Hi there! Today we wanted to share photos from our recent trip to the Murphy’s Point Silver Queen Mica Mine! The Silver Queen Mica Mine is a lesser known attraction in Ontario but definitely worth a visit! Admission to the Silver Queen Mica Mine is free, however vehicles need an inexpensive day pass to park in the provincial park; if you come on foot or bike its totally free! Keep reading to hear more about our explorations!
In the late 1800s and 1900s, investors from around the world came to this area interested in the minerals mica, apatite, and feldspar, that could be blasted out of the Canadian Shield bedrock. The Silver Queen Mica Mine (1903-1920) and dozens of other small scale mines within walking distance, were part of this mining boom that injected money and jobs into a farming community challenged by the same rocky land.
The Silver Queen Mica Mine trail is 2.5 km in length (including return) and leads you through abandoned farmland to the mine site. The Silver Queen Mica Mine site consists of several pits that can be seen from the trail, including a main pit with underground workings to a depth of 140 feet. Mica was primarily used as an insulating glass in ovens and lanterns. Apparently, it is still used today in the automotive, aerospace and cosmetic industries.
You get to explore a beautiful trail on your way to the Silver Queen Mica Mine with lots of historical tidbits and interpretative actors. One of my favourite parts was how the fallen mica made the path sparkle in the sunlight for most of the walk (see above)!
Once you pick up your hard hat, the first place you arrive is the “Side Drift”, which is a caged off section of the mine that you can peak into. It is mostly submerged, but you can see some mineral deposits running along the ceiling and feel a very cool breeze.
A little further down the path you will arrive at the main entrance to the Silver Queen Mica Mine. Interesting fact – this main entrance didn’t used to exist but was constructed to help visitors access the mine – original miners used to lower themselves down into the pit.
You get to descend 20m down the dark slippery pathway into the Silver Queen Mica Mine! Pay attention to the “watch you head’ signs as we all whacked our helmets off the ceiling!
Once you get down the little cave path, you enter an open mining pit (with an period actor if you are lucky!). The Silver Queen Mica Mine was covered in beautiful green moss, which was really stunning. The period actor also did a great job of depicting historical mining practices, including rock removal, mica extraction, and worker conditions.
Inside the Silver Queen Mica Mine there are three mining branches that you can explore. Each of them are submerged in water but it is interesting to see how much rock they were able to excavate with manual tools! The entire Silver Queen Mica Mine is relatively small and only fits about 30-40 people so you may have to wait at the top if there is a crowd!
After exploring the Silver Queen Mica Mine, you can continue along the trail to explore the historic mining accommodations. There is a small cute house and it won’t take you long to realize that the living conditions weren’t ideal for miners compared to modern standards!
That leads you to the end of the 2.5 km Silver Queen Mica Mine trail! If you are near Perth, Ontario you should definitely visit the mine and enjoy the rich history and sparkly pathways! Thank you again for reading and stay tuned for some more interesting posts! Check out some of our other caves explorations here and here!