The following historical information was provided and written by the Gatineau Valley Historical Society.
The discovery of iron in the Gatineau Hills is connected with the first surveys and settlement of the area. In 1801, John MacTaggart, who was surveying the area for Philemon Wright, noticed the needle in his compass swinging wildly about as he traversed a certain portion of lot 11 range 7, in what was later known as West Hull Township. The reason, of course, was that the high iron content in the rock was interfering with the Earth's magnetic field. MacTaggart and Wrightwere not able to exploit this discovery until 1826, when they formed the Hull Mining Company, and dispatched a colonist to occupy the lot. This was little more than a claim-staking exercise, and the mining that did take place was small scale at that time. Tiberius Wright sold the rights to this Hull Iron Mine to Forsyth and Company of Pennsylvania in 1854 (thus renaming the mine as the Forsyth Mine). The ore was of such quality that the company exhibited a ton of ore from this mine at the 1855 Paris International Exposition. Production increased dramatically. Between 1854 and 1860, about 15,000 tons (13,600 metric tons) were shipped, and 13 men worked at the mine. Ore was taken out of the hillside (near where the modern hydroelectric pylons cross through the park from Hull to Aylmer) to the little village of Ironside, where it was loaded onto barges for the journey along the Rideau Canal to Kingston.In Kingston,the ore was transshipped onto lakers, which transported it to Cleveland and the iron mills.
A fire in 1870 destroyed the village of Ironside and the infrastructure there for preprocessing the ore. At this time, Alanson Baldwin purchased the mine, as well as some neighbouring properties which also had promise for iron mining. The Baldwin mine produced roughly 3,000 tons (2,721 metric tons) of ore during the 1870s.Various legal difficulties beset Baldwin, and the ownership of the various mines in the area (the Forsyth, the Baldwin, and the Lawless) passed through a succession of hands over the next 50 years. Production continued, intermittently, during that time too, but never again at the same pace or with the same economic impact as during those 20 years in the mid-19th century.
Location ID #CM0006
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