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The Canol Project: An Oil Field Joins Up


Following the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941, and the Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska on June 3, 1942, defence of Alaska became of critical importance. Construction of the Alaska Highway began, a string of airfields across northern Canada was expanded, and production at oil fields along the Mackenzie River was increased in a massive project known as the Canol, for "Canadian Oil".

    Less than 80 miles from the Arctic circle, oil wells pour forth their black treasure to grease the skids under Tojo. Through 570 miles of pipe traversing the continental divide and hitherto unknown wilderness, oil will soon flow to Whitehorse on the Alaska Highway. There a new refinery has been built to turn the crude into fuel for the planes, ships and vehicles that will take the Allies to Tokyo the short way.

    This article was published in Popular Mechanics magazine in March 1944 - to see the entire issue, click on the cover image to the right.