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The Story

During the 1950s uranium boom, Gunnar Mines, the small northern town run by Ontario mining magnates Gilbert and Charles LaBine, helped fuel America’s Cold War atomic weapons production. Its residents—immigrants fleeing post-war Europe, job-seeking southerners, and the area’s First Nations and Métis—found adventure, romance, tragedy, and a freedom never again to be equaled. Meanwhile, lamps made of uranium drill core sat in their homes and their children played at the tailings pond. A portrait of a lost time in Canada’s history, Sun Dogs and Yellowcake brings the vibrant era to life.

Images of paintings by renowned artists Maurice Haycock and Hans Herold are included in the book. The cover image of sun dogs in a northern sky is by Robbie Craig. The book includes over 170 historical photographs, many in colour.

Patricia Sandberg is a former securities lawyer who worked for mining companies with operations around the world. She lived at Gunnar and interviewed over a hundred former residents to write this book.


Winner, History-General category: International Book Award
Bronze medalist, Canada-West – Best Regional Non-Fiction: International Publishers (IPPY) Award
Finalist Non-Fiction, Whistler Independent Book Awards 2017
Shortlisted, 2017 Fred Kerner Award: Canadian Authors Association


Patrick Taylor, New York Times and Globe and Mail, best-selling author of the Irish Country Doctor series, saysLeavened with humour, [Sun Dogs and Yellowcake]”… offers an important historical glimpse into a northern way of life which is becoming a faded memory.… A most valuable work.”

Kirkus Reviews: “An impressive work of scholarship that illuminates an important part of Canada’s past.