Sudbury icon turning 50 – by John Lappa (Sudbury Star – June 27, 2014)

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

One man’s vision and tenacity to create an iconic landmark was revealed at a book launch at Dynamic Earth in Sudbury on Thursday.

Ted Szilva and his son, Jim, launched their book, The Big Nickel: The Untold Story, at the same location where the Big Nickel was erected and eventually shown to the public 50 years ago on July 22, 1964.

Ted Szilva’s dream to create the Big Nickel attraction was opposed by a number of people and groups, including the old City of Sudbury. “It was a constant fight with the city at the time,” Szilva recalled. “The bureaucrats were against it 100%.”

Then Sudbury Mayor Joe Fabbro, The Sudbury Star and the television station “backed me, so I overcame those obstacles day by day.” Szilva said he overcame his detractors because of his spirituality.

“I consider myself a spiritual man and I prayed on every obstacle that came about. I prayed on it and everything worked out,” Szilva said. Szilva said he came up with the idea of the Big Nickel as part of a centennial project for the city. His idea was rejected, but he continued on his own.

Szilva said he didn’t realize that his project could be successful until he actually started to do research and found other cities created large monuments that were successful.

“It was a viable project,” he said. “The only thing I didn’t have was money. The city wouldn’t give me money, nobody” would give him money.

Szilva generated money by selling medallions all over the world and eventually the Big Nickel opened in 1964.

Ted’s son Jim, who co-authored the book, is proud of his father’s accomplishments.

“It has been a real honour having him as my dad and working on this project together over the last two years has been absolutely phenomenal.”

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