Community Memories from Kathleen “Kate” Creighton Starr Rice

Canada’s First Woman Prospector

Guidebook 2013 pic Kate winter gear small 1914

Born in 1882, Kate Rice was raised in St. Marys, Ontario, and in 1906, she graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in mathematics and physics. 

As a young woman, she willingly gave up the comforts of urban life and made the brave choice to venture into the wilds of Northern Manitoba and make it her lifelong home.

In 1913, Kate homesteaded a quarter section four miles north of The Pas under her brother Lincoln’s name, as women were not “persons” at the time.  Kate built a cabin on her homestead and spent the winter of 1913 studying geology and assessment reports, and reached out to aboriginal guides to learn the profession of prospecting. She also learned how to trap, hunt, mush dogs and live off the land.

In 1917, she set off for Herb Lake (now known as Wekusko lake), staked claims, had them surveyed, proved them and did the assessment work.

Not only was Kate a prospector, she also had a commercial garden, fished and was a freelance writer.  Kate was a pioneer environmentalist, and as she travelled by dog team or canoe, the natural beauty of the area captured her heart and soul.  Her willingness to hunt for treasure opened up our region to interest by mineral companies which has brought prosperity to ensuing generations. 

Advocating for women in prospecting she once said, “If women could understand the thrills of prospecting there would be lots of them doing it. No woman need hesitate about entering the mining field because she is a woman – it isn’t courage that is needed so much as perseverance. “