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South Porcupine, ON, one of five wards in the city of Timmins. Incorporated in 1911, South Porcupine became a part of Timmins in 1973. The town is named for an island in a local river reportedly shaped like a porcupine.
Red Lake, Ontario, incorporated as a municipality in 1998, population 4,107 (2016 census), 4,366 (2011 census). The municipality of Red Lake is located in northwestern Ontario on the shore of Red Lake, 555 km northwest of Thunder Bay. The municipality is the result of the amalgamation of the former townships of Red Lake (incorporated in 1960) and Golden (established in 1985), and the unorganized territory governed by the Madsen local services board. Red Lake consists of six communities (Madsen, Red Lake, Balmertown, Cochenour, McKenzie Island and Starratt-Olsen) that sprang up around the area's gold mines.
Klondike Gold Rush
The discovery of gold in the Yukon in 1896 led to a stampede to the Klondike region between 1897 and 1899. This led to the establishment of Dawson City (1896) and subsequently, the Yukon Territory (1898).
Geraldton, ON, population centre, population 1,828 (2016 census), 1,810 (2011 census). Incorporated as a town in 1937, in 2001 Geraldton was amalgamated with several other communities to create the Municipality of Greenstone. Geraldton is situated in northwestern Ontario on the Canadian National Railway, 282 km northeast of Thunder Bay. Established in the early 1930s as a consequence of the Little Long Lac gold rush, the town derived its name from its two co-founders, mining entrepreneurs J.S. FitzGerald and Joseph Errington.
Gold rushes occurred in the mid- to late-19th century, primarily along North America’s West Coast from California to Alaska. In Canada, key events included the Fraser River, Cariboo and Klondike gold rushes, as well as the Fraser Canyon War and the founding of British Columbia as a colony in 1858. The worldwide production of gold tripled between 1848 and 1898, though this had relatively little impact on the Canadian economy. The gold rushes opened large territories to permanent resource exploitation and settlement by White people. They also resulted in the displacement and marginalization of many of the Indigenous communities in the region (see also Northwest Coast Indigenous Peoples; Central Coast Salish).
Fraser River Gold Rush
In 1858, around 30,000 gold seekers flooded the banks of the Fraser River from Hope to just north of Lillooet in British Columbia’s first significant gold rush. Although it dissipated by the mid-1860s, the Fraser River Gold Rush had a significant impact on the area’s Indigenous peoples and resulted in the Fraser Canyon War. Fears that the massive influx of American miners would lead the United States to annex the non-sovereign British territory known as New Caledonia also resulted in the founding of British Columbia as a colony on 2 August 1858 (see The Fraser River Gold Rush and the Founding of British Columbia). By the mid-1860s, the Fraser Rush collapsed, and British Columbia sank into a recession.
100 Mile House
100 Mile House, British Columbia, incorporated as a district municipality in 1991, population 1,980 (2016 census), 1,886 (2011 census). The district of 100 Mile House is located in the South Cariboo region of south-central British Columbia on Highway 97. It is 456 km northeast of Vancouver.
Fraser Canyon War
The Fraser Canyon War (a.k.a. the “Fraser River War” and the “miners’ war”) was a war waged by mainly white American gold miners against the Nlaka’pamux Indigenous people of the Fraser Canyon in the summer of 1858. The war began when the miners, arriving as part of the Fraser River Gold Rush in June 1858, perceived scattered Nlaka’pamux attacks in defense of their territories as a coordinated effort to drive them by force from their claims. Driven by a hunger for gold and a sense of entitlement to Indigenous peoples’ territories and resources, American miners formed military companies and carried out violent attacks on Nlaka’pamux communities. The war ended on 21 August 1858, when the Nlaka’pamux and miners called a truce. Under threat of further violence, the Nlaka’pamux agreed to grant miners access to their territories and resources, bringing the immediate conflict to a close. The conflict bears resemblance to the Chilcotin War of 1864, another Indigenous-newcomer conflict in the colonial history of British Columbia.
North-West Mounted Police
The North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) was the forerunner of Canada's iconic Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Created after Confederation to police the frontier territories of the Canadian West, the NWMP ended the whiskey trade on the southern prairies and the violence that came with it, helped the federal government suppress the North-West Rebellion, and brought order to the Klondike Gold Rush. The NWMP pioneered the enforcement of federal law in the West, and the Arctic, from 1873 until 1920.
Sir Samuel Benfield Steele, CB, KCMG, mounted policeman, soldier (born 5 January 1848 in Medonte, Canada West; died 30 January 1919 in London, England). As a member of the North-West Mounted Police, Steele was an important participant in the signing of Treaty 6 and Treaty 7, the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the North-West Rebellion and the Klondike gold rush. His military career began as a private in the Red River Expedition, included service in the South African War as an officer commanding Lord Strathcona’s Horse and as a major general during the First World War.
The Fraser River Gold Rush and the Founding of British Columbia
The year 1858 is the single most important year in British Columbia’s history. It was on 2 August of that year that an imperial act established the mainland colony of BC under the authority of Governor James Douglas. Beginning that spring, the Fraser River Gold Rush unleashed a chain of events that culminated a dozen years later in British Columbia joining the new Canadian Confederation (see British Columbia and Confederation). Without 1858, it is very possible there would have been no British Columbia, but rather an American state. Without 1858, Canada today might not extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific.