The pioneers and contemporary
leaders that have shaped Canada's petroleum industry are
a vast and colorful lot. As oil and natural gas
became the 20th century fuel of choice,
entrepreneurs emerged to exploit them. The industry
includes not only the captains of industry but also
the more humble workers involved in every area of
surveying, drilling, transporting, and processing.
These "frontline" activities are supported by a
large research establishment as well as the
The oil industry is a high stakes enterprise that
gambles on the success and failures of its people.
Major ventures can collapse with one mistake or reap success due to
the heroics of one person. No wonder popular
historian Pierre Berton has described mid-twentieth
century industry leaders as "the blue-eyed sheiks!"
Consider the story of the famous geologist Vern
Hunter, who drilled and discovered nothing so many
times that he was infamously pinned with the nickname “Dry Hole.” Despite the disappointment of each
setback, Hunter continued to drill, determined to
succeed. With dwindling
funds and one last chance, he discovered oil at
Leduc in 1947 and overnight changed the face of Canada’s
The people section of this website examines the
careers and lives of the individuals who have shaped
the petroleum industry. Those wishing to enter the
highly profitable oil and gas industry will have
special interest on the careers, training, and
safety issues found in this section. Current
issues, such as women in the workforce and trade
shortages, are also examined.