This fundraising event may be of interest to the Whitehorse history buffs out there. The MacBride Museum will be hosting a Canol Refinery Dedication Dinner on Thursday, April 23 at 6 p.m.
It will have the same menu as the one hosted by the U.S. Army in their Officers’ Mess in April 1944. Add to that live 1940s music and an opportunity to dress for the occasion if you wish, and it will make this a rare celebration.
The controversial Canol project opened with much hoopla and then closed in less than a year. Indeed, it was more costly and challenging than the famous Alaska Highway project. It was hastily conceived after the attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and was undertaken with little knowledge of the country.
Whitehorse has been left with the foundations of the refinery, which should be declared a historic site. This major piece of our history, for some reason, is news to many. The fantastic Canol project produced a remarkable change in the whole look of the town. With U.S. military efficiency, the little (350 pop.) town of Whitehorse expanded with the huge refinery area (across from Walmart), Camp McCrae, spur RR lines, numerous garages and offices, Quonset huts, barracks, etc. Miraculously, some buildings have survived.
The late Alex Van Bibber was involved in two Canol surveys, notably the remarkable one of 42 days from Mayo to Norman Wells from January to February 1943. Our well-known Goodie Sparling can still recall the excitement and social life of those fantastic days.