Crystal girlies and armchair geologists, rejoice! You can go “rockhounding” for minerals all over Ontario and walk home with some gorgeous new additions to your collection.
“Rockhounding,” the term used to describe the hobby of mining, searching for, and collecting your own minerals and crystals, is fun, easy, and can be totally free, if you know where to look.
While you can technically go rockhounding anywhere, including your own backyard, here are some locations in the province that are particularly loaded with treasures from the earth for you to discover.
Bancroft, Ontario is part of the Canadian Shield, with parts of the area being 1.8 billion years old and, because of that, absolutely full of minerals and fossils.
Beginners can try their hand at rockhounding at the CN Rockpile, which is chock-full of various minerals that were brought in for the construction of the CN Railway, or head to Lakeside Gems for a guided gem-collecting experience with a geologist.
The Miners’ Loop, Bonnechere GeoHeritage Trail and Princess Sodalite Mine Rock Shop are all great stops on your rockhounding journey, and the town also throws an annual Bancroft Rockhound Gemboree, where hounders get together to share in the excitement of the hunt.
Aside from being a hub for all sorts of outdoor adventures, this area of Northern Ontario near Sault Ste. Marie is home to some serious deposits of minerals and fossils.
Bruce Mines was Canada’s first successful copper mine, and now offers guided tours in the summer where you can search out a ton of different minerals including, it’s rumoured, gold.
Head to St. Joseph Island to find limestone fossils or walk the colourful coastline of Lake Superior Provincial Park to seek out minerals hidden in the sand.
Boasting the absolute best that the Canadian Shield has to offer, areas of Northern Ontario like Sudbury, Cobalt and Killarney are home to some ample deposits of minerals that would cost a fortune in a Toronto crystal shop.
Goawganda and Matachewan are two rural communities north of Sudbury that are both home to abandoned silver mines as well as calcite, fluourite, pyrite and occasionally copper.
Whether you’re a seasoned rockhounder or just looking to get started, there are spots all over the province, from the far north to your own backyard to get your hands dirty unearthing something gorgeous.