Lost Bonanzas of Western Canada, Vol. 2


144 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-895811-86-4
DDC 971.2'02




Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


A desperate outlaw hides his loot on a mountain trail but dies before he
can return and claim it. A fur trapper rediscovers a long-lost silver
mine but is killed before he has a chance to reveal its secret location.
An unpopular old miser is murdered on his private island, but no one
ever finds the hoard of money he is reputed to have stashed away. A
boxcar full of silver bullion falls off a barge and disappears to the
bottom of a murky lake. A steamboat sinks in a river canyon with a
rumored $100,000 in the strongbox. Four men find a solid gold boulder,
but it is so huge that it falls through the bottom of their boat before
they can bring it to civilization.

Move over anglers, golfers, economists, and all other tellers of tall
tales: when it comes to “ones that got away” fibs, lost-treasure
hunters take a back seat to no one. This is Garnet Basque’s second
volume about lost fortunes of Western Canada, and though he obviously
loves a good treasure story as much as anyone, Basque balances a good
tale with a skeptical eye. Sometimes he physically retraces the
geographical area to see if the legend’s details live up to the actual
topography. Other times, he uses historical research, common sense, or a
combination of both. For example, in a chapter about a lost cache of
robbery loot, Basque first determines how much was really stolen (a
fraction of the legendary amount), then factors in how much the robber
must have spent to evade justice until he was caught. The conclusion:
nice legend but no fortune. Lots of maps, period photos, and full-color
modern snapshots are included. Whether real or not, all of these
colorful legends make for a good read and Basque does full justice to


Basque, Garnet., “Lost Bonanzas of Western Canada, Vol. 2,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 20, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/219.