Gold shifted the demographics of 19th century Nova Scotia, emptying out some rural areas and populating others with boom towns centred around gold mines. 
Renfrew was an isolated area on the barrens, growing from a scarce population to 700 people in five years. It ranked in seventh place out of 65 gold districts. And now, 150 years later, it’s a ghost town; very little remains of its post office, school, church, houses, stores, livery stable, blacksmith shops, lumber mill, and hotels.  

Other towns besides Renfrew also died when gold mining ceased. The Ovens had a population of over 1,000 during the 1860s. Now it’s a campground. Whiteburn Mines once had a population of 1,000 as well; with stores, a school, hotels – even a baseball team. No more. The buildings have rotted into the ground and vegetation covers this once vibrant gold mining community, the centre of industrial mining activity in Queens County during the last two decades of the 19th century.

Caribou Mines in Halifax County grew from 150 to 450 people in ten years during the second gold rush. Mining companies came and went. During the early years of the 20th Century, Caribou Mines became a near ghost town. Many left for mines elsewhere. Families moved to more populated centres for schools, stores and other modern conveniences. By 1925 all of the mining activity had ceased. In the mid 1930s, the community revived during Nova Scotia’s third gold rush and flourished for thirteen years. But when the known ore gave out and men had to move elsewhere for work, Caribou Mines languished once again. By 2008, there were only four permanent residents.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dian Day, Susan Sellers, Rita Wilson
1860 - 2008
The Ovens, Nova Scotia, CANADA
Renfrew, Nova Scotia, CANADA
Caribou Mines, Nova Scotia, CANADA
Nova Scotia, CANADA
© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.

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