Register Sunday | July 21 | 2019
Mine Reading Illustration by Mathilde Cinq-Mars.

Mine Reading

Reckoning with a homegrown hell showed that turning around emissions can also mean turning a profit.

Coming off a shift at the smelter in Sudbury, at one time, a worker might step outside in broad daylight and ask himself, “Where in the hell is my house?”

Hell is the appropriate word, because he would be surrounded by thick sulphur smoke, the stuff of brimstone. The plant he’d just left, where ore was fed into a blast furnace, coated everything in this smoke. When the clouds were low and the air damp, instead of floating off, the sulphur haze would sit even lower than the clouds, clinging to the ground. On days like that, one side of the street would not be visible from the other. 

But the workers had a system. Once the whistle blew for the end of shift, the wives of the men at the plant would step outside their front doors to shout the name of their husband to guide him home ...

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