Sudbury

Watch as the Stobie Mine head frame is blasted from the Sudbury skyline

A landmark on Sudbury's skyline was demolished on Thursday.

A 'full circle situation' as Toronto-based filmmaker hired to document the blast has Sudbury roots

Sudburians may be used to feeling the odd blast from nearby mines, but this particular one may feel like it has the weight of history behind it.  

The head frame at Frood-Stobie mine, originally built in 1966, and a prominent feature of Sudbury's landscape, was demolished by mining company Vale Thursday morning. 

Although the site wasn't opened to the public during the blast, the moment the structure fell was captured by Toronto-based film company Concrete Pictures. Coincidentally, the company has a Sudbury connection– co-owner Jonathon Stewart was raised in Onaping, where his father and grandfather worked in the mines.

"I wasn't interested in being a miner, even though essentially half my family were all miners," Stewart said. "But here I find myself back at a mine. It's sort of a full-circle situation."

Stewart left the region as a teenager, but returned to play hockey in Azilda, years later. He's also been able to visit his old community, where several of his relatives worked at the mine in Levack 20-plus years ago.

"I've popped in a couple of times just to see the old house, and it's funny to see how small everything seems to be now," Stewart said. "We spent a lot of Christmases there, my grandparents lived on First Avenue, and we'd go skiing at the ski hill."

"But it was a different time back then, though," he said. "There was a lot of activity back then when the mines were super active. There was tons of kids, and for whatever reason, it was was awesome growing up there. It was fun."

Footage of the blast

The footage was captured with the use of drones, GoPros and other video equipment.

According the Stewart, the "exhilarated" voices of engineers, the blast master and a handful of Vale employees can be heard following the blast.

"it was pretty amazing. When that blast goes, You could feel it, it goes right through you," Stewart said. "It's quite the impact, tough to describe."

"You feel it, that's for sure."

Earlier in the week, Vale spokespeople said the moment was "iconic" but necessary as the company moves forward.

Film maker Jonathon Stewart, originally from Onaping, said despite coming from a line of miners, had no interest in working in the Sudbury mines. (Concrete Pictures)

Plans also remain in place-- with no firm date, yet-- for the demolition of another Sudbury landmark, the Superstack.

CBC's Morning North also had a chance to speak to one of the first workers at Stobie, Paddy Walsh. You can listen to that interview by clicking the audio link below.

Paddy Walsh is a retired Vale miner. He worked at Stobie mine and decorated the headframe at Christmas for years. Now, Vale is demolishing the building. Paddy's shared some thoughts on losing the landmark. 8:11

As for the Concrete Pictures, they're also at work at another northern location, getting time-lapse footage of the construction of a wooden bridge near Nipissing FIrst Nation. 

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