In 1987 I worked on a computer contract for SUNCOR at Fort Mac. Not very long into my contract we had an explosion in one of the buildings on site, right next to the administration building which housed the computer systems department. Environment Alberta arrived and decided that all contracts were to be cancelled and the contractors sent home.  Because of PCB contamination danger. [PCB = polychlorinated biphenyls, a cancer-causing substance]. These were leaking out of old transformers. My images show Ft. MacMurray in 1987. It was a small community then. Images also show oil pollution in the rivers around it.1987_FtMcMurray1

In 1790, the explorer Alexander MacKenzie made the first recorded description of the oil sands. By that time, trading between the explorers and the Cree was already occurring at the confluence of the Clearwater and Athabasca Rivers. The Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company were in fierce competition in this region. Fort McMurray was established there as a Hudson’s Bay Company post by 1870, and continued to operate as a transportation stopover in the decades afterwards. [WIKIPEDIA]  [post created with Firefox v.19]