Any time of year is the perfect time to visit Bancroft, the Mineral Capital of Canada. Found halfway between Ottawa and Toronto, Bancroft is located in the York River Valley of North Hastings. A mecca for “rock hounds,” mineral collectors, and geologists, Bancroft hosts the annual Rockhound Gemboree, Canada’s largest gem and mineral show that has been taking place for more than 45 years.
You don’t need to be a mineral expert to join the fun. Visitors to Bancroft can pan for gold, learn more about mineral identification from museum geologists, and embark on guided mineral collecting field trips. Shoppers can take home a souvenir from the Princess Sodalite Mine, which features jewellery, rock crafts, and more.
There’s more to Bancroft than just rock collecting. Lovers of the outdoors can enjoy the multi-use Hastings Heritage Trail for walking, horseback riding, and snowmobiling or ATVing, depending on the season. McGeachie Conservation Area is also a beautiful area to see beaver ponds, wetlands, and Old Growth forest. Historians won’t want to miss a trek to the neighbouring ghost towns of Blairton, Eldorado, Millbridge, Umfraville, and Wallace. For more activities, check out the Bancroft 2015 Destination Guide.