Master of Arts
This thesis explores how the local population of Enniskillen, (including the towns of Oil Springs and Petrolia) Southwestern Ontario, reacted to the environmental consequences of oil development between 1858 and 1885. The inception of Canadian’s oil industry in 1858 subsequently resulted in the contamination of the river systems, the pollution of the air, and the creation of new hazards in the region. The pollution led to water scarcity, the odour of oil permeating the air, and the threat of oil fires. In order to continue living in the oil region, the local population adapted, either by normalizing the new conditions of the environment or by trying to create solutions to mitigate the threats. Threats such as water scarcity and oil fires had to be dealt with because of the harm they could cause to the community. The strong odour of oil was tolerated as the locals had no way to address it and it did not pose a serious threat to life.
Summary for Lay Audience
During the nineteenth century, in Enniskillen, Southwestern Ontario, the local population experienced drastic environmental change caused by oil industry development. As a result, the local population adapted, either by normalizing the new conditions of the environment or by trying to create solutions to mitigate the threats.
Armstrong, Robert, "An Environmental History of Oil Development in Southwestern Ontario, 1858-1885" (2019). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 6717.
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