Cobalt is a town of 1,100 people (2016) in Northern Ontario. One of the "Tri-Towns" of the area, Cobalt chose to remain a separate town when Haileybury and New Liskeard to the north merged to become Temiskaming Shores.
Cobalt, like so many other mining towns when mining the ores became uneconomical, is a shadow of its former self.
Cobalt ores were found here in 1884, although it wasn't until 1904 when the town was named after the mineral. The boom times started in 1903 when high-grade silver was discovered, leading to the town's nickname "Silver City". By 1908, Cobalt was the single largest producer of silver and cobalt in the world, and the population was over 10,000. However, all booms eventually bust, and mining tapered off in the 1930s as gold was discovered further north (in Kirkland Lake and Timmins). There was a smaller boom in the 1950s, but the last mine closed in the 1980s.
However, there's still some cobalt in the ground here, and the early-21st-century appetite for the element in lithium-ion batteries might touch off another boom.
Approaching from the south, take Ontario Highway 11 north from North Bay, and exit onto to Highway 11B north of Coleman. Approaching from the north, take Ontario Highway 11B (King Street) south from Temiskaming Shores. Winter driving can be a concern.
If you took the bus in, you're walking. You'll probably only have access to a vehicle if you came into town with one.
Cobalt has some run-down buildings that used to be stores. You could take pictures of yourself in front of them, but the doors are locked and nobody is home.
Cobalt has some old mineshafts from when the town started up. Tours are available in July and August.
Because it is so far north, many attractions are operated seasonally.
- 1 Bunker Military Museum, 24 Prospect Avenue, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. This museum began from a private collection amassed during World War II, and has grown into a collection of many different military items. Their collection of uniforms from various services is especially notable. Admission by donation.
- 2 Classic Theatre, 30 Silver Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A 250-seat theatre hosting live performances of struggling/starving performance artists, the Classic is the only remaining theatre from the silver boom of the early 20th century. There is an art gallery on the premises.
- Cobalt Mining District National Historic Site of Canada. Recognized as a National Historic Site in 2001 because of its importance in pioneering hard-rock mining in Canada, the Cobalt Mining District overlaps the boundary between Cobalt and neighbouring Coleman. It is not marked on the map because the entire town of Cobalt is part of the Cobalt Mining District.
- 3 Cobalt Mining Museum, 24 Silver Street, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The Mining Museum showcases many artifacts and mineral samples from the silver boom era of the early 20th century. On display is the mayor's chain of office (which includes a piece of silver from each of the mines that was active when the chain was made) and a collection of minerals that flouresce under UV light (the only such display north of Toronto). Adults $8 + tax, seniors and students $5 + tax, children age 6 to 18 $7 + tax, children under 6 free.
- 4 Cobalt Ontario Northland Railway Station, Commission Street. An Edwardian brick railway station, declared a historical building in 1983 by the Ontario Heritage Trust.
- 5 Northern Ontario Firefighters Museum, 22 Lang Street (beside the public library), ☏ . Th-Sa 10AM-3PM. The Firefighters Museum has a collection of firefighting equipment stretching back over 100 years.
- Spring Pulse Poetry Festival, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Cobalt celebrates National Poetry Month in April with a poetry/arts gathering. Listen to poetry, music, and storytelling in English, French, and various First Nations languages.
- 1 The Silver Moccasin, 36 Silver St, ☏ . Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM, holidays closed. Native arts and crafts.
- 2 White Mountain Publications, 50 Silver St, ☏ , toll-free: . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, other times by appointment, closed holidays. Publishers of non-fiction works of local interest, located in the shaft house for the old Coniagas mine. (The shaft has been filled.)
- 1 Silver Cafe & Confectionary, 3 Prospect Ave, ☏ . 7AM-1PM.
Hotel/motel accommodation is available in Temiskaming Shores.
Camping is available locally.
- 1 Marsh Bay Tourist Resort, RR#1, 937740 Marsh Bay Road, ☏ . Two/three-bedroom cottages on the Montreal River. Sandy beach, canoes, fishing, boat/motor rental, trailer park with utilities, showers, toilets.
North to Temiskaming Shores.