Petrolia Discovery launches national fundraising campaign


The Petrolia Discovery Foundation is hoping to attract some cash and national interest to the site with a new fundraising campaign.

The Discovery Foundation is partnering with National Trust of Canada in a crowd funding campaign called This Place Matters. Chair Dawn Sperling says the goal is to raise $10,000 to repair the clutch in what she calls the “heart and soul of Discovery.”

The Fitzgerald Rig designed and built by Fredrick Ardell Fitzgerald, the founder and first president of Imperial Oil in 1903.

It was designed to pump 300 oil wells. The Fitzgerald Rig is still running today using the original belt driven fly wheel and 22-foot bull wheel system.

Sperling says with over a century of constant use, the Fitzgerald Rig is in need of restoration. The clutch needs to be replaced. The fittings are made of brass and steel and require custom craftsmanship. The large bull wheel, crafted of wood shows signs of its age, requires major repairs.

Sperling says aside from the historic significance of the Fitzgerald Rig, it still serves a very important function at Discovery. “It still powers several of our jerker lines to produce the oil,” she says adding “The foundation’s goal is to get more oil out of the ground and the restoration of the Fitzgerald is key to that.”

Sperling says many people have expressed concern about the future of Petrolia Discovery as it stays closed for renovations over the summer. She says the online campaign will be a good way for people with Petrolia connections to help. “If your aunt lives out west and would love to donate to Discovery, this is an easy way to do it.”

And she says it give the site some exposure as well. “This does reach more people and gives us more national exposure.”

You can find the crowdfunding campaign at or by searching for National Trust of Canada Places That Matter, Restoring the Fitzgerald Rig.