Blowing your stack!

Today we are guests of John and Annie’s friends Roger and Jane Pitblado in Sudbury. In a short space of time Roger and Jane have provided us with a comprehensive view of the city and background history.

The other thing that needed attention was one of John’s teeth which had been troubling him for the past week, and fortunately through a friend of a friend connection he was able to see the local dentist on our rest day. After the work was done John was all set to pay the account but the dentist said this one was for free because the dentist was so impressed with John’s effort to ride across Canada (at his age). Needless to say John was pretty happy with this outcome.

Sudbury is an industrial city with a really interesting history. With a population of 160,000 it is the largest city in Northern Ontario. At one stage it was known as the “Nickle Capital of the World”, which also meant it had the dubious honour of producing a lot of sulphur pollution which had quite detrimental effects on the environment. Compounded by open coke beds in the early to mid 20th century and logging for fuel, an inevitable near-total loss of native vegetation occurred. The region consisted largely of exposed rocky outcrops, which have been permanently stained charcoal black, first by the pollution wafting over the decades from the roasting yards then by the acid rain in a layer which has penetrated into the once pink-gray granite.

The construction of the Inco Superstack (pictured) in 1972 dispersed sulphuric acid over a much wider area, reducing the acidity of local precipitation and enabling the city to begin an environmental recovery program. In the late 1970s, private, public, and commercial interests combined to establish an unprecedented “regreening” effort. Lime was spread over the charred soil of the Sudbury region and also seeds of wild grasses and other vegetation. Million of trees have been planted in the city and they have begun to rehabilitate the slag heaps that surround the smelter area. From what we could see, they are doing a really good job of this and the city has been recognised internationally for the work they have done.

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Other characteristics of Sudbury is it is a city of lakes with 330 over 10 hectares in size within city limits and it is also built around many small, rocky hills with exposed igneous rock of the Canadian Shield. The ore deposits in Sudbury are part of a large geological structure known as the Sudbury Basin that are the remnants of a 1.85 billion-year-old meteorite impact crater.

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One thought on “Blowing your stack!

  1. Hi John,
    Did you know NASA used to send Astronauts to Sudbury for luna walking practice? The reasoning was that it was the only place on the planet that resembled the moon surface! Nothing grew there! thought you might like to know this bit of trivia!

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