Ontario: #17 from Sudbury to Mattawa, Ontario
Here is the itinerary for the 190 km along Highway #17 between Sudbury and Mattawa:
Sudbury is the location of a major meteor strike, which has embedded a rich concentration of metals in the ground. This area (very visible on satellite and aerial photos) is now known as the Sudbury Basin. Copper was first discovered by a CPR blacksmith in 1883, and the region was first deforested for its lumber and then plucked bare by prospectors. Nickel is key for manufacturing stainless steel, and copper is essential for conducting electricity. Once nickel was discovered and extracted, the fumes from the refining process caused heavy "acid rain" in the region, killing off many of the remaining vegetation, making the region so barren that I the 1960's NASA used it as a stand-in for the moon in their astronaut training.
The "Superstack" at Copper Cliff to the west of Sudbury, is 381 metres (1250 feet) high, was completed in 1972 to disperse the pollutants into the upper atmosphere. It is Canada's second tallest structure, behind only the CN Tower. Since then, the Sudbury Region has begun a program of land reclamation & reforestation, and remediation and de-acidification of nearby lakes. Since the 1990s, the waste gases going into the Superstack were processed to remove 90 % of the sulphur dioxide, with further improvements in emissions reduction planned.
The region between Warren and Sturgeon Falls is heavily dependent on the forest industry, with softwood white spruce and blue spruce, and hardwood species like ash, aspen, birch, basswood, elm and maple. These are processed at the mill a Sturgeon Falls.
The north shore of Lake Nippissing is mainly steep bluffs, with the flat terraces remaining from the ancient shoreline of the Nippissing Great Lake of the last Ice Age, used today for the rail and highway corridor along the lake's edge. Much of the north shore is ceded as a Nippissing (Ojibewa) Indian Reservation. In 1605 Samuel de Champlain came this way, on his path to Lake Huron via the French River, before heading south to Lake Simcoe on his way back to Lake Ontario.
North Bay is the Gateway to Ontario's North. It is connected to Toronto via Highway 11 (paving completed in 1939), an extension of that city's Yonge Street, which continues to Nipigon on the north shore of Lake Superior (construction completed in 1943). North Bay was the 1934 birthplace of the Dionne Quintuplets. North Bay was also the last Canadian base with nuclear (defensive) missiles, before their removal in 1968 by then-prime minister Trudeau.
The Trans-Canada between North Bay and Mattawa follows the path of the early voyageurs along the Mattawa River. In the 1600s, fur traders and Jesuit missionaries followed this route to the Great Lakes and to get to the mouth of the Mississippi (via Lake Michigan to a short portage at today's Chicago). Recent settlement and encroachment has forced big game to seek protection n Algonquin Park to the south.
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|Next West: Sault Ste Marie to Sudbury||Next East: Mattawa to Ottawa|
Ontario Highways road condition reports for this segment.