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Marine Park Museum highlights local history

The Fort McMurray Historical Society is just one of many local non-profits involved with Syncrude's Community Investment Program

Long before the oil sands industry flourished in our region, one of the leading industries was shipping.  To share this part of our region’s history, the Fort McMurray Historical Society opened their Marine Park Museum this summer.

The museum, located off of Prairie Loop Boulevard along the Clearwater River, took more than 16 years to complete. The museum is located on the site of the original shipyard essential to the transportation of goods to the far north.  When the original shipyard was decommissioned, the ships were moved and stored by the Canadian Coast Guard and the Department of Public Works.   

“The historical society applied to get them donated because we heard they were going up for auction,” says Jack ‘Torchy’ Peden, Syncrude retiree and Vice President of the Fort McMurray Historical Society. “They donated them to us at no cost.”

Local resident Torchy grew up next door to the shipyard, spending most of his time as a young boy watching the activity take place. 

“I could look out the window and see it all. I would ride around on the forklifts and try and catch a ride on the boats,” he says.  “All the captains were local and most of them, including many of the deckhands, were of Aboriginal descent. They were good captains; they could read the river and knew the country.”

 “When you got to know all of the people that worked in the yard, it was one big family. I thought if these ships were to be sold at a public auction, they would leave here more likely go to scrap or be shipped north and we’d never see them again,” adds Torchy. “I thought it would be great if we could just keep them here and preserve this part of McMurray’s past.”

Moving the ships over to the allotted land was no easy task, and rigging and transportation proved to be a challenge.

“Mammoet moved them over for us at no cost, but the blocking and jacking of the ships was done by Syncrude and Northern Crane Services to ensure safe transport,” says Torchy. “We worked three to four weeks steady going. We started to jack these things up and said; holy cow, we don’t have enough blocking. That’s where Syncrude came in big time with blocking and expertise. They also supplied a welding crew for us to replace handrails, stairs and ladders. They couldn’t do enough to help us.”

Another challenge faced by the Historical Society was the restoration work on the ships to get them ready for viewing. “The ships had five decades of paint on them and it took a lot of work,” adds Torchy.  “We sandblasted them to ensure a proper cleanup.”

Now that the work has been completed, the Marine Park Museum is open to the public to be enjoyed by all. The ships tell the story of northern river transportation: dredging, channel marking, and freight transfer.

For more information on the Marine Park, visit: www.fortmcmurrayhistory.com.

Syncrude is proud to support organizations

Syncrude is proud to support organizations and endeavours in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Edmonton that improve education, environment, health and safety, science and technology, Aboriginal and community development, arts and culture and recreation.

We donate $6 million annually to community organizations and initiatives.

How we provide assistance

We may provide assistance in the form of funds, materials/equipment or employees' time and expertise for projects that fall within these categories:

  • Education and lifelong learning projects which can’t be funded by local school boards and/or institutions of higher learning.
  • Organizations or events dealing with the environment and health and safety.
  • Community development projects that enhance community facilities and activities. Projects must be self-supporting in the future and reflect the needs and interests of a wide number of people (within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo only).
  • Arts and culture projects or organizations such as theatre, concerts, film and exhibitions that further the arts, entertain or inform (within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo only).
  • Recreational projects that promote health and fitness and organizations promoting amateur sports (within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo only).
  • Science and technology projects or organizations that encourage partnerships and promote oil sands technology.

Over the last five years, we’ve donated over $23 million to the communities in which our employees work and play.

 

Selection Criteria

Syncrude considers a number of criteria when selecting community investment projects, including:

  • Privately-initiated projects or programs (rather than government-funded)
  • Potential benefit to the community and community support
  • The applicant’s contributions to the project
  • The applicant’s initiative, planning, assessment of community need and collaborations with other organizations
  • Support from multi-stakeholder groups
  • Relationship to the oil sands industry, ability to encourage broad public support for Syncrude and opportunity for our employees to use their talents and expertise
  • Sound and measurable objectives, a well-planned approach and a high probability of producing meaningful, positive results
  • Financial need based on assessment of past revenue sources and use of funds
  • One-time contributions are favoured over recurring needs but long term, multi-year projects are considered based on significant corporate exposure and enduring benefits
  • Other criteria may also be considered

The largest single donation we ever made was $5 million to Keyano College in 2008.

Ineligible Organizations and Projects

The following organizations and projects are not eligible for community investment funding from Syncrude:

  • Individuals in pursuit of activities wherein that individual is the sole beneficiary;
  • Organized Labour, Political Parties, Election Campaigns and Religious or cultural organizations in nature;
  • Organizations solely designed to provide a service to other Syncrude employees, i.e. Club 63 North Social Club;
  • Expenses and fees related to travel, meetings, conferences, forums, registration, remuneration, honourariums, fellowships and living;
  • For-profit organizations regardless of its mandate, function or service;
  • All "sanctioned" fundraising campaigns conducted on Syncrude's property during scheduled working hours wherein employees are asked to participate in the campaign while receiving their regular salaries will not be eligible for this program; i.e. Syncrude Employee United Way Campaign;
  • Syncrude employees that are on secondment.

Syncrude’s Community Investment Online Application Form

Click here for Syncrude’s Community Investment Online Application Form

NOTE: Only applications submitted online will be considered. We are unable to respond to any paper, fax or e-mail funding requests. No representative of any group will be permitted to solicit individual employees at Syncrude's plant site or offices.