Did you know that the discovery of oil near Turner Valley, in 1914, resulted in the first major oil boom in western Canada? When returning from a business trip in southern Alberta I stopped at the Turner Valley Oil Field heritage marker and learned about the birth of Alberta’s oil industry.
To learn more, check out the video below or scroll down to read the heritage marker text.
Heritage marker location: on the west side of Highway 22, north of the Town of Turner Valley.
- Alequiers, near Longview
- “Big Rock” Erratic, near Okotoks
- E.P. Ranch, near High River
- FM Ranch Archaeological Site, near High River
- Leighton House and Art Centre, near Okotoks
- St. Joseph’s (Dunbow) Industrial School, near Okotoks
- Turner Valley Gas Works, near Turner Valley (also a Provincial and National Historic Site)
- Women’s Buffalo Jump, near Cayley
Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer
Heritage marker text:
Alberta’s History: Turner Valley Oil Field
In the nearby town of Turner Valley is the discovery well of the first major oil and gas field in Alberta, drilled by Calgary Petroleum Products. Dingman No. 1, named after a major stockholder, blew in on May 14, 1914. The well produced large quantities of gas and light oil and began Alberta’s first oil boom. With the boom came a flood of stock speculation, but by late that summer the boom had collapsed. Many new oil companies had proven fraudulent, other wells were disappointing, and soon the investment capital that was needed for more development was focused on the war effort instead.
The second boom began in 1924 with the Royalite No. 4 well owned by Imperial Oil. Royalite No. 4 produced even more of the light-gravity oil called naptha than the discovery well, but was not deep enough to reach the crude oil below. In June 1936, a new well discovered extensive oil deposits at 2,081 metres. This well, called Royalties No. 1, produced almost 1,000 barrels of oil a day, reviving interest in oil exploration in the field. By late 1936 the whole Turner Valley field was producing about 10,000 barrels per day.
From 1914 to 1947, Turner Valley produced nearly all of Alberta’s petroleum, and it remained Canada’s most important oil field from 1925 until the discovery of oil south of Edmonton, near Leduc, in 1947.