Bancroft and the surrounding region known as North Hastings is one of the most unique areas geologically in the entire world!  With almost 90% of all types of minerals found on earth located in North Hastings, Bancroft is a major destination for recreational rock hounding enthusiasts and is known as the "Mineral Capital of Canada". For over fifty years, tens of thousands of mineral enthusiasts have traveled to Bancroft to experience the annual Rockhound Gemboree.

56 Rockhound Gemboree 2019

The first discovery of gold in Ontario was made in 1866 on the Richardson farm near Madoc. The find sparked a gold rush to the Madoc area and miners looking for gold combed much of the surrounding area, including Deloro and Eldorado. In Marmora there is an open pit mine (Marmora Mine Site) that has been flooded by an underground spring to resemble a small lake. A groomed walking trail runs beside the mine where one can still find minerals lying on the ground.

Looking to get rockhounding?

Explore the Bancroft region on a guided tour hosted by the Bancroft & District Chamber of Commerce. Learn about the local minerals and discover new gems alongside lead geologist, Robert Meek, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during the months of July and August. Book a tour, see the schedule and/or learn more about this experience today! 

Here are a few "must stop at" locations:

  • Bancroft Mineral Museum Display – Focuses on mineral heritage in the region and mineral collecting with mineral guidebooks for purchase.
  • Princess Sodalite Mine Rock Shop – View local and worldwide mineral and fossil specimens and shop gemstone jewellery, rock crafts, and gifts.
  • Marmoraton Iron Mine – Come and explore the area, where underground streams and rainfall have filled this abandoned, open pit mine with water.
  • The Miner's Loop - Explore "Upper Canada's First Mining Town" and unique sites around the Municipality of Marmora and Lake.
  • Rockhound Gemboree – Canada’s largest gem and mineral show, bringing together more than 100 dealers of fine mineral specimens, gemstone jewellery, and lapidary supplies.
  • Tyendinaga Cavern & Caves - Featuring guided tours of Ontario's largest natural cavern, people from near and far are now discovering the adventure and history of this natural wonder.

Here's a video produced by the Ontario's Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO) about the Princess Sodalite Mine in Bancroft.

Want to learn more about the heritage-rich activity known as recreational geology? 

Check out the following publications: