Sudbury gets props for making something out of nothing. In the 1880s, it was but a desolate lumber camp called Ste-Anne-des-Pins. Then, when the Canadian Pacific Railway plowed through in 1883, the discovery of a mother lode of nickel-copper ore transformed the dreary region into the biggest nickel producer worldwide. By 1920, industrial toxicity and acid rain had killed the trees and fouled the soil, leaving Sudbury a bleak place of blackened boulders. So barren was the surrounding terrain that NASA came here to train in the 1960s.
Today, the story is more environmentally friendly: as part of the city's 'regreening' program, locals have planted over 12 million trees since 1980, although heavy industry and mining still rule. Sudbury has a university, two fantastic science museums, some cool haunts and chilled locals, but there's little reason to visit unless you're passing through.