Even as early as 1913, the hazards of building roast yards close to heavily populated areas was becoming all too apparent. Following numerous complaints of health problems from the residents of Sudbury and Copper Cliff, it was decided to build a new roast yard west of the affected cities. The O’Donnell roast yard was established in 1915. Since operations required a staff of about 200, a small townsite was also constructed.
The O’Donnell townsite was built to house 600 residents. The village included 10 duplexes, 10 single dwellings, a boarding house, and additional apartments. There was also a general store and club house. Other amenities included a post office, school, town hall, small flag station, and a jail. For recreation, the town site offered a baseball field and a hockey rink.
The community’s workforce was drastically reduced in 1918, due to completion of a new ore bridge. In 1921-22, the yards were temporarily shut down following reduced production at INCO. By then the community contained about 100 residents.
In 1929 open air roasting was again under scrutiny, particularly with the advent of newer milling techniques in Norway. Roasting was officially finished at O’Donnell in August 1929 and the site was shut down by 1931. Today very little remains at the site, other than debris. Reportedly, the town site, now owned by Vale, is no longer accessible. Learn more