Archive | Sudbury History

Leo Gerard, retired president of United Steel Workers: ‘No one believed more in workers’ – by David Shribman (Globe and Mail – September 2, 2019)

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/

Canadian labour activist Leo Gerard recently retired after 18 years as international president of the United Steel Workers (USW) – the largest industrial union in North America. The onetime smelter worker devoted his career to battling the wealth gap.

Mr. Gerard faced numerous headwinds as a labour leader. He has grappled with declining rates of union membership. He has taken on leaders of both U.S. political parties, whose free-trade orthodoxy collided with his members’ concerns about imports of steel and other products. And he has struggled with members of his own union who have little in common culturally with U.S. President Donald Trump, but are nonetheless drawn to the Manhattan tycoon because of his populist approach and his nationalistic rhetoric.

The discord roiled Mr. Gerard’s union and placed him in a difficult political position. He argued just after the Trump triumph that the new President was elected “by stealing our agenda.” Continue Reading →

‘Tragedy of pollution’: Award-winning article details how gov’t, miners wrought harm on Sudbury’s landscape – by Staff (Sudbury Star – July 26, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

A scholarly article exploring the “tragedy of pollution in Sudbury” has earned its authors an award from the Ontario Historical Society.

The 2018 Riddell Award, acknowledging the best work on a subject of Ontario history in a given year, was recently presented to Mark Kuhlberg and Scott Miller for their article Protection to Sulphite Smoke Tortfeasors: The Tragedy of Pollution in Sudbury, Ontario, the World’s Nickel Capital, 1884-1927, which appeared in The Canadian Historical Review in June 2018.

A tortfeasor, by the way, is someone who commits a wrongful act, in this case applied to the mining companies that spread harmful emissions, but only because, as the article contends, it was permitted by provincial lawmakers at the time. Continue Reading →

That’s no moon: Before these NASA astronauts went to space, they went to Sudbury – by Claude Sharma (TVO – The Agenda – July 22, 2019)

https://www.tvo.org/

In the 1970s, the agency sent astronauts to northeastern Ontario to prepare for their trips to the moon — and helped drive the region’s scientific aspirations

SUDBURY — In 1971, astronauts John Young and Charles Duke loaded up with equipment —backpacks, radios, cameras — and walked along rocky ledges, communicating their movements as if to a home base.

Later that year, they’d do the same thing nearly 385,000 kilometres away as astronauts on the Apollo 16 moon mission. On this day, though, they were in the Sudbury Basin, practising for the real thing.

“Once they did their traverse, we would go over what they saw,” remembers Don Phipps, a local geologist who helped facilitate the training. “One of the objects of this visit is that when they got on the moon, they could report back with some kind of knowledge of what they saw on the ground.” Continue Reading →

A woman’s view of Inco – by Mia Jensen (Sudbury Star – June 29, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

In 1974, Inco started hiring women for the first time since the end of the Second World War. Cathy Mulroy, then 19, was the second woman in line for a job. Now, she’s written a book about her experiences.

Mulroy worked on the anode casting wheel in the copper refinery. Her job was to empty the molten metal arriving in hot cars from the smelter, into the furnace. It was hot, grimy work, but for Mulroy, the labour wasn’t the difficult part of her experience.

“Over the years, I was kind of a person who believed in people’s rights,” she says. “I was never quiet. So right off the bat, I started getting into trouble.” Continue Reading →

[Falconbridge] ‘I thought the smelter had blown up’ – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – June 21, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Electrician Gary Hrytsak was taking a brief nap during a coffee break at the Falconbridge smelter complex about 10:05 a.m. June 20, 1984, when he got thrown off the bench he was on.

“It was an eerie feeling,” recalled the now-retired Hrytsak during his speech at the 35th Workers’ Memorial Day ceremonies at the Caruso Club on Thursday. “You could feel things shaking under your feet … I thought the smelter had blown up.”

Hrytsak, who went on to do compensation, health and welfare work for his union (Mine Mill and Smelter Workers Local 598), said he put on his respirator, went to the electrical shop and telephoned his foreman, only to be told to stay where he was. Continue Reading →

COLUMN: ‘Moonscape’ Sudbury deserves global recognition for its environmental success – by Dr. John Gunn (Northern Ontario Business – June 7, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Dr. John Gunn is the Canada Research Chair in Stressed Aquatic Systems and the director of the Vale Living with Lakes Centre in Sudbury.

Michael Moore’s recent documentary film about lead in drinking water in Flint Michigan has catapulted that city onto a growing list of places known for environmental disasters, including Chernobyl, Love Canal, Minamata, Bhopal, London with its great deadly smog of 1952, and the little town of Walkerton, Ontario, where seven died and more than 2,000 became sick because of E. coli contamination.

Positive environmental stories from specific places also exist, but like the evening news, the positive stories never get quite as much attention.

There are, however, some wonderful examples, such the Montréal Protocol and the Paris Accord, where a city’s name is forever linked to an event where world leaders came together to address global threats to the environment, such as the ozone depleting compounds in the atmosphere, or the severe threats of climate change. Continue Reading →

What The Heck Is That? — Our industrial Lake Louise – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – May 16, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Few people would mistake Sudbury for Banff, and yet there is one spot just northwest of the city off MR 35 that I like to think of as our own little Lake Louise.

Easily spied on the west side of the road near the turnoff to William Day Construction, its surface is a vivid turquoise that has no doubt caught the attention of a few passing motorists other than myself.

It jumps out just as much, if not more, when you look at it from an aerial, satellite perspective in Google Maps, its hue so distinct from the other water bodies around it — more San Jose teal than Maple Leafs blue. Continue Reading →

Throwback Thursday: A brief history of mining in Sudbury Northern Life – by Callam Rodya(Sudbury.com – March 2, 2017)

https://www.sudbury.com/

With two of Sudbury’s most important employers, Vale and Glencore, reporting healthy profits last week, we asked the Greater Sudbury Archives to dust off some old footage and photos from the earlier days of this fledgling industry, to give you a brief history of mining in Sudbury. Continue Reading →

Canadian mining industry says goodbye to ‘turnaround man’ Bill James – by Robin de Angelis (CBC News Sudbury – September 17, 2018)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

The man credited with making mining company Falconbridge Ltd. a success in the 1980s has passed away. William “Bill” James died on September 4, at the age of 89.

James took the helm of Falconbridge at a time when the company was losing millions of dollars each week due to flagging metal prices. He cut jobs and corporate spending, eventually making the company an attractive target for a takeover for Noranda.

Ed Thompson, a board member with the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, remembers working with James for almost 50 years. “He was a very forthright, honest man,” Thompson recalled. Continue Reading →

Smelter Fumes, Local Interests, and Political Contestation in Sudbury, Ontario, during the 1910s – by Don Munton and Owen Temby (Urban History Review – June 2016)

https://urbanhistoryreview.ca/

During the second half of the 1910s the problem of sulphur smoke in Sudbury, Ontario, pitted farmers against the mining-smelting industry that comprised the dominant sector of the local economy. Increased demand for nickel from World War I had resulted in expanded activities in the nearby Copper Cliff and O’Donnell roast
yards, which in turn produced more smoke and destroyed crops.

Local business leaders, represented by the Sudbury Board of Trade, sought to balance the needs of the agriculture and mining-smelting sectors and facilitate their coexistence in the region. Among the measures pursued, farmers and some Board of Trade members turned to nuisance litigation, with the objective of obtaining monetary awards and injunctions affecting the operation of the roast yards.

While the amounts of the awards were disappointing for the farmers, the spectre of an injunction was sufficient to convince the provincial government to ban civil litigation in favour of an arbitration process accommodating industry. This article provides an account of the political activism over Sudbury’s smoke nuisance that failed to bring about emission controls, highlighting the contextual factors contributing to this failure. Continue Reading →

Plays mine Sudbury’s past – by Laura Stradiotto (Sudbury Star – April 30, 2018)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Prepare to delve into the heart and history of Northern Ontario this week during Pat The Dog’s sixth annual Playsmelter Festival. Featuring creators from the region and afar, Playsmelter offers audiences the chance to see Canadian theatre in all stages of development. The festival, which features Sudbury-inspired narratives, starts today and runs until Saturday at the Sudbury Theatre Centre.

Adric Cluff usually writes about zombies and vampires, yet penning a play based on American inventor Thomas Edison and his influence in Sudbury at the turn of the 20th century was more extraordinary than any fiction he ever encountered.

Cluff explores the famous inventor’s visit to the Sudbury region in the early 1900s, his mining exploration and influence on the founding of Inco Limited. Cluff dug into the city’s archives and found plenty of supporting evidence of the inventor’s influence at the time, including an invitation from the mayor to visit the booming mining town. Continue Reading →

Demolition of Sudbury iron ore plant to be complete by year’s end, says Vale – by Arron Pickard (Northern Ontario Business – March 26, 2018)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Going green has many benefits, especially when it results in significant cost savings ranging in the millions. Vale will save about $6 million by recycling most of the scrap metal that will be left over once the Copper Cliff iron ore recovery plant is demolished.

The original price tag was just over $8 million, but the contractor who will demolish the facility will take the scrap metal for recycling purposes, cutting the cost down to just over $2 million, said Angie Robson, spokesperson for Vale.

Demolition work began in August 2017 and it will be completed by the end of this year, she said. The plant operated from the mid-1950s until the mid-1980s. Continue Reading →

[Ontario Mining] Sudbury’s Stobie Mine to take well-deserved ‘rest’ – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – May 31, 2017)

Frood-Stobie Complex (Vale Photo)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Stobie Mine was an important mine in Greater Sudbury’s mining history,
with an estimated 58,000 people working there over the years. During
the Second World War, the mine produced an estimated 40 per cent of the
Allied Forces’ nickel needs late in the war.

The final day of production at a 130-year-old mining complex in Sudbury on Tuesday was both a cause for celebration and a sombre moment to reflect. For 28-and-a-half-year loader /operator Wayne Beckerleg, it was the latter.

“I love this place,” said Beckerleg, who became emotional at times addressing a crowd of more than 350 co-workers, retirees, dignitaries and others at a press conference on the Stobie Mine property in New Sudbury. “We have always put our heads together, found ways to overcome, do a lot of risk analysis, found safer ways for people who came after us.

Frood-Stobie Complex supplied 40% of critical nickel supplies for Allies during World War Two. (1940s Inco Poster)

“Stobie Mine: it’s like no other mine. It’s like my second family home. You’re all like brothers and sisters here. I have enjoyed the friendships over the years … At one time, we were doing 10,000 tons of muck a day. It’d be down now. That’s real estate. That is the hand we are being dealt … You have my respect. I hope we will meet again. We will meet again.” Continue Reading →

1978-79 Steelworkers strike subject of Mick Lowe’s new novel – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Sudbury Northern Life – May 3, 2017)

https://www.sudbury.com/

Local author has completed trilogy about city’s mining history

Given it’s a part of the city’s recent history, most Sudburians remember Steelworkers Local 6500’s nearly year-long 2009-2010 strike against Vale. More distant in the community’s collective memory is the arguably even more bitter labour dispute that happened a generation earlier.

Steelworkers Local 6500 went on strike against Vale’s predecessor, Inco, for 10 and a half months from Sept. 15, 1978 until June 7, 1979. The labour dispute, which involved 11,600 workers, and starved Inco of more than 22 million hours of labour, smashed records at the time for the longest strike in Canadian history.

The impact on the Sudbury community was devastating, with businesses closing, marriages breaking up and families losing their life savings. The 1978-1979 Steelworkers strike is the subject of local author Mick Lowe’s latest novel, “Wintersong.” It’s the third in the Nickel Range Trilogy fiction series, which focuses on Sudbury’s mining history. Continue Reading →

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

 

https://www.sudbury.com/

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 →