Oil Museum of Canada – Oil Springs, Ontario - Atlas Obscura

Oil Museum of Canada

Oil Springs, Ontario

A petroleum heritage museum on the site where James Miller Williams dug the first commercial oil well on the continent in 1858. 


Oil was first discovered in southwestern Ontario in 1857 and is being pumped from the ground to this day. That pre-dates discoveries in Alberta by more than 50 years.  

James Miller Williams the father of the petroleum industry in Canada, established the first commercially successful oil well in 1858 and igniting the first oil boom in North America. (Take that J.R. Ewing!)

The Oil Museum of Canada is located on land that was designated as the First Commercial Oil Field National Historic Site of Canada in 1925.  The museum itself was opened to the public in July 1960. On site, you can see the small pumpjacks toiling away.  Locals may refer to them as a donkey pumper, nodding donkey, pumping unit, horsehead pump, rocking horse, beam pump, dinosaur, sucker rod pump, grasshopper pump,  or jack pump.

You will certainly get a whiff of the oil smell now and then....and some other smells as the site is located in a delightfully rural location.

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June 23, 2023

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