Queen Elizabeth remembered at RockWalk Park

TEMISKAMING SHORES - The RockWalk Park in Haileybury now features the Queen's Courtyard, created in remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II.

The park is considered "the premier spot to go to to see the geology of Canada all in one spot," said Graham Gambles of Haileybury who has spearheaded the RockWalk Park's development since 2000.

Located at the Haileybury campus of Northern College, the park features over 100 large rock specimens from mines across Canada.

Platinum Jubilee funding has made it possible to add an additional attraction to commemorate the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II. A rock specimen containing platinum metals joins the other large boulders displayed along a winding brick pathway on a wooded park area to the south of the college.

Additional funding has allowed RockWalk Park Inc. to install signage with QR codes, which will lead to the RockWalk Park website, and information provided in both English and French. The information was compiled by the late Paul Bateman, a Northern College geology instructor who first envisioned a smaller project of that nature, and Gambles who brought it into fruition and expanded on the idea.

"The mineral exhibits within RockWalk Park have all been extracted from somewhere in Canada," said committee member Chandal Gambles to a gathering of interested spectators October 22 at the park.

The park is situated on a height of land overlooking Lake Temiskaming which represents a geological rift valley that developed about 450 million years ago, she explained to the gathering.

The Temiskaming rift valley is a series of parallel cracks covering an average of 50 kilometres that allowed the centre sections to sink into the outer shell of the planet, she continued.

The region was once covered by an inland sea, resulting in limestone deposits throughout the region, she added. Pedestals for the rock specimens used at the park are from those limestone deposits.

Repeated continental glaciations occurred up until about 10,000 years ago.

About 8,000 years ago, humans began visiting and living in the region, she said.

In 1903 silver was discovered by prospectors in Cobalt, directly leading to the expansion of prospecting and mining discoveries across Canada, previously thought to be lacking in mining opportunities.

The RockWalk Park representatives have been working on having the Temiskaming Rift Valley recognized as a UNESCO global geopark, an endeavour which was paused during the pandemic, but now will be reopened, Graham Gambles stated.

Dignitaries attending the event included Coleman Township Reeve Dan Cleroux representing Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota, Timiskaming-Cochrane MPP John Vanthof, and City of Temiskaming Shores Councillor Jeff Laferriere (now mayor-elect), and Northern College Dean of Sciences Doug Clark.

Darlene Wroe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker