An old foundation in Happy Valley©Copyright: Yvan Charbonneau
Happy Valley, located in a small valley in the Sudbury Basin, was first settled in 1911 as a small farming community. By the mid 1920s, the small settlement had grown to include about 50 residents, mainly farmers. During the 1930s, they were joined by about a dozen miners who worked in the nearby mine in Falconbridge.
By the end of the 1920s, the new Falconbridge Mine, located just north of Happy Valley, was in full production. In 1930 a smelter was added and three years later a mill was built to process the ores.
Within a few years poisonous sulphurous fumes began to affect the local farmland. The farmers complained and struck a deal. If the winds were unfavourable, the smelter would be shut down until the situation improved. However by 1940, the mine was in full production for the war effort, and Falconbridge reneged on its deal with the farmers.
The farmers eventually took the company to court but abandoned the area after losing their case. The miners however chose to stay. By the late 40s, over 20 homes had been established in the settlement.
As the mine continued to epand, the problem resurfaced, this time in the form of chronic pulmonary diseases. In the 1960s the government became involved. Serious contamination was found and everyone was immediately evacuated. Falconbridge agreed to compensate the residents, then bought up the town site and levelled it. Today Happy Valley is off limits.