The history of Greater Sudbury is well rooted in the downtown area. It was here that Sir John A. MacDonald’s vision of a transcontinental railroad established the settlement of Sudbury Junction in 1883. The settlement was named after the birthplace of the wife of Canadian Pacific Railway construction engineer James Worthington. Many buildings and points of interest still exist and offer observation posts to reflect on the history of Greater Sudbury.
Father Jean-Baptiste Nolin had preceded the crew into the area and in the autumn of 1883 and erected a hewn-log chapel presbytery at the north end of Durham Street. It was bricked over in 1893 and is Sudbury’s oldest building.
In 1886, the first streets were surveyed and the land around the station was divided into lots. The streets running north to south were named after Governor Generals and those running east to west were named after trees.
Market Square was originally built as a C.P.R. freight shed in 1905.
In 1907 the mansion of lumber baron W.J. Bell was constructed. It presently houses the Art Gallery of Sudbury. French Count Frederic Romanet du Caillaud commissioned the Lourdes Grotto as thanks to Our Lady of the Lourdes for the recovery of his wife from an illness. The Grotto and Stations of the Cross overlook the downtown and Ramsey Lake. The original log C.P.R. station was also replaced with the existing VIA Rail station on Elgin.
Buildings such as the Sterling Standard Bank at the corner Elgin and Elm streets, the flat iron shaped Moses Block at Durham and Elgin and Old City Hall on Cedar reflect the architecture of the early 20th century.
For more information on the history of Greater Downtown area, visit rainbowroutes.com for History Hikes of Downtown, Flour Mill and McNaughton Subdivision.