Inside the Downtown/West End
The Downtown/West End contains some of the oldest buildings in the city and gives visitors a glimpse into its history and its earliest European settlers.
A good place to start exploring the downtown is the Saint Anne of the Pines Church, 14 Beech St. (tel. 705/674-1947). The church stands at the north end of Durham Street, which is arguably the "main street" of Sudbury. When the French Jesuits established the parish as a mission before the turn of the 20th century, the railroad had not yet been built, so the structure was literally "in the pines." A log church, it was built not only as a house of worship but to serve as a school, and remained the only Roman Catholic Church in Sudbury until 1917. The rectory next door, built in 1883, is the oldest structure in Sudbury. Tragically, the church burned in a fire in 1992, and the new church, which opened in 1996, is a more modern structure, with plenty of windows and aluminum. The interior is very open, and the congregation sits in a space shaped like a half moon. One other structure that survived the fire is the belfry, which is accessible from the church by a walkway. The church's European organ is of such high quality that Laurentian University, just outside Greater Sudbury, uses it for concerts.
Another prominent religious site downtown is The Grotto of Lourdes Shrine, 271 Van Horne St. (tel. 705/673-3961; www.infocomcanada.com/thegrottosudbury) about a ten-minute walk southwest of St. Anne's, just off Paris Street. The French Count Frederic de Romanet du Caullaud commissioned the grotto as a tribute to Our Lady of Lourdes, to whom many Catholics pray for intercession and healing, following the recovery of his wife from illness in 1907. Statues depicting the Stations of the Cross, which were added to the garden in 1954, are positioned along a meandering, mile-long gravel walkway lined with flower gardens. Even the non-religious visitors can gain something from this visit, as it is a peaceful spot that overlooks Ramsey Lake, which borders the city on the south.
After viewing the grotto, talk a walk south down Paris Street to Bell Park, located at Paris and York Sts. (tel.705/671-2489). It is one of downtown's prettiest parks, with gardens, gazebos, picnic areas and playgrounds. The park is situated on Ramsey Lake and has supervised swimming beaches during summer months. A walkway links the park to Science North. Bell Park's amphitheater is home to festivals, cultural and musical events throughout the summer months, including the bilingual Northern Lights Festival in July, and the oldest music festival still in operation in Canada. The Bell Park Gazebo Series also runs in the summer months, with performances from local musicians on Sunday nights. Bell Park is the essence of the city -- and the place most residents like to bring guests. Start in the north end by the Canoe Club to Science North by the south, and it takes about 25 minutes.
From the park, walk back across the street to tour the Sudbury Farmer's Market, Metro Centre, 43 Elm St. (tel. 705/674-5115; www.downtownsudbury.com). About two-dozen vendors populate the market, which operates from May through late October on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Santa Claus makes an appearance during the holiday. Seasonal vegetables and fruits are brought in from area farms -- summertime berries are big and the market is the site of a Blueberry Festival. The market is partially enclosed and partially an open-air affair, housed in an old rail station from the early 1900s. Arts and crafts items are available, local beekeepers sell honey, and flowers and bedding plants, and prepared ethnic selections -- Jamaican and Polish are especially popular.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.