Transcript: Name That Town: Petrolia | Nov 26, 2019

In animation, the name of the show reads "Name that town."

In an animated map of Ontario, a town pops up with a question mark.

The announcer says WHY ONE ONTARIO TOWN IS NAMED
AFTER BLACK GOLD.
POP QUIZ:
WHERE WAS NORTH AMERICA'S
FIRST OIL BOOM?
TEXAS?
NOPE.
ALBERTA?
NOPE.
ALASKA?
NOPE.
THE ANSWER IS ACTUALLY
PETROLIA,
A TOWN OF ABOUT 5,000 IN
SOUTH-WESTERN ONTARIO'S
LAMBTON COUNTY.

A series of old pictures of Petrolia appears.

The announcer says THE STORY STARTS WELL BEFORE
PETROLIA EXISTED.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
WOULD USE "GUM BEDS,"
OIL THAT HAD POOLED
ON THE GROUND,
TO WATERPROOF THEIR CANOES.
BUT THINGS REALLY TOOK OFF
IN 1858,
JUST OUTSIDE PETROLIA.
BUSINESSMAN
JAMES MILLER WILLIAMS
WANTED TO DIG A WATER WELL.
INSTEAD, HE STRUCK OIL.
THE PLACE WAS QUICKLY DUBBED
"OIL SPRINGS."
BUT OIL SPRINGS' WELLS SOON
STARTED TO RUN DRY.
DRILLING ACTIVITY THEN
SHIFTED 10KMS NORTH,
TO PROMISING NEW OIL
DEPOSITS IN PETROLIA.
AS 1866 DAWNED,
THE VILLAGE WASN'T MUCH MORE
THAN A FEW
RAMSHACKLE HOTELS,
SHOPS, AND SHACKS,
BUT THAT WOULD CHANGE QUICKLY.
THE TOWNSPEOPLE WERE SO
IMPATIENT FOR A RAIL LINE
TO SHIP THE OIL OUT,
THEY FUNDED IT THEMSELVES.
IT WAS COMPLETED IN
NOVEMBER THAT SAME YEAR,
AND PAID FOR ITSELF
WITHIN SIX MONTHS.
EVENTUALLY, HUNDREDS
OF WELLS WOULD BE
DRILLED IN AND AROUND PETROLIA.
THANKS TO ITS OIL WEALTH,
THE COMMUNITY
SOON BOASTED A HOST OF
IMPRESSIVE HOMES
AND BUILDINGS.
AND SOME OF THOSE
BUILDINGS STILL STAND.
PETROLIA'S GLORY DAYS
LASTED DECADES,
BUT ITS STATUS AS AN
OIL HUB FADED,
AS MUCH LARGER
PETROLEUM DEPOSITS WERE
DISCOVERED IN OTHER PARTS
OF THE WORLD.
STILL, THE TOWN'S
LEGACY LIVES ON.
IMPERIAL OIL, BEST KNOWN TODAY
FOR ITS ESSO GAS STATIONS,
WAS CREATED BECAUSE OF THE
PETROLIA CENTRED OIL BOOM.
AND OIL WORKERS FROM PETROLIA
WOULD GO ON TO AID
IN THE DRILLING OF MAJOR OIL
FIELDS AROUND THE WORLD.
THE MULTI-TRILLION DOLLAR
INDUSTRY THEY HELPED ESTABLISH,
NOW TOUCHES NEARLY EVERY
ASPECT OF OUR LIVES.
AND EVEN TODAY, YOU CAN STILL
SEE OLD FASHION WELLS
PUMPING OUT BLACK GOLD
A SHORT WALK
FROM PETROLIA'S DOWNTOWN.

Watch: Name That Town: Petrolia