LEDUC NO. 1 DISCOVERY WELL
Imperial Oil Leduc No. 1
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Leduc No. 1 Discovery Well site comprises approximately 1.4 hectares of land on a single lot near Devon. The site includes an oil pump jack and associated piping. The original well site is surrounded by artifacts from The Canadian Petroleum Interpretive Centre, which lies on an adjacent tract of land, but is not included in the designation.
The heritage value of the Leduc No. 1 Discovery Well site lies in its association with the finding of massive petroleum deposits in Alberta and its connection to the dramatic social and economic transformation of the province in the second half of the twentieth century.
In the first half of the twentieth century, Canada was almost entirely dependent upon the United States for its oil supply. As Canada's industries were established and grew, the demand for domestic oil to power the country's economic engine grew. The Imperial Oil Company Ltd., founded in Ontario in 1880, began to explore for oil and gas deposits in Western Canada in the 1910s. For three decades, they were unsuccessful, drilling 133 dry wells in the region. On February 13, 1947, however, the Leduc No. 1 Discovery Well blew in to the delight of the spectators assembled for the occasion. The eruption of oil from Leduc No. 1 triggered extensive exploration for further petroleum deposits as seismic teams, geologists, and geophysicists fanned out across Alberta in search of "black gold." Though the Leduc field was a major find, new fields with even larger petroleum reserves would be discovered in subsequent years.
The spectacular discovery of oil at Leduc in 1947 marked a watershed in Alberta's economic and social life. The find attracted massive American capital investment into the province and resulted in the creation of wells, refineries, and pipelines throughout the province. Oil exploration also uncovered another valuable resource under Alberta's surface - natural gas. The population boomed in subsequent decades as fortune-seekers - many of them well-educated professionals - flocked to Alberta to tap into the province's new-found wealth. New towns were established near oil fields and both Edmonton and Calgary grew dramatically. Edmonton became a service centre for the oil fields and home to numerous refineries, while Calgary developed into the administrative and managerial heartland of Alberta's burgeoning petrochemical industry. The tremendous wealth generated by the province's reserves of oil and gas also accelerated the demographic shift in Alberta from a rural to an urban population and funded the creation of universities and colleges, galleries and museums, and hospitals.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1325)
The character-defining elements of the Leduc No. 1 Discovery Well site include such features as:
- pump jack and associated piping.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
1947/02/13 to 1947/02/13
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Technology and Engineering
- Developing Economies
- Extraction and Production
Function - Category and Type
- Historic or Interpretive Site
- Natural Resource Extraction Facility or Site
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1325)
Cross-Reference to Collection