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Greater 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 the country. It is also the only city in Ontario which has two official names -- its name in French is Grand-Sudbury.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Government
3 Communities
4 Geography
5 Transportation
6 Education and Culture
7 Media
8 Demographics
9 Website


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, science and technology research and tourism.


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 seven towns and 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.


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.

The following communities within the city boundaries have this unofficial status:

Former city of Sudbury: Sudbury, Copper Cliff

Former city of Valley East: Val Caron, Val Thérèse, Hanmer

Former town of Nickel Centre: Garson, Falconbridge, Skead, Coniston, Wahnapitae

Former town of Walden: Lively, Naughton, Whitefish

Former town of Rayside-Balfour: Azilda, Chelmsford

Former town of Onaping Falls: Dowling, Onaping, Levack

Former town of Capreol: Capreol

Formerly unorganized communities amalgamated into the city in 2001: 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 sulphur.

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 sulphur is released into the environment. The sulphur is toxic to vegetation. Carried aloft, it combines with atmospheric water to form sulphuric 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 grasseses 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.

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 Ramsey, 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. 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.

A large population of Franco-Ontarians is concentrated around Greater Sudbury, 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.

Sudbury is also home to the Sudbury Theatre Centre, a symphony orchestra, an art gallery, an annual music and arts festival, a film festival and numerous community museums.

Famous people from Sudbury include:


TV Stations
5 - CICI-TV (
CTV), branded as MCTV
9 - CBLT-6 (CBC), rebroadcaster of CBLT-TV Toronto
11 - CFGC-TV (Global), rebroadcaster of CIII-TV Toronto
13 - CBLFT-2 (Radio-Canada), rebroadcaster of CBLFT-TV Toronto
19 - CICO-TV-19 (TVOntario), rebroadcaster of CICA-TV Toronto
25 - CHLF-TV (TFO)
41 - CHCH-TV-4 (CH), rebroadcaster of CHCH-TV Hamilton

AM Radio
790 - CIGM (Today's Country)

FM Radio
90.1 - CBBS-FM (CBC Radio Two)
90.9 - CBBX-FM (La chaîne culturelle)
92.7 - CJRQ-FM (Q92, classic rock)
95.5 - CJTK-FM (K95.5, Christian music)
96.7 - CKLU-FM (Laurentian University)
98.1 - CBON-FM (La première chaîne)
98.9 - CHYC-FM (francophone CHR)
99.9 - CBCS-FM (CBC Radio One)
101.1 - CKSO-FM (Christian music)
102.9 - CKBB-FM (tourist information)
103.9 - CHNO-FM (Z103, CHR)
105.3 - CJMX-FM (EZRock, adult contemporary)

Sudbury's daily newspaper is the Sudbury Star; its major community newspaper is Northern Life. A francophone weekly community paper, Le voyageur, is also published.


(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.