The Historic Resources Management Branch of Alberta Culture is pleased to announce the launch of the Alberta Energy Resources Heritage website. The site was developed with the aim of promoting an understanding and appreciation of the Province’s abundant energy resources, the rich history of resource extraction and production, and the important role that this sector has played and continues to play in Alberta’s social, political and economic history.
As the homepage of the website points out:
“Ancient forces shaped Alberta’s geology, creating a land rich in energy resources. Yet, the story of energy in this province goes well beyond geological formations or petroleum chemistry. It is also the story of individuals, of people driven to reveal the province’s energy secrets and unlock the power of its resources. The quest to locate and unlock Alberta’s energy potential began with them—with their persistence, their innovative thinking and even their passion. It was their energy as much as any other that transformed Alberta, economically, socially and politically.”
Five areas of Alberta’s resource development are explored in detail: coal, conventional oil, natural gas, electricity and alternative energy and the oil sands. Also profiled is Bitumount, north of Fort McMurray where the earliest scientific research on industrial oil sands extraction took place. This pioneering work would later transform Alberta into a major player in the global energy market.
The website is intended to be informative and comprehensive, offering insights into the geological formation of resources, the ancient uses of various energy resources and exploration and industrialization within Alberta. Energy resources are examined through over 300 thematic entries, covered in more than 600 pages of text. Hundreds of archival images, charts, maps, and documents as well as dozens of videos augment the text as do extensive technical glossaries and lists of documentary sources. In addition to exploring the earliest and evolving histories of these sectors the site offers special insights into Alberta’s social history ranging from the miners of the Crowsnest Pass through to the rough necks of the Oil Patch, to pioneering proponents of alternative solutions for the province’s ongoing energy requirements.
Educators, students and the general public are invited to visit the website and explore its various components.
Written by: Peter Melnycky, Historian.