Fort McMurray has been the main community recipient of all the advantages and disadvantages of the boom and bust syndrome associated with the tar sands projects located in north-east Alberta. Until the early 1960s, Fort McMurray remained basically a trading post and small village, punctuated at times by brief spurts of growth, its population ranging from 300-1000. Then in 1964, construction began of a long-discussed extraction plant for separating synthetic crude oil from the tar sands by the Great Canadian Oil Sands. The town underwent successive periods of rapid growth. This chapter provides lessons from the Fort McMurray experience.
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