Mapping Life in Fort McMurray

Diverse Relations of People, Oil, and Place (2007-2009)



Tradesperson, Resident for More than a Decade, Intraprovincial Move,  Staying in Work Camp, English Canadian, 30s

“I grew up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. As you probably know the economy there has been in the toilet for 30 years. So my entire growing up I always knew I’d have to leave home. That’s something that every child in Cape Breton kind of knows: that you are not going to die in Cape Breton. There was a job in Grand Cache, Alberta. . .I was going to take a BA in history and I said that if I’m going to go to Alberta and get a real job, I need some more schooling.  So I went to my dad one day and I said what should I take in school? And he said, they’re always hiring millwrights so I’m like, I guess I’ll be a millwright.”

“In camp there’s actually a sense of community. There’s family people as opposed to like just the single people. . .There’s a pretty strong Asian community up here, Black guys all stick together. We [non-Albertan Canadians] are still kind of like an ethnic minority.  The Albertans, they kind of like just float.”

“Fort McMurray for me it’s a huge mess. So you have this city that looks like it’s from outer space in the middle of the universe kind of thing.  The Oil Can [bar] to Highway 63.”


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