What to See & Do in Sudbury?
Sudbury is the Gateway to Ontario’s North. The city itself has lots of recreation, green forests, clean lakes, and wilderness scenery that attracted the iconic Group of Seven artists a century ago. You can head south to the the voyageur route of the French River, east to magnificent Lake Nipissing, west to the white chalk mountains of Killarney Provincial Park. Or you can head further west to magnificent Manitoulin Island and the beautiful North Channel of Lake Huron.
About Sudbury, Ontario
Sudbury is the largest centre in northeastern Ontario, with 93,000 in the city itself, and 162,000 in the Regional Municipality. Sudbury is known as the “Nickel City” because of its nickel and copper mines. Inco Limited is the largest producer of nickel in the western world and Falconbridge Ltd. produces both copper and nickel from the Sudbury Basin. Together, the local operations of the two companies provide the Sudbury Region with the largest integrated mining complex in the world.
Until the early 1980s, the city looked like a “Moonscape” back when the mining industry wasn’t as kind to the environment as it is today. Now, air pollution levels are much lower in Sudbury than in Toronto or Hamilton The Region of Sudbury was recently cited by the United Nations for its land reclamation program. This reclamation program Included the planting of over 2 million trees!
Sudbury is one of the sunniest areas in Ontario. Greater Sudbury has more than 90 lakes within it boundaries and five provincial parks within 60 miles of Sudbury . Camping is a very popular activity among Sudburians. The area’s crystal-clear lakes and wide open spaces provide a year-round playground for swimming, boating and canoeing, hiking, fishing, golfing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and much more. Because of its diverse cultural roots, Sudbury loves to party. All year round, there are fairs and festivals to celebrate everything including the arts, garlic and blueberries.
Whether it’s a visit to a park, an art gallery or the area’s history, Sudbury offers its visitors and residents lots to do every day of the week.
French explorers came to the area in the early 1600s. They followed the lead of Etienne Brule who came up the Ottawa, and over the French River into Lake Huron. Soon after, in 1615, Samuel de Champlain, the French commander of New France, himself visited the area for the purpose of trading for furs.
In 1849, the Hudson’s Bay Company set up a post at Lake Nipissing, but the post was not competitive and not a commercial success. It was closed in 1879. By 1850, however, the region became very busy with lumbering and mining activity, and the British government signed a treaty with the area’s Huron Indians.
From 1881 until 1885, the Canadian Pacific Railway worked to build the railway across the North, and the first train arrived in Sudbury in late 1883. The town became the railway’s regional headquarters. Two years later, the railway moved its headquarters and proceeded to subdivide the land around its station and sell house lots.
In 1886, the mine at Copper Cliff became operational. In 1900 new methods for refining nickel were invented, and nickel became important in strengthening steel armour for military ships. This led to the expansion of nickel mining in the area. The town boomed during the First World War, as demand soared. After the Armistice of 1918, demand for nickel fell off but recovered after 1924. In 1933 the Inco mine at Creighton and the Coniston smelter opened. Second World War Sudbury-area nickel production (in the six years) exceed the total for the preceding fifty years.
After the Second World War, the US government began to stockpile nickel, to diversify its supply of non-communist nickel. Falconbridge was the chief beneficiary of this policy and grew significantly. In the 1950s and 60s, global competition as well as labour unrest had a significant impact on the Sudbury mines.
As well, environmental concerns were raised about the sulfur dioxide emissions from the smelting process. This so damaged the local landscape that NASA astronauts rehearsed their lunar landings in the area. These concerns led to the construction of the Superstack in 1972, which dispersed the smelter’s emissions into the jet stream.
The main east-west highway through Sudbury used go through downtown, along what is now Highway 55. Major east-west auto traffic caused the construction of the Sudbury Bypass to be built, which is a divided freeway with limited exits from Coniston in the east to Lively in the west. Cyclists are recommended to take Highway 55 through town, which has plenty of shops, restaurants and accommodation.