Story of Oil

Oil Well at the Petrolia Discovery The discovery of oil at Lot 16, Concession 2 by James Miller Williams in 1858 changed the future of Enniskillen Township.  The oil fields at Oil Springs proved to be the largest ever found in Ontario and was the site of the first commercial oil well in North America.  Many American speculators bought up land in Enniskillen in hopes of striking “black gold” as that was the term oil was commonly called.

As a result of the oil boom, in 1865, Oil Springs with a population of 2,000 separated from Enniskillen and became an incorporated village.

In 1862, a private investor built a road of timber planks from Oil Springs to Wyoming.  It is claimed that at one time no less than 27 refineries were operating in Oil Springs and 500 loads of oil were teamed daily by horses to Wyoming, the nearest rail port.  The route was along what is now known as Oil Heritage Road (County Road 21), which were heavy of clay muck, forests and swamp lands, made travel very difficult.  Only two barrels of oil on a stone boat float was all that a team could haul.  The “Plank Road” maintained by tolls between Sarnia and Oil Springs was also completed in 1865 by the Sarnia & Florence Plank Road Company.

 Today, the oil and gas industry continues to be an important sector of the local economy.  Underground storage capacity for natural gas hydrocarbons.  Also, oil fields with operating oil wells are located throughout the municipality.  The municipality also has petroleum and natural gas pipelines located within the township.

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