A Growing Community

By the end of 1957, a community centre had been completed in Onaping and the Town Offices were moved from the Falconbridge Nickel Mines General Office to its new permanent home. Also during this time, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 503 was constructed and a curling rink, an outdoor skating rink, a golf club, and various other enterprises were either completed or under construction. Many of these projects can attribute their existence to the efforts of Mr. George Purdy.

In 1958, the town's community centre was a hub of activity, with many organizations vying for space in the building. Also in this year, the first Anglican church was built in Onaping by a group of men, including "Doc" Bell and Bill Smerdon. Materials were donated and labour was volunteered for the church's construction resulting in many mine workers becoming experts in carpentry, electrical, and plumbing.

With Canada's Centennial year approaching in 1966, municipalities were given grants in order to mark this special occasion. Onaping was given $1,300.00 and Levack was provided with $3,000.00. Originally, the towns of Onaping and Levack had planned to combine their grants to build a dam at the Onaping River and create a park and swimming pool in the area. This idea was later abandoned. When Levack could not come up with a feasible project, it donated its grant to Onaping (an option which was available to them under the regulations of the Centennial grants). Onaping now possessed $4,300.00 with which to construct a memorable monument to Canada's birthday. After much deliberation, the Onaping Centennial Committee decided to use the grant money to build a public swimming pool at the Onaping Community Centre.

By 1966, Onaping was experiencing a building boom as forty new homes were constructed in the community. One year later, the Mine Rescue Station was built and John Guthrie was named superintendent and instructor.

On December 19, 1968, responsibility for Onaping's schools was transferred from the Township Area School Board to the Sudbury Board of Education.

In 1969, the Onaping Shopping Centre was built. It contained the post office (which was moved from Fraser Avenue), and a liquor store (the closest had been in Chelmsford). A. Earl Hodge Store and the Bank of Commerce also moved to the shopping centre from their former locations on Fraser Avenue. Years later, an extension was built in which a tavern, a pool hall, and a hardware store were located.


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