Prince’s Lodge

Gold was discovered in Halifax around Prince’s Lodge, now called Hemlock Ravine Park, in 1868. Prospecting took place a number of times over the years and gold was again discovered in 1889.

According to the Halifax Critic newspaper, there was “considerable excitement in the Mines Office” after the 1889 discovery. Several well-known prospectors staked claims around Prince’s Lodge. One of them was Henry Archibald who secured the first block of 30 acres, covering three gold-bearing veins, which crop up at surface about 3/4 of a mile behind the Lodge, which no longer exists. One of the leads was two feet in width, another 13 inches and another 12 inches. It was reported that the 12-inch vein had gold in it for at least 100 feet.

Henry Archibald was also active in the Dufferin, the Ovens, Moose River and Caribou gold districts. At the time of the Prince’s Lodge discovery, he was helping run the Dixon gold mine in Caribou where he, Herbert Dixon, and Gordon Zwicker had staked seventeen claims and built a 5-stamp mill for crushing ore.

Despite the initial excitement, additional prospecting failed to uncover significant quantities of gold around Prince’s Lodge. The Canadian Mining Review wrote in 1889 that it hoped rumours of a plan to build a mill were not true because “very much development is needed upon the lodes already found before there can be the least foundation for such an expenditure of money."

Still, the Geological Survey of Canada wrote in 1893 that the area around Prince’s Lodge and nearby Birch Cove, in Bedford Basin, “are certainly worth prospecting.”

The Prince's Lodge was built by Edward, Duke of Kent (father of Queen Victoria) while he commanded the British Army at Halifax from 1794 to 1800. The 500-acre property was the country estate of the Governor of Nova Scotia, Sir John Wentworth, who leased it to Prince Edward. Edward expanded the home and buildings and did extensive landscaping. It is said that the paths Edward put in spelled “Julie,” the name of his long-term companion who lived with him at the estate. “Julie’s Pond” is a heart-shaped pond in Hemlock Ravine Park.

The only structure on the estate surviving from Prince Edward's day is the rotunda, built around 1796. The highly-recognizable circular building is immediately next to the Bedford Highway.

Prince Edward was also responsible for other Halifax landmarks such as a much-improved fort on Citadel Hill, the Town Clock and Martello Tower in Point Pleasant Park.

There were a number of other gold discoveries in Halifax in the 1800s. See where gold was found on peninsular Halifax at and in Clayton Park and Fairview at