Alternate History

Sudbury (1983: Doomsday)

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City of Greater Sudbury
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday

OTL equivalent: Greater Sudbury, about half of the Sudbury District, Ontario
V259 20080019 flag PF1963 Sudburycoa
Flag Coat of Arms
In the blue
Capital Sudbury
Largest city Sudbury
Other cities Espanola, French River
Language English, French
Demonym Sudburians
High Mayor Bill Douglas
Chief Administrative Officer Claude Gravelle
Area approx 20,500 km²
Population approx 137,500 
Established October 5th, 1988
Currency Canadian Dollar, Superioran Dollar
Organizations United Communities

The City of Greater Sudbury is a small Canadian survivor city-state in the former Canadian province of Ontario.



Originally named Sainte-Anne-des-Pins, the community started as a small lumber camp. During construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1883, blasting and excavation revealed high concentrations of nickel-copper ore at Murray Mine on the edge of the Sudbury Basin. Earlier, in 1856, provincial land surveyor Albert Salter had located magnetic anomalies in the area that were strongly suggestive of mineral deposits, although his discovery aroused little attention because the area was remote. However, the railway construction made large-scale mining development in the area economically feasible for the first time.

The community was renamed for Sudbury, Suffolk in England. Sudbury was incorporated as a town in 1893, and its first mayor was Stephen Fournier. Through the decades that followed, Sudbury's economy went through boom and bust cycles as world demand for nickel rose and fell. Demand was high during the First World War, when Sudbury-mined nickel was used extensively in the manufacture of artillery in Sheffield, England. It bottomed out when the war ended, and then rose again in the mid-1920s as peacetime uses for nickel began to develop.

Demand for nickel in the 1930s was such that after an early slowdown, the city recovered from the Great Depression much more quickly than almost any other city in North America, and was for much of that decade the fastest-growing city in all of Canada. Another brief economic slowdown hit the city in 1937, although the city's fortunes rose again during the Second World War. The Frood Mine alone accounted for 40 per cent of all the nickel used in Allied artillery production during the war. After the end of that war, however, Sudbury was in a good position to supply nickel to the United States government when it decided to stockpile non-Soviet supplies during the Cold War. On August 20, 1970, a tornado struck the city and its suburbs, killing six people and remaining the eighth deadliest tornado in Canadian history. In 1973, the city and its suburban communities were reorganized into the Regional Municipality of Sudbury.


Given its location, Sudbury and the surrounding communities, following the obvious effects of the EMP blasts, rapidly gained a better knowledge than most in the area of the extent of the disaster, when refugees from the strike in North Bay straggled into the area.

Some of the machinery and electronics in the region were damaged by EMP from both the blast at North Bay, and the atmospheric detonation that gave off EMP over most of the continent.


Refugees from both North Bay and isolated communities to the north began to arrive in Sudbury within days of the event, fleeing chaos, starvation, and radiation.

Soon, the population of the area became too much to handle - food supplies began to deplete, and rationing had to be instituted by the city government. The refugees were also encouraged to continue onwards, following the winter of 1983-1984, towards the lake and other areas rumored to have food. Essentially, they left the small areas of farmland around the city, hoping to find more elsewhere. These people, finding little, would in some cases end up in Midland and Thunder Bay, though apparently the majority made it to the area around Lake Huron and caused extensive damage there before dying off.

Still, rationing of the food supply was needed. This would not be lifted until after food supplies began to arrive from Superior in late 1991 in a diplomatic trading deal.

With the unification of several city governments into Greater Sudbury having only happened in 1973, tensions in the area between the various communities still boiled under the surface - and this was made worse by both the remaining refugees and the governments in the region that had not been made part of the larger city government. An agreement that solved the matter would not be agreed on until the late 1980s.

Almost immediately after Doomsday, people began to get very frustrated with the situation. Ed Deibel, the former leader of the Northern Ontario Heritage Party, who was speaking to an audience in the area at the time, continued to speak the doctrine of his party, for the creation of a new province in the north of Ontario. Despite his having resigned from the leadership in 1980 - and, indeed, the slide of the party further into obscurity following the establishment of the Ministry of Northern Development in 1977 - the knowledge that Toronto was likely gone and the region was own its own meant that the ideas of the party, supported by the local newspapers, received new attention, and his position as likely the only surviving senior member of the party meant he was now in charge of it again.

Before long, the ideas held by the party - that the north could go it alone - slowly morphed, as the thought that they had been abandoned by the Canadian government spread. Refugees from the east had brought rumors of the government having fled east of Ottawa after Doomsday, which had not attempted to contact them at all, if there was any truth to the rumors. By 1988, the idea that they should be a separate province had changed, and Ed Deibel had changed with them - formal separatism had become the creed that he and his cohorts preached.

In 1987, the city of Greater Sudbury, as well as the nearby surviving communities, finally reached an agreement. The other communities outside of Greater Sudbury would merge with the city, which would undergo a change itself, devolving slightly away from the merged city that had come into being in 1973. Each of the cities, villages, etc. that had merged with it in 1973 were given back their local authority, on the same level as Sudbury itself. The mayors of these areas would run their own local affairs, and then sit on a council of all the mayors. A High Mayor would be chosen amongst themselves, and then they and the council would run the city-state as the executive and legislative branches of government, while still performing the same task in their own communities. Sudbury would get the consolidation it wanted, and the independent communities would maintain their relative autonomy - in effect, they all joined the City of Greater Sudbury, but it was turned into more of a federation of cities than one city at the same time. The first High Mayor chosen was Ed Deibel, newly elected the mayor of Sudbury itself, in a gesture to his role in the formation of the agreement.

Deibel was considered a good choice for the role by the people. And when, during the summer of 1988, he proposed, in light of their abandonment by the Canadian government, that they secede from the nation. Debate would ensue between the mayors, but the majority of them eventually agreed with the motion, and thus on October 6th, 1988, they passed it, declaring independence from Canada, food shortages and all.

Despite the declaration of independence, little improvements in the regional situation would be made. In fact, they began to get worse - the fields that had been growing the crops to keep everyone fed were starting to produce less and less food. While none would starve to death - they hoped - it was likely that they would go hungry on some occasions, until other sources could be found. Fishing equipment, with the hope that they could be used on Lake Huron, also began to be constructed, despite their distance from the lake, and lack of knowledge on the situation there.

Yet, in the summer of 1991, salvation from their near-desperation came from the west. A body of troops encountered a force of Sudbury militia near the village of Webbwood, at the southwestern borders of the city-state - it turned out that they were from a survivor nation, the Republic of Superior, based on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Both forces were genuinely surprised to see the other, having thought themselves essentially alone. The Superioran soldiers, seeing the state of the Sudburians, gave them some of their food - an act of kindness which ensured peaceful relations between the two governments. The soldiers were allowed to pass through their territory, going all the way to the ruins of Ottawa and discovering the survivor nation at Midland on the way, before needing to turn back, passing through Sudbury again in the process.

In the meanwhile, however, diplomats from the two nations had been hard at work negotiating a treaty. Luckily for the city, Superior, while having enough food to feed itself, plus a little more, was experiencing a great shortage of raw materials - which the city did have in excess amounts. A treaty was eventually agreed to in October of 1991, by which Superior agreed to grant Sudbury fishing rights in its territory, and to exchange their excess food in exchange for raw materials produced by Sudburian mines. Sudbury also agreed to let people from Superior work at the mines on a contract basis as they were needed, though they would not be granted permanent citizenship no matter how long they stayed, as food would still be a touch of an issue.

As the region recovered, Superior was able to send more and more to Sudbury under their deal, and Sudburian fishermen began to have better catches. This meant two things: they needed to expand mining operations to get more food from Superior, and that they could finally expand their zone of control somewhat. It would take several years, but they were eventually able to expand eastwards to the ruins on the western edge of Lake Nippising, and even explore the outer edges of the blast zone around North Bay, scavenging what materials that they could find. Survivors found in the area, as well as in reclaimed areas to the north and west of the city-state, were largely relocated to Sudbury, where they were given work in the mines. The remainder were settled at the ruins of West Nipissing, which workers began to turn into a small port on the lake, it the hopes of expanding Sudburian mining operations to the areas around the lake, known to be rich in lime and other minerals. Fishing vessels were also launched in the lake, in order to exploit its abundant population of fish. It was also around this time that the government of the city-state began to exploit its resources towards the production of gunpowder, weaponry, and the like.

The remainder of the 1990s would largely be quite peaceful, until the Superiorans decided to intervene in the city of Madison during 1999, following horrific reports of children being pressed into service by the gangs there. After the initial attacks had failed, and Superior began to send reinforcements, they asked Sudbury to send some forces to aid them, using the agreement as pressure. Despite this, all the Sudburian government would agree to do was a donation of supplies, and to call for a company of volunteers to be formed to aid the Superior Army. While this was agreed to, by the time the company was ready, the conflict had ended, so they were disbanded and not sent.

In 2000, the government of Superior, under newly-elected President Randy Sarick, finally, after ten years, sent another major exploratory force out, towards the east. Superioran generals believed that no matter the level of destruction in most of the continent, there was likely to be large amounts of survivors in the Canadian Maritime Provinces, so the force was sent in that direction. Leaving Sault Ste. Marie in late March, they passed through Sudbury in early April, before arriving in Midland at the end of the month. There, they made final preparations and assembly, leaving on May 12th for the east. Arriving at the ruins of Ottawa, they found it even more unrecognizable than ten years previously. Continuing southeast from there, they ran into forces from a Provisional Authority at Kingston that had been set up by the Canadian government years before as it fled Ottawa. Eventually, after fighting off numerous raiders, these soldiers encountered troops from Aroostook, a survivor nation inside the former state of Maine, who told them of the outside world - and the survival of the Canadian government in the east.

After the infamous message back to Stowe - “Stowe……we have made contact.” - Sudbury, being the closest "ally" that they had, was the first government informed of the news. To say that it caused a fuss was an understatement - the declaration back in 1988 had not been without issue, after all.

Yet, proponents of the declaration had increased in number since 1988, which along with pressure from Superior, prevented any sort of rapprochement with the Canadian government, especially when it was discovered that the Canadian government had outposts at Moose Factory, only around 500 km away by air - and they had not attempted to explore southwards at all. Sudbury even went so far, at the time, against the positions of the Canadian government that they joined the United Communities as a founding member, and usually held opinions in favor of Superior and Saguenay in their disputes with that government, though several attempts at annexation by Superior were also rebuffed at the same time, despite their pressure with the agreement. Sudbury managed to play the two governments off in keeping itself intact.

Relations between Superior and Sudbury, fairly shaky since 2001, took a major hit when in 2009, Superior intervened against the fascists at Thunder Bay. Even though it was an intervention in favor of Democratic forces, the action set a bad precedent, and put fears of a similar event occurring at Sudbury into the minds of people in the city-state.

With the start of the Saguenay War, Sudbury was again asked to join by Superior. They, however, citing the lack of support for the conflict in the area, declined to do so. They would, however, sell them materials, as well as allow troops to move through their territory, at reduced costs. With the end of the war in the spring of 2010, and the vote by Thunder Bay to join Canada once again, as well as the condition of a land connection by around 2015 attached by the Thunder Bay government, the political picture has changed somewhat in Sudbury, though a large anti-Canada sentiment remains. There is, however, a similar one against Superior growing as well, ever since the knowledge that Superior had been aiding the Lawrence Raiders since 2001 - preventing Canada from moving back into the region - came to light.

However, any thought of rejoining is a long way off. The locals, while more pro-Canadian at this time, have proven very picky about other states, and change their minds easily, making this not necessarily a long-term opinion. They also continue to feel abandoned by said government, a feeling which will not change anytime soon, even with great effort by the Canadian government.

Elections held on October 25th, 2011, saw a fairly large turnover in the mayors in power across the city-state. Those viewed as being the most avid supporters of Superior were turfed out of office, along with, in a surprise, the supporters of the United Communities. Those favoring Superior were expected to have trouble, but the loss of the UC supporters was a bit of a surprise - their loss has been attributed to the organization not committing funds to Sudburian efforts in the radiated areas around what was once North Bay. As a result, there was a much more pro-Canada view to the makeup of the Council of Mayors. Observers felt that this meant the railway from the coast to Thunder Bay would indeed be going through the area, and that negotiations for such a thing were already occurring behind the scenes.

On December 9th, following negotiations with the Canadian Government, the Council of Mayors passed, as expected, a Railroad Bill. This bill would allow the Canadian government to repair, and construct as needed, a railway through the area, along with any roads to go with it. In return, the City-State would receive payments for the use of their territory, the guarantee that they had desired for a concrete province of in Northern Ontario to eventually exist, and their choice of the exact route.

Government and Politics

The city of Greater Sudbury is governed by a council of mayors, headed by the High Mayor, who, given the number of small communities on the council, has usually been from one of them. They function as the executive body of the city-state, and meet weekly in Sudbury itself. Currently the High Mayor is Bill Douglas, the mayor of the town of Webbwood, who while in favor of independence, is also in favor of better relations with the Canadian government. The majority of the Council, following elections on October 25, 2011, now consists of this view.

Given the federation-like features of the city-state, a position separate from the council was created, apart from the local governments, to manage the joint administration. Appointed for a five year period by the Council, this position, the Chief Administrative Officer of the city, is currently held by Claude Gravelle, a former union head at the Inco nickel mines. He replaced Mike Dupont, a former miner and chair of the local Chamber of Commerce, on October 5th, 2012.

And, as would be expected from both its history and the strength of its unions, support from the various unions inside the city-state are often important for election to any position in government.


As one would expect from the city, it is dominated by its mines and related industries. In and around Sudbury itself, extensive mining of nickel, copper, and sulfur occurs, along with the harvesting of what little rare elements, as well as gold and silver, can be found.

With the development of territory on the lake, the mining of lime, and other minerals, has begun, though on a smaller scale.

With the decline of large-scale forestry after Doomsday, the boreal forests around the region have begun to retake areas, long cleared, that they once had grown over. However, forestry has steadily grown as an industry in recent years, largely for use in heating homes, and for use in operating industry in the area, though the forests are still expanding.

Primarily, this industry, after the removal of lumber needed for construction and heating, has been added to sulfur from mining operations, and combined with manure from animals, and the like, in the region - largely, caves in Midland and near Madison. Combined in the city, these materials have formed a fairly large gunpowder industry in the area. Smelters in the region have also led to a growing arms industry that uses said gunpowder. While having been started by the government as more of a make-work project, today it is under the burgeoning banner of Falconbridge-Inco Limited, a local merger of the two largest mining companies active there prior to 1983, and the largest employer in the region, after the production of food, by far.

Sudbury itself is also home to Laurentian University, once and still known for its work with mining engineers.

Sudbury will likely experience a major boom over the next few years, as Canadian funds and workers move into the area to construct the promised railway.

Sports and Culture

Sudbury has a team in each of the three sports leagues of the Republic of Superior - the Spartans of the Superior Football League, the Miners of the Superior Baseball League, and the Wolves of the Superior Hockey League.

At independence, the Council, after much debate, choose to use a beaver flag, once a proposed flag for the country, as their own, citing the history of the railroads in the area, which used it as their emblem, and its symbolism to the people. A coat of arms was also designed, base on an old CPR crest, with the beaver on it.

The area has also gained a blue-collar image, due to its extensive mining operations and arms industry, since Doomsday. In fact, it has gone so far as to be a common misconception, and even a bit of a slur, that everyone in the area is a miner.

International Relations

Sudbury was a founding member of the United Communities.

For much of its existence, the city-state of Sudbury has been dominated politically by Superior, as they were dependent originally on them for food supplies, which they got in exchange for metals from the mines in the area.

However, with time they have come to gain control over better access to other sources of food from southern Ontario, meaning that the political dominance had lost much of its backing. When knowledge of the Canadian government surviving to the east was received through exploration by the government of Superior, political influence by that government decreased, even though Sudbury, as a rule, continued to support the Superior government, as they felt that the Canadian government could have re-established contact with them long before from their outposts on Hudson Bay and had abandoned them. The city-state also voiced support for Superior in the Saguenay War, allowing them to move supplies through its territory, though they remained neutral for the duration, considering the entire thing to be a farce, which was later proven correct.

With the end of the war, and the vote by Thunder Bay to rejoin Canada, they have started to become much less negative towards the Canadian government. However, a similar vote will not be held in the foreseeable future, and both a promise of a separate province for what was once Northern Ontario and the completion of the rail and road links to Thunder Bay, likely going through Sudbury or nearby, are believed to be prerequisites before it can even start to be negotiated. These, following negotiations in 2011, were indeed promised, though the Council of Mayors refused to even consider the idea of such a vote.

Canada does, however, maintain an embassy in the city, which is joined by offices run by the other Ontario city-states and an embassy from Superior.

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