Casque Isles Trail : Rossport TO Terrace Bay

Brief History:

The Casque Isles Trail was founded by Thomas McGrath. Tom was born in Schreiber, Ontario, Canada and was attending teachers college before making his dream a reality. It was Tom’s dream to have the trail mapped out around Lake Superior’s Shoreline. Tom was in a terrible car crash that ending his life. Now there is a plaque on top of Gwenye Mountain to remember him. To this day the trail is kept up by local volunteers.

 Casque Isles Trail:

The Casque Isles Trail is a 53km rugged, wilderness hike. The trail is signed and groomed, and stretches from Rossport to Schreiber Beach to Terrace Bay (where it ends). It follows the shoreline of Lake Superior. Passing by you will see old gold mines, fossil deposits, trappers’ cabins, and caves with adorned with Indian pictographs. It is divided into 5 units, each with their own unique experience and access point from Highway 17. These different units range in difficulty from amateur to advance. Everyone can enjoy the scenery on this hiking trail

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Quarry Island, Rossport, Ontario

Quarry Island is located approx. 2300 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’”. 

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