Gold was discovered in Westfield, Queens County, in 1888. A 40-foot shaft was sunk on the Jumbo lead – so named because the vein is 20-75 feet wide! That’s an extraordinary width since most gold-bearing quartz veins in Nova Scotia are measured in inches or a few feet.

Some additional work was done in 1895 when the shaft was made 30 feet deeper.

Unfortunately, the vein attracted more attention because of its width than its actual gold content. Despite how big the vein was, it was mostly quartz with only small amounts of gold. The site produced so little that it was arguably not actually a mine.

Westfield’s geology has never been fully explored but exploration done since the 1970s suggests it may have potential as a base metal prospect. The area has silver, tin, tungsten and other metals in it in addition to the modest amount of gold. While there is not enough gold to justify a mine, especially in the modern era, the gold might be a nice bonus in a mine focussed on other metals.

In the 1800s, it was probably assumed that the Jumbo vein formed the same way most Nova Scotia gold deposits did. However, it may have more in common geologically with the East Kemptville tin-indium deposit than other Nova Scotia gold deposits.

An interesting footnote to Westfield is that it was probably the last gold property mapped by eminent geologist Eugène Rodolphe Faribault before his retirement in 1933. Quebec-born Faribault worked for the Geological Survey of Canada from 1882-1932 and his life’s work was mapping Nova Scotia’s gold fields.

He began near Guysborough and, at the time of his retirement, was working south of Annapolis. Faribault was the first to realize that the productive veins of gold in Nova Scotia, “occurred like saddles along the crests of small anticlines” and he discovered many, mostly small, orebodies.

The Nova Scotia mining industry owes a great deal to federal and provincial government geologists like Faribault, his colleague Hugh Fletcher (who focused on mapping Nova Scotia’s coalfields) and the many who have followed since.