Sudbury, Canada – Giant Nickels, Hard Rock Miners, Hard Luck Cases, and UFO Abductees

I’ve been here with my new friends in Sudbury and as luck would have it am going to be able to catch a ride to Winnipeg tomorrow. It’s a 20 hour haul so definitely worth waiting for. Nice to be able to wash my clothes, hang out with new friends, and relax a little bit. The next stretch of hitching from Winnipeg to BC might be very challenging.

Sudbury is an interesting place. 1.8 billion years ago a huge meteorite smashed into this area. It was composed of mostly nickel. Then about 150 years ago the Canadians started mining here because of the nickel. The nickel mining process is incredibly environmentally destructive and until about five years ago Sudbury apparently looked like the surface of the moon because of the huge slag piles from the mines.

This is a railroad town and sits on the trans Canadian highway, so it has a familiar feel to it. Feels a lot like Bellingham, Washington to me. The people are an interesting mix of weeded out bums, artists, musicians, and environmental activists.

Yesterday we recycled all the beer bottles in Dawn and Lia’s apartment and then I made a vegetarian pineapple adobo for dinner. The couches here are filled with a constantly shifting cast of interesting characters.

There is a fair amount of anti-American sentiment as a result of Canadian troops getting killed in the wars, the influence of U.S. products, entertainment, and institutions and the overall lack of awareness of the rest of the world that exists in the states. I had to remind one guy to stop referring to issues in the United States as if I am responsible for them i.e. “All of your guns are getting smuggled into Canada by gangs” and “You use more energy than the rest of the world combined”. I asked him to please be more precise as in U.S. guns and the U.S. uses more energy…etc. It’s a little bit of a hard point to get across that despite the accident of being born in the U.S., I am not responsible for what my country has or is doing. Certainly I don’t own any guns and I use a negligible amount of energy.

Anyway, it’s a nice time here and even that exchange was enjoyable for me. Dawn is heading to Winnipeg tomorrow and I’m glad I don’t have to hitch since it’s started raining and is forecast to keep raining for a few days. I’m very glad these girls picked me up, that is for sure.

Thomas Edison visited the Sudbury area as a prospector in 1901, and is credited with the original discovery of the ore body at Falconbridge.

During the Apollo manned lunar exploration program, NASA astronauts trained in Sudbury to become familiar with shatter cones: a rare rock formation connected with meteorite impacts. However, the popular misconception that they were visiting Sudbury because it purportedly resembled the lifeless surface of the moon dogged the city for years.

Lia tells me that there are a huge number of people in Sudbury who claim to have been abducted by UFOs. Dawn whispers that it’s more likely they are affected by the heavy metal residue from the hard rock mining. Either way, Sudbury is out of this world and certainly rocks.


(Originally Posted 26 May 2009)


Vago Damitio

Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

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