Near the turn of the twentieth century, mining areas in Northern Ontario with geography similar to Manitoba were already well under development.
Prospectors had been exploring the Canadian Shield as it stretched in a gigantic arc from northeast Saskatchewan through Manitoba and into Northwestern Ontario. The rugged, rocky Precambrian land held the promise of valuable minerals in the granite, volcanic and sedimentary rocks of the region.
At that time, the Manitoban mineral belt was only accessible by traditional water routes established for the fur trade. Before a railway was built to the region in 1911, few people ventured here – it was simply too difficult to access. The new railway greatly improved accessibility, made The Pas the logical starting point for most prospectors heading north to the Canadian Shield, and enhanced the potential value of any regional discoveries.
In 1914-1916, adding to the excitement in Manitoba was the geological survey of Canada, which mapped out the new region from Beaver Lake, west of Flin Flon to the new railway heading for Port Nelson on Hudson Bay in the west. The geological survey made people recognize that there was more to the region than once thought.