In addition to the Big Nickel, Sudbury once had a big penny. Its whereabouts remain a mystery.
The Big Nickel celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2009. The idea belongs to Ted Szilva. He suggested a coin park as a Centennial project when Canada celebrated its 100th birthday. The idea didn’t receive official sanction or support. Szilva and a handful of volunteers worked to raise the money for the project.
(Szilva recently received an honorary degree from Laurentian University.)
The Canadian Centennial Numismatic Park, which was located where Dynamic Earth is today, originally featured a Big Penny, an American silver John F. Kennedy 50-cent piece, and other giant coins such as the $20 gold coin.
The Big Nickel is the 1951 Canadian nickel, which was minted to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the isolation of nickel as a metal, as well as to show the source of Sudbury’s wealth.
The park was officially opened on July 27, 1964. The opening was attended by a crowd of 1,500 family, friends, dignitaries and local residents.
Only the Big Nickel survives. What happened to the other coins remains a mystery.