Bruce Mines, known for being the site of the first copper mine in Canada, is on the boundary of the Canadian Shield (both Superior and Southern Provinces) and the Great Lakes Lowland. The area provides a vast array of minerals and rocks to the collector willing to search them out. Old mining sites, glaciated outcroppings and frequent rock cuts along the roads provide opportunities to collect samples.
In the town of Bruce Mines, tailings from the old copper mines are clearly visible and minerals can be seen in the rock outcroppings. Many of the old mines have been fenced off for the safety of the citizens. Just east of Bruce Mines a massive extraction of trap rock is being carried on with the material being shipped out by lake freighters, train and trucks.
Accessible from Highway 17 and 638 are numerous displays of igneous and metamorphic samples. Commonly found minerals include chalcoprite, bornite, azurite, jasper, specular hematite, uraninite, calcite crystals and others too numerous to list here. Even traces of gold are claimed to be available at the old mine near Ophir.
Rock outcroppings of the famous jasper metaconglomerate called puddingstone can be found north on the Centre Line Road. Puddingstone boulders can be found along the shoreline of Lake Huron. Look for the ripple rock sandstone formation on Highway 17 just west of the village of Desbarats, but also travel Highway 638 to see unadvertised ripple rocks.
If you are into buying your samples rather than chipping them yourself, then the Simpson Shaft gift shop and Mine Tour in town will help you. Interesting samples and lapidary work can be found at Jerry's Rock Shop after a short drive of 5.5 miles up Centre Line just west of Bruce Mines.
On nearby St. Joseph Island, Ordivician limestone deposits yield plentiful fossils ranging from brachiopods to trilobites. Some trilobites 15 cm long have been found in the pit along the road side just after you drive across the bridge.
A word to the wise is in order here. Remember that old mine sites are obviously dangerous with crumbling edges and fractured rock falls waiting to happen. Be very cautious and wear proper safety equipment. Most sites, unless along road allowances, are on private land and permission must be received before you enter the area. Respect for safety and ownership will make everyone happier.
Good hunting and collecting!