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York Wilson

York Wilson

Whitehorse, 1947

Contacter 2 pieces circa 1947 In 1947 Canadian artist York Wilson was commissioned to travel to Whitehorse on a painting trip sponsored by Imperial Oil Ltd. Wilson was asked to document the move of their giant oil refinery from Whitehorse to Alberta at the time of the large oil discoveries in Leduc. The entire refinery was to be taken apart piece by piece and moved by truck down the Alaska Highway and reassembled in Edmonton. The move was scheduled for winter as the 40 ton digester was too heavy to move across the existing bridge at Teslin. In order to accommodate it, an ice bridge was built alongside the main Highway. At one point, the giant digester slipped down an incline moving away from the 16-wheel truck that was pulling it. York Wilson's painting, Mile 804, documents this frightening moment.

In the end, Wilson produced these two large oil paintings and numerous sketches of the machinery, men, bare bones of the building and the transportation of parts down the Highway. His book, The Trail of '48, includes both texts and images that document this historic move.


York Wilson Gallery
Storage Tanks Untitled - Men Warming Sketchbook Mile 804, Imperial Oil Ltd.
Tower The Power House, Whitehorse, c. 1947 Installation, Art Gallery of Alberta Trail of 48
Untitled Contacter 2 pieces circa 1947


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