Skip to content

Sandy Cline: The beatnik prospector who shook up the industry

In this edition of Remember This? the Timmins Museum National Exhibition Center gets familiar with a maverick Zen-Buddhist prospector who made a name for himself in the north
Sandy (1)
From the Daily Press dated April 29, 1964. 25-year-old Sandy Cline meditates over a mining map of the region, ready to embark on a two-week trek in the bush guided by his  beliefs and practical prospecting know-how.

From the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Center:

We're all familiar with the legendary rugged fellows who roamed the bush looking for paydirt at the time of the gold rush; Johnny Jones, Benny Hollinger and of course Sandy McIntyre.

Sandy Cline, a young artist from the south shook up that archetype and people definitely took notice. He hitch-hiked all the way to Timmins from Niagara Falls in true Kerouac fashion and made a friend who paid for his $5 prospector's licence.

He, like many of his generation, was considered a 'beatnik', which, for those who don't know, is the granddaddy of the modern Hipster.

Daily Press correspondent Micheal Finlan described this counterculture group of young folks as "weird bearded types" who frequented coffee bars, loved jazz and "way out" poetry. Sound familiar?

Although he wasn't your typical prospector he was idealistic, adventurous and committed. This he had in common with his hearty forebearers. For Sandy, it was about the hunt and not the find. He obviously elevated his mind through the land and believed he'd find gold in Timmins after hearing that Kidd township was really "swinging".

He was no greenhorn either; he'd had four years experience prospecting in Québec and Ontario and could spot an anomaly in the bush like a pro.

His CV also included being a draftsman for the federal government, but it turns out prospecting and painting was a more reliable and fun gig.

This versatile young dude was a dedicated artist, inspired by the surrealist movement and Salvador Dali, who felt at home in the hip Toronto Village scene as well as the bush. He declared to Micheal Finlan during an interview:  "This prospecting bit - man it's the greatest."

Just goes to show, there's more than one way to be a prospector, as well as a man.

Each week, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Timmins Museum has to offer at and look for more Remember This? columns here.