Archive | Sudbury History

Throwback Thursday: A tribute to the Superstack – by Callam Rodya (Sudbury Northern Life – January 26, 2017)

Earlier this week, mining giant Vale made headlines when it announced that, beginning in the year 2020, it will decommission and dismantle the Superstack and replace it with two smaller stacks.

The 381-metre smokestack, the second tallest in the world, has been an iconic symbol of Sudbury since the 1970s and, on our website, many readers expressed their sadness that the towering chimney may soon vanish from the landscape. Continue Reading →

Barrick’s Munk Heads Top Ten Most Important Mining Men in Canadian History – by Stan Sudol

Melanie and Peter Munk

Melanie and Peter Munk

Four Americans Made the List!

A few months ago, my dear colleague Joe Martin, who is the Director of the Canadian Business & Financial History Initiative at Rotman and President Emeritus of Canada’s History Society, asked me a very simple question: who would be considered the most important individual in Canadian mining?

Considering Canada’s lengthy and exceptional expertise in the mineral sector, it was not an easy answer and I decided to research and create a top ten list of the most important mining men in Canadian history.

The lack of women on this list simply reflects the fact that for much of our history most women were not given the educational or social opportunities to excel in business, especially in a rough and male-dominated sector like mining. Times have changed, women are playing key roles in mining today and will definitely be included on this list in the future.

However, a few qualifiers need to be established. This is basically a list of mine builders not mine finders.  Building a company through takeovers and discoveries is one way but I am also focusing on individuals who have built corporate empires and/or who have developed isolated regions of the country with the necessary infrastructure for mines to flourish and create multi-generational jobs, shareholder wealth and great economic impact. Continue Reading →

Sudbury celebrates Stompin’ Tom – by Ben Leeson (Sudbury Star – October 3, 2016)

Sudburians who came together last month to celebrate an iconic musician and one of his most iconic songs now have their own music video.

Downtown Sudbury, the Townehouse Tavern and local businessman Colin Firth unveiled Sudbury Celebrates Stompin’ Tom at the Townhouse on Saturday night. The video includes a spirited rendition of Sudbury Saturday Night, performed by a boisterous crowd that gathered on Grey Street, near the bronze statue of the late Stompin’ Tom Connors, on Sept. 24.

It also includes commentary from Tannys Laughren, who was a member of the Stompin’ Tom statue committee; Paul Loewenberg, manager at the Townehouse; and Firth, a driving force behind the community event last month. “It was a couple months of getting it all together and we finished up the final video just in the last day or so, and I’m very excited,” Firth said, a few hours before the video’s premiere. Continue Reading →

BNN’s Andrew Bell interviews Scott Hand on Inco, 10 years later (Business Network News – September 29, 2016)

Scott Hand, chairman of RNC Minerals, was CEO of nickel giant Inco when the Canadian miner was taken over by Vale in 2006. Inco’s failure to merge with rival Falconbridge had already shattered dreams of creating a Canadian mining colossus. The former Inco chief recalls the lack of government support for that made-in-Canada solution, and contrasts the case to the blocking of a PotashCorp takeover in 2010.

We were joined on our Commodities show today by former Inco CEO Scott Hand, who looked back 10 years to 2006 when the nickel miner agreed to a takeover by Brazil’s Vale. That came just weeks after Falconbridge, Inco’s fellow Canadian nickel giant, was taken over by Xstrata.

Yes, Hand told us, many Canadians were worried to see control of the lavishly endowed Sudbury, Ontario mineral basin go into foreign hands. Continue Reading →

Losing Inco and Falconbridge: Ontario could have acted – BNN Andrew Bell Interviews Mining Analyst Ray Goldie (BNN News – September 23, 2016)

Ten years ago, Canadian mining giants Inco and Falconbridge went into foreign hands. Independent mining analyst Ray Goldie, author of the book Inco Comes to Labrador, says Ontario could have done more to keep the head offices in this country.

The hollowing out of Canadian mining: Vale’s takeover of Inco, 10 years on – by Andrew Bell (Business Network News – September 23, 2016)

Ten years ago this Saturday, a global mining gem slipped out of Canadian fingers. In 2006, Canadian nickel miner Inco agreed to be bought by Brazil’s Vale in a $19-billion takeover. The announcement of the acquisition came just weeks after fellow nickel giant Falconbridge was acquired by Xstrata of Switzerland (now part of Glencore) in an $18-billion deal. The previous year, Falconbridge had combined with another Canadian mineral giant, Noranda.

The Inco sale “further undermines Canada’s status as a force in the mining industry,” the New York Times proclaimed at the time of the acquisition.

The two takeovers rankled because both Inco and Falconbridge sat atop a mineral lode in in Sudbury, Ont., which is among one of the greatest deposits on Earth. Vale itself calls the northern Ontario city “the mining capital of the world,” adding that its operations there “are among our largest on the planet, employing approximately 4,000 people.” Continue Reading →

New video to celebrate ‘Sudbury Saturday Night’ (Sudbury Star – September 20, 2016)

Stompin’ Tom Connors and Sudbury have always had a special affiliation thanks to the Canadian Music icon’s famous song “Sudbury Saturday Night”. On Saturday, Sudburians will have the chance to thank Stompin’ Tom Connors for his music and help create a professionally produced music video for the legendary song, “Sudbury Saturday Night.”

The music video will be shot on Grey Street, outside of The Townehouse Tavern (on the lower roof level), the location where Stompin’ Tom wrote and first performed his legendary song about our hometown.

“Sudbury Celebrates Stompin’ Tom” is a joint effort between The Townehouse Tavern, Downtown Sudbury and local businessman Colin Firth. Collectively, the group’s members believe it is time that Sudbury got together to celebrate Stompin’ Tom Connors to say thanks to the legendary Canadian icon by singing his famous song “Sudbury Saturday Night.” Continue Reading →

Inco’s Sudbury Nickel Mines Were Critical During World War Two – by Stan Sudol

Inco World War Two Poster

Inco World War Two Poster

Nickel Was the Most Strategic Metal

By anyone’s estimation, the highlight of Sudbury’s social calendar in 1939 was the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on June 5th, accompanied by Prime Minister Mackenzie King and a host of local dignitaries. This was the first time a reigning British monarch had ever visited Canada, let alone Sudbury, a testimony to the growing importance of the region’s vital nickel mines. The nickel operations in the Sudbury Basin were booming due to growing global tensions and increased spending on military budgets. Sudbury and the northeastern Ontario gold mining centres of Timmins and Kirkland Lake were among the few economic bright spots in a country devastated by the Great Depression.

In an April 15, 1938 article, Maclean’s Magazine journalist Leslie McFarlane described the three mining communities as, “Northern Ontario’s glittering triangle….No communities in all of Canada are busier, none more prosperous. The same golden light shines on each.”

During the royal visit, precedence was broken by allowing Queen Elizabeth the first female ever to go underground at the Frood Mine. Traditionally miners thought women would bring bad luck if they were permitted underground. There were probably many who thought the beginning of the Second World War on September 1, 1939 was the result of her subterranean visit. Continue Reading →

Labour honours Sudbury heroes – by Carol Mulligan(Sudbury Star – September 3, 2016)

Two Sudbury labour heroes have been inducted into the 2016 Ontario Federation of Labour Honour Roll, just in time for Labour Day. Nickel Belt New Democrat MPP France Gelinas announced the names of the inductees this week, commending both men for their efforts to improve the lives of working people.

Homer Seguin, who died in April 2013 at 79, continues to be a legend in the labour movement, said Gelinas. “So many sick and injured workers, as well as their spouses and families, were able to get compensation because of his activism.

“Every workplace in Ontario is safer because of Mr. Seguin, I miss him very much,” said Gelinas. Seguin was a former president of United Steelworkers Local 6500 and long-time staff representative with United Steelworkers. He is well known for his work to better working conditions for people in Elliot Lake’s uranium mines. Continue Reading →

Prof looking for tales of life in Sudbury’s moonscape – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Sudbury Northern Life – June 2, 2015)

Project explores the life of immigrants in Copper Clif, Coniston, Gatchell and the Donovan

Did you walk to school with a handkerchief over your face because the pollution was so bad? Did your mother have to replant the garden five times because of acid rain? Were mine tailings your personal playground?

Stacey Zembrzycki, a Sudbury-born adjunct assistant professor at Concordia University, wants to hear these kinds of stories.

It’s all part of a project called “Mining Immigrant Bodies: A Multi-Ethnic Oral History of Industry, Environment and Health in the Sudbury Region,” supported by Concordia University and a federal government grant.

She’s looking to interview men and women who came to Canada in the postwar period — as well as their children — and lived in Copper Cliff, Coniston, Gatchell or the Donovan, where mining impacted heavily on day-to-day life.

Zembrzycki also hopes to speak to those who worked in the mining industry or their families about the health impacts of these jobs. Continue Reading →

[War Plan Red-U.S. Invades Canada] Sudbury’s nickel important to Americans’ military might – by Stan Sudol (Northern Life – February 5, 2006)

Please note that this article, was originally published in 2006.

If the Yanks went to war with the Brits in the 1920s, American troops would have tried to invade Sudbury from northern Michigan

Canada and the United States have been economic and military allies for most of the 20th century, notwithstanding the bad chemistry between our leaders from time to time. Hopefully Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be able to soon repair the damage in relations caused by the Paul Martin Liberals.

However, throughout much of American history, many influential politicians were firmly committed to the expansionist ideology of Manifest Destiny. This is the belief that the United States has an “inherent, natural and inevitable right” to annex all of North America.

So it should not be a huge surprise to learn that the United States military had prepared a Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan to invade Canada in the late 1920s, and updated it in 1935. The document called War Plan Red was declassified in 1974. However, the story resurfaced a short time ago in a Washington Post (Dec.30, 2005) article by journalist Peter Carlson headlined Raiding the Icebox; Behind Its Warm Front, the United States Made Cold Calculations to Subdue Canada. Continue Reading →

Curlook helped modernize Inco in Sudbury – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – October 10, 2014)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

A mining innovator and community leader who helped Sudburians breathe easier died earlier this month in Toronto.

The Coniston-born Walter Curlook, who rose to positions of prominence with Inco and oversaw the sulphur reduction program of the 1980s and early 1990s, was 85. His funeral was held Monday.

Through his long and impressive career with the nickel giant (now part of Vale), Curlook spurred advancements in metallurgical processing and environmental protection, securing a dozen patents relating to ore refining and smelting.

“I was proud of him because he was a bit of a genius and did so many nice things,” said his sister Eugenia (“Jenny”) Maizuk. “For one thing, he cleared the air around here.”

Jenny and Walter, along with two other siblings, were raised by Ukrainian immigrant parents in Coniston. Their father worked in the mines and, while still in his teens, Walter also secured part-time and seasonal work with Inco. The air hung thickly with sulphur in those days.

“I remember when we had to rush and cover the gardens with sheets to prevent them from getting burnt by the gas,” recalled Jenny. “Walter used to argue with my dad at dinnertime, saying ‘what’s wrong with Inco?'” Continue Reading →

Ukrainian Redress: ‘A dark chapter’ [Sudbury/Canada History] – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – July 5, 2014)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

A shameful part of our history will be acknowledged this month when a plaque recognizing the internment of Ukrainians is installed at Hnatyshyn Park.

During the First World War, thousands of Ukrainians were imprisoned in labour camps across Canada — including ones in Kapuskasing and Petawawa — even though no disloyalty had been shown on their part.

“It was a dark chapter that no-one wants to talk about,” said Stacey Zembrzycki, a Sudbury native and historian at Concordia University. “We’re 100 years later and a large segment of the population still doesn’t know it happened.”

Reticence extended to the Ukrainians themselves, as many of those who weren’t imprisoned were still deemed “enemy aliens” of Canada. It was a stamp they were eager to forget.

Zembrzycki interviewed 82 aging members of Sudbury’s Ukrainian community for a book she is releasing in September, and found very few would talk about this period. “For my great-grandfather’s generation, there was silence and shame associated with it,” she said. “And I think they felt it was better to not acknowledge their heritage or something like that could happen again.”

Eyed suspiciously by those in their adopted country and called “bohunks” behind their backs — or even to their faces — many Ukrainians kept a low profile and anglicized their last names. Continue Reading →

Sudbury’s history part of new book, The Raids – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – May 10, 2014)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

To order The Raids, click here:

Sudbury author Mick Lowe has undertaken a herculean task, one far more challenging than writing a trilogy of novels after suffering a debilitating stroke six years ago.

The well-known journalist and non-fiction author is out to elevate the people of Sudbury and our history to the “mythos” of Canadian legend. “I want to create legend as well as history and fact because we’re worth it,” Lowe says quite simply.

Lowe, 67, will launch the first book in the series, “The Raids,” on Sunday, May 25 at the Steelworkers Union Hall and Conference Centre.

The setting for the launch party is ironic given the book is a fictionalized account of the bitter, decade-long battle by United Steelworkers to pull members from the then powerful Mine Mill and Smelter Workers Union Local 598.

The book is set in the spring of 1963, when 19-year-old Jake McCool works his first shift at Stobie Mine. The young miner becomes a participant in what Lowe describes as a war between the two unions. Lowe, who has lived at Pioneer Manor since his left side was paralysed from the stroke, says employees in their 20s there have shown great interest in what he’s been working on. Continue Reading →

Union raids the subject of author Mick Lowe’s 5th book – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Sudbury Northern Life – April 16, 2014)

Mick Lowe said his disability was actually a benefit when it came to writing his soon-to-be published novel, “The Raids.” The book is set in 1963, during a particularly violent time in Sudbury’s history — the Steelworkers’ raids on the then-powerful Mine Mill union.

“The Raids,” (Baraka Books, $20), is due to be officially released May 15. The book will be available at Chapters and online at Amazon. An official launch and book signing will be held starting at 2 p.m. May 25 at the Steelworkers Hall.

Lowe, 67, who has penned four other books, said because he’s in a wheelchair and lives at Pioneer Manor after a 2008 stroke paralysed the left side of his body, he wasn’t able to do the meticulous research he put into his other works.

While he had a working knowledge of the union raids through his previous work as a journalist, Lowe said he was forced to use his imagination because of his physical limitations. At one point, he was writing about a Mine Mill meeting, and his first inclination was to go to the library and look up the minutes of the actual meeting.

“But I can’t do that because I’m disabled,” said Lowe, a former Northern Life managing editor and columnist. Continue Reading →