Creighton Mine began as a full-service community built by INCO in the early 1900s. As the name implies, it was a company town that included sores, entertainment facilities and the usual amenities such as churches and a school. At its height, it was home to about 2,300 individuals.
The post office, named Creighton Mine opened in 1902. A boarding house followed quickly, that same year. Other early businesses included a grocery store, butcher and a tailor, all owned privately.
Entertainment venues began springing up during the teens. These included a movie house in 1915, a pool hall (1917), shooting gallery and an ice cream parlour, located in the drug store. There were clearly live theatrical performances around 1910, but little information was available. It’s entirely possible they were transitory. Later offerings included a bank, in 1924 and a gas station in 1938.
Creighton Mine’s population seesawed up and down during the boom and bust cycles in the 20s and 30s. For the most part though it remained consistent at around 2,200.
Creighton Mine’s residents were remarkably successful in sports. The Creighton Cubs won the championship in the Nickel Belt Baseball league 15 times between 1914 and 59. One player even went on to play professionally in the American Baseball League. More big successes came in the Nickel Belt Badminton League where one player qualified for the Olympics. Another success story was Gordon Wallace, who was inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame. In addition to team sports there were also recreational sports such as bowling, athletics, gymnastics, hunting and fishing.
During the 1950s, INCO opened a new company town called Lively (now part of Sudbury). Many residents chose to move into the new ranch-style residences. Businesses and other services gradually followed.
During the 1970s, Creighton Mine’s population dropped to about a thousand. The final blow came in the 1980s when the government notified INCO they would have to spend at least $10 million to upgrade the aging sewage and water facilities. INCO chose instead to shut down the townsite and relocate the remaining residents to Lively.
The residents received a two-year notice to vacate. Once everyone left, INCO bulldozed the entire townsite. All that remains today are the streets, sidewalks and cellar holes, evidence of the once vibrant community. Following the demolition, INCO erected a cairn in recognition of the former community and the many residents who came and went throughout its history of almost 90 years.
The mine, now under the ownership of Vale remains active and continues to produce. Learn more>