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Home > History of Development > Leduc: Causes and Effects > Setting the Stage: Before 1947 > Early Exploration

Leduc: Causes and Effects

Early Exploration 

Burning Acid, c.1930.Leduc was not Canada's first oil discovery. Crude oil had been found in Ontario as early as 1858 (an event that led to the establishment of Imperial Oil in 1880), though production was small and short-lived.

The incentive for exploring for oil was spurred by the discovery of significant crude oil reserves in Western Canada. Large gas reserves had been discovered, starting with Medicine Hat in the 1880s, then Bow Island, Viking and, in 1914, the Dingman well in Turner Valley. The discovery of crude oil at Turner Valley near Calgary, Alberta, was the most significant, although the oil from that discovery was fast running out and was unable to satisfy the appetite of Alberta's post World War II economic boom. 

The nation's first major oil field was discovered at Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories in 1920 by an Imperial geologist, Ted Link, who later played a major role in the Leduc discovery. At the time, the Norman Wells field was of limited commercial value because of its remote location.

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