Books · History · Mining · Wintersong

1978-79 Steelworkers strike subject of Mick Lowe’s new novel –

Heidi Ulrichsen /

Given it’s a part of the city’s recent history, most Sudburians remember Steelworkers Local 6500’s nearly year-long 2009-2010 strike against Vale.

More distant in the community’s collective memory is the arguably even more bitter labour dispute that happened a generation earlier.

Steelworkers Local 6500 went on strike against Vale’s predecessor, Inco, for 10 and a half months from Sept. 15, 1978 until June 7, 1979.

The labour dispute, which involved 11,600 workers, and starved Inco of more than 22 million hours of labour, smashed records at the time for the longest strike in Canadian history.

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From the Archives · History · Holidays · Mining

Christmas on the Rock

Christmas on the Rock. One of my “One the Rock” columns which appeared weekly in the Northern Life, Sudbury’s community newspaper. This one, dated December 20, 1998:

The first Christmas of the new century dawned clear, cold and bright over the Nickel Range, and no one was more excited by the day’s prospect than Joseph Poulin, a fact that did his mother’s heart much good.

Since September she had watched Joey, a mere slip of a boy and only 13, trudge off to work each day in the rock house of the Canadian Copper Company’s new Creighton Mine. With the onset of winter and the shortness of days, this meant that Joey left home before sunrise, and returned long after dark each night.

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From the Archives · History · Interviews · Mining

In Search of the Lost Chicago Mine

Last week the following missive appeared on my Facebook wall:

Hello Mick!

I’m not sure if you remember my Grandfather, Robert Bryenton? You once did a story/column/article about him. He is a World War II veteran. Lived alone in his home on St. Pothier Road in Whitefish.

The reason for this message is to inform you of his passing. You may not even remember him, but you were very important to him.

Over the years, your name and the article have been a topic of discussion, frequently.

Thank you for telling his story.

God Bless,

To be honest, I hadn’t thought of Bob in years, but I remembered him vividly. His granddaughter Melissa was kind enough to send along a PDF of the original column, which I’m sure I hadn’t read since it was published in the summer of 1995. I believe I can see why the old man apparently treasured it so.

Here is that column, complete and unabridged:

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