The Mond Nickel Company

The Village of Coniston experienced a rapid and large growth spurt when in 1913, the Mond Nickel Company moved its smelting operations from Victoria Mine (a small mining community located west of Sudbury) to Coniston. Prior to 1913, the Mond Nickel Company had been operating in Victoria Mine for thirteen years. When the company could no longer expand its mining operations in the area, it chose to relocate to Coniston for two important reasons: firstly, because the land in Coniston was adequate for the company's purposes, and most importantly, because the community had railway junctions for two different railway companies within its townsite. This factor would enable the Mond Nickel Company to ship its mined ore from the Sudbury Basin to Coniston for smelting and from there, send the processed minerals to Clydach, Wales for refining, all with little fuss.

Preparations for the move to Coniston started in 1911 when Sir Alfred Mond, owner of Mond Nickel Company, purchased the family farms of the original five settlers in Coniston, effectively ending the agricultural era in the community. With this land secured, the Mond Nickel Company appointed Mr. Edgar T. Austin to survey the settlement and to design a blueprint for the construction of a functional town. Mr. Austin mapped a grid-style layout for the creation of streets and modern conveniences.

To begin the process of creating a new town, the Mond Nickel Company built streets, sidewalks, and drainage and ensured that the community had access to a reliable water supply for the purpose of fire protection. The water supply was pumped through a branch of steel piping that was connected to the company's main pumping line from the Wanapitei River. The first company homes to be erected in Coniston actually came from the former Victoria Mine townsite. As the people from Victoria Mine saw their community disappearing, many opted to follow the Mond Nickel Company to Coniston and build a new life there. This influx of settlers helped to quickly increase the size of the village. Interestingly enough, as individuals and families left Victoria Mine, they brought along with them their homes and other buildings, including the Presbyterian and Anglican churches.

On May 13, 1913, the Mond Nickel Company smelter officially began operating in Coniston (one month before the planned launch date). A roast yard was soon added and was located approximately one mile (1.6 km) from the Coniston smelter. It was in these roast yards that the mined ore would be piled and set afire for two or three months to burn off the sulphur in the ore. While the community had gained a huge employment opportunity, the damage caused by the smelter and the roast yards destroyed the vegetation in the area and along with it, any potential for agricultural pursuits in Coniston.


Follow this link to list more items
Site Map