Welcome to When Coal was King: Coal Mining
in Western Canadaa multimedia resource that explores the
history and contributions of this important industry. Coals story in Western Canada begins in the age of
the dinosaurs 245 million years ago when Canada was a tropical
paradise. Over eons, the plants died, were compressed,
heated and left behind nuggets of "black gold" in the plains,
hills and mountains of the Canadian West.
Fast-forward to the early 19th century and industrialization and
you can see the importance of this resource to national
building. The railway age came to Canada in the 1820s and 1830s
with small spur lines being developed in Central Canada.
At the time of Confederation in 1867, the Government of Canada
knew that, to link the country from East to West, a national
railway system was required. Coal was needed to fuel the
railways and the communities that would develop around them. The building of the Canadian
Pacific Railway opened up the West for settlement and industrial
site is the first phase of a multi-phase project that will
result in a national website that explores coal miningpast,
present and future. Text, images, audio and video are used to
tell a compelling story. The website is a part of the
Year of the Coal Miner
project, a major education and awareness campaign involving
Alberta and British Columbia partners.
Search the site and find out
profiles the natural history and science as well as providing
regional and mine profiles.
People and CommunitiesThis
section explores the social landscape including immigration
patterns, the people of the coal mines and their communities.
Issues and ChallengesThis
section examines the historical and contemporary issues
surrounding the industry including health and
safety, disasters, politics and labour unrest as well as