Leduc-Woodbend Oilfield National Historic Site of Canada
© Parks Canada/Parcs Canada
Junction of highways 60 & 19, Leduc, Alberta
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1946 to 1946
1947 to 1974
Event, Person, Organization:
Imperial Oil Limited
Research Report Number:
Existing plaque: Canadian Petroleum Discovery Center Junction of highways 60 & 90, Leduc, Alberta
The development of this field in 1947 marked a turning point in the history of the Alberta petroleum industry. After the drilling of Leduc No. 1, the geographical focus of the industry shifted from Turner Valley northward to the central plains area, where vast oil reserves were uncovered. Oil production, which had been in decline, expanded dramatically and the Edmonton area became a petrochemical and distributing centre. The boom in output enabled Alberta to become, for the first time, a major oil producer and permitted Canada to move toward self-sufficiency in petroleum.
Description of Historic Place
The Leduc-Woodbend Oilfield National Historic Site of Canada, located north-west of Leduc, Alberta, in a rural landscape about 25 kilometres south of Edmonton, is an upper Devonian dolomite oilfield made up of two major pools of oil at different depths below the surface, namely D-2 and D-3, and includes two other minor pools, Gilbert Blair and North Woodbend A. Marking the site is an Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque located at the former Leduc No.1 oil well, outside the Canadian Petroleum Discovery Centre. Official recognition refers to the area of land in Townships 49, 50, and 51, Ranges 25 and 26, West of the 4th Meridian in Alberta.
The Leduc-Woodbend Oilfield was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1990 because: Leduc-Woodbend is arguably the most important field in the history of the Alberta petroleum industry; and, the discovery of oil at Leduc No. 1 marked a turning point in Alberta's petroleum industry, leading to further discoveries that transformed the province into a major oil producer and moved Canada toward self-sufficiency in petroleum.
The development of the Leduc-Woodbend Oilfield in 1947 marked a turning point in the history of the Alberta petroleum industry. After the drilling of Leduc No. 1, the geographical focus of the industry shifted from Turner Valley northward to the central plains area, where vast oil reserves were uncovered. Oil production, which had been in decline, expanded dramatically and the Edmonton area became the main oil refining, petrochemical, and distributing centre of the province. The boom in output enabled Alberta to become a major oil producer for the first time and permitted Canada to move toward petroleum self-sufficiency.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1990, June 2004, July 2005.
Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include: its location in the central plains area near Leduc, Alberta; its proximity to Edmonton, the oil producing centre of the region; the agricultural landscape of the site itself, which speaks to the transitory nature of the petroleum industry, its tendency to be located in rural areas, and its habit of leaving few permanent built resources after production shuts down; any surface or subsurface equipment, materials, or alterations to the landscape that speak to the surveying or resource extraction related to oil field exploration or development, including wells, dryholes and others.