'He built stacks all over Canada': daughter of man photographed on Superstack shares his story
Aarne Kovala was a foreman on the Sudbury project when it was built in 1970
A photo posted to the CBC Sudbury Facebook page of a man sitting atop the city's iconic Superstack while it was being built and not wearing any kind of safety harness has gotten quite a reaction, but the man's daughter says it was nothing out of the ordinary at the time.
The photo is of Aarne Kovala who, at the time, was a foreman with the company charged with building the 380 metre tall structure in 1970. It is now slated to be decommissioned.
"He built stacks all over Canada," his daughter Liisa told CBC Morning North host Markus Schwabe on Friday. "That was his job."
"They didn't wear anything, they just did their job," she said.
The only piece of safety equipment explicitly visible in the photo: Aarne's hard hat.
Liisa Kovala said her father, who is now 88, has told her various stories over the years of his time both constructing and taking down the large industrial chimneys across the country. One story she told was when a tornado struck the Greater Sudbury area during the Superstack's construction — while her dad and a number of other men were up top.
Another issue, she said, was that even after the storm, the workers couldn't come down, as the elevator that took them up and down was electrical and the storm knocked the power out.
Kovala said her dad told her some workers quit on the spot.
As for her father's thoughts on the Superstack that he helped build, becoming a thing of the past?
"He did say he also went around the country taking smokestacks down, so the fact that this one might come down isn't a big surprise," she said.
"There didn't seem to be a huge emotional attachment to it."