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Explore Ontario’s Rich Geological History at the Big Nickel

Explore Ontario's Rich Geological History at the Big Nickel


Did you know that the world’s largest coin lives in Sudbury?

The Big Nickel memorializes the 1951 Canadian nickel and symbolizes Sudbury’s vast economic contributions. Ontario has more than 40 mine sites, yet Sudbury remains a top exporter of nickel and other minerals. With its help, the province produces over $10-billion a year in minerals. No wonder 10% of Sudbury residents work in mining.

The Dynamic Earth museum attracts thousands of tourists to the Big Nickel each year. Everyone marvels at the monument before exploring the adjacent learning centre and mining tunnels. Should you plan a visit, here are a few of interesting facts you will hear:

  • The coin’s head is of King George VI;
  • The coin’s tail is a one-stack mineral refinery;
  • The coin is approximately 64,607,747 times the size of a real nickel;
  • The Big Nickel celebrates its 52nd birthday this year.
The Big Nickel Facts
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History of the Big Nickel

Ted Szliva proposed the Big Nickel in 1964 to celebrate the Canadian Centennial. Held in 1967, the Canadian Centennial marked the anniversary of our Confederation.

Szlvia believed the monument to appropriately represent Sudbury’s flourishment and contributions. Although the townspeople resisted the idea, it went up in 1964. The commissioner of the Canadian Centennial participated in the opening ceremony alongside 1,500 others.

Today, the Big Nickel is an iconic Ontario symbol that rests on the grounds of the Dynamic Earth museum. It was dismantled in 2001 for refurbishing, then repurposed as the signpost for the new museum. To date, this institution commits itself to natural science learning for all ages. It promises hours of entertainment and majesty. Don’t miss it on your next trip to Sudbury!

Photos thanks to the Science North.