About Us


Established in 1999, Lakeside Gems is located just outside beautiful Bancroft, Ontario -– which is known as the “Mineral Capital of Canada” and host to Canada's largest Gem & Mineral Show - the Rockhound Gemboree. A destination for mineral collectors worldwide, Bancroft is one of the best places to find Canadian blue sodalite.

As one of Canada’s few authorized dealers for Estwing Geological Tools and Lortone Rock Tumblers, we have a full line of high-quality North American manufactured equipment. Lakeside Gems has all the tools any prospective or experienced rockhound enthusiast would need. 

Lakeside Gems offers an extensive selection of local and international minerals and semi-precious gemstone gifts. These stunning specimens and decorative pieces would be great additions to any collection.

 You will find a marvellous selection of healing crystals, wands, chakra kits and divination tools such as pendulums, oracle decks and books, and much, much more.

 As of 2019, Lakeside Gems offers Geologist-led Mineral Collecting Field Trips during the Spring, Summer and Fall. Join one of the scheduled rockhounding field trips, or inquire about private and school outings. These excursions are a great way for families and individuals to learn about the hobby, learn how to collect, what tools you should use, and how to identify minerals by recognizing their distinguishing characteristics.

 About our owners 

Linda Bast: Proprietress

Linda has an eye for design and an enduring connection with nature.

An avid outdoor enthusiast, she spent many years as a camp counselor and working in aquatics. After graduating from the University of Waterloo, she worked in Municipal Parks and Recreation. Eventually, her love of the rocky hills of North Hastings, with their buried mineral treasures, brought her to settle in Bancroft and open Lakeside Gems Nature Shop & Studio in 1999. Over the years, Linda has created a strong retail presence and a synergy with the New Age community.

Fire destroyed the shop in 2014, but a new store has arisen from the ashes bringing together rock and mineral treasures of the natural world, and spiritual and metaphysical blessings.

Chris Fouts: Geologist 

Chris has always had a great interest in rocks and minerals, checking out cobbles and stones from a young age. He obtained a degree in geology from the University of Western Ontario when he found out you can be taken seriously for spending a lot of time looking at rocks. He began systematically collecting minerals in 1986, after starting work with the Ontario Ministry of Mines, and has pursued that passion ever since, while working in mineral exploration, recreational tourism development, and the mineral retail business. In 2019 Chris joined with Linda to jointly operate Lakeside Gems, with a brand new showroom and shop. Chris loves to share his knowledge of geology and minerals with people of all ages, whether it be in the classroom, at a gem & mineral show, during a field trip, or just discussing things in the shop.

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