The Lost Iron Mines of Lanark County

Friday February 21, 2014 – 7:30 p.m. at the Almonte United Church Social Hall

Speaker: Jordan Smith 

Topic: The Lost Iron Mines of Lanark County


In the late 1800s, Lanark County was transformed by discoveries of rich deposits of iron ore and other minerals. Demand in Kingston for local iron sources to feed the booming industry there led to the creation of the Kingston and Pembroke Railway. As the rails pushed north, mines and towns sprung up along the way and helped turn eastern Ontario into one of the most active mining regions in Canada. But the boom was short-lived. By the early 1900s the ore deposits proved uneconomical. The mines closed, communities became ghost towns, and finally the rails were pulled up. Dense overgrowth now hides the few remaining clues.

In this lecture, Jordan Smith of Almonte will present the story of the Wilbur iron mine, once the largest iron mine in Ontario. He will share insights gained from exploring the mine site itself, a project he started after discovering some curious gaps in the historical record.

Speaker’s Profile:

Jordan Smith holds a combined degree in physics, engineering, and English from the University of Waterloo. Following careers in high tech and the arts, he now works at Deloitte where he advises clients on finance matters relating to R&D. Jordan’s many interests include history, archaeology, and teaching which is especially close to his heart. He can often be found deep in the backcountry on his motorbike exploring old trails and ghost towns.

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