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Home > History of Development > Leduc: Causes and Effects > 1947: Oil Strike! > Oil Strike > Formation of Devon

Leduc: Causes and Effects

Formation of Devon … A Model Town

Devon Hotel, Devon, Alberta. [ca. 1955-1956] The town of Devon was created in large part by the discovery of oil in Leduc. The people of Leduc were generally fond of having the oil workers in their town, but other citizens were not. Unfortunately, Leduc was a small-scale town and was not as progressive-thinking in that era as it is today. 

Immediately after the discovery of oil at Leduc, offices were first established by the Imperial Oil Company in that town. But when the new oil fields rapidly expanded the company decided to build a new "model town" for its employees and their families.  This new town, built by Imperial Oil, was just north of Leduc No. 1. Since the oil was discovered in a reef that was formed 350 million years ago in the Devonian Period, the town was called Devon. The chosen site of Devon was a barley field overlooking the North Saskatchewan River; it was considered a good town site. Devon was called Canada's model town—the first community in the country to be planned by a regional planning commission.

The Alberta Town Planning Commission was asked to help plan "Canada's First Model Town." From the beginning, all the buildings in Devon had electricity, natural gas, water, and indoor toilets. The houses were pre-fabricated in Calgary, and then put together on basement foundations. A house approximately cost between $3,600 and $6,000.

The company launched a bus service to Edmonton and a government ferry was put into operation across the Saskatchewan River just above Devon. Within three months in 1949, Devon had progressed from a hamlet to a town. Devon had many modern facilities, such as streets, sidewalks, a park, hotels and stores, a curling and hockey rink, a post office, a bank, a golf course and swimming pool, a public library and a theatre. The greatest asset to Devon, however, was Imperial Oil's gas absorption plant, which provided employment for a large number of people.

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