Time Line – A History of Gold in Nova Scotia

1500s    Mi’kmaq First Nation probably aware of the glittery ore.  No known mines   
              or gold works.

1600s    L’Acadie/Acadia.  French speaking, Catholic settlers.  No known gold

1700s    Nova Scotia becomes a British colony.  First Protestant Settlements.

1830s    Road builders speak of “bright yellow metal in the stone.”

1840      A captain in British military pans gold on Gold River.

1849      A  farmer from Lawrencetown claims to find gold but was told to “pitch the
              rubbish away.” 

1857      Unofficial discovery of gold by Richard Smith in a stream near
              Musquodoboit.  Sands in Halifax Harbour show presence of gold.

1858      Captain L’Estrange, hunting moose with three Mi’kmaq guides, Frank
              Cope, Noel Luis and Joe Paul, makes first authenticated discovery of gold
              in quartz at Mooseland but does not continue exploring.
              Nova Scotia government takes control of all mines and mineral rights in
              the province.

1860      John Gerrish Pulsifer finds gold in Mooseland area and initiates first gold

1861      Mooseland declared a Gold District in April 1861; followed by Tangier,
              Lawrencetown, The Ovens, Wine Harbour, Goldenville (Sherbrooke),
              Waverley, Isaacs Harbour, Country Harbour and Gold River.

1861      July - Visit to Tangier Harbour and gold field by Prince Napoleon (Cousin
              of Emperor Napoleon III of France) and his wife, Princess Clothide.
              October – Visit to Tangier-Mooseland gold field by HRH Prince Alfred, one
              of Queen Victoria’s sons.

1861      65 gold districts were established by the Nova Scotia government between
              1861 and 1935, the majority being in Halifax and Guysborough counties.

1887      First professional mining association organized in Canada – “The Gold
              Miners Club of Nova Scotia”.

1896-1903    Second Gold Rush. More orderly and mechanized than first.

1898      Highest gold yield; 31,113 ounces in one year

1936      Moose River Gold Mine disaster.  Three men trapped in mine.  After 11
              days, rescue. CRBC makes radio history, broadcasting from a
              remote location on the spot for 56 hours.

1932-1942    Third Gold Rush, driven by mining for arsenic, a mineral associated
                     with gold.

2000s    Latest “Gold Rush”.  Impact of record high gold prices and increased
              demand; pressure to work old tailings, open new mines in Nova Scotia.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dian Day, Susan Sellers, Rita Wilson
1500 - 2013
Nova Scotia, CANADA
© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans