Nestled in Ontario’s Highlands halfway between Ottawa and Toronto, the town of Bancroft is known as the Mineral Capital of Canada.
Bancroft sits on the edge of the Canadian Shield, an exposed swath of Precambrian rock chock full of minerals. Miners discovered uranium in Bancroft in the mid-20th century and the town and surrounding areas profited from mining activities for 17 years. Now the abandoned mine and other caves serve as paradise for amateur geologists and other rockhounds.
The Rockhound Gemboree
Rock nerds rejoice! Geology buffs jump for joy!
Bancroft hosts an annual gem and mineral show to demonstrate to domestic and international visitors alike how the town received its moniker. Gemboree-goers can pan for gold or shop for, sift through, and collect a wide variety of minerals including: apatite, feldspar, titanite, beryl, tourmaline, muscovite and rose quartz to name a few.
While you’re in the area, spend some time at the Mineral Museum and learn more about the unique geology of the region.
If rocks aren’t your thing, Bancroft is beautiful spot to go and absorb a little Vitamin N. There are a number of trails and conservation areas to explore and get your nature fix. Or if you like spooky history, check out the nearby ghost towns of Wallace, Eldorado, and others (or try to find the Al Capone hideout in Quadeville!).
What You Need to Know
If you want to participate in one of Ontario’s fun festivals, the 54th Annual Rockhound Gemboree takes place August 3rd through the 6th. For admission information, directions, itineraries, and other important information, visit the event’s website and / or their Facebook page.
Cover photo credit: Rick Harris