Canadian Pacific railcars on tracks beside La Rose Mine.
Slight crease LR corner.
Blacksmith Fred Larose was intimately involved in the history of the village of Cobalt in Northern Ontario. Assigned to the construction of the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway, he spent part of his time prospecting in the surrounding woods with the permission of his boss, with whom he would share any discovery. His efforts were rewarded in the fall of 1903. After a rather uneventful history, the mining claims, which were to become the Larose mine, wound up in the hands of the two Timmins brothers, who owned a general store in Mattawa, and their partners. As there was cobalt in the silver-bearing veins in the region, the town was named Cobalt before it became famous for the silver. Like the Klondike, Cobalt was the scene of a rush unique in Canadian history.
The Cobalt silver rush started in 1903 when huge veins of silver were discovered by workers on the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway (T&NO) near the Mile 103 post. By 1905 a full-scale silver rush was underway, and the town of Cobalt, Ontario sprang up to serve as its hub. By 1908 Cobalt produced 9% of the world's silver, and in 1911 produced 31,507,791 ounces of silver. However, the good ore ran out fairly rapidly, and most of the mines were closed by the 1930s. There were several small revivals over the years, notably in World War II and again in the 1950s, but both petered out and today there is no active mining in the area. In total, the Cobalt area mines produced 460 million ounces of silver.
The Cobalt Rush was instrumental in opening northern Ontario for mineral exploration. Prospectors fanned out from Cobalt, and soon caused the nearby Porcupine Gold Rush in 1909, and the Kirkland Lake Gold Rush of 1912. Much of the settlement in northern Ontario outside the Clay Belt owes its existence indirectly to the Cobalt Rush.