Canadian hard-rock mining began in Nova Scotia in 1860 – first in Tangier and, in 1861 at Wine Harbour and the Sherbrooke Gold District (Goldenville). Over the next few years mines were opened along a narrow geological belt from Seal Harbour in the East to Molega (Queen’s County) in the West. Almost all of these mining operations were on or near the Marine Drive along the Eastern Shore: Seal Harbour, Goldboro, Forest Hill, Country Harbour Mines, Wine Harbour, Cochrane Hill, Goldenville, Lochaber Mines, 15 Mile, Moose River, Caribou, Montague, Oldham, Waverly.
For 80 years (1860’s to 1940’s) these mines were at the centre of bustling, prosperous communities. Most of the communities have shrunk to a few families and some, (Cochrane Hill, Forest Hill, 15 Mile) have disappeared.
Still, the magic and excitement of GOLD persists! Heritage Goldenville members have visited gold mining restorations in California (the Great Gold Rush Trail of ‘49 – remembering the Great Gold Rush of 1849 – which passes through some 50 mining communities on its 300 mile/500 kilometer route), Barkerville in the British Columbia Cariboo Country and, of course, Dawson City in the Klondyke.
After these visits there can be no doubt about the popularity of mining restorations. The key word is . . . GOLD!!
The Heritage Goldenville Society Project
The Heritage Goldenville Society (HGS) is, first of all, dedicated to the development of the Goldenville gold-mining heritage as,
(1) a visitor attraction complementing the Sherbrooke Village Restoration and also, very importantly,
(2) part of an educational experience reminding Nova Scotians, and others, young and old, of the rich heritage and extensive gold-mining heritage. A heritage which envelopes and brings to living memory mining, community, families, and a bygone way of life for a small but historically important metropolitan community which was pivotal in this part of the province.
In this regard, we see the Heritage Goldenville Centre as the focus for a much wider endeavour, namely the creation of a NOVA SCOTIA GOLD MINING TRAIL extending form Halifax/Dartmouth to Seal Harbour and anchored on the Marine Drive. Once established, there could be “mini trails” such as Halifax/Dartmouth – Waverly – Oldham – Montague; or Halifax/Dartmouth – Tangier – Moose River – Caribou; or Antigonish/New Glasgow – Cochrane Hill – Goldenville – Wine Harbour – Bickerton Lighthouse – Country Harbour Mines – Goldboro – Seal Harbour… There could be many variations along the Marine Drive route.