Markers and sights remind travellers of the historic significance of The Great Trail from Fort Saskatchewan to Athabasca Landing, and this inspired Gibson Energy, a Canadian-based service provider to the oil and gas industry, to lend its financial support.
That the area served as a hub for commerce through the ages resonated with Gibson Energy, says Amanda Condie, the company’s communications manager. “We worked with Trans Canada Trail and found a section that spoke to us as a company.”
Gibson is a midstream company, which, in itself, indicates a good fit with the Trail, she explains. “The Great Trail is about connecting Canada from coast to coast to coast, and we are in the business of connecting our customers to their markets.” Gibson, which started in the ‘50s, was among the first midstream companies in Canada and is considered a pioneer in this industry. “This historic trail was key in linking industry within Alberta and beyond, we thought, wow, there are so many parallels,” says Condie.
The first known record of the trail between the Saskatchewan River system and the elbow of the Athabasca River dates to 1840. Covering a distance of 100 miles and linking two river systems, it was nicknamed the “100 Mile Portage” and saw heavy use by fur traders, gold rush miners and settlers. In the late 1800s, the trail was Canada’s busiest northern route, playing an important role in the development of northern Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Since the transportation of goods and services has always been vital to Canada’s history and growth, Condie sees the collaboration between Trans Canada Trail and Gibson as a coming together of two legacies, to create something special for the 150th anniversary year of Canadian Confederation.