Analysis & Comment

Iconic oil derrick at south entrance to Edmonton to be taken down, relocated

It’s been an iconic fixture welcoming people to Edmonton for decades, but the oil derrick on the QEII highway on the city’s southern limit is coming down.

The Leduc #1 oil rig has been located at the Gateway Park visitor centre since 1987. But after the visitor centre closed in 2014, the city thought the artifact deserved a home where it could be appropriately viewed.

As such, the decision was made the dismantle the rig and relocate it to its original home, the Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre.

The derrick is a significant piece of Alberta’s rich oil history dating back to the late-1940s. After drilling 133 dry wells, members of the local drilling crew were about to give up, expecting the Leduc #1 to also come up dry.

Desperately needing to discover new sources of crude oil, Imperial Oil decided to give it one last shot. And on Feb. 13, 1947, the well erupted with enormous amounts of clear, light crude, forever changing Canada’s energy sector.

Until now, the Leduc discovery centre has displayed a replica of the oil rig.

Work to dismantle the rig began at the old visitor centre early last week. Crews were back at the site Tuesday afternoon, where much of the oil derrick had been taken apart.

Once the derrick is removed it will go through some restoration work. The plan is to have the rig ready for public viewing in Leduc by the summer of 2019.

The iconic Leduc #1 oil derrick on the QEII heading into Edmonton from the south is being taken down, restored and relocated.

The iconic Leduc #1 oil derrick on the QEII heading into Edmonton from the south is being taken down, restored and relocated.

The iconic Leduc #1 oil derrick on the QEII heading into Edmonton from the south is being taken down, restored and relocated.

The Leduc #1 oil derrick at the Gateway Park visitor centre in Edmonton in October 2014.

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