Sudbury is also home to a large Franco-Ontarian population that influences its arts and culture.
French Jesuits were the first to establish a European settlement when they set up a mission called Sainte-Anne-des-Pins, just before the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1883.
Rich deposits of nickel sulphide ore were discovered in the Sudbury Basin geological formation.
The construction of the railway allowed exploitation of these mineral resources and shipment of the commodities to markets and ports, as well as large-scale lumber extraction.
Being located inland, the local climate is extremely seasonal with average January lows of around −18 °C (0 °F) and average July highs of 25 °C (77 °F).
Through the decades that followed, Sudbury's economy went through boom and bust cycles as world demand for nickel fluctuated.Sudbury was the fastest-growing city and one of the wealthiest cities in Canada for most of the decade.Many of the city's social problems in the Great Depression era were not caused by unemployment or poverty, but due to the difficulty in keeping up with all of the new infrastructure demands created by rapid growth — for example, employed mineworkers sometimes ended up living in boarding houses or makeshift shanty towns, because demand for new housing was rising faster than supply.Sudbury was once a major lumber centre and a world leader in nickel mining.
Mining and related industries dominated the economy for much of the 20th century.
In 1978, the workers of Sudbury's largest mining corporation, Inco (now Vale), embarked on a strike over production and employment cutbacks.