Sudbury is a very underrated destination in Ontario. Nestled around the small, rocky mountains that form the Canadian Shield, the city features many attractions showcasing its unique geographic composition. In Sudbury, visitors can discover its rich history of nickel mining, participate in fascinating scientific activities that makes learning enjoyable, and there’s no shortage of beautiful nature to explore outdoors. Here are some ideas to make your Sudbury vacation a memorable one.
The Big Nickel
There are many large roadside attractions across Canada. There’s a giant moose in Saskatchewan, a huge potato in P.E.I., and a gigantic lobster statue in New Brunswick. Sudbury adds its own iconic landmark to the list with The Big Nickel, a nine-metre replica of a 1951 Canadian five cent coin. It pays tribute to Sudbury’s heritage as a valuable mining centre. This attraction is completely free for everyone to view. It’s also the only place you can have your photo taken with the largest coin in the world. Get your camera ready!
Once you’re finished admiring The Big Nickel, you can walk over to the Dynamic Earth building—they’re located on the same property! Dynamic Earth is an interactive museum that examines the history of mining in Sudbury. The underground mining tour at Dynamic Earth should not be missed. It begins with a glass elevator ride that descends beneath massive boulders. You will travel back in time to the beginnings of mining to learn about the various techniques and how they’ve changed. At the end of the tour there is a chance to step inside a life-sized replica of the capsule used to rescue the trapped Chilean miners in 2010. In addition to the tour, there is an hourly show that reflects on Sudbury’s exceptional history, a rock gallery, mining simulators, a mineral wall, and gold panning.
Science North, an interactive science museum, provides an entire day of fun for the whole family. This science centre carefully investigates the wonders of our world and makes learning accessible to people of all ages. There’s truly something for everyone here. The F. Jean MacLeod Butterfly Gallery is a glass-enclosed tropical environment with over 400 butterflies to see up close, with some even landing on visitors as they walk around. There are exhibits on the third floor that showcase the ecosystems of northern Ontario, such as northern forests, rivers and lakes, and wetlands. At BodyZone, there are displays about our DNA and how the human body functions. Space Place delves into the captivating realms of outer space, which includes interactive exhibits and two theatre shows. There’s a planetarium, an IMAX theatre with a rotating schedule of feature films, and a 4D bush plane adventure show called “Wings over the North”. Visitors are welcome to explore the outdoor grounds surrounding the Science North buildings that contain a marsh and an outdoor collection of tree species that are native to northern Ontario. It’s no wonder that this is the most popular attraction in Sudbury.
Exploring the Great Outdoors
There are many opportunities in Sudbury to spend time outside to marvel at the stunning scenery. Onaping Falls is an impressive waterfall that gently cascades over 150 feet. The waterfall is located at the edge of the Sudbury Basin, a two billion year old impact crater. There are dramatic rock formations to discover along with several outlook points to view the waterfall. The Lake Laurentian Conservation Area also offers many hiking trails during all seasons. Not only is it a great spot for leaf peeping in the fall, but you can go snowshoeing here during the winter months. For a pedestrian walking path, check out the Bell Park Walkway on Ramsey Lake. It’s a popular scenic walking route that connects downtown Sudbury with public beaches, the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre, and even Science North. In the summer, many activities can be enjoyed on the lake, such as kayaking, swimming, and sailing. In the winter, a portion of the lake is transformed into an ice skating path.
There are many adventures to have in Sudbury throughout all of the seasons. Whether it’s learning about the intriguing mining history, expanding your scientific knowledge, getting some exercise outdoors, or taking a selfie with one of Canada’s greatest roadside attractions, Sudbury should be your next Ontario travel destination.