From the right angles, radioactive Sudbury is a pulsing oasis of cultured hipsters, offering a surprising selection of trendy dining and entertainment options. Toasty sunsets are enriched by the puff of nearby industrial chemicals, morphing the evening blazes into ethereal flares. Then, like a flickering switchboard, the industrial lights mimic the stars above.
From the wrong angles, it's easy to understand why NASA uses Sudbury's surrounding terrain to test its moon-landing machinery. If it weren't for the elephant graveyards of industrial plants, Neil Armstrong could have fooled the world by taking his 'giant leap for mankind' here instead.
You have to give props to Sudbury, though, for making something out of nothing – literally nothing: in the 1880s Sudbury was but a desolate lumber camp called Sainte-Anne-des-Pins. When the Canadian Pacific Railway plowed through in 1883, a mother lode of nickel-copper ore was discovered, transforming the dreary region into the biggest nickel producer on the globe.
Today, Sudbury's prosperity is less dependent on the copious nickel industry. Three postsecondary institutions attract students from all over, and a growing concern for the environment has encouraged people to 'go green' by reducing waste and planting trees.
To put it simply, it's hard to ignore the omnipresence of industry, despite the bevy of attractions. Although, after a couple of sunsets-on-steroids, you may begin to find that the crusty cigar-shaped smokestack, which dominates the skyline, could perhaps take its place alongside Cleopatra's Needle as another phallic homage to human progress.