The nickel in the Sudbury area (known geologically as the Sudbury Basin) was due to a meteor strike. The area as forested by white birch, trembling aspen, and jack pine, which indicate a disturbed landscape In 1883, some unusual stained rocks in the area were found to contain copper, and after the trees were cut for lumber, prospectors burnt off the remaining vegetation to expose the rocks. When the copper-containing rocks were smelted they gave off significant sulphur dioxide, creating acid rain which ruined the area's many lakes. By 1930 the area was already devastated.
The discovery of nickel, and its importance to various defence metals, rapidly expanded Sudbury's industrial importance. During WWII nickel was found to be an efficient steel hardener, used for armour plating. The nickel ore was found at depth of over 2000 metres (7000 ft) below the surface. In the 1960s, NASA used the area as a proxy for the moon, in rehearsing their lunar landings.
In the 1960s, the government forced INCO to build the SuperStack to a height of 380 metres (1,250 ft), which is the tallest chimney in Canada (and in the Western hemisphere). The Superstack was completed in 1972, and had significant scrubbers at the lower levels, and it was tall enough to boost any remaining pollution into the upper atmosphere, spreading it over the Atlantic and over Europe. Over the 1970s and 1980s, the government began significant remediation of the forests, which involed the planting of over 3 million trees.
Between Lively and Copper Cliff are tailings, of rock discarded in the smelting process, along several miles of the highway.
At Copper Cliff, to the north of the highway is the1250 ft high SuperStack,
East of Sudbury, just west of Coniston) are major hydro lines (specifically, Extra High Voltage lines, carrying over a half million volts) crossing the Trans-Canada. They originate from hydro-electric dams to the north, and continue south to the Greater Toronto Area
In the Falconbridge and Garson area, near the Sudbury airport, just off the Trans-Canada is the Falconbridge Nickel mine. This ore was discovered in 1901 (by no less than Thomas Edison) but not commercially exploited until 1928, and by 1930 grew to 250 tons a day. Over the 1950s and 1960s the Sudbury area expanded by adding a dozen new mines. By 1984, the commercial reserves at he original Falconbridge mine was depleted.
The high land around the airport was from an old river delta, where water poured into an ancient glacial Lake Vermillion.
The Wahnapatei River was one of the first northern rivers to be harnessed for hydoo power. In the early years, power needed to be generated close to consumption, since long distance transmission technology was not yet available.
Highway 17 originally followed what is now Municipal Road 55 through the downtown core, which is now labeled 17A.
The route of Highway 17 in Sudbury currently follows the two-lane Southwest and Southeast Bypasses around the south end of the city, from Lively in the west to the Highway 69 junction in the south (and Paris Street into town) and Chelmsford to the east. The interchange at Highway 69 was constructed as a full freeway interchange in 1995, so as to limit traffic disruption at the junction when the rest of the route is four-laned. The Highway 17 freeway route through Walden was completed in 1980,
In order to allow for future expansion, a 100-metre right of way has been designated since the 1970s for expansion of the Southwest Bypass to four lanes, which has left the route largely undeveloped despite the fact that it passes quite close to an urbanized part of the city. This expansion to 4 lane freeway is scheduled for 2020.
History of Toronto-Sudbury Detour
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