Silver Mines of Cobalt
Date of Issue
May 19, 1978
Perforation or Dimension
Designed by Will Davies.
The United States may be a land where the streets are "paved with gold", but Canada is a land where riches are available simply for the effort of digging them out of the ground. This is not too gross an exaggeration, as the exploitation of the silver mines of Cobalt, Ontario readily demonstrates. On 7 August 1903, two contractors supplying ties to the "Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway" stumbled across a metallic substance near Long Lake, later called Cobalt Lake. The mysterious metal proved to be silver, assaying at 4,000 ounces to the ton. Dr. Willet G. Miller, the Provincial Geologist, investigated the find and observed "pieces of native silver as big as stove lids or cannon balls lying on the ground..." Because people regarded it as an isolated occurrence the strike generated little excitement until 1904, when William G. Trethewey discovered two silver veins in a single day. When the mining fraternity saw that he was shipping "slabs of native metal stripped off the walls of the vein like boards from a barn," the rush was on. Eight-cent mining stocks rocketed to $290. The Cobalt area produced 31,507,791 ounces of silver in 1911 alone. This wealth financed the exploitation of subsequent mineral discoveries made by the thousands of prospectors who spread out from the town. Cobalt laid the groundwork for Canada's expertise in hardrock mining and encouraged badly needed public regulation of the industry. Truly "Cobalt was the opening victory in the long campaign waged by Canadians to wrest mineral wealth from the Precambrian Shield." The Resource Development stamps were designed by Will Davies, R.C.A. of Toronto. Mr. Davies' loose gouache illustration depicts men working with air drills in a hardrock silver mine in Cobalt. The drawings have a sense of atmosphere and reality, capturing the interesting contrast between the dark, confined mine workings underground and the man-dwarfing machinery of modern surface-mining technology. The colours of the typography represent silver and oil, the resources being extracted.
Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1978.
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