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Happy 50th birthday, Big Nickel

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jul 22, 2014 - 5:00 AM |
 Big Nickel creator Ted Szilva said he's excited for the monumnent's 50th birthday July 22, which is being celebrated with a big community party. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Big Nickel creator Ted Szilva said he's excited for the monumnent's 50th birthday July 22, which is being celebrated with a big community party. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Head to Dynamic Earth July 22 for big community party

July 22, 1964. It was a hot, sunny day, and at the invitation of Big Nickel creator Ted Szilva, a group of dignitaries had gathered at the newly erected monument for its official opening.

Canadian Centennial commissioner John Fisher was given the job of placing the last stone in the Big Nickel's base.

“We dedicated the park to the citizens of Sudbury and Canada and the world,” said Szilva.

A very similar scene will take place at the Big Nickel July 22, 2014, in celebration of the Sudbury icon's 50th birthday.

Szilva and other dignitaries will gather for a ceremony at the attraction — now located alongside the Dynamic Park science centre — starting at 1 p.m.

He said he's excited for the occasion.

“I think it's wonderful,” Szilva said. “A birthday is a birthday is a birthday.”

Szilva said he's very pleased his dream has come to fruition.

“I owned it for 18 years, but I didn't have the money to do the science centre,” said the entrepreneur, who sold the attraction to the precursor of Science North in the early 1980s. “It's quite an accomplishment. This is what I envisioned.”

So will the Big Nickel reach its 100th birthday?

“It's been here for 50 years, so there's no reason it can't be here for another 50,” Szilva said.

A big 50th birthday party for the monument is being held July 22 at Dynamic Earth. The science centre will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. that day, and children under 12 will receive free admission when accompanied by an adult.

Visitors will also have an opportunity to take part in two Guinness World Records attempts starting at 9 a.m., including the largest coin mosaic and most coins stacked into a tower in 30 seconds.

A classic car show and outdoors children's activities will also start at 9 a.m.
Starting at 10 a.m., members of the Nickel Belt Coin Club will be on hand to identify and value your bills, coins, medallions and tokens from all over the world.

Szilva and his son, Jim, will be signing their new book, “The Big Nickel: The Untold Story,” from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Live music, including performances by The Shriners Club Hillbilly Ramblers, Chicks with Picks, Mike Trudell, The Giselles, Larry Berrio and headliner Fred Eaglesmith begins at 3 p.m.

Fireworks will take place starting at 9:45 p.m.

Because of limited onsite parking, visitors are asked to park at Science North and catch a short shuttle to Dynamic Earth. Some onsite parking is available to accessible parking permit holders, as well as those with Dynamic Duo Passports.

For more details about the Big Nickel 50th anniversary celebrations, visit

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Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer


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