The Canol Project
Oil was discovered at Norman Wells in 1919. It came into being because the Americans were using every resource they could to increase the military capabilities in Alaska to stop any attack by the Japanese. The Canol Project was to build a pipeline from Norman Wells to Whitehorse where a large refinery was to be used to produce the fuel and oil products needed for highways, airports, and military bases.
The pipeline was completed and oil was flowing through the line to the refinery. The success of the Canol Project was very brief. There were leaks in the line, which caused a massive waste of oil in the system. The Canol Project had large cost overruns, which was noticed by the government of the United States. These concerns brought about the closing of the Project in 1945.
The Canol Project equipment and facilities were given to Canada. The refinery at Whitehorse was closed down, taken apart, and moved to Edmonton where it became a part of the Imperial Oil plant.
The development of the Canol Project had a minimal effect on the Peace River country as it played a limited role in supplying and supporting the Canol Project.