Sunday, October 4, 2009

El Dorado's ghost on a Port Hope pier

My friend Magali and I recently took a Sunday drive to Port Hope, Ontario, to see what we could see. We met some artists, and stumbled on an excellent independent bookstore, which I was compelled to write about for an upcoming issue of Broken Pencil. But there was something I saw in Port Hope I didn't mention in the article- the ghost of El Dorado.

As well as luring a few lost souls through the jungle, and inspiring songs and art, the mythical city of gold once lent its name to a Canadian mining company.

Twenty years ago I paid a visit to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, and I had to ask the staff why there was no mention of the bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the World War II exhibit. I was told that Canada hadn't been involved "in that." But the uranium used to make the bombs was refined by El Dorado in a warehouse on a pier in Port Hope Ontario, and today you can walk along that pier on a Sunday afternoon and cast your line into the lake to fish.

Here is a picture of Magali by the fence on the pier, maintained by Cameco, the company that took over El Dorado in the 1990s. The barrels in the shot contain wastes from Cameco's operations, and the little black trefoil symbolizing radiation is stamped on each one.

No comments:

Post a Comment