History of Onaping

The history of Onaping begins with the Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited and their purchase of the area known as West Levack Mine in 1935. Since buying the land, Falconbridge performed diamond drilling operations in the area, but it wasn't until the 1950's that the company undertook a serious effort to establish a mine.

By 1951, Falconbridge Nickel Mines started to build the necessary structures for operation including a generating station, and a temporary bunkhouse and cookery for the workers. The site was named Hardy, after the company's first president. When the company built homes for its workers in Hardy, the emerging town was named Hardy Townsite. In 1952, a permanent bunkhouse as well as a medical station was built across the street from the mine's location.

Hardy was, for all intents and purposes, a company town. Issues that arose were handled by W.J. Bill Light, the Personnel and Townsite Supervisor for Falconbridge Nickel Mines. In addition to looking after the interests of Hardy, he was also in charge of the Town of Falconbridge, another of the company's mining towns. Light's assistant, E.G. Jarvis, soon took over the responsibility for Hardy as Mr. Light was overwhelmed with his numerous responsibilities.

Mr. Jarvis supervised the construction of the townsite, ensuring that the first homes on Fraser Avenue were being built on schedule as per the specifications provided. Early on, Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited had decided that this mining town would not look like every other company town. Instead of carbon-copy homes that made the town feel fleeting, Hardy was going to create an air of permanency, just like what was done in Falconbridge.


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