Fonds F 4594

Gowganda mining photographic collection

About these records

Gowganda mining photographic collection
Dates of Creation
1909, 1914-[198-], predominant 1909
Physical Description

59 photographs : black and white prints

Scope and Content

Fonds consists of black and white photographic prints predominantly showing the development of the Gowganda townsite in 1909 and the exploration for silver in the surrounding area. Shown is the establishment of an overland route into the area; the development of the townsite from canvas tents to log and squared timber buildings; scenes of the newly erected hospital, jail, Roman Catholic church, assay and legal offices, and various waterfront businesses; the exposure and hand drilling of rockfaces containing silver ore, and the construction of headframes, hoist and boiler houses, cook and bunk houses at various mine sites.

The fonds also contains images documenting Arthur Latimer's sport activites from being a member of the 1914 Schumacher hockey team to the Kemptville Lawn Bowling Club in the late 1970's.

The photographic prints have been organized by size and then by subject. The images dating from 1909, which are all contact prints taken from the original negatives, are predominantly either 16.5 x 10.8 centimetres (i.e., 6.5 x 4.25 inches) or 21.6 x 16.5 centimetres (i.e., 8.5 x 6.5 inches) in size.

Administrative History or Biographical Sketch

Arthur Latimer was a resident of Northern Ontario in the early part of the twentieth century, who took or acquired photographs of mining-related activities in the region of the Gowganda townsite.

Click on the link(s) below for more information.

Latimer, Arthur, d. 1980

Restrictions on Access
Access to these records is not restricted.
Terms For Use and Reproduction
Copyright for much of the photographic portion of this fonds has expired. Copyright for the more recent portions of the fonds may be owned by various copyright owners. To find out more about the copyright status of the particular material you wish to use, consult a Reference Archivist through the Reference Desk. There are no restrictions on reproduction for research and private study. If you wish to use these records for purposes other than for research and private study, please submit a Request for Permission to Publish, Exhibit or Broadcast form.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The fonds was donated to the Archives of Ontario in 2010 from the estate of Arthur Latimer, a former resident of Schumacher near Timmins, Ontario. Mr. Latimer died in Kemptville, Ontario in 1980 at approximately 92 years of age.
Related Material

With respect to mining in Gowganda, the Archives holdings contain information on the Silverado Gowganda Mines Limited in RG 70-9 (Ontario Securities Commission Public files), Gowganda King Silver Limited in RG 1-321 (Mining and Lands Commissioner appeals and inquiries hearing files), maps referencing Gowganda concerning the Tyranite Mine in RG 13-12 (Mining road project files) the Gowganda Silverado Road in RG 13-13 (Central Registry of the Department of Mines), as well as general correspondence concerning mines in Gowganda in F 5-1 (Sir James Whitney fonds).

With respect to the specific mines identified in this donation of records, the Archives has film footage of the O'Brien Mine included in C 88 (McLaughlin family fonds).


Gowganda is a dispersed rural community located on the boundary of Nichol and Milner Townships, in the western half of Timiskaming District. Situated on Highway 560 at Bankers' Bay on the northeast arm of Lake Gowganda, the townsite is 87 kilometres east of the Town of New Liskard and 130 kilometres north of the City of Sudbury.

Originally, Gowganda (Ojibwa for "place of the porcupine") was an area of timber leases between two branches of the Montreal River near the Temagami Forest Reserve. Following the 1903 discovery of silver at Cobalt, Ontario, by 1906, mining exploration began expanding north and east to areas of a similar geology. Early in August of 1908, native silver was found by prospectors on the west side of Gowganda Lake but this did not become known until the claims were recorded in Elk Lake during the first week of September. Within days, an unprecedented influx of prospectors had begun inland despite the oncoming winter. Over three thousand claims were staked by the following year and many properties changed hands at exorbitant figures without the purchasers ever visiting the area.

At the beginning of 1909, the future site of the Village of Gowganda was a desolate scene of snow and primeval forest. By March, the Government of Ontario had sold 130 town site lots and there were four banks, a lumber mill, several hotels, fifty stores, and a transportation company freighting goods and mining equipment into the area. Initially, Gowganda was accessible only by canoe or winter trail after an almost two week journey from the nearest railhead. In 1909, the Legislature approved $50,000 to construct an all-year access road utilizing an existing winter route from Charlton on the Timiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway to the east side of Gowganda Lake. Within three years, seven mines were in operation and the town had reached a maximum population of 5,000 people.

In 1911, a forest fire destroyed most of the community and was only partly rebuilt, many residents having already moved onto the gold boom occurring around Kirkland Lake. With the last producing mine closing in 1972, Gowganda is now a hamlet of 100 people known for its fishing resorts and wilderness canoeing and camping.


No further accruals are expected.

Finding Aid
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Consult the online list to identify the images that you require. Order using reference code F 4594 and container barcode B802275.

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