Wild Northerner Magazine 2015/16 Winter Issue - Page 54

Q- You mentioned you love exploring historic sites in the area. What is your passion with this? What do you like the most about exploring?

A- I have always been fascinated by the old mining operations of the north, which is why I fell in love with the town of Cobalt. It is a town of survivors and romantics. Cobalt represents the transition from the last of the frontier mining rushes to the birth of the modern mining community. Almost overnight this patch of Northern Ontario became home to adventurers from all over the world. A massive streetcar line was built to feed workers to the nearly 100 mines. The town was dotted with live theatres, two pro hockey teams and shanty shacks. This is the romantic version of the history. The other history is rooted in the fact that all of the wealth went south, leaving industrial relics on a scarred mining scape. Cobalt is a metaphor for Canada’s ambivalent relationship with its northern frontier communities. The extraction of wealth from the north has always been based on the principle of reinvesting only the absolute bare minimum.

Q- What is one historic site of the region that will always stand out in your mind and why?

A- My favourite spot is an old mining site called the Coniagas – a series of huge canyons that are truly breathtaking. It has been fenced off for safety reasons, but there are some truly incredible views among the old workings.

Q- Aside from exploring, what other outdoors pursuits do you like to do and why?

A- When I get home from Parliament I love to put on my rubber boots and head out on the bush trails with the dog. In winter, I take these same trails on skis. I never, ever get bored of covering this ground.