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Waterton Lakes National Park

First Oil Well in Western Canada National Historic Site 

First Oil Well in Western Canada First Oil Well in Western Canada
© Parks Canada

Waterton seems like an unlikely place for an oil boom – but it happened!

In 1889, Allan Patrick staked and filed a mineral claim near Oil Creek (now known as Cameron Creek). In following years, more than 150 mineral claims were filed throughout the region. There were a few attempts to sink oil wells but by 1893, all had failed.

In 1897, the Rocky Mountain Development Company was formed and eventually struck a strong flow of oil. This was the first well to produce saleable amounts of oil. Several other companies were enticed by their success. Although some hit oil, none were economically successful.

Most evidence of Waterton’s oil boom is gone but the places and traces that remain depict the struggles, hard work and big dreams of getting oil from the mountains.

In 1965, the discovery well was declared a site of national historic significance and designated the First Oil Well in Western Canada. A monument incorporating the embedded drilling tools was designed specifically for the site and erected in 1968.

The monument is located in Waterton Lakes National Park between Cameron Creek and the Akamina Parkway.

Learn more about the First Oil Well in Western Canada National Historic Site