Mike Solski

Mike Solski was born and raised in Coniston and spent most of his life in the community.  In 1935, Mike, like his father before him, obtained employment at the Coniston smelter at the age of 17.  He worked his way up the ladder, retiring at the age of 59 as a Surplus Coordinator of the Central Assets Department.

In 1939, Solski married Irene Horrick, a local girl born to Dmytro and Paraska Horrick.  The couple were both actively involved in various recreational pursuits.  As a teenager, Mike was a devoted trombone player who participated in the Coniston Band (though his interests shifted to other activities over the years).  Irene was one of the best softball players in the district, playing on many championship-winning teams from 1935 to the early 1950s.

Mike Solski.  Photo courtey of the Greater Sudbury Historical Database.Solski took an interest in union activities in 1942 and helped to organize the Mine Mill Union in the Sudbury District mines and smelters. 

Mike Solski became involved in municipal politics in 1944 and along with Bill Coppo and Jack Carrey, became the first Councillor to be elected in 1945, ending the ten-year acclamation record held by the previous Town Council.  He remained in politics until 1948.

In 1949, Solski was elected Vice-President of Mine Mill Local 598 and he became a full-time union representative.  Through his dedication and hard work for the union and his solid reputation, Solski earned the position of President of Local 598, and even National Vice-President of the Mine Mill Union.

With his role as union leader coming to an end in 1962, Mike Solski opted to return to politics and for the next sixteen years, served as Mayor of Coniston (and later as Mayor of the Town of Nickel Centre when Regional Government was formed in 1973).  Solski played an active role in all three levels of politics.

On November 15, 1978, while officiating at his last Council meeting as Mayor of Nickel Centre, Romeo Kerim (a highly disturbed individual) attempted to assassinate Solski.  Mike was shot three times by Kerim and though he survived the attack, the event left him seriously handicapped.

After recovering from the incident, Solski focused his interest on writing and is credited with the creation of The Coniston Story, was co-author of a book on the history of the Mine Mill and Smelter Workers' Union in Canada, and wrote a section about Coniston for a book entitled The Industrial Communities of the Sudbury Basin.

Mike Solski continued to be active in the community as part of the Library Board (the Mike Solski Library was so-named in his honour) and the Coniston Hydro Commission.

In October of 1999, Mike Solski passed away, but he will always be remembered for his great contributions to Coniston and his steadfast dedication to the people of the community.

 

Material compiled from The Coniston Story II.   

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