Bruce Mines

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Bruce Mines
Town of Bruce Mines
Highway 17 through Bruce Mines.
Highway 17 through Bruce Mines.
Bruce Mines is located in Ontario
Bruce Mines
Bruce Mines
Coordinates: 46°17′N 83°47′W / 46.283°N 83.783°W / 46.283; -83.783Coordinates: 46°17′N 83°47′W / 46.283°N 83.783°W / 46.283; -83.783
Country Canada
Province Ontario
 • MayorLory Patteri
 • MPCarol Hughes (NDP)
 • MPPMichael Mantha (NDP)
 • Land6.13 km2 (2.37 sq mi)
 • Total566
 • Density92.3/km2 (239/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Postal Code
P0R 1C0
Area code(s)705 and 249

Bruce Mines is a town in the Canadian province of Ontario, located on the north shore of Lake Huron in the Algoma District along Highway 17. The town of Bruce Mines has a population of 566 residents. The current mayor of Bruce Mines is Lory Patteri.


Copper deposits at Bruce Mines came to the attention of non-native settlers in 1846, and mining began that year. The area was named after James Bruce, the Governor General of Canada appointed in 1846. The Bruce Mines comprised Bruce, Wellington and Copper Bay mines.[2] In 1876 the mines were closed due to floods, cave-ins, and declining profits, leading to a shift to agricultural development in the area. Mining resumed from 1915 to 1921, and despite occasional efforts to resume mining, has been inactive since then. However, the mine shaft are still open for the public to see. Bruce Mines was the second ever copper mining town in all of North America behind Cliff Mine in Michigan's Copper Country. An Ontario Historical Plaque was erected by the province to commemorate the Bruce Mines' role in Ontario's heritage.[3]

Bruce Mines: The Early Era[edit]

The Bruce Mines changed ownership several times between 1847 and 1944, when they were decommissioned. Flooding and cave-ins in 1876 ended the 30-year period of active mining history. In the 1870s, agriculture and logging prospered in the wake of uncertainty with the mines. The Township of Plummer Additional was incorporated in 1891 while Northern Ontario's first town, the Town of Bruce Mines was officially incorporated in 1903 when it separated from the Township of Plummer Additional. Several attempts to re-open the mines in the early 1900s saw only limited success by Mond Nickel, who shipped the quartz-copper flux ore to Sudbury. Mond Nickel shut down the Bruce Mines in 1921. The mines were decommissioned in 1944 and forestry activities have declined, but agriculture, aggregate extraction and tourism continue as the main economic activities in the area.

The Township of Plummer Additional depends on Bruce Mines and other urban centres for most of its commercial and community services. In the 2010 municipal election, winning mayoral candidate Gordon Post pledged to investigate the feasibility of reamalgamating Bruce Mines and Plummer Additional.[4]

Marina history[edit]

In 1846, the first copper mine opened in Bruce Mines. Miners from Cornwall, England emigrated to the area to work the mines. The mining companies quickly built wharves and docks in the bay to handle the influx of people and materials. Two of the mine managers built their homes at the entrance to the main dock property. They made sure that only approved boats used the docks. The mining companies did not allow any stores to open in their town. All of the miners and their families were forced to purchase from the Company Store. The Marks brothers from Hilton Beach would load a barge on St. Joseph Island and bring fresh produce, meat and lumber to the miners in Bruce Mines. They were not allowed to land on the dock, so would anchor their barge in the middle of the bay and the people of Bruce Mines would row and paddle out to buy merchandise from them. Eventually they opened one of the first mercantile stores in Bruce Mines. A Company tugboat, the "E.P. Sawyer" was a familiar site in Bruce Mines. This tug was used to move barges around the bay from the different mines located in Bruce Mines. Passenger vessels, such as the "Caribou" and the "Premier" also stopped on a regular basis in Bruce Mines. These vessels brought much needed cargo and passengers to the area. The "Premier" burned and sank at the dock in 1923. Divers later recovered the propeller and salvaged the metal from her boilers.

Museum history[edit]

The post office for Bruce Mines

Built in 1894 as a Presbyterian Church, the "Church on the Rock" was used for services until 1917 when the congregation outgrew the church and united with the Methodist congregation, whose church could accommodate both groups. In the same year, a fire swept through the town and the local postmaster, whose building had been destroyed, moved the post office into the vacant church building. The building was used as a scout and church hall for many years until 1945 when another fire destroyed the Bruce Mines Public School. The building housed grades 9 - 12 for two years until grades 11 and 12 were moved to the old jail building and finally in December 1948 the school moved into a new building. The building stood empty until the Town of Bruce Mines purchased it in 1950 when it was used as a public library and as a storage house for local artifacts. The museum officially opened in 1961 and in 1973 the library moved to the Bruce Mines Central School.

Library history[edit]

It arrived from England and was aimed at the miners and other workers (bush workers, agriculture people) and was called 'The Mechanics Institute Library and was the first library for Bruce Mines, way back in the 1860s. It was housed in the museum in the 1950s and early 60s at which time Plummer Additional and the Town of Bruce Mines collaborated and passed a bylaw forming the Union Public Library. The library moved to what is now the Arthur Henderson Public School. Johnson Township joined forces in the mid 80s by becoming a contracting library. On April 3, 1993 the library became a unit all on its own with a modern building and since then has become a hub of modern activity. The Library moved from a card-based catalogue and borrowing system to a state of the art electronic system called automation. HRDC made automation possible with a funding grant. Automation gives the library the ability to search the entire library catalogue with a few strokes of the keyboard and clicks of a mouse. 1996 brought the establishment of the first CAP (Community Access Program) site to provide internet access to the area. The library's website was developed in 1998 under its Art Committee.

McKay Island Lighthouse history[edit]

The McKay Island Lighthouse was built in 1907 to serve the timber industry. It had 5 Keepers of the Light, Angus McNeish, Merrit Strum, Joseph Harvey, Gord Inch, Mr Wing. It became an unwatched light in Oct 1955. On Oct 25th 2009 the range light was converted to solar power with LED bulbs. It is now a housekeeping lighthouse and available to rent as a unique accommodation.


Canada census – Bruce Mines community profile
2011 2006
Population: 566 (-3.1% from 2006) 584 (-6.9% from 2001)
Land area: 6.13 km2 (2.37 sq mi) 6.13 km2 (2.37 sq mi)
Population density: 92.3/km2 (239/sq mi) 95.3/km2 (247/sq mi)
Median age: 53.2 (M: 53.3, F: 53.1) 48.8 (M: 47.8, F: 50.2)
Total private dwellings: 285 287
Median household income: $50,024
References: 2011[5] 2006[6] earlier[7]
Aerial view of Bruce Mines

Population trend:[8]

  • Population in 2011: 566
  • Population in 2006: 584
  • Population in 2001: 627
  • Population in 1996: 653
  • Population in 1991: 684


Fall Fair[edit]

Bruce Mines is known for the annual Fall Fair events hosted at the Bruce Mines Exhibition Grounds & Arena. The first ever Fall Fair was hosted on the second September weekend in 1880 and it's been held on the same weekend ever since then. Some of the attractions include:

  • Demolition Derby
  • Tractor Pull
  • ATV Pull
  • Horse Pull
  • Pet Show
  • Alpaca 4-H Club Demonstrations and Obstacle Courses
  • Student Art Displays
  • Dancing
  • Bar
  • Food Booths
  • Tricycle and Battery Car Races


The museum and archives, also known as the "church on the rock", was a Presbyterian Church built in 1894, and later used as a post office and a school. The museum began in 1960 and houses over 7000 artifacts of Bruce Mines and Area history and archives that include:

  • Genealogical, census, birth, death, marriage, and baptismal records
  • Copies and originals of photos of pioneer families and the town mining documents
  • The 1850 Bruce Mines Postmaster Joshua Coatsworth journals containing letters, sketches, and poetry
  • A customs ledger from the company wharf with entries dated 1850 to 1872

Visitors to the archives are requested to make pre-arrangements with museum staff.


The Bruce Mines Marina and Waterfront is conveniently located in the center of Bruce Mines and is only one of our many attractions. Restaurants, convenience stores, L.C.B.O. / Beer Store, groceries, gift shops, the Royal Bank with ATM, the Post Office, The Royal Canadian Legion, the Public Library, The Bruce Mines Museum and the Medical Centre are all within walking distance of the Marina. It has:

  • Full service unleaded gas and diesel
  • Full service pump out
  • 30 amp 110 volt AC power outlets at all slips
  • Very clean shower and washroom Facilities
  • Charts and maps
  • Gin pole
  • Garbage disposal
  • New Launch ramp
  • Picnic area
  • Children's playground equipment
  • 20 foot gazebo

Sports teams[edit]


Minor hockey used to be a major part of Bruce Mines sports. Minor hockey teams in Bruce Mines go back as far as the early 1930s. Probably the two most famous Bruce Mines hockey teams are the Bruce Mines Copper Kings and the Copper Bay Flames. Together, they have garnered more trophies than any other local team. They are on display at the Bruce Mines Arena. In 2001, local hockey basically stopped dead in its tracks due to lack of interest to play in Bruce Mines. There hasn't been a team since then. However, there are still games being played there such as the annual "Grudge Match", "Women's Tournament", and "Men's 3-on-3 Tournament".


Soccer is fairly new to Bruce Mines. There are 3 divisions in Bruce Mines Soccer, Junior Kindergarten to Grade 1, Grade 2 to Grade 4, and Grade 5 to Grade 7. Teams are the Bruce Mines Sparks, Bruce Mines Flames, and the Bruce Mines Blaze. Other towns that participate in this league are Desbarats, St. Joseph Island, and Echo Bay.


  1. ^ a b "Bruce Mines census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  2. ^ Mary Ellen Perkins (ed.) 'Discover your heritage: A Guide to Provincial Plaques in Ontario' Natural Heritage (Jun 30 1989) ISBN 0920474500
  3. ^ Ontario Plaque Archived 2008-10-17 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Post delivered to top Bruce Mines post; to probe Plummer union" Archived 2013-02-02 at Sault Star, October 26, 2010.
  5. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  6. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-14.
  7. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". 2001 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012.
  8. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006 census

External links[edit]