The City of Greater Sudbury is aiming to turn a polluted old mining site into one of global significance.
The city has applied to have the O'Donnell Roast Yard near Lively classified as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization world heritage site.
In the early 1900’s, nickel ore was melted down on huge bonfires in what were known as roast yards. The roasting process blanketed the landscape in clouds of sulphur gas, creating Sudbury's famous moonscape.
Laurentian University ecologist Peter Beckett said he thinks this history needs to be preserved.
"This kind of designation of a roast yard, will serve as a kind of reminder that you can do things to the environment that have serious consequences," Beckett said.
The designation can also help tell the story of Sudbury’s internationally recognized re-greening efforts since then.
"Just like we are trying to instill a remembrance of what happened in the First World War and Second World War, we should also do the same with our mining heritage here in Sudbury," Beckett added.
UNESCO has classified 936 sites around the world as being vital to world heritage and only 15 are in Canada. There is only one UNESCO site in Ontario — the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.
Sudbury officials said the UNESCO application process can take years to complete.