Monday, August 14, 2006

MeMe - Sudbury's Largest Erection

Welcome to another installment of, "Come ON -- tell me the WHOLE story!" AKA "I love to talk about myself", or "Me-Me Monday" for short. The object of the game is to refer to your 101 Things About Me list, pick one of your "things" and tell the whole sordid tale. (I don't yet have a full 101 Thing About Me list, but do plan on growing one. So when I play Me-Me Monday" I'll add to my list.)

60. When I was really young I used to think that the Superstack in Sudbury was actually a cloud maker.

Constructed in 1972 and holding the record of the world's largest freestanding chimney (1247 feet) for almost 15 years, the Inco Superstack in Sudbury was always a dominating figure of the landscape.

Driving in to Sudbury from Levack, I remember that first turn in the highway where the stack became visible from the road -- the bend of road on Highway 144 just as you turn the corner near High Falls there's a break in the hills where the Onaping River flows and you can make out the tower in the distance (about 40 kilometres away). The stack, of course, got larger and larger in teasing glimpses as you headed in towards Sudbury on the highway that meandered around hills and rivers. When I first moved to Hamilton I remember noting a similar phenomenon with the CN Tower as you headed in on the highway and could start to spot the growing tower in the distance.

Now just take a look at the picture above and ask yourself, with the mindset of a young curious child, if it appears as if the tower is spewing out clouds. I used to imagine that there was some sort of facility that was sucking water up from a nearby resevoir and spewing the water into the atmosphere, and that was how clouds were made. I wondered if there were towers like this all over the place or if Sudbury was special in that regard. As a child, of course, my imaginings were all fantasy based, but now when I look at it I think that it might be a piece of the landscape on some artificially constructed world in a science fiction novel. Ah yes, another note to slap into a misc folder and which I might draw on as background for a sci-fi story in some future year.

Of course, as I got older, I realized that the superstack in Sudbury isn't really a cloud maker after all. I mean, that was silly of me. But of course, just reading up on the stacks lately, I realized that some significant clean-up efforts were made to reduce as much as 90% of the sulphur dioxide being spewed from the tower back in the 1990's, and so most of the exhaust from the towers now is actually water vapour.

Hmm, maybe I wasn't just a kid with a wild imagination, but some sort of visionary.


Gwen said...

Yeah - we were real big fans of that stack in Mattawa. The construction of it reduced the pollution in Sudbury and sent it further away. How neighbourly!

Thank goodness for the clean-up effort in the 90s.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Well I learned something today...and a pretty nice me-me.

Ameratis said...

Great post though I must say the title had me abit scared to read it lol I scanned it quickly first in slight trepidation before I realized it was good ole Mark humor with play on words! :)

The Imp

lime said...

childhood imaginings are such a wonderful thing. thanks so much for sharing that with us!

Rainypete said...

I think the cloud thing is cute but based on the title I thought this was going to be about Todd Bertuzzi.