what’s in a name

Early Tar Sands workers by Sidney Ellis c1927

Toronto. … or so Will Shakespeare is credited as writing in his famous tragedy about star-crossed young teen lovers.

I thought of Alberta as home of the famous Tar Sands when I was a kid. By the 1960s, the sands became the Alberta Oil Sands or the Athabasca Bituminous Sands. Thick bituminous petroleum was extracted from the sand. Eventually this heavy crude was piped down to Texas to be refined and marketed (as it is today).

My good friend, George Dunbar, chanced upon this fabulous web site for the ‘Imaginations‘ journal and the journal’s photos and history of the Tar Sands/Oil Sands. Note that both Dr Joan Schwartz and the Glenbow museum were PHSC members. Dr Schwartz spoke at one of our Toronto meetings in 2009.

Without the efforts of landscape photographers, we may not be able to visualize the workers and efforts needed to extract the petroleum from the sands and send it to market.

Please visit your local archives, and libraries, and find the many journal articles to discover more about history in your area. We owe so much to the photographers who took the time to record history for us. As for the Alberta Tar Sands, what’s in a name indeed!

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