The City of Greater Sudbury was established on January 1, 2001. It replaces the former Regional Municipality of Sudbury and its seven member municipalities. With a population of 155,000 and a total area of 3,627 sq. kms/1,277 sq. mi., Greater Sudbury is the largest centre in Northern Ontario, Canada.
Greater Sudbury was formed some 1.85 billion years ago when an asteroid 6 to 12 miles in diameter slammed into Earth. The space rock rolled through the area and cracked our planet's crust, producing a mother lode of nickel, copper and platinum. The extreme energy of the impact, said to have the equivalent energy of 10 billion Hiroshima bombs, vaporized the asteroid and melded rocks together to form the basin.
The Sudbury area was settled 11,000 years ago by the Ottawa tribe of the Ojibwa Nation. In the late seventeenth century, French fur traders and voyageurs used the French River 69 km/43 mi. south of Sudbury as the main trading route to the Great Lakes area. Explorers and traders such as Champlain, La Verendrye and Radisson passed through the area during that time. The Hudson Bay Company, the British-based fur trading company, established a post on Whitefish Lake in the 1820's.
Although originally the off-spring of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Sudbury area first developed as a lumbering community. However, in the end it would owe its existence and prosperity to the riches that lie beneath the Sudbury Basin. Today mining is a $3 billion-a-year business for Sudbury, where the first miners set up shop more than 100 years ago. The kidney-shaped basin where the asteroid hit is one of the world’s largest deposits of nickel, measuring about 40 miles long by 16 miles (65 kilometers long by 25 kilometers) wide. The riches remained undiscovered until 1883, when workers building the Canadian Pacific Railway stumbled upon the basin. That set off a stampede of people interested in prospecting the precious metals.
Within a year a bustling settlement containing boarding houses, stores, and a hospital had emerged. Though it suffered a temporary set-back in 1885 when track-laying crews moved westward, Sudbury quickly revived. Located in a region rich in timber and mineral resources, it developed as a service centre for logging and mining operations. In 1891, the Canadian Copper Company was formed to mine metal, mostly copper, from the basin. The company later became the International Nickel Company (INCO) after it was discovered that the ore from the basin, which was sent to refineries in the United States and Wales, actually contained a more valuable metal -- nickel. In 1892, with 1500 residents including a large number of French Canadians, Sudbury was incorporated as a town. A sharp increase in the demand for nickle after 1900 and extension of railway services precipitated rapid expansion, and in 1930 Sudbury, a thriving multi- ethnic community, became a city.
Today, Sudbury is one of the largest and most important mining centres in Canada and a world centre for smelting, refining and geological science. INCO mines about 10 percent of the world market’s nickel from the Sudbury basin. Evidence of the metal from this area mined by INCO is far-reaching. In 1938, some of Sudbury's nickel was used to help construct the Statue of Liberty. Some was used to build a roof for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. According to the Nickel Development Institute, more than 2 billion pounds (900 million kilograms) of nickel are consumed worldwide – and demand keeps growing.
Sudbury has earned several international environmental
awards for its on-going land reclamation efforts. To date,
more than 3,000 hectares of land have been rehabilitated
and over 7 million trees planted. Despite its industrial
importance, the Sudbury area is typical Canadian Shield
country with beautiful lakes, rocky outcrops and trees.
It claims 330 lakes and ranks among the top communities
in Canada for parkland per capita. Wanapitei Lake and Ramsey
Lake are the two largest city-contained lakes in North
America. Area lakes
are popular settings for camping, hiking, fishing, boating
and swimming. There are five provincial parks within 100
km/60 mi. of Sudbury, including Windy Lake and Fairbank
Lake Provincial Parks which are located within the City
of Greater Sudbury. Golfers can choose from 13 challenging
courses including Timberwolf Golf Club, voted Best New Canadian
Course of 2000 by Golf Digest magazine.
With a large French-speaking population (Franco-Ontarians
make up more than a quarter of the population) and a rich,
heritage, Greater Sudbury produces a number of annual
bilingual and multicultural
festivals. Summer Festivals also celebrate the annual
blueberry harvest and pay tribute to the humble but
In winter, ice fishing, curling, hockey, skating,
cross-country and downhill skiing and snowmobiling
are popular pastimes. The Sudbury Trail Plan offers 1300
km/825 mi of marked and groomed snowmobile
trails that wind and loop through the region.
Sudbury is a major centre in Northern Ontario for health
care, communications and education.
And, with excellent attractions,
a vibrant community, great shopping, and friendly northern
hospitality, Sudbury is an ideal vacation destination!