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Home > History of Development > Early Industry: Case Studies > Edmonton Coal Mining

Early Industry Case Studies

Coal Mining in the Edmonton Area

Coal Mine at Beverly—1936Coal mining 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.

The first 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 century.

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 Museum.

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