Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tuesday Treasures

Tom the backroads traveller hosts this weekly meme.

September 2018 - Goderich ON

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Nelson Mandela

When we were in Goderich last weekend I was astounded to learn that we had such a salt mine in Lake Huron!

It started with us watching this tanker coming into shore.

By the time we finished lunch and went for it walk, it had docked.

The salt mining industry in Goderich is one of the oldest in Ontario. In 1866, petroleum exploration crews found a massive ancient salt deposit about 300 metres (980 feet) under the surface.

To date, 150 million tons of salt has been produced from the mine and by 2012, after recent investments, it will be able to produce 9 million tons a year.

 This all started in 1866 when prospector Sam Platt was searching for oil and instead discovered rock salt 300 metres beneath Goderich Harbour. Just over 50 years ago harvesting of the salt began, and continues today by Sifto Canada, with its primary products being table salt, fine evaporated salt, water conditioning salt, agricultural salt, and highway deicing salt. Sifto Canada is wholly owned by Compass Minerals.

The mine itself is 530 metres (1,750 feet) below surface, extending 7 km2 (2.7 sq mi) under Lake Huron - roughly the size of the town itself. The mine extends under Lake Huron and is the largest underground salt mine in the world.

The salt deposits at Goderich are from an ancient sea bed of Silurian age, part of the Salina Formation. The halite rock salt is also found in Windsor, Ontario, both located on the eastern periphery of the Michigan Basin, on the southeastern shores of Lake Huron.


This unique Great Lakes self-unloading bulk carrier was built by Port Weller Dry Docks, St. Catharines, Ont., as Hull #41. She was christened Canadian Century for Upper Lakes Group, Inc., Toronto, Ont., on April 15, 1967 by Mrs. G. E. Gathercole, wife of the Chairman of the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario. The name paid tribute to the 100th anniversary of Canada’s confederation.

At the time of her launch, the vessel was the largest capacity self-unloading vessel on the Great Lakes. Her squared hull design reduced wasted space thus increasing her tonnage, however her very tall wheelhouse and forward accommodation block gave her the distinction of being known as the "little bank building that floats."

Gross Tonnage: 22080
Deadweight: 30745 t
Length Overall x Breadth Extreme:222.51m × 22.94m
Year Built: 1967

In 2002, the vessel was renamed John D. Leitch, honoring the chairman of the Upper Lakes Group. On February 25, 2011, a formal statement was issued announcing the sale of the privately owned Upper Lakes fleet and their associated interest in Seaway Marine Transport to the Algoma Central Corporation. On April 15, 2011, Algoma announced that the John D. Leitch would retain her name.


  1. How really interesting. I can't imagine a huge mine under a lake! One question in my mine...how do you pronounce Goderich?

    1. Pronounced either God-rich or God-er-ich, Barbara, I go for the God-er-ich myself.

  2. ...well as they say, 'this is the salt of the earth.' We have several salts in this area, but the salt is shipped out by rail or truck. This sure is a massage operation. I once owned stock in Compass Minerals. Thanks Jackie for sharing, I hope to see you back again.

  3. Imagine working down beneath the lake every day.


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