Quarry Island

The Quarry Island Trail to the Rossport Lookout is a beautiful hike.  The boreal forest offers a carpet of moss and delicate plants.  The air is so clean and pure, you will want to bottle some to take home.  It takes about 45  minutes to reach the lookout from the trail head that is accessed from the bay that is on the southeast shore of Quarry Island.  If you are careful, you can walk your powerboat into a spot near the shore as the lake bottom is sandy.  The trail is quite well marked and visble to the eye.  The first part of the trail is a little steep but levels out after the first 15 minutes.  The views from the island summit are worth the hike!

For some history about Quarry Island, please see the information provided below.

Quarry Island is located approx. 2,300 meters south of Rossport.

In 1904, during the winter season W. C. Thompson discovered the sandstone deposit. It wasn’t until a year later, in 1905, that the Quarry operations were established. It was established by the Superior Stone Supply and Thompson and Sons. They made the stone available in rough blocks or cut to order for building construction. It was not determined as to when the quarrying ceased, but they assumed it was the same time as the liquidation of the Stanworth – Martin Co in 1912.   A. Hopkins claimed the quarry site in 1969, and then later cancelled in 1970.  E. Thorsteinson did the same thing. He too obtained the quarry site in 1978 and cancelled in 1979 as well. It wasn’t until Walter Seeber came and staked the quarry site in 1985.

On October 30th, 1985, Walter Seeber’s silica deposit was located on Quarry Island, on the southern half. Silica forms are shallow dipping layer of orthoquartzits (sand stone). The orthoquartzits was used as building stone in the construction of the CPR Railway on the mainland. It has been inactive since the 1890’s.

There were four samples that were collected from Quarry Island. The first two were collected from the South West part of the island. (Old Quarry is located about 50 meters upslope from the corner of the island). The second set was collected from the East – North East location, of the old quarry on the East side of the ridge. In order to collect the quarry, there was a railway track that was made to get the quarry down to the loading dock and onto the ships. Once the results came in it showed that there was approx. 92.8% to 99% of Silica found on Quarry Island. The claim that covered the quarry was shortly lived, and was cancelled in 1987.

On the South side of Quarry Island is where the railway track went up part way, so the workers could collect the minerals (quarry) and load them onto the ships. To this day you can still see a couple pieces of the railway track, as well as an old docking for large ships, that is now under water. These dockings pose as a huge danger to local boaters because the water is so shallow there.

The West side of the island is the most beautiful place to watch a sunset and a sunrise. There looks to be a mini rock ‘boat launch’ area that you can pull a boat up on. As you look out onto the lake it looks as though it’s the end of the world! When the sun sets and rises it looks as though it is fading, rising from the water its self. – So I’ve been told!  This side also shows off its gorgeous rock cliffs, with trees growing straight out of the rock it’s self; the Basalt and Lithic Siltstone formations, and the beauty of the minerals within the rocks in their true colors.

On the South East side of Quarry Island, there is a small inland bay, where the hiking trail is located. As you enter the bay, you will see a picnic table on the back right of the shore. This is where the hiking trail starts. The trail it’s self is maintained by local volunteers. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or an expert hiker, you can camp out along the trail as you reach the top; to have a better experience. Although there are many wild animals such as bears on Quarry Island, it would be a great hike to do and a beautiful sight to see.

All of the information was collected from the “’Preliminary Evaluation of the Silica Deposit at Quarry Island, Rossport, Ontario’ > PDF file, local residents, and the ‘Facts and Fish ails Book’”. 

By Ruby K. Smith from her blog, posted July 6, 2011