Archive | Sudbury History

Sudbury was Created by Hardworking Men and Women – The Mayor’s Labour Day Message – Greater Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez

Greater Sudbury Mayor - John RodriguezAs we celebrate our community’s 125th anniversary, it is an appropriate time to recognize the enormous contributions of working people to the success of Greater Sudbury.

From the first rough-necked navvies who laid down the tracks of the Canadian Pacific Railway around Ramsey Lake … to the Franco-Ontarien lumberjacks who wintered along the Spanish, the Vermilion and the Wahnapitae rivers and lakes … to the hardworking miners who came from all points of the globe to pull the nickel and copper from beneath our feet, this city has been built on the wealth created by hardworking men and women who were proud to call Sudbury home.

As these workers organized, their unions became active in addressing conditions, both in the workplace and across the community.

Greater Sudbury is seen as a world leader in industrial health and safety and in environmental restoration and organized labour has played a role in both of these important areas.

Joint health and safety committees have become a standard part of operations in local companies and we have seen dramatic declines in the rate and the severity of industrial injuries and diseases in this city.

The success in this area has made us a model for industrial health and creating a centre of excellence in occupational health and safety.

Working men and women continue to play a major role in enhancing our community. Support for the United Way, the Food Bank and dozens of other worthy community initiatives demonstrates the labour community’s commitment to helping those in need.

Contributions to education and health institutions ensure these facilities continue to provide the best opportunities and care for our citizens.

This Labour Day, take a moment to think of those whose sweat has provided us with the life we have today.

Take a moment also to think of how much working people contribute to our city each and every day.

Chickens Coming Home to Roost with Inco Contract – by Michael Atkins

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of permission to post Michael Atkin’s column.

Michael Atkins

Buzz Hargrove, the feisty (I’m being kind) president of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union, recently said they would go on strike against General Motors (GM) if the auto maker did not promise new car products for Windsor, Oshawa, and St. Catharines, Ontario. A few days later, he changed his tune completely.

“You strike after something you think is achievable,” he said. “If we thought there was a product out there that we could strike and fight and win, then you can bet your boots we would be striking over it.”

Of course, what happened between the ultimatum and the climb down was that GM announced unceremoniously it would close a transmission plant in Windsor, whether the union liked it or not. Buzz is now negotiating severance packages, not new jobs.

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Copper Cliff Courier at Century Dawn Described Community Enthusiastically – Gary Peck

At the turn of the century, residents of Sudbury could turn to one newspaper for local news. The Sudbury Journal, under James A. Orr, had published continuously since 1891. Over the years competition had appeared in the form of The Star and the Sudbury News, yet neither was still operating by 1900. However, the monopoly was to be challenged in 1902 from afar – namely Copper Cliff.

On a Saturday in early March, 1902, the Copper Cliff Courier made its initial appearance. At the time it was described by the Journal as being “a seat five-column of quarto, well-printed”. It contained a “good list of advertisements” and proposed to be independent in politics. The Courier, published and edited by J.T. Pratt and sold for $1.00 a year, had its office on Main Street, Copper Cliff.

Few copies of the Courier appear to have been saved with a special 1903 issue being the one that appears most frequently. In that particular issue can be found community news with the new smelter of the Canadian Copper Company being a major feature.

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Early Mining schools in Sudbury and Copper Cliff – Gary Peck

During the 1890s, there was considerable interest in the establishing of mining schools in Ontario. One of the early promoters was James Commee, MPP for Algoma. Offering support was James Orr, editor of the Sudbury Journal, who argued for the locating of a mining school in Sudbury. The town did not quite receive the school desired, but in 1894 this area hosted two summer schools.

In the session of the legislature in 1894, $2,000 was appropriated for the purpose of organizing Summer Mining Schools in the northern districts of Ontario. Work for this undertaking was assumed by the School of Practical Science, University of Toronto, with the pilot summer schools in 1894 located in the communities of Copper Cliff, Sudbury and Rat Portage, with the later established after the Copper Cliff and Sudbury schools.
When advertised locally, the caption read, “Summer School for Prospectors, Miners and Others interested in mining.” On Friday evening, July , at 8 o’clock, there was a meeting at the public school in Sudbury. Continue Reading →

Honourable John Rodriguez – Mayor of the City of Greater Sudbury – State of the City – 2008 Speech

Angie Robson, Vale Inco Communications Manager; Rafael Benke, Vale VP Corporate Affairs and International Relations; Mayor John Rodriguez; Roberta Lepich, Vale Public Relations; Ian Wood, City of Greater Sudbury; Doug Nadorozny, General Manager - Growth and Development - City of Greater SudburyMadame Chairperson, fellow Councillors, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I want to thank you all for coming this afternoon and I want to thank the Chamber for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today.  I want to also express my appreciation to George Revie and his team at Persona Communications, who are here today to tape this event for broadcast this Thursday evening.  As you know, Persona also broadcasts City Council meetings, and their efforts make it easier for citizens to understand our city and how it operates.
As I stand here today, I am mindful of the fact that I am blessed to be Mayor of this wonderful city, and doubly blessed to be Mayor at such an exciting time in the history of our community, our country, and our world.
Ten days ago, we celebrated a birthday to mark the 125th Anniversary of the founding of the community we now know as Greater Sudbury.  It was a tremendous event!

I reflected that day upon how far we have come as a community and what a debt we owe to our forbearers.  In our community’s history, thirty-three men – and one woman – have served as Mayor of Sudbury or Greater Sudbury, and many, many more have served as mayor or reeve of our constituent municipalities.  

Our 125 year relationship with this land is but a blip in the history of our aboriginal cousins.  It is important that we acknowledge the strong relationships we have with our aboriginal community and the strong ties we all share with the land we live on.  Aboriginal peoples are the fastest growing segment of our community and it is fitting that one of the signature events in this anniversary year was the first ever Northern Aboriginal Festival.  I congratulate the organizers and our partners at Laurentian University and Cambrian College.

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City of Greater Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez – An Introduction

Honourable John Rodriguez - Mayor of the City of Greater SudburyThe trillion-dollar Sudbury Basin is the richest mining district in North America and among the top ten most strategically important in the world. Sudbury is located in the Canadian province of Ontario, whose annual 10.5 billion dollar mineral sector is the largest in the country. About half of Ontario’s mining activity takes place in the Sudbury Basin.

In 2008, Sudbury is celebrating its 125th anniversary. For over a hundred years, the courageous and innovative men and women of this community have successfully produced the nickel, copper, PGMs and other metals that the modern industrialized world needed. Most industry experts will feel there is at least another 100 years of production in this amazing mining camp.

Mayor John Rodriguez considers himself to be a man of the people. 

John was born in Guyana, South America, where he received his elementary and high school education.  John emigrated to Canada in 1956 and attended Teachers’ College in Toronto and began his teaching career in St. Catharines, Ontario.  He and his wife, Bertilla, moved to Coniston in 1962 where John was appointed Principal of St. Paul School.   John graduated from Laurentian University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Spanish Literature.  During this time, he was also active with the Provincial Catholic Teachers’ Union having served as its President in 1968, and was a member of the Board of Governors of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation.

John was elected to the House of Commons as NDP MP for Nickel Belt in October of  1972 and was re-elected in 1974, 1979, 1984 and 1988.  John was an active MP both in and out of the House of Commons where he served on many committees over his 18 year career.

John entered the realm of municipal politics when he was elected to the Coniston Town Council in 1971 before it became part of Nickel Centre.  John’s second foray into local politics came in November 2006 when he was elected Mayor of Greater Sudbury.  He came into office with the belief that our municipal staff are our city’s greatest asset.  Now, after spending time with hundreds of employees at their workplaces, his belief has become a conviction.   To acknowledge the importance of our staff’s contribution, Council has designated 2007 as the ‘Year of the Employee”.

As part of Mayor Rodriguez’s Inaugural Address, he committed to and has established four advisory panels in his first 100 days of office.  These panels include:  Municipal Mining Revenues, Performing Arts Centre, Health Cluster and Multi-Sport Recreational Complex.
John and his wife, Bertilla, have five sons and five grand children.  In his leisure time he enjoys reading, gardening and horses and is a patron of the local arts.

John feels privileged to represent the citizens of Greater Sudbury as their Mayor.  He is proud of this community and looks forward to an unprecedented period of growth and vitality.

The Sorry Saga of the H.H. Vivian Company-Gary Peck

The arrival of the H.H. Vivian Company was preceded by its reputation. Enthusiasm must have been present in Sudbury for an operation hailing from Wales recognized the nickel worth of this area. The future looked good for the small town in New Ontario. Yet, the local expectations never were met. Disappointment would accompany failure, particularly when so much had been expected. However, its origins, development, and ultimate failure constitute an interesting tale.

The Murray Mine, familiar to so many over the years, would be the main mine for the H.H. Vivian Company’s Sudbury operations. Though accidentally discovered by Dr. Harvey, and on another occasion by Thomas Flanagan, only on February 25, 1884, would there be an offer to purchase the site. At the price of one dollar an acre, 310 acres would come under the control of four non-residents – Thomas and William Murray of Pembroke, Henry Abbott of Brockville, and John Loughrin of Mattawa. In 1899, Murray Mine, located on the north half of lot one, concession four of McKim, was purchased by the Welsh company.

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Here’s What’s Wrong With Municipal Mining Revenue in Ontario – Michael Atkins

A month or so ago, a special task force for the Greater City of Sudbury called the Advisory Panel on Municipal Mining Revenues presented their recommendations to the city.

The committee was struck to review the astonishing inequities between the amount of mining tax money skimmed off the top by the provincial and federal governments, as opposed to the falling revenue for the city. This is not a new idea. The panel puts it in perspective.

In 1964, the mayor of Sudbury, at the time, struck a committee to investigate Sudbury’s financial problems and came up with a report entitled “1964; Year of the Dilemma.” The major theme was the lack of assessment available to the city from the mining industry.

In 1967,  the Ontario Committee on Taxation went at it with a draft proposal that Sudbury would receive even less money. Continue Reading →

Ottawa, Ontario Must Support Sudbury Basin’s Trillion Dollar Resource – Greater Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez

Greater Sudbury Mayor - John RodriguezLast month, we celebrated Mining Week in Greater Sudbury, an annual event designed to promote the importance of the mining and processing industry to the community at large.  This event is useful and appropriate but we need to remind ourselves every week about the role that mining and processing plays in our local economy and the role that our city plays in this vital global industry.

The people of this community can take great pride in the successes of the economic diversification strategies that were launched a quarter century ago.  The dreams of the 1970s and 1980s are now reality and we are a significant government services centre, an award-winning tourism destination, a centre for education and health, and the leading service and retail centre in Northern Ontario.

At the same time, however, our mining, processing and mining supply and services sectors are driving the city’s economy to new heights and creating significant wealth for our province and for Canada as a whole.  As a city, it is critical that we understand and support this vital industry and that we develop strategies to ensure that we remain competitive on a global basis, well into the future.

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Silvermans Linked to Sudbury’s Rich Jewish History – Gary Peck

The Atlantic has served as a favorite, well-travelled route for the pioneer who cast his eyes westward. For numerous reasons, some more obvious than others, Canada and the United States have attracted their share with Canada alone settling over three million newcomers in the years 1896-1914. In 1906, Lord Strathacona, formerly Donald Smith of the CPR, predicted a population of at least 80 million by the end of the twentieth century – the century Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier boasted belonged to Canada. It was a time of optimism.

Prior to the wave of newcomers associated with the Laurier years, 1896-1911, the Silverman’s of Poland traversed the Atlantic, landing in New York. Three brothers – Aaron, Myer and Miram – soon would reach Algoma district and make Sudbury their home.
Aaron Silverman had been in his early teens when he arrived in New York. Employment in a clothing factory terminated when the factory closed. Soon he would be in Algoma district. Continue Reading →

Dynamite’s Successor Tested at the Copper Cliff Elsie Mine – Gary Peck

It combines all the elements of dynamite as an explosive as well as many other laudable features. It is safe to handle and needs the action of heat, flame and concussion to ignite it. One can even pound it with a hammer or rub it with sandpaper without fear. As well, it will not freeze under 25 degrees below zero nor is it affected by water or weather.

 Finally, no noxious gases will be emitted underground to slow down work and perhaps overcome the miner.  Such were the claims of a company in 1901 developing a new explosive to replace dynamite. Of interest is the little-known fact that the first Canadian plant was built in Sudbury.

The new explosive was of Russian origin, having been invented by Count Sergius Smollinoff.

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When the Worth of Sudbury Rocks was Being Known – Gary Peck

In the spring of 1894 the Provincial Mining Association of Ontario met in Sudbury. The meeting was afterwards described as, to that time, the largest and most successful ever held. Suffice to say, the meeting provided an opportunity for all to focus attention of the mining potential of the area. Today we’ll examine the Nickel Range in some detail.

 At that time the full extent of the Nickel Range was not known. Yet, the nickel-bearing belt was felt to be about 70 miles in length, extending from Lake Wahnapitae in a southwesterly direction along the Vermillion and Spanish Rivers. The width was described as irregular with it being wider at both ends and narrower in the middle where the main line of the CPR crossed it. Deposits were scattered throughout the range.

In Denison township, southwest of Sudbury, there was a regular series of approximately a dozen large ore beds on one ridge. This extended eastward into Graham township as a vein system. Prospectors referred to the rich nickel deposit as a “red hill” based on the color of the surface capping of gossan. It was the ambition of the prospector to make such a find.

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The Discovery of Sudbury Nickel was Accidental – Gary Peck

The discovery of ore in the Sudbury area is one worthy of recording for in many ways its discovery was both accidental and initially at least, unappreciated.

 In 1856, A.P. Salter, provincial land surveyor was involved in survey work in the area. While running the meridian line north of Whitefish Lake, he noted a deflection on his compass needle. This occurred in the area between present – day Creighton and Snider townships. He reported to Alexander Murray, a geologist with the Geological Commission. Murray visited the area, took samples, and wrote a report; however, in 1856 little interest was generated given the inaccessibility of the area. Significantly, the samples were taken about 200 yards west of Creighton mine. Creighton mine was rediscovered in 1886 and in 1901 the Canadian Copper Company began operation there.

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Many Challenges for Early Sudbury Prospectors – Gary Peck

Previously it was noted that the lot of a Sudbury prospector was one beset with many difficulties. A. Hoffman Smith, a resident of Sudbury since 1883, had stated in 1894 that Algoma was the most difficult area in North America to prospect.

Having already examined some of the actual problems associated with locating a site, today we will discuss the difficulties associated with securing a site and conclude with a discussion of what, to two early pioneers, was the ideal prospector.

Once a site had been located, a prospector had to secure the prospect. Unfortunately the central office was over 300 miles distant in Toronto. On occasion, his affidavits and applications, once they had arrived, might remain unrecognized for weeks. Continue Reading →

Early Problems for Sudbury Prospectors – Gary Peck

During the 1890s many Sudbury prospectors were upset with recent provincial legislation that proposed to levy a royalty on nickel production. In 1894, A. Hoffman Smith, a resident of Sudbury since 1888, forcefully expressed his criticism of the legislation. At the same time he discussed in some detail the life of a prospector. It is his views regarding prospecting that will be examined today.

 It was the contention of Smith that Algoma was the most difficult area in North America to prospect. Isolation was a problem, there being no trails or roads and pack horses couldn’t be used to the extent they were in British Columbia. Continue Reading →