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New monument pays tribute to Kirkland Lake's first gold prospectors

Tyler Fauvelle created the life-sized bronze monument for town’s centennial

A new bronze monument unveiled at the site of Kirkland Lake’s first operating gold mine commemorates the prospectors who were at the heart of the town’s founding story. 

The life-sized bronze depicts an early 20th century prospector and his faithful working dog. The monument was created by Sudbury sculptor Tyler Fauvelle in honour of Kirkland Lake’s 100th birthday. It was unveiled on June 29 at the Toburn Mine.

Fauvelle has more than a dozen public monuments in Ontario, including the Stompin’ Tom Connors statue in Sudbury, the Francis Pegahmagabow commemorative bronze in Parry Sound, and an Afghanistan memorial in St. Thomas.

“Although the artwork is a tribute to all of the Kirkland Lake Gold Camp prospectors, I did include some features representing some of Kirkland Lake’s legendary prospectors. I hope visitors will enjoy looking for those symbols, and learning about the local history behind them,” Fauvelle said in a news release.

The project was spearheaded by the Toburn Operating Authority (TOA), a non-profit organization in charge of the restored Toburn Mine site. The historic site is a community park, offering tours and educational attractions centered on local mining heritage.

Major funding for the project came from the Department of Canadian Heritage/Patrimoine canadien, Kirkland Lake Gold, the Museum of Northern History, and the Kirkland Lake 100th Anniversary Committee. The Town of Kirkland Lake contributed the historic bronze plaque, and the TOA covered all site-related costs.

“Small communities can be powerful,” said Fauvelle. “The spirit of those hardy prospectors still lives in Kirkland Lake.”