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Encyclopedia > Sudbury, Ontario

Greater Sudbury (2001 census population 155,219) is a city in Northern Ontario. Greater Sudbury was created in 2001 by amalgamating the cities and towns of the Regional Municipality of Sudbury.

It is the largest city in Northern Ontario in population, and the 20th largest metropolitan area in Canada. In land area, it is now the largest city in Ontario and is the largest city in Canada outside of Quebec. It is also the only city in Ontario which has two official names -- its name in French is Grand-Sudbury. However, the name Sudbury, without its official modifiers, continues to be used informally in reference to the main urban core of the city, and many of the smaller communities in the city are still known by their older names as well.



Sudbury was incorporated as a town in 1883, and as a city in 1930. Originally named Ste-Anne-des-Pins (Saint-Anne-of-the-Pines), it was a lumber camp.

During construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, blasting and excavation revealed high concentrations of Nickel-Copper ore at Murray Mine. The community, renamed Sudbury in honour of the CPR commissioner's wife's hometown in England, grew rapidly as a mining town.

Through the decades that followed, Sudbury's economy went through boom and bust cycles as world demand for nickel rose and fell. Demand was high during the First World War, then bottomed out when the war ended. It rose again in the mid-1920s, then fell as the Great Depression hit, and rose again during the Second World War. After the end of that war, however, Sudbury was in a good position to supply nickel to the United States government, who chose to stockpile non-Soviet supplies during the Cold War.

In the 1950s and 60s, Sudbury was beset by extensive labour unrest, as Inco and Falconbridge employees not only fought their companies for the right to unionize, but also fought amongst themselves as to what union would represent them. Both the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers and the United Steelworkers of America had support among Sudbury miners, and there were often riots in the streets as the rival factions confronted each other. Ultimately, the two unions settled into an uneasy truce, with Mine Mill winning the right to unionize Falconbridge, and the Steelworkers winning the right to unionize Inco.

In February 1956, the Mine Mill held its Canadian convention, which was particularly notable for being the first non-US concert given by Paul Robeson after the US government lifted its travel ban against him.

Labour issues would continue to be Sudbury's dominant economic challenge. In 1979, Inco workers embarked on a strike over production and employment cutbacks, which lasted for nine full months. As Inco was by this time Sudbury's largest employer, the strike decimated Sudbury's economy.

When the strike finally ended in 1980, the city's government recognized the urgent need to diversify the city's economy. Through an aggressive strategy, the city tried to attract new employers and industries through the 1980s and 1990s. Today mining remains an important industry, but Sudbury also derives economic strength as a centre of commerce, government, tourism and science and technology research.


Prior to 1973, Sudbury comprised portions of the Townships of Neelon and McKim.

In 1973, provincially-mandated restructuring of municipal government organized the City of Sudbury and surrounding towns into the Regional Municipality of Sudbury, which comprised one city (Sudbury) and six towns (Capreol, Onaping Falls, Walden, Rayside-Balfour, Nickel Centre and Valley East). Municipal responsibilities were distributed between the council of the Regional Municipality and the councils of the smaller towns and cities. The Region covered 2,607 square kilometres. Due to population growth, the Town of Valley East was reincorporated as a city in 1997.

The five towns and two cities of the Region, as well as several unorganized townships, were amalgamated by provincial order on January 1, 2001 to become the City of Greater Sudbury. The City is headed by a Council and Mayor. The main municipal office is at Tom Davies Square, named for the former chair of the Regional Municipality of Sudbury from its inception until 1997.

The current mayor of Greater Sudbury is David Courtemanche, who succeeded retiring longtime mayor Jim Gordon in 2003.

The city is represented federally by Members of Parliament Diane Marleau in the Sudbury riding, and Ray Bonin in Nickel Belt. Their counterparts in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario are Rick Bartolucci in Sudbury and Shelley Martel in Nickel Belt.

See also: List of mayors of Sudbury, Ontario, Greater Sudbury City Council.


The name Greater Sudbury is almost exclusively a political designation. For most other purposes, including postal delivery, telephone exchange codes and local speech, many communities within the city boundaries continue to be treated as semi-distinct towns rather than parts of a single entity. As well, the former municipal names of the Regional Municipality of Sudbury also remain in common use to designate the different areas of the city.

Communities within the city are listed here. Communities whose names appear in bold are those which retain the unofficial status noted above.

Former town of Capreol

  • Capreol
  • Milnet
  • Selwood

Former town of Nickel Centre

  • Austin
  • Bailey Corners
  • Bowland's Bay
  • Coniston
  • Falconbridge
  • Garson
  • Happy Valley
  • Skead
  • Wahnapitae

Former town of Onaping Falls

  • Dowling
  • Levack
  • Levack Station
  • Onaping
  • Phelans

Former town of Rayside-Balfour

  • Azilda
  • Belanger
  • Boninville
  • Chelmsford
  • Hull
  • Larchwood
  • Simard

Former city of Sudbury

  • Adamsdale
  • Barrydowne
  • Copper Cliff
  • Frood Mine
  • Lo-Ellen
  • McFarlane Lake
  • Minnow Lake
  • New Sudbury
  • Nickeldale
  • Rheault
  • Robinson

Former city of Valley East

  • Blezard Valley
  • Elmview
  • Flake
  • Guilletville
  • Hagarty
  • Hanmer
  • Laurentian
  • McCrea Heights
  • Parkwood
  • Val Caron
  • Val Thérèse

Former town of Walden

  • Beaver Lake
  • Crean Hill
  • Creighton Mine
  • High Falls
  • Lively
  • Mikkola
  • Milate
  • Naughton
  • Turbine
  • Victoria Mine
  • Waters Township
  • Whitefish
  • Worthington

Formerly unorganized communities amalgamated into the city in 2001

  • St. Cloud
  • Wanup


The ore deposits in Sudbury are part of a large geological structure known as the Sudbury Basin, believed to be the remnants of a meteorite impact crater. Sudbury ore contains profitable amounts of many elements, especially transition metals, including platinum. It also contains an unusually high concentration of sulfur.

Sudbury was known for many years as a wasteland. During the Apollo manned lunar exploration program, NASA astronauts trained in Sudbury, to become familiar with shatter cones, a rare rock formation. However, the popular misconception that they were visiting Sudbury because it resembled the lifeless surface of the moon dogged the city for years.

When nickel-copper ore is smelted, this sulfur is released into the environment. The sulfur is toxic to vegetation. Carried aloft, it combines with atmospheric water to form sulfuric acid. This contaminates atmospheric water, resulting in a phenomenon known as acid rain. Acid rain erodes rocks and masonry, kills plants, and acidifies soil, discouraging regeneration of vegetation. In the Sudbury area, vegetation was decimated, both by acid rain and by logging to provide fuel for early smelting techniques. The erosion exposed bedrock, which was charred in most places to a pitted, dark black appearance. (It should be noted that there was not a complete lack of vegetation in the region. White birch and wild blueberry are notable examples of plants which thrived in the acidic soils.)

In the late 1970s, private, public, and commercial interests combined to establish an unprecedented "regreening" effort. Lime was spread over the charred soil of the Sudbury region by hand and by aircraft. Seeds of wild grasses and other vegetation were also spread. In twenty years, over three million trees were planted. The ecology of the Sudbury region has recovered dramatically, due both to the regreening program and improved mining practices, and in 1992 the city was given the "Local Government Honours Award" by the United Nations, in honour of its innovative community-based strategies in environmental rehabilitation.

Sudbury is on the Canadian (Precambrian) Shield. Over 300 lakes lie within its municipal boundaries, including Lake Wanapitei, which holds the record for the largest lake in the world completely contained within the boundaries of a single city. (Before the municipal amalgamation of 2001, this status was held by Lake Ramsay, which is just a few miles south of downtown Sudbury.)


Greater Sudbury is served by a number of provincial highways. Highway 17 is the main branch of the Trans-Canada Highway, connecting Sudbury to points east and west. Highway 69 leads south to Parry Sound where it connects to the Highway 400 freeway to Toronto. Eventually, Highway 400 will extend to reach Greater Sudbury. Highway 144 leads north to Timmins.

Sudbury is also served by air, rail and inter-city bus service.

Education and Culture

Greater Sudbury is home to three postsecondary institutions: Laurentian University, a bilingual university, Cambrian College, an English college of applied arts and technology, and Collège Boréal, a French college of applied arts and technology which has additional campuses throughout Northern Ontario.

Almost 30 per cent of the city's population is Franco-Ontarian, particularly in the former municipalities of Valley East and Rayside-Balfour. Sudbury is a very important centre in Franco-Ontarian cultural history, and the francophone community of Sudbury has played a central role in developing and maintaining many of the cultural institutions of francophone Ontario. Those institutions include the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario, La Nuit sur l'étang, La Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario, Le Centre franco-ontarien de folklore and the Prise de parole publishing company.

The Franco-Ontarian flag, as well, calls Sudbury home. It was first flown in 1975, at Laurentian University.

Sudbury has lent its mining heritage to two major tourist attractions: Science North, which is an interactive science museum built atop an ancient earthquake fault on the shore of Lake Ramsey, and Dynamic Earth, an earth sciences exhibition which is also home to the Big Nickel, one of Sudbury's most famous landmarks. Another city landmark, the Inco Superstack, is one of the world's tallest chimneys. As well, the Creighton Mine site in Sudbury is the site of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, a major scientific research facility.

Sudbury is also home to the Sudbury Theatre Centre, the Cinéfest film festival, a symphony orchestra, an art gallery, the annual Northern Lights Festival Boréal folk festival, and numerous community museums. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation series Chilly Beach, an animated comedy, is produced by a Sudbury firm, March Entertainment.

Sudbury hosted the International Physics Olympiad in 1997.

Sudbury was formerly home to four hospitals: Sudbury General, Sudbury Memorial, Sudbury Algoma and Laurentian. Under its hospital restructuring agenda, the government of Mike Harris amalgamated all of the hospitals into one, the Sudbury Regional Hospital.

The Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League play in the city.

Famous Sudburians

This list includes people from all communities within the current city boundaries.


TV Stations

Channel Call Sign Network Originating Signal
9 CBLT-6 CBC CBLT Toronto
11 CFGC Global CIII Toronto
13 CBLFT-2 Radio-Canada CBLFT Toronto
19 CICO-19 TVOntario CICA Toronto
41 CHCH-4 CH CHCH Hamilton

AM Stations

Frequency Call Sign Format
790 CIGM country

FM Stations

Frequency Call Sign Format
90.1 CBBS CBC Radio Two
90.9 CBBX Espace Musique
92.7 CJRQ (Q92) rock
95.5 CJTK (K95.5) Christian music
96.7 CKLU Laurentian University campus radio
98.1 CBON La Première Chaîne
98.9 CHYC francophone Hot adult contemporary
99.9 CBCS CBC Radio One
101.1 CKSO Christian music
102.9 CKBB tourist information
103.9 CHNO (Z103) Hot adult contemporary
105.3 CJMX (EZ Rock) Soft adult contemporary


Sudbury's daily newspaper is the Sudbury Star. Its major community newspaper, which publishes three times a week, is Northern Life. A francophone community paper, Le voyageur, is also published weekly.


(Statistics Canada, 2001)
Population: 155,219
Population change: (1996-2001) -6.1%
Dwellings: 68690
Area: 3354 sq. km.
Density: 46.3 people per sq. km.

External Links

  • City of Greater Sudbury (http://www.city.greatersudbury.on.ca)
  • Greater Sudbury Development Corporation (http://www.sudbury.ca)
  • Sudbury Tourism (http://www.sudburytourism.ca)

Census Divisions of Ontario
Counties of Ontario: Bruce | Dufferin | Elgin | Essex | Frontenac | Grey | Haliburton | Hastings | Huron | Lambton | Lanark | Leeds and Grenville | Lennox and Addington | Middlesex | Northumberland | Perth | Peterborough | Prescott and Russell | Renfrew | Simcoe | Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry | Wellington
Regional Municipalities of Ontario: Durham | Halton | Muskoka | Niagara | Oxford | Peel | Waterloo | York
Single Tier Municipalities of Ontario: Brant | Brantford | Chatham-Kent | Greater Sudbury | Haldimand | Hamilton | Kawartha Lakes | Norfolk | Ottawa | Prince Edward | Toronto
Separated municipalities - Historic counties of Ontario
Districts of Ontario: Algoma | Cochrane | Kenora | Manitoulin | Nipissing | Parry Sound | Rainy River | Sudbury | Thunder Bay | Timiskaming

  Results from FactBites:
Greater Sudbury, Ontario - definition of Greater Sudbury, Ontario in Encyclopedia (1676 words)
Sudbury was incorporated as a town in 1883, and as a city in 1930.
Sudbury is a very important centre in franco-ontarian cultural history, and the francophone community of Sudbury has played a central role in developing and maintaining many of the cultural institutions of francophone Ontario.
Sudbury has lent its mining heritage to two major tourist attractions: Science North, which is an interactive science museum built atop an ancient earthquake fault on the shore of Lake Ramsey, and Dynamic Earth, an earth sciences exhibition which is also home to the Big Nickel, one of Sudbury's most famous landmarks.
Sudbury - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (124 words)
Greater Sudbury, Ontario, Canada - the city continues to be known simply as Sudbury for most extents and purposes
Sudbury Basin, a meteorite impact crater and nickel mining district in Sudbury, Ontario.
Sudbury Valley School, a Sudbury model school in Framingham, Massachusetts.
  More results at FactBites »



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