Coal Mining in the Edmonton Area
became a significant aspect of Edmonton's local economy after the completion of the
Calgary and Edmonton Railway in 1891, although this development also opened
Edmonton as a market for coal produced in southern Alberta. The importance of
coal increased after the two transcontinental railways reached Edmonton.
However, it was Edmonton's own urban growth that initiated commercial mining,
as it provided the market for local coal operations.
recorded account of coal along the North Saskatchewan River occurred in 1786,
when Edward Umfreville reported river-borne coal floating near Fort Vermilion.
In 1798, a boat load of coal gathered from sand bars was brought to Edmonton
House for use by the blacksmith. Lord Milton reported that the Hudson's Bay
Company still used coal for this purpose in 1863 and it seems safe to assume it
was burned domestically, at least intermittently, during much of the nineteenth
Kenneth Tingley. Coal Mining in Alberta: An Introduction to Changes in Coal-Mining
Technology in the Plains and Parkland Areas, 1872-1955. n.p:
Reynolds-Alberta Museum. With
permission from the Reynolds-Alberta