© McCord Museum
The Bruce Mines, Steamboat Landing
1871, 19th century
Ink on paper - Photolithography
14.4 x 21.1 cm
Gift of David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keys to History:
In the 1840s, copper veins around the Great Lakes began to be mined. Although most copper mining took place south of Lake Superior, the north shore of Georgian Bay, which could also be reached by boat, was also mined. Bruce Mines, some 50 km east of Sault Ste. Marie, saw its first production in 1847-48. The first miners hired-just as in Michigan-were from the coal mines in Cornwall, England. These men jealously respected tradition, negotiating their share of production and profits with the mine captain. Their intransigence, together with the configuration of the deposit, limited the possibility of expansion, however, so only small volumes were extracted, and that only irregularly.
The village of Bruce Mines could be reached only by water. That is why it had a dock for steamboats to supply the village and ship out the copper.
Even though the mine site is not shown on the drawing, the two small mounds in the foreground, with the rails running up them, suggest dumps for waste rock that must have built up near the mine heads.
In the mid-19th century, the village of Bruce Mines numbered about 30 houses that could accommodate a workforce always ready to jump back on the boat to go work somewhere else.
The first investors were the shareholders of the Montreal Mining Company, all prosperous businessmen such as George Simpson and Peter McGill.