Some people scour the globe in search of sharp crystal specimens, ancient fossils, or beautiful gemstones as natural objets d’art, for scientific curiosity, and even as investment rarities. Bancroft, Ontario (in the heart of the Highlands) has long been known as Canada’s Mineral Capital, but did you know that within a small area you can find easily accessible and rewarding destinations for minerals, gemstones, and fossils?
Ontario’s Highlands is full of hidden gems, but if you’re looking for a new way to get hands-on with nature, there’s no better way than to dig for your own buried treasure you can take home with you! Mineral collecting is a rewarding outdoor activity that will help you to stay active, it’s good for all ages, and if you’re not careful, you might just learn something.
Get Down to Earth:
|The Beryl Pit - A great fee-to-collect site where you can find bright green amazonite, real aquamarine, and plenty of other beautiful gems! Be sure to ask about visiting the Rose Quartz Pit too.|
|The Highlands East Claims - Highlands East is the first municipality in Ontario to ever hold mineral claims. They welcome rockhounds to find deep purple fluorite gems, rare mineral species, and lustrous red apatite.|
|The Eganville Geology & Fossil Trail - Go for a stroll to check out an abandoned limestone quarry come wildlife habitat, learn about how the Highlands was once under a warm tropical sea, and pick up an Ordovician fossil or two along the way!|
|If you’re not even sure what to look for yet, then the Bancroft Mineral Museum is the place to start. With over 400 of the best local mineral specimens on display, it will definitely get you inspired! And while you’re there, join a guided collecting trip for help finding your own treasures, and pick up a copy of the brand new Bancroft & District Mineral Collecting Guidebook for more great places to dig.|
Just like any other outdoor activity though, the biggest reward often awaits the intrepid seeker just off the beaten path. For help in forging your own way in Ontario’s Highlands unexplored territory, check out the excellent resources we’ve collected on our Discover page.
And if you’re really keen, why not check to see if there’s a Central Canadian Federation of Mineralogical Societies club in your area for exclusive access to more exciting destinations.
Come to know the story of our Earth
|Immerse yourself in the historic waters of the Ottawa Valley.|
|Learn geology’s role in the Highlands’ industrial revolution.|
|Experience the Mica Festival and live geoheritage in Lanark.|
|Come to know Ontario’s Highlands’ undiscovered country.|