Musician and politician Charlie Angus is our guest this episode, talking about his new book, Cobalt: Cradle of the Demon Metals, Birth of a Mining Superpower. It is a fresh look at his Northern Ontario hometown of Cobalt and its silver mining boom in the early 1900s, which he says changed not only Canadian mining, but how mining has been carried out around the globe ever since — and not always for the better.
For the lucky, the Cobalt silver rush built fortunes. It turned Toronto from a provincial backwater into a world financial and mining hub. It was a factor in the eventual creation of the National Hockey League, the inspiration for a Broadway play and drew immigrants from countries as far flung as Syria and China. But its legacy is a murky one, which Angus’ book brings into the light. The book also reveals neglected histories of the centuries of Indigenous mining that went on in the north long before European settlers arrived.
Charlie Angus is the longtime New Democratic Party MP for Timmins-James Bay and, as we discuss in the interview, he’s also the longtime front man for Grievous Angels, a Canadian band that was alt-country before alt-country was a thing
It's a fascinating talk. Enjoy!