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Gold in Wine Harbour

In 1860, the first gold strike was made at Wine Harbour and by 1942, 37% of the provincial gold production was taking place in the County.


The first recorded discovery of gold in Guysborough County was in 1861. Stories regarding the nature of the find abound. One tells of women chancing upon the precious metal while picking blueberries. They filled their pails with nuggets and covered them over with berries, to avoid having to share in their newfound wealth. In due time, though, people became curious as to why the women were picking so many berries. They followed the women to the fields, and in very short order their secret was a secret no longer. Another story tells of a farmer stumbling upon the gold while making hay in his field. Whatever the case, when the word got out that gold had been found, countless prospectors and would-be gold miners flowed into the area.

The western part of the County was one of the province’s greatest gold-producing regions. New leads were discovered from time to time, and mines opened in one harbour after another, until a veritable golden strand existed from Ecum Secum all the way to New Harbour.

Wine Harbour

1894 - Eureka Gold Mining Company: A. McQuarrie, underground manager; eighteen men employed. A blacksmith shop and engine house was constructed, and shafts were pumped out to enlarge them.
1895 - Barrasois: M. McGrath, manager; sixteen men employed, working on two leads

Sherbrooke District

By March of 1862, sixty-nine applications for leases had been received. During March and April of that same year, two hundred and twenty-three more were processed. Many of these leases were taken on speculation and so never amounted to much, while some were worked for a month or two and then abandoned. Other leads backed by both capital and manpower did extremely well, and consequently many fortunes were made. Some of the lead names were The Hewitt, The Cumminger, The Hayden, The Aikins, The McKay, and The Blue Lead.


1894 - Canada Gold Mining Company: John McQuarrie, manager; fourteen men employed.
1895 - New Glasgow Gold Mining Company: J. A. Fraser, manger; thirty men employed. Stellarton Gold Mining Company, and Springfield: twenty men employed


The Mulgrave lead at Isaac’s Harbour was the most prosperous. The Galligher, Victoria, North Star, Antigonish, Burke, and Fraserwere some of the other leads.

By World War II, almost 40% of gold production in Nova Scotia was situated in Guysborough County, and the population grew considerably as a result. Gold exploration continues in the region today, with various mining companies currently analyzing the development potential of numerous areas.