The decade ended with King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited the community in June 1939. It was the first time a reigning British monarch had ever visited Canada, let alone Sudbury. Precedence was broken by allowing the Queen, the first women ever to go underground at the Frood Mine. Traditionally miners thought women would bring bad luck if they were allowed underground. There were a few miners who probably thought the beginning of the Second World War was a result of her visit.
Second World War
Shortly after the second world war started, nickel was one of the first metals to require government allocation. Non-essential use of this strategic material was banned which included most of International Nickel’s civilian markets.
Labour shortages were a constant struggle requiring the company to hire women in its surface operations for the first time in history. Over 1,400 women were hired in production and maintenance jobs for the duration of the war at the Sudbury operations and the Port Colborne refinery.
The labour shortages also finally allowed a permanent union to be established. Inco’s nickel operations were well known to have an extensive system of anti-union spies who ensured any person discussing organization activities would be quickly fired.