Canol Project History
The Norman Wells Historical Centre offers an exciting introduction to the Canol Project. This was a wartime effort by the Canadian and American governments to supply oil to Alaska from the oil fields at Norman Wells, Northwest Territories. 30,000 troops from the southern US built a rough road and a tiny pipeline, about the size of a drainpipe, 372 km across the mountains to MacMillan Pass, in the winter of 1943/1944. It was an amazing feat. Today you can sightsee from the air along what is now a hiking trail, the Canol Road.
The Heritage Centre features artifacts from the era, including buildings, trucks and a tiny barge and tug, as well as information on the 90 year history of oil production at Norman Wells, and construction of man-made islands in the river. The gift shop has a fine collection of arts and crafts, including moccasins made by women in nearby communities, and paintings by Bern Will Brown and other Sahtu artists. The centre also offers an excellent selection of books on northern subjects.