Archive | Art, Books, Music and Photography About Mining and Northern Topics

1978-79 Steelworkers strike subject of Mick Lowe’s new novel – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Sudbury Northern Life – May 3, 2017)

Local author has completed trilogy about city’s mining history

Given it’s a part of the city’s recent history, most Sudburians remember Steelworkers Local 6500’s nearly year-long 2009-2010 strike against Vale. More distant in the community’s collective memory is the arguably even more bitter labour dispute that happened a generation earlier.

Steelworkers Local 6500 went on strike against Vale’s predecessor, Inco, for 10 and a half months from Sept. 15, 1978 until June 7, 1979. The labour dispute, which involved 11,600 workers, and starved Inco of more than 22 million hours of labour, smashed records at the time for the longest strike in Canadian history.

The impact on the Sudbury community was devastating, with businesses closing, marriages breaking up and families losing their life savings. The 1978-1979 Steelworkers strike is the subject of local author Mick Lowe’s latest novel, “Wintersong.” It’s the third in the Nickel Range Trilogy fiction series, which focuses on Sudbury’s mining history. Continue Reading →

Comics hero Big Nick ‘pretty versatile’ – by Ben Leeson (Sudbury Star – April 18, 2017)

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Big Nick scarcely has time to celebrate keeping Sudbury and Canada safe before battling his latest subterranean scourge, the colossal Bedrock Titan, in the latest offering from Expired Comics.

Big Nick #2 follows the adventures of Sudbury’s very own superhero, a former mine rescue worker trapped in a mine shaft, only to emerge 30 years later, not a day older, but armed with mysterious powers including the ability to grow so large he can wield the iconic Big Nickel as a shield. Continue Reading →

The return of Big Nick: Sudbury superhero’s second issue to launch at Graphic-Con (CBC News Sudbury – April 12, 2017)

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A superhero that started out as a “thank you” to the city of Sudbury has turned into Expired Comics’ most requested character. Big Nick 2 is set to launch this June at Sudbury’s Graphic-Con, and the hero’s co-creators are surprised at how much attention he’s received.

“At this point, Big Nick has gone on to sell across Canada and the U.S,” said Kevin Montpellier, co-owner of Expire Comics. “He resonates with a lot of people. There’s a liking for the character that even we didn’t anticipate.” “It’s not huge numbers, but we never expected to see a Sudbury character in an international market,” Montpellier said. Continue Reading →

Poland’s Kings of Coal – Photo Essay by Tomasz Tomaszewski (Social Documentary Network)

Poland-Faces blackened with coal, miners in Upper Silesia emerge from beneath the surface and blink into the Polish twilight – just as they have been doing for hundreds of years.

When photojournalist Tomasz Tomaszewski showed up, however, he found an industry flailing amidst global competition and a Western World hungry for green energy, leaving the proud Polish miner a dying breed.

“When the time comes to work, The Silesian miner works relentlessly. When a colleague must be saved from death, he does not hesitate to walk into danger. The Silesian miner, along with his comrade the steelworker, is one of the most valuable members of Polish socity,” wrote Gustaw Mocinek in Upper Silesia, a book about gritty Polish communities written in 1950. Continue Reading →

Gold Rush Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Nellie Cashman – by Thora Kerr Illing

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Thora Kerr Illing is a former journalist and librarian. She immigrated to Canada as a young woman and fell in love with the space, the fjords, and the forests of the west. Now retired, she lives in Sidney, BC, and loves travel, books, nature and animals.

A biography of the extraordinary Nellie Cashman, a well-loved miner, entrepreneur and philanthropist who lived and worked in the roughest boomtowns of the West in the late-nineteenth century.

At a time when well-bred women wore tight corsets and entertained each other at tea, Nellie Cashman (1845–1925) was trekking for hundreds of miles through blizzard conditions to deliver food and supplies to trapped miners in Northern BC. Continue Reading →

Stompin’ Tom legacy tour returns to where it all began – by John Emms (Timmins Daily Press – October 7, 2016)

TIMMINS – Stompin’ Tom Connors died in 2013 at 77 years of age, but his iconic status known from coast to coast and his hundreds of songs and stories are still very much alive. The city and residents of Timmins have a unique part in his legend.

As Canada turns 150 years old in 2017, there is no question that Stompin’ Tom’s music is part of our Timmins and Canadian heritage

In fact, these songs and stories will be celebrated in Timmins on Friday, Oct. 14 at Charles Fournier Auditorium at École secondaire catholique Thériault when Whiskey Jack performs its national tour here in our city. It’s going to be one heck of a night when the sounds of Bud The Spud, Sudbury Saturday Night and the Hockey Song fill the auditorium. Continue Reading →

Sudbury celebrates Stompin’ Tom – by Ben Leeson (Sudbury Star – October 3, 2016)

Sudburians who came together last month to celebrate an iconic musician and one of his most iconic songs now have their own music video.

Downtown Sudbury, the Townehouse Tavern and local businessman Colin Firth unveiled Sudbury Celebrates Stompin’ Tom at the Townhouse on Saturday night. The video includes a spirited rendition of Sudbury Saturday Night, performed by a boisterous crowd that gathered on Grey Street, near the bronze statue of the late Stompin’ Tom Connors, on Sept. 24.

It also includes commentary from Tannys Laughren, who was a member of the Stompin’ Tom statue committee; Paul Loewenberg, manager at the Townehouse; and Firth, a driving force behind the community event last month. “It was a couple months of getting it all together and we finished up the final video just in the last day or so, and I’m very excited,” Firth said, a few hours before the video’s premiere. Continue Reading →

Miners museum in Glace Bay in race against time to repair building – by George Mortimer (CBC News Nova Scotia – September 27, 2016)

‘It’s like living in a sieve,’ says museum director Mary Pat Mombourquette

The Cape Breton Miners Museum in Glace Bay, N.S., is struggling to raise money on its own while making a plea for government funding to save it from closure.

A building audit done more than a year ago identified a badly leaking roof, air quality issues originating in the building’s distinctive tower and other structural problems, according to museum director Mary Pat Mombourquette.

“The ceiling keeps collapsing. We’re losing more and more every day, and with the rain we lose a good chunk,” she said. “There’s problems with the foundation, problems with the walls, with the window, with the doors. Everything is leaking heat and everything is letting in rain. It’s like living in a sieve.” Continue Reading →

New video to celebrate ‘Sudbury Saturday Night’ (Sudbury Star – September 20, 2016)

Stompin’ Tom Connors and Sudbury have always had a special affiliation thanks to the Canadian Music icon’s famous song “Sudbury Saturday Night”. On Saturday, Sudburians will have the chance to thank Stompin’ Tom Connors for his music and help create a professionally produced music video for the legendary song, “Sudbury Saturday Night.”

The music video will be shot on Grey Street, outside of The Townehouse Tavern (on the lower roof level), the location where Stompin’ Tom wrote and first performed his legendary song about our hometown.

“Sudbury Celebrates Stompin’ Tom” is a joint effort between The Townehouse Tavern, Downtown Sudbury and local businessman Colin Firth. Collectively, the group’s members believe it is time that Sudbury got together to celebrate Stompin’ Tom Connors to say thanks to the legendary Canadian icon by singing his famous song “Sudbury Saturday Night.” Continue Reading →

Excerpt from Sun Dogs and Yellowcake: Gunnar Mines – A Canadian Story – by Patricia Sandberg

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Patricia Sandberg was formerly a partner at DuMoulin Black, a Vancouver law firm acting for mining companies listed on Canadian and international stock exchanges. Her clients had mining operations in Canada, the United States, China, and Latin America. Three generations of her family, including Patricia as a child, lived at Gunnar and her grandfather spent thirty years working at mines run by Gilbert LaBine, Canada’s “Father of Uranium.”

Shooting the Elephant

Re-enter Gilbert LaBine, some twenty years after his radium score and now sixty-two years old. LaBine, in his nominal positions as president and director of Eldorado, was well informed about Eldorado’s moves in the Beaverlodge area. He was also not averse to conducting a little business of his own.

His first foray was with a highly competent, experienced pilot named John “Johnny” Nesbitt, who had spent his life flying in Canada’s north country, including for Eldorado and its Great Bear Lake operations. When Eldorado switched its focus to Lake Athabasca, Nesbitt added the Beaverlodge operation to his flight path. Continue Reading →

‘A very particular time and place in Canada’s history’: New book recalls Saskatchewan’s forgotten uranium mine – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 12, 2016)

Almost nothing is left of the Gunnar uranium mine. What didn’t decay after the mine on the north shore of Lake Athabasca was abandoned more than five decades ago was later hauled away as part of a massive — and massively over-budget — cleanup operation. Patricia Sandberg, whose father and grandfather worked for Gunnar Mining Ltd., and who spent eight years of her childhood at the northern Saskatchewan mine, worries it will be forgotten altogether.

“It is a part of Canadian history that most people don’t know about, and I think it’s really important,” said Sandberg, whose new book, Sun Dogs and Yellowcake, chronicles the mine’s history and records the stories of the people who lived and worked there.

The Gunnar uranium mine, located about 800 kilometres north of Saskatoon, was discovered by prospectors working for Gilbert LaBine, the Ontario-born explorer who is widely considered the father of Canada’s uranium industry. Continue Reading →

‘The Smartest Places on Earth’ – by Van Agtmael and Bakker – by Shawn Donnan (Financial Times – March 13, 2016)

An optimist’s guide to the rust belt revival

For years the dominant narrative about the American rust belt has been one of decline and decimation — a once-thriving industrial core turned into a dystopian wasteland by the winds of free trade and persistent undercutting by China.

But in The Smartest Places on Earth, former financier Antoine van Agtmael and journalist Fred Bakker make a courageous case for an alternative vision. What if the real story of the rust belt these days is one of reinvention? What if we ought to consider these regions “the emerging hotspots of global innovation”?

It is a courageous argument because it goes against the political grain in America. Eight years after the global financial crisis, the US is reaping the political damage of not just the crisis but also of the decades-long economic patterns blamed for hollowing out the manufacturing sector and the middle class. Continue Reading →

‘The Geography of Genius,’ by Eric Weiner – by Ashlee Vance (New Your Times Sunday Book Review – January 8, 2016)

In the early 1960s, the Soviet Union tried to make a version of Silicon Valley from scratch. A city called Zelenograd came to life on the outskirts of Moscow and was populated with all manner of brainy Soviet engineers.

The hope — naturally — was that a concentration of clever minds coupled with ample funding would result in a wellspring of innovation and help Russia keep pace with California’s electronics boom. The experiment worked as well as one might expect. Few people will read this on a Mayakovsky-branded tablet or smartphone.

Many similar attempts have been made in the subsequent decades to replicate Silicon Valley and its abundance of creativity and ingenuity. Such efforts have largely failed. It seems near impossible to will an exceptional place into being or to manufacture the conditions that lead to an outpouring of genius. Continue Reading →

Story of a forgotten town – by Alex Browne (Peace Arch News – August 5, 2016)

South Surrey writer Patricia Sandberg admits she has mining in her blood – although she claims her former career as a securities lawyer for mining companies came about more as a matter of accident, than design.

The fact remains that both her grandfather, Fred, and father Jack, were both deeply involved in the construction end of the mining industry and had an extended working relationship with 20th century Canadian prospector and mining pioneer Gilbert LaBine, first president of Eldorado Mining and Refining from the late 1920s until 1947.

The uranium boom of the late 1940s led LaBine to discover deposits of the metal on the shores of Lake Athabaska in Northern Saskatchewan. In the early 1950s he established Gunnar Mines there – and the company town that was built around it. Continue Reading →

Cobalt’s silver boom and the rise of mining media in Canada – by Dr. Douglas Baldwin (Northern Miner – July 28, 2016)

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The early history of hard rock mining in Ontario is essentially the story of the discovery of silver in Cobalt in 1903. It wasn’t long before the Cobalt mines became the third-largest producer of silver in the world and by the time the boom petered out in the 1920s, the camp had become the fourth-largest silver producer ever discovered.

Today, most Canadians know about the Klondike gold rush in the Yukon, but few realize that the stampede for silver in Cobalt only five years later far surpassed the Klondike in terms of profits, production, and long-term impact.

Spreading out in all directions, prospectors discovered silver in Gowganda and Elk Lake, and gold in Kirkland Lake and Timmins. These discoveries encouraged further exploration in northern Canada and beyond. Continue Reading →