Northern Ontario’s largest city, Greater Sudbury is a multicultural city, having vibrant Italian, French, Ukrainian, Finnish, Polish and Aboriginal communities. Its core is completely urbanised, with smaller communities scattered around the numerous lakes that surround the city centre.
The former mining town is a major retail and commercial centre, as well as acting as a gateway to Northeastern Ontario. It is a city known for its arts, music and outdoor recreation activities, making it a gem for tourists.
Visitors will feel right at home in Greater Sudbury thanks to its friendly residents and flourishing culture. There is much to see and do, both indoors and out, but these are by far the 15 best things to do in Greater Sudbury:
1. Stare at a giant nickel
The nine-metre high Big Nickel is the city’s most famous landmark. It is a replica of a 1952 Canadian nickel that sits on the grounds of the Dynamic Earth science museum.
Staring at the nickel will not take long and should be followed up with a visit to Dynamic Earth. This interactive science museum focuses on the city’s mining history.
There are numerous exhibits at the museum where the kids can learn how to mine, climb a mineral wall, look at diamonds and identify different minerals. They can also go on an underground tour of the mines.
2. Embrace Science
Dynamic Earth is operated by Science North, which is the city’s top attraction. This sciences museum is famous for its two snowflake-shaped buildings that are linked by a rock tunnel.
Visit the museum and completely embrace science for a day. This family-friendly place has some amazing exhibits, including Space Place, TechLab and the F. Jean MacLeod Butterfly Gallery.
There is also a 3D IMAX theatre, a variety of wildlife, outdoor gardens and an eight-metre dome planetarium. They also offer numerous programs for visitors of all ages.
3. Spend time is a park
There are a few in Greater Sudbury, although Bell Park is the most visited of them all. This large park sits along the edge of Ramsey Lake near Downtown Sudbury.
Bell Park is home to an amphitheatre, a children’s playground, numerous flowerbeds and two gazebos. It also boasts a beach complete with summer lifeguard supervision.
The park also features a number of sculptures to showcase the city’s mining history. It also hosts many of the city’s top cultural events.
4. Visit a few museums
There are four small heritage museums in the city that are a must for anyone interested in learning more about the history of the area. Three of them are located within a heritage building, with the fourth being in a library.
The Anderson Farm Museum is a 57,000 square metre historic dairy farm that was once owned by Finnish immigrants Frank Anderson and Gretta Anderson. Housed in a log cabin, the Copper Cliff Museum depicts the lifestyle of a miner’s family.
The Flour Mill Museum has been devoted to the history of the city’s Franco-Ontarian community since 1974. Visit the Rayside-Balfour Museum to learn about the agricultural history of the region.
5. Snap photos of the country’s tallest chimney
The Inco Superstack is not only the tallest chimney in the country, but is also the second tallest freestanding chimney on the planet! Snap photos of this incredible city icon.
The Superstack is located on top of the world’s largest nickel smelting operation in order to disperse sulphur gases. It is no longer in use, but instead has become a major attraction.
The chimney stands tall at 380 metres, which is also the same height as the Empire State Building’s rooftop.
6. Look at art
Greater Sudbury has a pretty vibrant artist community, so it should be of no surprise that there are a couple of good art galleries to visit. Both galleries focus on local or regional art.
La Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario mainly focuses on contemporary art by Franco-Ontarian artists. It is run completely by artists themselves, with both permanent and special exhibitions.
The Art Gallery of Sudbury sits in a beautiful turn of the century arts and crafts movement mansion. Inside the gallery you will see artwork by local artists.
7. Surround yourself in nature
The 970 hectare Lake Laurentian Conservation Area sits at the south end of the city, stretching from Lake Ramsey to the Southeast Bypass. It is a fantastic conservation area that is filled with lakes, trails and wildlife.
The conservation area is a nature lovers dream, as it has a variety of topography. Completely surround yourself in nature by hiking or cross-country skiing along one of its trails.
There is something for everyone at the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area, from bird-watching areas to open green spaces. Plus, there are trails for all fitness levels.
8. Enjoy scenic views
These are all over the place, however the most impressive one is the A.Y. Jackson Lookout. This spectacular lookout provides scenic views of the 55-metre cascading Hall Falls.
The lookout is accessible by hiking along one of three trails. It is also accessible by driving, where there is a welcome centre at the entrance.
The A.Y. Jackson Lookout is around 43 kilometres northwest of the city centre. Bring a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon enjoying the views and the surrounding nature.
9. Go snowmobiling
Sudbury has one of the largest systems of groomed snowmobiling trails in the world. In fact, there are over 1,200 kilometres of trails that connect the city with surrounding communities.
Go snowmobiling and you will not only enjoy the thrill of it, but also the magnificent scenery. These are maintained trails, complete with parking, washrooms and designated rest areas.
If you really want to have fun, spend a few days snowmobiling around, staying in lodges along the way. There are also restaurants where you can relax and enjoy a hot chocolate and a meal.
10. Hike, cycle or cross-country ski
All of this and more can be done on the Trans Canada Trail, which is the longest trail in the world! The trail runs through the entire country, with part of it passing right through Greater Sudbury.
Hike, cycle or cross-country ski along the trail, which runs along the shores of Junction Creek and Ramsey Lake. Parts of the trail are on a roadway, so caution should be taken, though motorists are used to seeing people travelling along it.
There are a few trails in the city to choose from, all of which are connected. The 28.91 km Greater Sudbury Trail East at the east end of the city, the 1.42 kilometre Bethel Lake Trail, the 3.09 kilometre Ramsey Lake Trail, the two kilometre Bell Park Walkway, the 5.66 kilometre Junction Creek Waterway park and the 12.36 kilometre Greater Sudbury Are West.
11. Relax on a lake
Head northeast of the city and spend a weekend on Kukagami Lake. There are two lodges on the shores of the lake where you can kick back, relax and enjoy the serenity.
Get a log cabin for a night and enjoy canoeing, sailing, kayaking, fishing, water-skiing and more. You can even visit the lake in the winter for ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Both of these lodges offer home cooked meals that are served in a main hall. This is a great way to meet other guests and the families that run the resorts.
12. Head to the races
During race season, head to the Sudbury Downs on a Wednesday or Saturday night. The harness racing track has been hosting races since 1974.
Off season you can still visit the racetrack and try your luck at the slots. Sudbury Downs is home OLG Slots, where there are over 400 machines to choose from.
There are also special events held here throughout the year, like outdoor motorsports shows and car shows. Finish the day off with a meal in its onsite restaurant.
13. Eat & drink
There are of course a plethora of restaurant and bar options in Greater Sudbury where you can enjoy a meal or a snack, and a cold pint or classy cocktail. No matter what you crave, you will most likely find it here.
Enjoy cheap eats or feel like royalty at a fine dining establishment. Please your taste buds with Indian, Italian, Chinese or Greek cuisine.
Afterwards, head to one of the city’s bars, lounges, clubs or pubs. Sip on craft beer, a martini or a glass of wine, or have a pint or an imported beer.
14. Go skiing
If you are visiting in the winter, Greater Sudbury is a great place to go skiing. In fact, there are four downhill ski facilities right in the area.
All four ski centres offer ski rentals, so you don’t have to worry about lugging your skis with you all the way there. Ski runs are well-maintained and well-lit for night skiing.
If you would prefer to cross-country ski, there are a plethora of trails in and around the city. There is also the 10 kilometre Naughton Ski Trails that run through a lovely forest.
15. Gaze at a collection of trains
This is possible at the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre. The museum preserves and displays things to demonstrate the city’s history in railroading.
There are both indoor and outdoor displays, with the indoor area being housed in a lovely Victorian era house. On display are items to showcase not only the city’s railroad heritage, but also its history in the mining and lumber industry.
The outdoor area is what most are interested in, as it is where the unique collection of rolling stock and locomotives can be found. On display is a 1919 Westinghouse Electric locomotive, a 1944 U-1-f Class MLW 4-8-4 steam locomotive, an 1899 caboose and a slag pot car, amongst others.