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MP-0000.158.32
© McCord Museum
Photograph, glass lantern slide
Silver Mine, Cobalt, ON, about 1918
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1918, 20th century
Silver salts and transparent ink on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
8 x 10 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
MP-0000.158.32
© McCord Museum

Description:

"Cobalt: A little over a hundred miles north of North Bay, which is 250 miles west of Ottawa on the Canadian Pacific main line, is Cobalt, one of the most famous silver-mining districts in the world. The presence here of this precious metal was discovered in 1903, and up to the end of 1925, 364,713,760 ounces of silver have been taken out. In the year of 1925 the production was 10,529,131 ounces. The picture shows a general view of a Cobalt silver mine. Further north yet is the rich Porcupine gold-mining district, which is now by far the greatest gold-producing district of Canada."

Excerpt from "ACROSS CANADA BY C. P. R.", Section 3--The Province of Ontario; booklet, McGill University Illustrated Lectures, 1928.

Keys to History:

In Cobalt, as elsewhere in other mining regions, environmental issues were obviously not a top priority. As the silver-bearing veins ran towards the lakes in the area, the companies pleaded with the government to sell mining claims to the lakebeds. That is how Sir Henry Pellatt's Cobalt Lake Mining purchased, for close to $2 million, the exclusive right to mine the 47 acres of Cobalt Lake. At the outset of the First World War, the lake was drained, killing huge numbers of fish. Progress-and profits!-would not be stopped.

What:

The Cobalt Lake Mining mill dominated the landscape. Large silver nuggets gradually gave way to less valuable ore. That is why the mining companies built mills to crush the mineral-bearing rock and process it chemically to extract the silver.

Where:

Other mining companies besides Cobalt Lake Mining built their headframes on the shores of Cobalt Lake and many of them dumped their waste on the banks.

When:

This photograph probably dates from the end of the First World War, when the silver mines were already experiencing a fairly swift decline in production.

Who:

In 1916 Sir Henry Pellatt was one of the founders of the Mining Corporation of Canada, which brought together a number of mining companies. A few years later, the cumulative dividends paid out by these companies amounted to $5 million.

MP-0000.25.567
© McCord Museum
Photograph, glass lantern slide
Blast furnaces, Hamilton, ON, about 1928
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1928, 20th century
Silver salts and transparent ink on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
8 x 10 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
MP-0000.25.567
© McCord Museum

MP-0000.158.32
© McCord Museum
Photograph, glass lantern slide
Silver Mine, Cobalt, ON, about 1918
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1918, 20th century
Silver salts and transparent ink on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
8 x 10 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
MP-0000.158.32
© McCord Museum

Description:

"Cobalt: A little over a hundred miles north of North Bay, which is 250 miles west of Ottawa on the Canadian Pacific main line, is Cobalt, one of the most famous silver-mining districts in the world. The presence here of this precious metal was discovered in 1903, and up to the end of 1925, 364,713,760 ounces of silver have been taken out. In the year of 1925 the production was 10,529,131 ounces. The picture shows a general view of a Cobalt silver mine. Further north yet is the rich Porcupine gold-mining district, which is now by far the greatest gold-producing district of Canada."

Excerpt from "ACROSS CANADA BY C. P. R.", Section 3--The Province of Ontario; booklet, McGill University Illustrated Lectures, 1928.

Keys to History:

In Cobalt, as elsewhere in other mining regions, environmental issues were obviously not a top priority. As the silver-bearing veins ran towards the lakes in the area, the companies pleaded with the government to sell mining claims to the lakebeds. That is how Sir Henry Pellatt's Cobalt Lake Mining purchased, for close to $2 million, the exclusive right to mine the 47 acres of Cobalt Lake. At the outset of the First World War, the lake was drained, killing huge numbers of fish. Progress-and profits!-would not be stopped.

What:

The Cobalt Lake Mining mill dominated the landscape. Large silver nuggets gradually gave way to less valuable ore. That is why the mining companies built mills to crush the mineral-bearing rock and process it chemically to extract the silver.

Where:

Other mining companies besides Cobalt Lake Mining built their headframes on the shores of Cobalt Lake and many of them dumped their waste on the banks.

When:

This photograph probably dates from the end of the First World War, when the silver mines were already experiencing a fairly swift decline in production.

Who:

In 1916 Sir Henry Pellatt was one of the founders of the Mining Corporation of Canada, which brought together a number of mining companies. A few years later, the cumulative dividends paid out by these companies amounted to $5 million.

MP-0000.25.466
© McCord Museum
Photograph, glass lantern slide
Maple sugar bush, ON(?), about 1922
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1922, 20th century
Silver salts and transparent ink on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
8 x 10 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
MP-0000.25.466
© McCord Museum

MP-0000.25.567
© McCord Museum
Photograph, glass lantern slide
Blast furnaces, Hamilton, ON, about 1928
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1928, 20th century
Silver salts and transparent ink on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
8 x 10 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
MP-0000.25.567
© McCord Museum

M996X.2.229
© McCord Museum
Geological hammer
About 1850, 19th century
3.2 x 19.8 x 40.1 cm
M996X.2.229
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

This geological hammer, used to rather rock samples, belonged to Sir William Dawson (1812-1899).

Dawson was a geologist who studied at the University of Edinburgh in the 1840s. He was devoted to the study of Earth, in particular, to the study of its surface and other parts and their history and evolution.

During the 1850s and 1860s, he undertook several field studies, notably in Nova Scotia, the province of his birth, and in different regions of Quebec. Discovered during his explorations were mineral deposits of coal, iron, copper and phosphate as well as specimens of glacial deposits and fossils. His subsequent examination under micrscope of the fossil animals and plants, and numerous scientific publications on his work, helped to make Montreal an international centre for the study of geology and paleobotany.

What:

The hammer has an iron head cast to a sharp point for breaking off pieces of rock. The handle is inscribed with the words "Sir William Dawson's Hammer."

Where:

Sir William Dawson may have used this hammer for gathering specimens while doing fieldwork in Nova Scotia and in the Gaspé and Lower St. Lawrence regions of Quebec.

When:

Geology was the most popular science of the mid-19th century.

Who:

Sir William Dawson was principal of McGill University from 1855 to 1893. A leading educator, he published some 350 scientific works during his lifetime.

M979.87.5000
© McCord Museum
Print
Montreal: the strike of labourers in the port.
Anonyme - Anonymous
1877, 19th century
Ink on paper - Photolithography
27 x 39.5 cm
Gift of Charles deVolpi
M979.87.5000
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

The economic crisis of 1874-1879, which affected all classes of society, was characterized by increased unemployment and by decreased wages, from 25 to 60% according to occupations.

Since the port of Montreal was closed in the winter, large numbers of workers were hired as day labourers and found themselves out of work part of the year. Concerned about the precarious nature of their jobs, these unskilled workers were mainly demanding stable wages, paid at regular intervals and in cash. The violence of these conflicts sometimes required the intervention of the forces of law and order, but the stevedores were often able to get the upper hand in these struggles by finding strength in numbers and group solidarity.

In general, the worsening of working conditions in expanding sectors such as transportation and communications led to many spontaneous strikes, which were usually not very organized. The fight to improve working conditions led to the creation of the first labour unions.

What:

This double-page illustration was published in the Montreal weekly L'Opinion Publique. The newspapers dwelt on the sensational aspects of the strikes.

Where:

During the 1870s, the workers imitated pressure tactics - strikes, picketing, demonstrations, intimidation, etc. - used in Europe and the United States. Responding in kind, the employers often used strikebreakers.

When:

Since the stevedores' work was seasonal, strikes occurred during the summer, when the river was free of ice.

Who:

After hearing a rumour that their wages would be cut, the stevedores in the port of Montreal went on a preventive strike in June 1877 and blocked the loading of cattle destined for England.

© Musée McCord Museum