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History of Sudbury, ON

Early History

Sudbury, a city of 164,926 people located in Northern Ontario, Canada, evolved from a small mining town to a rapidly developing regional capital. The history of Sudbury began over nine thousand years ago, when the area was occupied by the Ojibwe people. The first European settlers came to the present-day Sudbury in the 1880s, when high concentration of nickel ore was discovered in the region. The discovery coincided with the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway junction in Sudbury.

These two events brought about huge interest in the area, with waves of European settlers coming to Sudbury, most of who worked in the mines and at the railway station. It was James Worthington, the superintendent of railway construction, who gave Sudbury its name — after his wife’s birthplace in Sudbury, Suffolk. In the 1890s, lumbering industry was on the rise, which gave new impetus to the area’s economic development. The development of the railway system around Sudbury made it possible to transport mineral resources to the markets and to other U.S. regions.

In the 20th century, mining continued to be the major driving force of Sudbury’s economy. The main employers of the area were Inco (established in 1902) and Falconbridge (established in 1928) - top mining companies of the area. However, the mining industry in the area experienced both ups and downs, depending on many external factors. For instance, it was on the rise during World War I while being on the decline right after the war.

Thanks to high demand for nickel, Sudbury recovered from the Great Depression relatively quickly, in comparison with other towns in Canada. In early 20th century, Sudbury remained one of the most rapidly growing communities in northern Ontario, providing 80% of nickel production in the world. But it was not just nickel that was the driving force of the local economy: the area contained rich deposits of silver, zinc, cobalt, platinum, and lead.

Sudbury Nowadays

In the 21st century, mining employment declined and employed only about 3,000 workers in 2018. Despite the decline in the mining industry, Sudbury remains an important economic, retail, and educational center in Northern Ontario. Sudbury is home to Science North, Dynamic Earth, Lake Laurentian Conservation Area, Ramsey Lake, and many other attractions that make Sudbury a must-visit destination in Ontario.