Community History

The following information has been compiled from the Greater City of Sudbury Heritage Museums’ website.

Onaping Falls

On June 8, 1972, the Provincial Government informed the communities of Dowling, Levack, and Onaping that they would be amalgamated into one entity to be known as the Municipality of Onaping Falls and that this municipality would be considered part of the Regional Municipality of Sudbury.

At this time, the political structure of the three communities was quite varied. Onaping was completely a company town as Falconbridge Nickel Mines Ltd. owned all of the land and the majority of the homes. The residents were governed by a Board of Trustees as appointed by the company. Levack was also a company town owned by the International Nickel Mines Ltd. with the land and the majority of the homes being owned by the company. Levack had been incorporated as a town and their political representatives were elected by the townspeople. Dowling was a completely different situation as all of the land and homes were publicly owned. Dowling had a Township Council to govern the community and elections were held once a year.

With the declaration of amalgamation, Dowling, Levack, and Onaping (three vastly different communities) were forced to find a way to exist as one entity. In the fall of 1972, the first election for the Municipality of Onaping Falls was held. Jim Coady was acclaimed Mayor and the remainder of the Council consisted of Earle Jarvis as Councillor-at-Large, Pat Owens and Fred Spencer for Ward One (Levack), Russ Beaudry for Ward Two (Onaping), and Germaine Gorham and John Schneider for Ward Three (Dowling). The new Council met a series of seven times throughout the fall and winter of 1972 and on January 1, 1973, they officially became the governing Council for the Municipality of Onaping Falls.

The new Council had the very difficult task of establishing a unified system that would serve the needs of each community. This was a challenge for even the most basic of services because each community had its own way of doing things. By the inaugural meeting of the Council of the Municipality of Onaping Falls on January 5, 1973, the groundwork had been laid to unify the three communities and now it was a matter of implementing the new system.

In 2001, the Municipality of Onaping Falls joined with Chelmsford and Azilda to form Ward Two in the City of Greater Sudbury. Once again, amalgamation was a difficult process to achieve and while most issues have been resolved, some still remain for our collective City.

Today, the phrase “City of Greater Sudbury” is little more than a political term used to identify our region. Each community is still referred to by its original name and the people therein are respected and honoured for their different backgrounds and histories.


The community of Dowling is unique among the three towns that make up Onaping Falls in that it was the only one that did not originate as a mining camp.  Dowling’s history began with the arrival of farmers who purchased the land and cleared it themselves.  From its early beginnings, the community has managed to overcome the destruction of the agricultural industry to become a popular residential town.

In many ways, Dowling is seen as the hub of Onaping Falls.  With its vastly diverse cultures and engaging people, this community is by far one of the most wonderful places in which to live.

Read more about the history of Dowling here.


The Town of Levack has an interesting and unique history which no other community in the City of Greater Sudbury can compare to.  From the creation of the jitney to the gravel trains that operated in the 1940s, Levack residents have always been innovative people capable of generating a solution to any problem.

While the Town of Levack may be small in size, the people of this close-knit community have always been big at heart.  Their willingness to help a neighbour and their dedication to the growth and prosperity of their town serves as a shining example of how we all should live.

Throughout the history of Levack, many businesses were established that encouraged the permanency of the community.  Among these were the usual general stores and post offices, but this town had something that no other town had: they had a jitney.

By the late 1950s or early 1960s, INCO decided to get out of the business of owning towns. The houses and the land lots were put up for sale and the residents of Levack were able to purchase the homes that they had been renting or buy new lots on which to build. Now that the townspeople owned their own properties, they decided to renovate their homes (some to such an extent that the original structure was no longer visible).

During this time, a medical centre was built and the old curling rink and outdoor hockey rink were replaced with a new indoor arena and community centre. The local Credit Union relocated to their new building on Main Street and many other businesses expanded their operations.

By 1970, Levack had grown into a welcoming and inviting community in which to live and on January 1, 1973, as part of a Provincial Government initiative, Levack, Dowling and Onaping were effectively combined to form the Municipality of Onaping Falls, a part of the new Regional Municipality of Sudbury. This arrangement lasted for almost twenty years and required many adjustments on the part of the townspeople from all affected communities.

On January 1, 2001, the Municipality of Onaping Falls, along with other communities throughout the Regional Municipality of Sudbury, joined to form the City of Greater Sudbury.

Today, residents of Levack continue to embody the sense of unity and friendship that was responsible for the successful development of this close-knit community.

Read more about the history of Levack here.


Of the three towns that make up the former Municipality of Onaping Falls, the Town of Onaping is the youngest, having only been established in the 1950s.  Still, this community has a fascinating history of triumph and determination.  What began as a company mining town that many thought wouldn’t last quickly grew to become a permanent settlement that residents today are proud to call “home”.

Onaping, originally known as Hardy, overcame the negative image associated with a mining settlement and through courage and dedication, managed to convert the naysayers into town supporters.

Today, the Town of Onaping is a valuable community within the City of Greater Sudbury and its contributions to our collective history will not soon be forgotten.

Read more about the history of Onaping here.

Additional Information

  • The History of Levack — Read a brief history of Levack, Ontario, written by former resident Michael Kavluk.
  • The INCO Triangle Digital  Archives — The INCO Triangle was a monthly publication produced by the International Nickel Company for its employees between the years of 1936 and 1998. The Greater Sudbury Library, along with the Greater Sudbury Heritage Museum partnered with Vale, Cambrian College and City of Greater Sudbury to scan all the estimated 600 issues and make them accessible to the public online.