Cobalt Historical Society Presents
Selected Chapters in Temiskaming History

June 3rd, 2017

9:00am to 4:00 pm at
the Classic Theatre,
30 Silver Street, Cobalt

Exciting speakers addressed a number of fascinating subjects concerning Temiskaming history. The mezzanine in the Classic Theatre was full, and the topics sparked lively discussion. The next symposium will be held June 2, 2018.

Selected Chapters of Temiskaming Heritage 2017

Selected Chapters of Temiskaming Heritage 2017

The book with the proceedings of the symposium will be available end of August/ beginning of September 2107. Order form available here.


John Pollock | Norm Hawirko | George Lefebvre | Siobhan Angus | Bruce Taylor

John Pollock

Dr. John Pollock: Archaeological Sites in the Historic Cobalt Mining Camp-Update 2017

John Pollock describes archaeological assessment work undertaken from 2005 to present that has documented more than 100 key archaeological sites in the Cobalt area. These sites help tell the fascinating story of the Cobalt Mining District National Historic Site of Canada from 1903 to its world prominence in the production of silver during the 1920s. Most sites consist of above ground surface ruins and subsurface remains of mines, buildings, foundations and other features associated with silver mining and milling, housing, transportation and related activities.

Dr. John Pollock, Archaeological Consultant, is a licensed consulting archaeologist, he holds a current 2017 Provincial licence (#P016) from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport. He is a well-known specialist in archaeological and cultural heritage research, planning and development. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from the University of Toronto in 1972 and a Master of Arts in Anthropology from McMaster University in 1975. In 1984 he received a Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology degree from the University of Alberta.

Dr. Pollock spent three years each with the Governments of Ontario and Alberta in the Archaeological - Cultural Heritage Resources field. This involved researching archaeological and historic sites, cultural tourism attractions, park planning and review of development proposals. Dr. Pollock was Alberta's Culture's representative on the Development & Reclamation Review Committee which supervised all major oil and gas projects undertaken within the Province of Alberta. In recent years he has managed Woodland Heritage Services Limited an archaeological consulting firm based in northern Ontario. The firm consists of five licensed archaeologists and support staff who provide archaeological and heritage environmental impact assessment services for mining, highways, First Nations, hydro development, forest industry and municipalities.


Norm Hawirko

Norm Hawirko: A 3D Digital Model Study of Cobalt's Historic Townsite Headframe.

Three-dimensional model of the Townsite head frame, developed from aerial mapping drone flights that Dan Larocque took last year. Overlaid the historic 1916 insurance map over the map portion for a fresh perspective on the Townsite history.

Norman has over 40 years experience in illustrative and technical mapping. His field experience includes data collection using photography, GPS/GIS, and has worked with a local archaeologist for over 15 years in heritage assessment studies. He has designed and published various maps including the first digitally constructed snowmobile trail map in Northern Ontario. Community maps are one of his specialties.


George Lefebvre

George Lefebvre: The Darby Mine, Thomas Edison's Latchford Venture

George Lefebvre is a Latchford lad through and through, born in Cobalt but has spent all but four years of his life in Latchford. He grew up in Latchford when it was a sawmill town and enjoyed the waning years of that industry. He has benefited from a varied career as a Planner, Manager, small business owner, and consultant but now tries (unsuccessfully) to stay retired. George confesses to a rather unusual hobby that he started in 1965 -small town politics. He has served Latchford as the Clerk Treasurer, Councillor, and Mayor for over 40 years. George is an avid local historian who has authored one local history book and is working on a second. He is also a longtime member of Sgt. Aubrey Cosens VC Branch 629, Royal Canadian Legion which he presently serves as President. He enjoys watching the culmination of long time Latchford dream to which he has devoted much effort, the building of the new Latchford Dam.


Siobhan Angus

Siobhan Angus: Disruptive Visualities: Reading Photographs from the Early Cobalt Mining Camp

Photography surpasses other mediums in the representation of day-to-day life and ordinary experiences. As a result 'displaced histories' can be recovered through a close reading of photographs, whether they were preserved intentionally or accidentally. This examination of how the historical photographs of Cobalt be used as a lens through which we understand contemporary discussions about sustainability, climate change, and resource extraction and recover histories and experiences that have been forgotten. While a recovery project of working class experiences is complicated by inadequate source material, the fragments and shards of lives and experiencesboth ordinary and extraordinary, resistant and complacent, traumatic and hopeful enrich our collective memory.

Siobhan Angus is a PhD Candidate in Art History and Visual Culture at York University in Toronto. She holds an MA in History from the University of Toronto. Her current research explores the intersection of environmental history and labour through a focused analysis of historic photographs from Cobalt, a mining community in Northern Ontario. She is currently on the Board of Directors for the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, and has held positions at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, the Multicultural History Society, University College (University of Toronto) and Sotheby's. Angus has presented her research across Europe and the Americas, including Technical Landscapes: Aesthetics and the Environment in the History of Science and Art, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Photography and the Left, Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea | Museu do Chiado (Lisbon), Contemphoto: International Conference on Visual Culture and Photography, DAKAM: Eastern Mediterranean Research Group (Istanbul), the North American Labor Historians Conference (Detroit, MI) On Whose Authority? (Re)Assessing the Malleable Canon of Visuality, University of California Riverside (Riverside, CA), and Women, Nature and Colonies, The World-Ecology Research Network (New York).


Bruce Taylor

Bruce W. Taylor: Challenges of Researching the Life of Stephen Lafricain

Stephen Lafricain was born on June 9, 1837 at the Hudsons Bay Company (HBC) trading post in Rigolet, on the Labrador coast, the son of Charles Etienne Tribot dit Lafricain (1819-1867) and Anne Jourdain (1820-1894), a mixed race (French and Inuit) woman. In his 99 years of life, he was a soldier, a voyageur, a hunter, a trapper, a fur trader, a prospector, and a trusted friend of the local Algonquin native people.

Finding genealogical data on the Stephen Lafricain during the early years of his life, and on his service during the U.S. Civil War is an almost impossible task. Remote locations, lack of church and government records, obscure records in both French and English, and failing memory, are some of the impediments to filling out Lafricain's life story. This paper will explain how some of these challenges were addressed over the past fifteen years.

Bruce Taylor was born at Kirkland Lake, and grew up in the northern Ontario town of New Liskeard. He is a graduate of the Haileybury School of Mines, and Michigan Technological University. He has had a life-long interest in the history and heritage of the Temiskaming District of northeastern Ontario having published a number of histories of the people and places in the area. His latest history is on the life of Stephen Lafricain, the Hudson Bay Company factor at Matachewan.


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