This was my first visit to Sudbury, a city I had heard much about since other members of my family have interests in metals from an engineering perspective. The Sudbury District Law Association had asked me to participate in a continuing education seminar – my contribution was on technology that can be used in civil litigation – and I drove up the day before.
The drive was beautiful. The Canadian Shield is a rugged area and there is incredible beauty in the forests and lakes along the way. It was especially nice to get far enough away from Toronto and cottage country, and start to see lakes that were not ruined by the tacky dachas of the urbanites. We had been north earlier this year, camping in a provincial park to the east of Sudbury, and the area had the same remote feel. Within an hour of Sudbury, the road widened back out to 4 lanes and before too long the trappings of a city came into view.
As I drove north of Parry Sound, there was some construction and they were blasting the rock in order to make the cut for the road to go through. There was a rather disconcerting sign:
Blasting in Progress
Please Turn off Radio Transmitters
I frantically went through my small amount of gear to think if I had a radio transmitter. I pictured driving along with all of the dynamite exploding behind me, like some sort of action film. Of course, on the way back, I looked for the sign. The warning sign was missing, but there was a sign at the end when you could turn your cellphones and transmitters back on! Oops.
This curious overpass suddenly appeared, which was built to enable the moose and deer to cross the highway without hitting vehicles. Built earlier this year, there is extensive fencing on either side that funnels animals towards the crossing. It’s an interesting idea and I wonder if it will reduce the moose-on-Prius accidents that must happen in the evenings in spring and autumn.
I visited the Big Nickel, a 30 foot high coin representing the pride in the mining industry that was raised nearly 50 years ago. Think Big Tex, but the mineral equivalent. It is on top of a hill overlooking much of the city, so you can get a good view both of the mining that is going on to the west as well as the large number of lakes. High rise apartments speak to the student housing that is needed for the universities that are based here. Driving around the city and through some of the neighborhoods reminded me very much of our recent trip to Billings, a city of a similar size and role.
It is closer to where we live than Windsor but feels much further. I was surprised at the animus towards the big city dwellers down south. I had heard about it – and had heard the elitist remarks in Toronto that give credence to the stereotype – before coming. It is always interesting to hear people sharing their perspective of how you are different because you come from somewhere. Having only moved to Canada a half dozen years ago and having never lived in Toronto, it was funny (haha) since it was misdirected.
We will have to head back to this part of the country, as there are loads of parks to visit and rivers and lakes to canoe. The people were just as friendly as their stereotype and I enjoyed my visit. It is daunting, though, to realize how many beautiful areas there are yet to visit in Ontario.