Lambton County Warden Bev MacDougall says the discovery of oil in Central Lambton “changed the world forever.”
The warden gathered the mayors from the communities of Oil Springs, Enniskillen and Petrolia as well as Charlie Fairbank whose family owns longest-producing commercial oil company in North America to mark the discovery.
MacDougall, working with Sarnia-Lambton’s new brand ‘Discoveries That Matter’, wants to point out some of the things which make the region unique and the discovery of oil one of the most important.
Oil Springs Mayor Ian Veen agrees saying the development of the commercial oil industry which started in his community “reshaped the whole world. Everything we do today has to do with oil.”
Oil Museum of Canada Supervisor Connie Bell says it is time for Central Lambton to take its rightful place in Canadian history. “All the roots and foundations of the modern oil industry came from here.”
Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott says oils influence even impacted agriculture. “The discovery of oil made people come here and turn this into productive farmland,” he says adding it now some of the most productive land in the province.
Petrolia Mayor John McCharles says the discovery of oil helped shape the independent spirit of the region as well. “It was not just the development of corporations which happened,” he says “it was the development of the ongoing spirit we have in Petrolia. There are booms and there are busts but there is always a lively spirit.”
And he says the oil industry also turned problems into groundbreaking solutions. He points to the waterline and water tower Petrolia built to deal with the illnesses caused by the affects of the oil industry on the town’s water supply as one of those innovations.
“This is a glorious, fabulous place,” says Fairbank. “This is where our modern world began.
“People in Europe come here because they know about this place.”
Fairbank vowed to continue telling the world about the region’s unique oil history and expanding his network of nature trails so people can get an up-close view of history and adding artworks, including a 31-foot mural, to explain to people how the industry began.