Stephen Gibb

“In Pursuit of the Golden Key” wraps up, key found



By Ron Giofu


When the finale of the “In Pursuit of the Golden Key” treasure hunt was being planned, organizers knew they had at least one person with the correct numbers from the numerical part of the challenge.

Finding the actual key, however, was anticipated to continue.

That was until the Bombardier family stepped in.

The Bombardiers, who live in Essex, are comprised of parents Jamie and Renée and sons Eric, Logan and Jeremy. Renée said they worked “off and on” on the project since it began six years ago.

What was the key to finding the key?

“The key (to solving it) was a lot of coding,” said Renée. “We started reading the coding back.”

The Bombardier family discovered the key was located at a corner fence post at 291 Ramsay St. For finding the key and solving the mathematical equations in the book, the family received the entire $10,000 grand prize. The $5,000 portion for finding the key was expected to be donated, but the family found the key in the final days of the contest.

“It’s so surreal,” said Renée. “I still can’t really believe it.”

Renée said there haven’t been any firm decisions as for what to do with the money.

“We have to have to have a family sit-down and see where it goes,” she stated.

“We did promise (the boys) from the beginning that we’d split it with them,” added Jamie.

Artists Stephen Gibb (left) and Dennis White (second from right) present the Bombardier family with a $10,000 cheque for solving the “In the Golden Key” treasure hunt. The wrap up party was held last Thursday night at the Gibson Gallery, where the exhibit wrapping up the treasure hunt concluded. The Bombardier family includes sons Eric, Logan and Jeremy and parents Jamie and Renée.

The Bombardier family did tout the educational component of the project, stating they learned a lot about the area’s history. They still encourage people to try the treasure hunt anyway, even though the prize money has been claimed.

“I’m kind of sad it’s over,” Renée admitted.

“In Pursuit of the Golden Key” was created by local artists Dennis White and Stephen Gibb with their paintings being featured as part of the exhibit at the Gibson Gallery that has just wrapped up. The key was created by Precision Jewellers.

“It’s been a long six years,” said White. “It’s been great and not so great at times.”

White said it was a project that they were tied to and he was starting to wonder if anyone was ever going to find the golden key.

“I was beginning to think it was never going to be solved,” he said.

After wondering if there were mistakes that would present people from finding the golden key, White said he reviewed the book and the clues inside it.

“I went to my studio and I studied it and studied it,” he said. “I realized it could be solved.”

Two people actually ended up with the correct mathematical equations and one other person was one number off.

“It was a very difficult puzzle and you really had to do your homework to solve it,” said White.

White added that both Gibb and himself were pleased that people got to learn about history while taking part in their treasure hunt.

Gibb joked that White originally thought the treasure hunt was too easy and that it would be solved in the first week. After White tweaked the clues, it took six years for the treasure hunt to be solved.

For more information on “In Pursuit of the Golden Key,” visit For more information on the Gibson Gallery, visit or call 519-736-2826.

“In Pursuit of the Golden Key” wrapping up… or will it?



By Ron Giofu


An exhibit turned treasure hunt that started six years ago is wrapping up.

At least, the monetary portion of it is.

The Gibson Gallery’s latest exhibit is the “In Pursuit of the Golden Key” finale with local artists Dennis White and Stephen Gibb being the originators of the project. The project began as a way to celebrate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the monetary portion – $10,000 – will be awarded towards the end of the exhibit, which runs to July 1.

“We started it in 2012 for the celebration of the War of 1812,” said White. “We thought the key would be found in relatively short order but it hasn’t been.”

The gallery describes the exhibit itself as “a collection of 32 paintings by author/artist Dennis White and artist Stephen Gibb. Launched in 2012 to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812, these encrypted art pieces are the heart of the real-life treasure hunt book. Through verse and illustrations, you are invited to come along on a journey into this War and decipher the clues which lead to a modern day treasure, yet to be discovered!”

There is one person thus far who has the correct numbers that come from following along in the treasure hunt book, said White, with $5,000 to be split among that person and anyone else who gets all the correct numbers.

“Every page has a mathematical question,” he explained. “They have to look online to get the history of 1812. Certain things require certain numbers and when they discover what the numbers are, each page has a riddle and a mathematical question.”

Should no one find the key prior to the end of the exhibit, the other $5,000 will be donated to the Belle Vue Conservancy.

“For them, I think it’s good because they have such a history with the War of 1812,” said White.

Amherstburg artist Dennis White holds a copy of the “In Pursuit of the Golden Key” book that goes along with the treasure hunt. White teamed with another Amherstburg artist – Stephen Gibb – on the project. The Gibson Gallery is presenting the “In Pursuit of the Golden Key finale” exhibit through July 1.

As for what Belle Vue is used for, “I’d like to see it used for the arts, or at least part of it.”

As for the key itself, which White said was donated by Precision Jewellers, will remain hidden even after the money is awarded. People will still be able to buy books and try to find the key.

Treasure books, which now cost $15 instead of the original $30, are on sale at the Gibson Gallery for those who want to try their hands at the online treasure hunt.

“There were books sold all over the world,” said White. “The term for it is ‘armchair treasure hunt.’ You don’t have to leave your house.”

The location of the key remains a mystery, but White noted that people won’t find it by luck.

“It’s very specific. It’s not a guessing game,” he said. “No one that guesses will find the key.”

White joked that it may not be until 2112 until someone finds the key, adding “maybe it will gain legs and sell more books.”

White said he learned a lot about the War of 1812 while working with Gibb on the project and both were thrilled to learn that young people are learning a lot as well.

The paintings that go along with the treasure hunt that are featured in the exhibit will be on sale for $200 apiece, White added.

For more information on the “In Pursuit of the Golden Key” treasure hunt, visit

Those wanting more information on the Gibson Gallery can call 519-736-2826 or visit The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. in Amherstburg.