Thousands of years ago, Woolly Mammoths and First Nation tribes were wandering what is now Ontario, Canada. Each day, the goal was to find enough food to survive to the next. First Nations tribes followed the animals and gathered whatever vegetation they could to keep a steady diet. Hunting and Gathering were the means of survival until the 18th Century.
Etienne Brule, the first European explorer to travel through Ontario in the 16th Century, saw the land for all it was worth, but failed to erect a settlement. The Iroquois fought to keep their land until the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763. In 1776, nearly 9,000 British Loyalists moved to Ontario to claim the land.
Fast forward almost 100 years to 1867 and Ontario was named one of the first four provinces of Canada. The others were New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec. Today, Ontario is home to Toronto, Ottawa and Mississauga and is the second most prosperous province behind Alberta.
There are numerous outdoor pastimes to be found in Ontario. Fishing, hunting, hiking and kayaking are amongst the most popular, but metal detecting could easily be considered in the top five. The large amount of public land available to search makes it a common place to try the hobby. There are no regulations against detecting on beaches, parks and beaches. As long as respect is the main goal, people rarely have trouble finding places to detect.
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The rules for private property and Provincial Parks in place similar to the United States. People need permission for detecting on private property and detecting within 500 meters of a historical site within a Provincial Park is illegal.
Metal Detecting Tip: Canada is amazing for swinging a metal detector. So many remote locations to search for treasure. Read about my favorite places in Ontario in this article -> Where to Metal Detect in Ontario. If you’re farther west Alberta is a hidden gem. Read about where to go searching for treasure in my article. – Where to Metal Detect in Alberta
There are few laws on where people aren’t allowed to detect. The issues arise when people start trying to dig. Again, digging in designated historical areas is illegal. However, as long as the holes aren’t more than several inches on school grounds, public parks, etc., there are going to be few issues.
There is all sorts of public land to search all over Ontario! Here are a few spots to start:
GRAND BEND ONTARIO – Beach Lovers and Metal Detecting
Grand Bend can be found on the shores of Lake Huron. Located on the Southwest coast of Ontario, it’s a popular vacation spot for families all over the area. Everyone knows how much stuff gets brought to the beach. In Grand Bend, there is the “Main Beach” where thousands of people can be found lounging on a warm summer day. There is also the North Beach where younger folks hang out leaving behind all sorts of treasures.
The South Beach is designated more for families. Rambunctious children running around causing parents to drop valuables makes for a metal detectors dream. The difficulty with detecting on beaches is crowding folks who are trying to have a relaxing afternoon. I’ve had my fair share of elderly ladies give me death stares for getting too close. Don’t forget to bring your headphones! The loud beeping of your detector interrupts the screams of children and crashing waves. Check out our article on the best headphones to wear metal detecting for some options.
The Pinery Provincial Park has in Great Bend has a 10km beach perfect for detectors of all abilities to explore. While you’re at it enjoy the Oak Savanna trees and 300 bird species within the park. The sunsets over the water even make a slow day detecting enjoyable. When searching a Provincial Park, you’ll need to secure a permit from the superintendent. Since it’s not a “public” park, you’ll need to jump through some hoops to receive permission.
The prevailing winds drive finds up onto the beaches. The waves do their part by keeping the treasure up on the beaches. Look for the natural dips in the sand. The water will bring the treasure to the lowest point. The beaches in Grand Bend are extremely smooth so no need to worry about gravel and rocks.
BURLOAK WATERFRONT PARK- Water, Picnic and Metal Detect
Burloak Waterfront Park is located between Mississauga and Hamilton and just south of Toronto. The proximity to the major cities makes it a hotspot for all sorts of people to visit. It’s a great place to spend the day picnicking and searching. Be careful with how deep you dig in the park. Don’t go further than several inches. Most police officers and park workers won’t mind, but if you’re creating a mess, you may find yourself in trouble.
The beach as well as park provide detectors with different types of ground to explore. It’s always exhilarating to search in the midst of the city.
HIGH PARK – Lots of Room
High Park is Toronto’s largest public park. There are numerous hiking trails, sports facilities and a waterfront that borders the Grenadier Pond. Again, the more people, the more treasure. However, you may encounter fellow detectors due to its proximity to the cities. It’s a great spot to bring your family! There is a playground as well as a zoo for the kids to enjoy while you’re out detecting.
Digging shallow holes here is fine, but be sure to only dig three sides so the soil can fall back into the place. Also, feel free to mess with your sensitivity while at the park. You’ll likely be catching all sorts of different metals due to the constant traffic so it’s important to have your settings exactly where you want them.
CHRISTIE PITS PARK – Lots of Activity
This is another park in the heart of Toronto. It’s a public park with baseball fields, soccer fields and other green surfaces. There is also a playground and pool. This is a common spot for sledding in the winter. Sledding hills are great spots to look. Kids get too ambitious and take a tumble off of their sled and send half of their belongings flying. It’s a perfect spot in the summer to detect, but go ahead and try it in the winter. Choose a morning during the week or early on the weekend and you’ll have the hills to yourself.
Pay attention to your digging depths! No need to get in trouble.
BLUFFER’S PARK – Many Parks to Scan
Bluffer’s Park is one of several parks located along the Scarborough Bluffs. It has one of the best urban beaches that folks love to spend time on in the warmer summer months. In the Instagram era we live in, people are spending quite a bit of time in this park due to the scenic views. When people are searching for the ideal Instagram photo, they wear fancier things. Go ahead and look at common photo spots and see what you can find.
Also, be sure to search the beach. It’s wonderful sightseeing. It’s one of the best parks in the greater Toronto area.
CENTENNIAL PARK – Busy but Lots of People Means $$
Centennial Park is going to be one of your busiest parks on this list. However, it also has the greatest variety. It’s home to a BMX park, ski hill, conservatory, sports fields and a wading pool. Again, it’s a great spot to bring family and let them entertain themselves while you detect. If you can secure permission in the winter, go ahead and search by the ski hill. Be sure to focus on looking near the lifts. This is where people will slip and fall and lose some of their precious cargo.
Also, the baseball fields are home to many weekend tournaments and league games. Search near the dugouts to see if you can find earrings or rings that parents or players lost.
NEWSWORTHY METAL DETECTING FINDS IN ONTARIO
In 2018, DJ Dowling, a patient at the Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre in Whitby discovered an old silver coin that belonged to the former agricultural minister of Canada. The coin was worth nearly $1700 and the man donated it to the Diabetes Centre. It will be displayed once their expansion is complete. Read the complete news article HERE.
Dowling has also found a 1990’s pure gold locket and a powder flask from the mid-1800’s while detecting in the area.
One of the most historical finds in Ontario was part of a gold Pyx from the 1600’s. A pyx is small round container that is used to carry the Eucharist. It was found in Northern Ontario off the coast of Fort Pierce. Underwater metal detecting is growing in popularity over the years and can be an extremely fun if you’re looking to expand your abilities!
METAL DETECTING CLUBS IN ONTARIO AND CANADA
Metal detecting clubs are great places to network and grow in your skill. Metal Detecting can be a lonely hobby. Joining a club gives you access to more ideas and locations to hunt as well as a chance to meet people. Members of these clubs are generally extremely nice and let folks borrow equipment when needed.
- Calgary Metal Detecting Club, Calgary, Canada www.cmdc.org/
- The Rainbow’s End www.geocities.com/schnapsie2003/
- Canadian Treasure Seekers canadiantreasureseekers.com/index.html
- Canadian Heritage Seekers from Niagara Penninsula chs.8k.com/
- Chatham Kent Metal Detecting Club www.ckmetaldetecting.com/
- Durham Metal Detecting Club, Durham Region (Whitby, Oshawa),Ontario durhammetaldetectingclub.yolasite.com/
- Lower Canada Metal Detectors http://www.geocities.com/lower_can/index.html
- Thames Valley Metal Detecting Association http://www.byronvillager.com/mda.html
- Southern Ontario Hunt Information http://www.metaldetectinghunt.com/
METAL DETECTING FORUMS IN CANADA
Forums of all types are useful to join. Forums are online clubs that give people a chance to ask questions and research anything they may be curious about. If you have a keyword or phrase you want to research, type it in to the forum and see what pops up. You may have to request permission to join, but once you’re in, you’re all set!
Canadian Metal Detecting – http://www.canadianmetaldetecting.com/
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David Humphries here, Wow! A couple years ago I grabbed my sons metal detector to take on a camping trip. I thought it would be fun to walk the beach and just do a little sweeping. Little did I know I would be bitten by this amazing hobby. Read more ABOUT DAVID HERE