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Mines, a Break, and a Big Vein!

Black and white picture of mine employees in work clothes and gathered before a building.

Miners and employees of the Arntfield mine in 1938.

Helmet with a large rim, cracked. An exterior metal hook and a strap.

Miner helmet made of boiled leather.

At the beginning of the 20th century, major mining discoveries made in Ontario sent the prospectors to extend explorations towards the east and enter Abitibi. This is when, in 1911, Edmund Horne made camp on the shores of Lake Osisko. He discovers the mineral vein that will give birth to the famous Noranda Mine. A mining rush ensues, with nearly fifty mines entering into production along the Cadillac Break, creating the towns of Noranda, Rouyn, Malartic, Val-d’Or and Bourlamaque, which pop up like weeds all along the Cadillac Break.

Metal object made of two cylindrical chambers, an ignition roulette, a movable cap, a reflector, a hook and a stream regulator.

A carbide lamp for a miner.

Prospectors from far and wide come running towards this «Quebecois Klondike». Gold fever seizes the mining industry. In 1934, the price of gold reached a summit, and Abitibi-Temiscamingue rapidly became one of the main mining regions in North America.

Four miners in working clothes underground, in a gallery posing for the photographer. One of the miners is sitting in a conveyer.

Miners underground.

A rectangular shaped box with a handle fixed to a checked handle that is inserted in the box as a spring, depending on the imposed movement. Two terminals at the top.

An exploder.

In 1931, six years after their birth, Rouyn and Noranda counted close to 5,500 inhabitants, making it the region’s largest urban center. In 1951, the number of inhabitants reached 24,300 compared to 11,145 for Val-D’Or and Bourlamaque and 5,983 for Malartic. With workers from all over Quebec, as well as a high number of anglophones and European immigrants, this marks the economic and cultural lives of Rouyn-Noranda and Val-D’Or, bringing a diversity of customs and traditions. In order to better support their families, many farmers leave their vocation and become miners. The development of the mining industry, therefore, definitely shapes the territory.

Interview with Samuelle Ramsay-Houle

Samuelle Ramsay-Houle is the owner of the company Les Pierres du nord, which specializes in the production of decorative colored stones as well as schist stone for landscaping. The company operates in two quarries, one in Abitibi and the other in Temiscamingue. In this video, Samuelle Ramsey-Houle explains the source of his environmental values and how he integrates them into his work.

Click here to view the video with an English transcript.