Sudbury, Ontario, is a unique place with a unique history. Sudbury is situated in the Precambrian Shield, a 2.5 billion year old rock, the oldest on the North American continent. It is located in the province of Ontario, approx. 400 km north of Toronto, latitude 46o 11' N to 46o 30' N and longitude 80o 41' W to 81o 00' W. Elevation is 755 to 1,509 ft above sea level and the average temperature is 24.8C in the summer and -8.4C in the winter. First and foremost, Sudbury is a mining town. In 1853, the Canadian Pacific Railroad established a small rail depot called Junction Creek. This was a stop on the line which would eventually span the country. Even more importantly, the blasting for the rail line exposed copper and nickel deposits. The first mineral claims were staked in 1884. This lead to the development of the Sudbury Basin as the worlds leading nickel producer. Sudbury is known as the Nickel City. Nickel and copper mines ring the entire Sudbury Basin, a geological anomaly caused by a massive meteor impact. The Sudbury Basin is roughly 100km long and 15km wide. Most geologists agree that it was caused by a massive, 10 km-wide meteorite, traveling at 75 km per second, slamming into the Earth's crust over two billion years ago. This giant crater holds one of the Earth's richest known deposits of nickel and copper. Sudbury sits in this huge oval-shaped depression, on the shores of Ramsey Lake. Inco Limited is the largest producer of nickel in the western world. Falconbridge Ltd. also produces 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. Recently amalgamated by the Ontario Provincial Government, the new city of Greater Sudbury came into existence on January 1, 2001. With a population of 163,000 people, it is the largest centre in northeastern Ontario. 8 municipalities that used to compose The Regional Municipality of Sudbury (the City of Sudbury, the City of Valley East, the Town of Nickel Centre, the Town of Rayside-Balfour, the Town of Onaping Falls, the Town of Capreol and the Town of Walden), amalgamated and absorbed the outlying Townships of Fraleck, Parkin, Aylmer, Mackelcan, Rathbun, Scadding, Dill, Cleland and Dryden, to form the new City. Up until about 10-15 years ago, Sudbury had a reputation as a polluted "Moonscape". 100 years of forestry and high-sulfide nickel refining had a devastating effect on the environment. Already exposed rock from the Basin is stained black from years of sulfur dioxide emissions. Most trees are not much taller than 15 feet, and about the radius of a pop can. High acid content in the soil has lead to erosion and widespread deforestation. The worst jokes about the grim landscape that once was dominant in Sudbury are rooted in the fact that an NASA Apollo 15 training mission was sent to town on July 7-9, 1971. Astronauts were in town to examine the unique geology of the Sudbury Basin impact crater, which they felt would be similar to those found on the Moon. People around town thought that they came for the barren landscape, and the most highly polluted areas of town were dubbed "Moonscapes". In 1970, INCO built its Superstack, a 1,552 foot structure meant to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions from the ore smelting process. It did drastically reduce the local emissions, but it added a massive smokestack to the horizon, which can be seen from anywhere up to 30km away. It is the worlds largest freestanding smokestack, and the tallest structure made of concrete after Toronto's CN Tower. INCO had to install fans to push the emissions up the stack because it is so tall. A massive effort by the nickel producers in the Region have helped turn this around. This effort, called the "regreening" of Sudbury, has been a huge success. The Region of Sudbury was recently cited by the United Nations for its land reclamation program. As well, it has won several international, national and provincial awards for its successful environmental initiatives. Over the past two decades, more than 6 million trees have been planted under the Sudbury Regional Land Reclamation Program. Some quick facts about Sudbury:

Weather records show that Sudbury is one of the sunniest areas in Ontario. Air pollution levels are much lower in Sudbury than in Toronto or Hamilton. The City of Greater Sudbury has more than 200 lakes within its boundaries. Canada's first successful aorta-coronary by-pass operation was conducted at the Sudbury Memorial Hospital, on December 4, 1968. Sudbury's Northeastern Ontario Regional Cancer Centre is world recognized for its pioneering work in breast cancer research. There are five provincial parks within 60 miles of the Sudbury Region and two of those are within the Region's boundaries.

What is there to do in Sudbury? Sports and outdoor activities rank number one. 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. Sudburians enjoy many municipal parks, situated around the region. For instance, lovely Bell Park, nestled along the southwest shore of Lake Ramsey - is home to the Sudbury Canoe Club, the Yacht Club, the Bell Amphitheatre, trails, boardwalks, smooth sandy beaches, and huge floral displays. There are several Provincial Parks in and around Sudbury, so camping is a very popular activity. Sudbury is home to a vibrant arts and cultural community as well. The region offers museums, art galleries,professional theatre, the symphony, opera, and many venues for multi-cultural activities. Cinefest, Sudbury's International Film Festival, runs from September 17 - 23 every year. Because of its diverse cultural roots, Sudbury loves to party. All year round, there are fairs and festivals to celebrate everything from the arts to garlic and blueberries! Science North, is a strange success story. During the late 1970's and early 1980's, the economy of Sudbury was slowing down. Nickel prices had dropped and the city was stagnated. Local educators decided that a Science Center, like the Ontario Science Center in Toronto, was the answer. In 1984, Queen Elizabeth II herself cut the ribbon that opened Science North. No trip to Sudbury would be complete without a day at Science North. Shaped like a giant snowflake, perched high upon its rocky site, overlooking Lake Ramsey, it has become an internationally renowned science centre. The Centers focus on hands-on science has kept it a viable tourist attraction for years. Recently an IMAX theatre was installed and plans are being made for the development of another satellite center at the Big Nickel site. The Big Nickel is Sudbury's most famous landmark. At 9 metres high and 61 centimetres thick, this replica of the Canadian five cent piece is the largest coin in the world. Educational institutions are a large part of the city as well. As a hub for Northern Ontario travel, Sudbury has become home to 3 major educational institutions. Laurentian University - 1 of 2 bilingual universities in the province (University of Ottawa is the other), Cambrian College - home to the provinces most extensive mining eduction program and College Boreal - Northern Ontario's only French language college. An important development in the city was the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. SNO was built at the bottom of an active nickel mine, and it has become an important scientific site the world over.

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