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Charlie Angus on Cobalt, Ont. and the legacy of a mining boom

Episode 32

Cobalt’s silver rush in the 1900s changed how mining was carried out in Canada and internationally — and not always for the better

  • Feb 08, 2022
Explore podcast host David McGuffin, left, chats with longtime NDP MP, author and musician Charlie Angus.
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Musician and politician Charlie Angus is our guest this episode, talking about his new book, Cobalt: Cradle of the Demon Metals, Birth of a Mining Superpower. It is a fresh look at his Northern Ontario hometown of Cobalt and its silver mining boom in the early 1900s, which he says changed not only Canadian mining, but how mining has been carried out around the globe ever since — and not always for the better.

For the lucky, the Cobalt silver rush built fortunes. It turned Toronto from a provincial backwater into a world financial and mining hub. It was a factor in the eventual creation of the National Hockey League, the inspiration for a Broadway play and drew immigrants from countries as far flung as Syria and China. But its legacy is a murky one, which Angus’ book brings into the light. The book also reveals neglected histories of the centuries of Indigenous mining that went on in the north long before European settlers arrived.

Charlie Angus is the longtime New Democratic Party MP for Timmins-James Bay and, as we discuss in the interview, he’s also the longtime front man for Grievous Angels, a Canadian band that was alt-country before alt-country was a thing.

It’s a fascinating talk. Enjoy! 

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This story is from the May/June 2022 Issue

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