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The Lucky Jim gold mine site was given to the Quadra Island community in 2008 by its owner to restore as an historic site for all to enjoy. It is a magical place to visit as it holds such an exciting piece of local and national history.
After the great gold rush to the Klondike in 1898, a rush which was largely funneled through Vancouver Island’s city of Victoria and Canada’s west coast, any mention of ‘gold’ anywhere in the world would start great interest in government and business people. Nothing developed empty land as quickly and as dramatically as a gold rush. Towns and cities spring up overnight, roads were built feverishly. People caught the fever and shouted “Gold! Gold! ” .
In 1908, while the Klondike was still a booming goldfield in Canada’s north, a payable gold seam was discovered in hard rock near Granite Bay, on Quadra Island; and the Lucky Jim Gold Mine was born. The owners of the mine brought south from Sointula Island a colony of Finns to build the mine buildings and work the mine. The remains of their log cabins are still visible today at the mine site. They dove-tailed their log joints in the cabins in a certain way. They tunneled down into the granite and then made drifts from the main shafts. They used the railway line and steam locomotive already there for logging, to haul their ore the short distance of a half-mile to Granite Bay where there was a weekly steamship visit. Granite Bay was once the hub of Quadra and of this whole small region. They shipped their ore south to Ladysmith where it was crushed and smelted.
At first the miners used hammers and chisels to mine the rock, but soon progressed to using a huge steam engine to power pneumatic drills. The great steam engine also pumped air down to the miners to breathe, and pumped the water up from the shafts and drifts to keep the mine from flooding with underground water.
The great steam engine still stands at the site today and is a rare piece of history. The mine did not last long, due to flooding and to a drop in the gold price, and closed in 1911. Near the remains of the steam engine today you can see the two main shafts of the mine, which have been recently professionally grilled over as a public safety measure.
To access the Lucky Jim Mine Historic Site drive north from Heriot Bay, about seven miles, to Granite Bay Road on the left. Drive down Granite Bay Road for about five miles until you come to a dirt road coming in on your right and an old steel boiler sitting beside the road with Mine ⇒ written on it.
Here you can park, because right on that intersection, blending perfectly with the deep green forest, sit various remains of the miners’ log cabins built in 1909. There’s what seems to be bunk-houses, and a large cook-house/dining room there if you look very closely into the mossy forest from the roadside. Now you can walk along the side-road 100 meters to a driveway off to the left and follow this private driveway a short distance to the trail on you left. From here it is two minutes’ walk to the mine site and steam engine. There are small signs beside the road and driveway to help guide you to the mine.
Please do not remove anything such as mine tailings, rocks, or relics from this site, so that others may enjoy this magic spot as you do.