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Blezard Mine

History

Town site photo

The former town site

©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko

The mineral occurrence that led to the establishment of the Blezard Mine was initially discovered in 1885. Situated on the south 1/2 of Lot 4, Concession 2, Blezard Township, the property was granted to Colbert Ducharme and Edward William Hillman. The following year they sold the parcel to the Dominion Nickel Company (DNC). In 1889 the DNC was reorganized and began exploiting the property. At that time, it was the first attempt by Canadian interests, mainly from the Sudbury and North Bay area, to develop and finance a copper-nickel mine. Some notable shareholders were James Worthington, a railway contractor and John Ferguson, North Bay's founder and later well-beloved mayor and citizen.

In 1888, the Stobie spur had been pushed from Sudbury Station and terminated at the Stobie Mine. The following year an extension was built that terminated at the Blezard mine. The company built a shaft, along with a rock house and established a roast yard. In 1890 they erected a smelter to process the ores and produce nickel and copper matte. James Worthington was a major shareholder and director of the DNC who also owned the Worthington Mine, situated 35 kilometres west of Sudbury. Ore from the Worthington was also shipped to the smelter for treatment.

Hopes ran so high for the DNC that a town site was established to keep a steady work force close at hand. Twenty log hewed homes were erected in a semi orderly fashion in 1890. Situated just east of the mine, the homes were established hurriedly, but the site also included a store, company office, and boarding facilities for single men. A warehouse and school were added along with a post office. In 1891 nearly 300 people could be found at the site.

In 1892, Robert McBride a mining captain at the Blezard Mine, discovered an important nickel deposit south west of the mine on Lot 7, Concession 1, Blezard Township. The property, which later known as the Cameron Mine, was a small deposit named for the Blezard Mine's manager Ian Cameron. The DNC was experiencing financial difficulties and closed the Blezard Mine in 1893 after producing 100,000 tons of ore. However, since the Worthington Mine was still producing, the smelter remained in operation.

In 1895 the company acquired the Cameron Mine to shore up their ore reserves, but apart from a 65 foot shaft and some minor exploration, the property remained dormant. Later that year operations at the Worthington Mine and the Blezard smelter were suspended, for lack of operating funds. The Blezard Mine, unlike most Sudbury properties, was never reworked after that.