walk northwards past Flower Round Lake and Clyde Lake or, go southwards past Widow Lake to join Clyde Forks Road.
To get to Flower Station, Travel north on highway 511 past Hopetown to Brightside. Turn west on Waddell Creek Road to French Line, go northwards on French Line Road to Joe’s Lake and westward on Flower Station Road past Clyde Forks to Flower Station.
Looking for the Artist of this Carleton Place Painting-The Lime Kiln
Did you know…
John Mahon was the owner of a mica mine in the early 1900’s. Located just north of Murphy’s Point Park it was along the cross-country ski trail and called the Mahon Occurrence. Originally producing phosphate John took over in 1908 mining mica. According to government records nearly $4000 worth of mica was removed in just a few months. In today’s dollars that is the equivalent of $89,000. Give or take a penny or two.
The exact location will be on the self-driving tour map distributed during the Family Reunion.
On a personal note, I remember mum talking about family rowing across Rideau Lake to work the mine. I wonder if they sang “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to work we go” during the crossing. —
The merry men of the Mahon Mine Occurrence. I believe John Mahon is the fellow on the far left. Other faces look familiar but if anyone can provide names please do so. —
Jo-Ann Rogers My Grampa, Joe Mahon used to bring me to the mica mine. I was fascinated with the ability to peel off the layers. Grampa was so proud of the mine and the family history that belonged with the mine!
Location: Lot 10, concession V, North Burgess township,
Apatite, phlogopite, pyroxene, calcite.
An old phosphate producer the mine produced
mica in 1908 under the direction of J. Mahon of
Rideau Ferry and continued intermittently until
- The mica workings lie a few hundred feet
southwest of the old phosphate pits, on a small
gully which has been worn out by water along a line
of pockets in dark green pyroxenite. A shaft
was sunk to a depth of 30 feet.
The mica occurs in pink calcite bodies in
fissures and pods in green metamorphic
pyroxenite. The mica is of good quality, but
small in size, the average being 2 by 3 inches.
The lead strikes N75OE.
Reference: de Schmid (1912, p. 166)
This property belongs to Mr. J. Mahon, of Rideau Ferry, and
lies about a fourth of a mile to the west of Mr. Smith’s mine on lot 9.
Formerly an old phosphate producer, the mine lay idle until 1908, when the
present owner commenced work with three men, and has continued inter-
mittently up to the present time. The present workings lie a few hundred
feet southwest of the old phosphate pits, on a small gully which has been
worn out by water along a line of pockets in a dark green pyroxenite. These
pockets or chimneys connect horizontally by narrow fissures and are filled
out with large bodies of pink calcite in which the mica crystals are dis-
seminated. The latter are of fine quality, dark mottled-amber in colour,
and of rather small size, the average being 2″ X 3″. A depth of some
30 feet has been reached in a small shaft sunk on the largest of the pockets,
and several smaller openings have been made along the line of lead. The
direction of the chain of pockets is W. 15° S.,and indications tend to show the
existence of similar cavities to a considerable depth. The fact that water
never accumulates in the workings, but sinks away at once, is a very favour-
able sign. A little phosphate accompanies the mica. The present operator
lias taken out mica to the value of $4,000 in the space of a few months, and
there is little doubt that the mine would repay more extensive development.
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
17 Oct 1899, Tue • Page 2
Stay tuned for more as:
All are welcome, all are welcome,
All are welcome in this place.
Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships SunScreamin’ Mamas (USA) and The Sherbrooke Record