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From Meteorite Impact to Constellation City

A Historical Geography of Greater Sudbury

By Oiva W. Saarinen
Subjects History, Canadian History, Geography
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Paperback : 9781554588374, 404 pages, April 2013
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554588756, 404 pages, June 2013
Ebook (PDF) : 9781554588749, 404 pages, June 2013

Table of contents

Table of Contents for From Meteorite Impact to Constellation City: A Historical Geography of Greater Sudbury by Oiva W. Saarinen
List of Illustrations
List of Biographiess
Preface and Acknowledgments
1. The Unfolding of the Natural Landscape
2. The Aboriginal/Colonial Frontier
3. Drawing Lines on the Map
4. Forging of a Local Monopoly: From Prospectors and Speculators to the International Nickel Company (1883–1902)
5. Sudbury (1883–1939)
6. Copper Cliff (1886–1939)
7. From Local to Global Monopoly: The Merging of Inco and Mond (1902–1928)
8. Beyond Sudbury and Copper Cliff: Railway Stations, Mining Camps, Smelter Sites, and Company Towns
9. Beyond Sudbury and Copper Cliff: Forestry, Agriculture, Indian Reserves, and the Burwash Industrial Farm
10. From Falconbridge Nickel and Inco to Xstrata Nickel and Vale Canada (1928–2012)
11. From Company Town Setting to Regional Constellation (1939–1973)
12. From Regional Constellation to Greater Sudbury (1973–2001+)
13. A Union Town?
14. Healing the Landscape
15. Beyond a Rock and a Hard Place


From Meteorite Impact to Constellation City is a historical geography of the City of Greater Sudbury. The story that began billions of years ago encompasses dramatic physical and human events. Among them are volcanic eruptions, two meteorite impacts, the ebb and flow of continental glaciers, Aboriginal occupancy, exploration and mapping by Europeans, exploitation by fur traders and Canadian lumbermen and American entrepreneurs, the rise of global mining giants, unionism, pollution and re-greening, and the creation of a unique constellation city of 160,000.
The title posits the book’s two main themes, one physical in nature and the other human: the great meteorite impact of some 1.85 billion years ago and the development of Sudbury from its inception in 1883. Unlike other large centres in Canada that exhibit a metropolitan form of development with a core and surrounding suburbs, Sudbury developed in a pattern resembling a cluster of stars of differing sizes.
Many of Sudbury’s most characteristic attributes are undergoing transformation. Its rocky terrain and the negative impact from mining companies are giving way to attractive neighbourhoods and the planting of millions of trees. Greater Sudbury’s blue-collar image as a union powerhouse in a one-industry town is also changing; recent advances in the fields of health, education, retailing, and the local and international mining supply and services sector have greatly diversified its employment base. This book shows how Sudbury evolved from a village to become the regional centre for northeastern Ontario and a global model for economic diversification and environmental rehabilitation.


Saarinen's From Meteorite Impact to Constellation City: A Historical Geography of Greater Sudbury is the most comprehensive account of Sudbury's past published to date and helps to explain its survival despite the many odds aligned against it.... Many important findings, interesting biographies and valuable opinions are offered.... What Saarinen adds is the history and geography of individual neighbourhoods.... Saarinen deserves to be credited with providing the first broad synthesis of Sudbury's development as a city.

- Dieter K. Buse, The Sudbury Star, September 30, 2013, 2013 December