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Who’s Who: McCharles Lake named after Aeneas McCharles

Aeneas McCharles was an early prospector and pioneer in Greater Sudbury. His book, Bemocked of Destiny, was published in 1908, two years after his death. It has been used by historians reasearching the first years of Canada.

In the book McCharles wrote about growing up in Cape Breton and southern Ontario, and his experiences in Winnipeg during the Riel Rebellion.

There were 500 copies of McCharles’ book published. Copies were sent to libraries including the British Library in London, the Library of Parliament in Ottawa, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. There are a few cherished copies in Greater Sudbury, including three at the Mackenzie branch of the public library.

McCharles was born in Cape Breton, N.S., in 1844. He studied to be a teacher but never graduated from Normal School. He eventually found work as a hardware salesman for a Toronto firm travelling from Windsor to Montreal.

Widowed at an early age, he was left to raise his only son, Henry.

He travelled and moved around quite a bit. While living in Sault Ste. Marie, he became captivated by stories about mining discoveries in Sudbury. In 1889 he moved to the Whitefish area and began purchasing mining and investment properties. He purchased the Tam O’Shanter mine in partnership with Thomas Bancroft. In 1898 he found the North Star Mine near Creighton, which he sold to the Mond Nickel Company in the spring of 1902.

In 1894 McCharles moved to Sudbury where he lived until his death in 1906. During his later years, he developed an idea for a subdivision in the Whitefish area, where he had his summer home with 15 rooms on the Vermillion River. He named his dream subdivision Nickel City.

McCharles is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto next to his wife, his infant child, and his son, Henry. In his will, he left land in the Whitefish area to be used as a public park for the residents.

The late local historian Marty McAllister published a centennial edition of Bemocked of Destiny.

 

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