Metal Detecting Rules and other fun facts

Here you will find all types of interesting information from the world of Metal Detecting.


It is important to stay informed on laws and regulations regarding metal detecting in your area by consulting official sources such as local government authorities, as they may change over time. Additionally, it is essential to obtain permission before metal detecting on private property. Please note that I cannot be held responsible for any legal issues that may arise from not conducting your own research. It is your responsibility to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations.


Clubs by Provinces

If you’re new to metal detecting and want to explore different areas, joining a local metal detecting club can be a great option. Being a member has many benefits, such as a community of like-minded individuals, companionship during searches and trips to remote locations, the ability to borrow or rent a metal detector from other members, and access to tips and advice from more experienced detectorists. While you can also find tips and recommendations on metal detecting forums, being part of a club can provide a more personal and community-driven experience. For a list of metal detecting and gold prospecting clubs in your area, you can check out Canadian Metal Detecting.


British Columbia 


New Brunswick 

Newfoundland and Labrador 

  • Still looking for one.

Nova Scotia 


Prince Edward Island 



What can you find!

Metal detecting in Canada can be very fruitful, you may find such things as:

  • aluminum
  • coins of all kinds
  • copper
  • gold
  • historical relics
  • iron
  • lithium
  • marbles
  • nickel
  • old buttons and buckles
  • old and modern jewelry
  • platinum
  • silver
  • relics
  • toy cars
  • zinc

Special Finds 

  • Marbles
  • Arrowheads



Best Places to Metal Detect

Metal Detecting by Province or Territories


Metal detecting in Alberta is allowed without a license as long as the detectorist follows all federal and provincial laws regarding treasure hunting. The most popular recreational activity in the province is gold panning, which can be done in various rivers such as the Red Deer, North Saskatchewan, McLeod, Athabasca and Peace River Systems. However, the government does not provide maps for hobby prospectors. Despite this, Alberta is known for its abundance of other metals and minerals, with many industrial mining operations taking place.

British Columbia

In British Columbia, metal detecting is allowed in all places that are not prohibited by law. The most popular activity for hobby enthusiasts is prospecting, which can be done in streams and rivers near historic mines using tools such as pans and sluice boxes. British Columbia is also rich in copper, gold, molybdenum, lead, and zinc for large-scale detecting and mining.


Metal detecting in Manitoba is highly regulated and protective of its historical sites and archaeological locations. Heritage sites are protected by law and cannot be used for detecting, even with a permit. In most public parks, detectorists must obtain permission from park workers and specify the locations they plan to dig before starting. As for gold prospecting, Manitoba is rich in minerals and metals, including gold, and many old mines are still active with staked claims.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick is also protective of its archaeological sites, and while metal detecting is not illegal, many detectorists fail to report significant archaeological finds. The province is also an overlooked region for gold prospecting, but those who are aware of potentially fruitful locations can be successful.


In Newfoundland and Labrador, metal detecting as a hobby is not illegal as long as the purpose is to collect valuables other than historic resources. However, unauthorized usage of metal detectors and removal of historical resources is prohibited and can lead to prosecution. As for gold prospecting, the province is not very promising, with gold mines only located on the island of Newfoundland.

Nova Scotia

Metal detecting in Nova Scotia is not illegal, but the law states that using a metal detector “for non-intrusive scanning” is allowed in certain areas, mostly on private property with the landowner’s permission. However, digging for finds is not specifically legal and laws protecting historical artifacts and sites make metal detecting difficult in most of the province. Prospecting for gold is also not very promising, with small-scale detectorists finding mostly gold dust or small nuggets.


Metal Detecting in Ontario is generally allowed, with no additional specific regulations beyond the general laws discussed above. Public places are generally open to metal detecting, while national parks, private property, and other restricted areas are prohibited. Ontario is rich in gold, making it a popular destination for both large-scale miners and individual prospectors. In addition to gold, the province is also rich in other metals and minerals, such as palladium, platinum, copper, zinc, diamonds, nickel, and silver.

Price Edward Island

In contrast, Prince Edward Island does not have much to offer for metal detecting or prospecting. Local authorities protect historical heritage and paleontological sites, making relic hunting difficult. Gold prospecting is also not popular in the province, and while metal detecting is legal, there is not much to be found beyond small regular finds.


Quebec does not have any specific regulations against metal detecting as long as it follows the general laws discussed above. The province is also welcoming for individual prospectors, as it is rich in gold. Recreational gold mining is allowed, and tours are organized by some parks. In addition to gold, Quebec is also rich in other metals and minerals such as copper, zinc, diamonds, silver, titanium, nickel, platinum, and iron.


Saskatchewan previously allowed all metal detecting activities that were not prohibited, but due to damage caused by uncaring treasure hunters in public parks and other places, the province has become more restrictive. There are also strict laws protecting archaeological and historically significant sites, making relic hunting difficult. Gold prospecting is possible, with a type of gold called gold flour being found in local rivers, but it is hard to pan.

Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories allows hobby detecting as long as it does not damage historical sites, and welcomes gold panning. However, the area is not very favorable for these activities. The region is rich in diamonds, with deposits discovered in the 90s, but detectorists and prospectors are unlikely to find much more than regular items.


In Nunavut, hobby detecting and individual detecting/prospecting is allowed, with some locations requiring permits from local authorities. The region is not very favorable for individual prospectors due to harsh soil conditions and climate, despite being rich in gold and iron.


Yukon is famous for its gold and other metals, with gold, silver, and copper being the most abundant. Recreational gold panning is widespread in the region, with popular places including Klondike, Kluane, Southern Lakes, and Whitehorse Region. There are no specific laws or prohibitions in Yukon, making it a popular destination for detectorists and prospectors.

Fun Facts

Declaring finds in the UK

In the United Kingdom, individuals are legally required to report any treasure they find to the local coroner within 14 days of discovering it. The Treasure Act 1996 defines treasure as any object that is at least 300 years old when found and contains at least 10% precious metal. This includes items such as gold or silver coins, medieval or ancient artefacts, and items of historical significance. The local coroner will then investigate the find and determine if it is indeed treasure. If it is, the find will then be offered to museums, with the finder and landowner being entitled to a reward based on the market value of the treasure.

Metal Detecting in France

In France, there are laws and regulations in place that govern the use of metal detectors. According to the French Heritage Code, it is illegal to use a metal detector on public land without obtaining a metal detecting pass, also known as a “permis de détection” from the local authorities. The pass is issued by the departmental archaeologist, who is responsible for the protection and conservation of archaeological heritage in the region. The pass is only granted to individuals who have completed a specific training course on archaeological heritage, and who have passed a test on the regulations and laws that govern metal detecting in France. Additionally, it is prohibited to use metal detectors in certain areas, such as historical sites and archaeological sites, without a specific authorization.

Private Property Digging in Canada

It is important to note that in Canada, entry and metal detecting on private property are only allowed with permission from the landowner. Obtaining written permission is recommended, especially if the landowner is not a relative or friend. If valuable items are expected to be found, the landowner’s consent and agreement on compensation should be obtained. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the complicated laws regarding the ownership of objects found during metal detecting activities. According to most provinces’ legislation, any archaeological sites or objects found on private property belong to the Crown, not the landowner or finder.

(Government wants their piece of the pie)

Where Can You Go Metal Detecting

  • Historical sites: Parks, battlefields, and other historical locations can be great places to metal detect, as they often have artifacts dating back to the time period in question.
  • Beaches: Beaches are another great place to metal detect, as they are often frequented by people and have a lot of lost items.
  • Parks and recreational areas: Parks and recreational areas can also be good places to metal detect, as they are often used by people for picnics, sports, and other activities.
  • Campgrounds: Campgrounds can be a great place to metal detect, as they are often used by people for camping and other outdoor activities.
  • Old homes and buildings: Old homes and buildings can be great places to metal detect, as they often have items left behind from previous occupants.
  • Ghost towns: Ghost towns can be great places to metal detect, as they often have a lot of abandoned buildings and structures that can contain interesting artifacts.

Other place you might find:

  • abandoned mines
  • abandoned buildings, old structures
  • areas around old churches (cemeteries are prohibited!)
  • backyards and gardens
  • fields
  • fishing areas
  • flea market sites
  • gold fields
  • lakes, rivers, and creeks
  • metal detecting beach
  • playgrounds
  • old towns
  • school areas
  • shipwrecks
  • woods

Places to think about detecting in Canada

All information brought to you by Jim Murray. We would like to thank you for all the hard work that you do.

Remember: Always get permission to dig any of these locations. It could be considered trespassing and that's not fun for anyone!

Schools Education Buildings

These are all places that you can look into to see if you can get permission to detect on.

Beaches Waterways
Beaches, Waterfalls, Picnic Sites, Amusements Parks, Exhibition Grounds, Campgrounds, Domestic Waste Sites Canada
Parks & Sports Fields

Remember to always get permission before metal detecting any site.

Crown Lands S. Ont.

Remember to always get permission before metal detecting any site.

Garrett New Digging-Pouch
Swagier Knife
Nokta Accu point Pinpointer
Red Spring-Elastic-Rope Lanyards-Carabiner






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Ok John Metal Detectors

306 Melrose Ave West

Winnipeg, Manitoba

R2C 1N8




Phone Number : (204) 612-3913


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